Due to a prior engagement up Oxford way, I began driving home to London at about 9.00pm last night and did so accompanied by Radio Five Live’s live coverage of the second half of Leicester City 2-1 victory over Chelsea, commentary by Guy Mowbray and Robbie Savage.
I’m not a huge follower of football but I have to say that it was a riveting experience and helped to making my 75-minute return journey pass in no time at all.
At half-time, as I came to it, Leicester were leading 1-0 thanks to yet another goal by Vardy. Clearly the atmosphere in the ground was electric but the ‘on the night’ combination of Mowbray’s incisive commentary and the interjections of Savage impressed as a near-perfect blend for this listener.
Mowbray, who came across as a consummate professional, also managed to maintain a ‘back and forth’ conversation with his sidekick pundit whilst throwing in random facts, statistics and wry comments of his own.
However, by the same token, I enjoyed the contributions of Savage.
Friends say he is at best an acquired taste but what struck me as the dramas unfolded – the second Leicester goal, brilliantly taken by Riyad Mahrez … eventually Mourinho shepherd-hooking his captain John Terry, the better to ‘go for it’ … Chelsea coming on strong and scoring through Loic Remy, thereby setting up a frenetic finale … and then the ‘end to end’ mayhem as the match went into five minutes’ worth of overtime – was that, in what was clearly the white heat of an epic footballing evening, both commentators kept their ‘reporting hats’ on whilst deftly conveying their own (and the crowd’s) excitement at what they were describing.
If anything, Savage had been first to recognise the fact that the tide was switching Chelsea’s way, or perhaps that should be ‘first to mention it on-air as a development’.
Hat’s off to both of them.
At the end of the day, I can pay no higher compliment to a pair of radio commentators that to say I very much doubt I could have enjoyed following this match more if I had been at home watching it on television.