A discussion we often have amongst our sporting Rusters is whether we grew up in a golden age of sporting commentators with the likes of Peter O’Sullivan, Bill MacLaren, David Coleman, Brian Johnston and Jonn Arlott, wordsmiths with mellifluous voices who knew their sport.
One thing I am sure of though is the standard of broadcasting has lowered and lapsed. I have watched a lot of televised sport these past few days and noted various examples to prove my point.
On the first day of the Test in Barbados there was a lengthy interview with Tom Harrison, CEO of the ECB. He is definitely a blue skies thinker talking up the healthy state of English and Welsh cricket. He alluded to the dominance of the English test team in their recent 3-0 victory in Sri Lanka and the white ball side being favourites for the forthcoming World Cup. He then praised the selection under Ed Smith and Joe Root for doing such a good job.
Unfortunately for him England were dismissed for 77 in that afternoon and the decision to play two spinners and omit Stuart Broad was universally condemned.
When the interview moved to the Hundred, Harrison twice argued there was evidence that the public wanted this. The interviewer Ian Ward never asked what that evidence was. John Humphreys would have been all over him like a Rottweiler.
Yesterday Alec Stewart was one of the analysts. As director of cricket at Surrey he is adept in promoting his players to the test side, one of whom Rory Burns is yet to convince as opener. Presenter Nick Knight did not ask him one thorny question as to whether this yet another Surrey failure at test level .
Switching to BBc’s coverage of the cup tie of Arsenal v Manchester United, panelist Ian Wright frequently referred to The Gunners as “we’. In the old days the producer would admonish him whilst Jimmy Hill always there for an alternative view would have piled in.
The use of footballer-style nicknames reflect their assumed ownership of the game. Chappers in particular is a keen referrer to social media.
We had to endure in the radio commentary of Arsenal v Man Utd the input of that most tedious of fan – the angry Arsenal supporter – with their sense of entitlement that they their team belong in the top four and like all bores imagining what is important to them is also interesting to us. Add to this bland cocktail the interventions of rent-a-mouths Robbie Savage and Chris Sutton.
Standard have dropped indeed.