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Saturday, 5 April 2014

21st century punditry for 21st century football

Soon after Alan Hansen announced his intentions to hang up his open collar shirts and step down as a lead pundit for MOTD, the BBC have adopted an open door policy to a seemingly endless queue of ex professionals eager to step in and offer their thoughts on the weekend’s events.

While Hanson is arguably synonymous with our weekly Premier League review, I couldn’t help but feel this was a perfect opportunity to address the outdated furniture and take a leaf out of Sky's books by bringing in individuals more in touch with the modern game.

Football has changed so much both on and off the pitch in the last 10 years that to offer credible analysis and true understanding you surely have to have first-hand experience instead of relying on timeless football clich├ęs and basic observations as a form of punditry, yes I mean you Alan Shearer.

Gary Neville's was not a popular choice when it was announced he would join Sky in 2011 but it's testament to his insight and knowledge of the modern game that he is already widely regarded as one of the best around. Jamie Carragher joined him this season and again has been a breath of fresh air in his understanding and interpretation of proceedings.

Of course punditry shouldn't be limited to players alone and having managers does add a different viewpoint but I find it hard to value such an opinion when their own failings become the reason they are doing punditry in the first place. For example, Harry Redknapp on MOTD having been relegated with QPR a season earlier seems farcical. Roy Keane was undoubtedly a world class player but it’s hard to take on board his “constructive criticism” on Champions League ties having seen both Sunderland and Ipswich under his tenure.

It is time for our football punditry to actually reflect the game that we are watching. The insight offered needs to be from someone who has experienced top level football in its current state rather than drawing on past glories that in this day and age come across as out of touch. We are at the stage where some so called pundits offer no more value than having Russell Brand on every week.

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