The 2013/2014 football season is still in its infancy, but already things are shaping up as we might expect; Highgate's finest Rod Stewart has already pretended to be Scottish again, Arsenal 'supporters' have been invading 606 and whining about upright glow-worm Arsene Wenger not splashing enough cash on their seemingly God-given right to challenge for the Premiership title and the BBC's 'The Football League Show' has shown Leagues 1 & 2 the usual contempt it does so well.
But I'm not going to bang on about what a ghastly, money-fuelled waste of time the top-tier has now become, or that this is largely due to SKY TV and their creation of the armchair fan whereby football 'supporters' can instead of having to go and watch their local side in order to follow a football team now just sit on their massive backsides at home and hand their money to Murdoch. Except for just then.
As an Oxford United fan and as we are (still) in League 2, I watch the aforementioned Football League Show. Or as they clearly would prefer to be, The Championship Show because every time there's an international break - despite the other two football leagues being in action - it gets cancelled for the week. However, if there's ever any further incentive for us to get up to Championship it's so that we would subsequently be shown earlier on in the programme and I therefore won't then have to sit through the utterly banal bum-wash they talk on there. For example, they'll show a few clips featuring the goals from a couple of matches and then it cuts back to the studio and there's Manish Bhasin and he says to Steve Claridge "So another defeat there for Swindon." And Claridge says "Yeah, it's another defeat for them, but they'll be looking to get back to winning ways starting with their home game next week". Well done Steve. Inspired. We know! We've just watched the footage! Stop pointing out the bleeding obvious and show us more of the game instead! We don't need all this not-even-analytical analysis. But no, on they go. "Another good win for Accrington there Steve." "Yeah, they'll be looking to build on that starting with their home game next week". "Looking to" - Everyone in football is always "looking to do well". At the start of every season, every team is "looking to do well" or "get off to a good start". No one says "I think we'll have a dreadful season, we'll get relegated". Every new player that comes into a club will be "backed" to be a success at the club. It's like when Torres joined Chelsea. Everyone was "backing him" to come good. No one said, "I reckon he'll be utter crap".
As well as these inspired oracles, I am becoming increasingly annoyed by the twatspeak of commentators these days. Do they have pre-season meetings or something where they get together and agree that the word 'corner' can no longer be used under any circumstance and most only ever be labelled a 'flag kick'? Where they invent baffling and unnecessary phrases, like a team suffering a 2-1 reverse (I still genuinely don't know what this means). One that constantly grips me currently that you might like to listen out for, is the phrase is the vague 'back on terms'. What terms? Speaking terms? Sleeping in the same bed terms? You obviously mean level terms, so how about just saying it? The other day I heard someone say that Burton Albion had got themselves "back to 1-1" the other day - you work it out. I still miss the late Brian Moore. Someone who loved football so much, they designed the world cup trophy to look like his head as a tribute. I won't however miss Motson. I thought they'd pensioned him off years ago, but it seems not. He's always such a doom-monger. You'd be watching an England game in the World Cup finals or something and we're 1-0 up with ten minutes to go and he'd come out with "England have never won quarter final game one-nil" and then the inevitable happens, the other team equalise and he's almost delighted. Someone who I was quite impressed with when he burst onto the scene was over-excitable gut-bucket, Jonathan Pearce. He first came to my attention commentating on Channel Five when they used to show England matches before the Red Shoe Diaries (yes you did watch that). I was impressed with his passionate outlook on things - it felt like he really cared. Then I watched Robot Wars and saw him getting equally passionate over a radio-controlled Quality Street tin with an axe welded to it.
I've already welded my yellow and blue colours to the mast here and declared myself as an Oxford United season ticket holder so I feel a bit bad having a go at an ex-player. Especially a player, who despite being at the end of his career - own-goals aside - served us well, was a determined player and was generally an all-round good egg. But, for reasons known only to them, our local paper has decided that since this particular player has left our club, people will want to read about what he thinks of the current game, what he isn't doing now and all that sort of tedium. And it really is the most uninteresting, badly written waffle that nobody needs to know. I don't know why this sort of thing is allowed to happen though. Nobody would ask Sir Charlie Brooker (who once brilliantly described World Cup 2010 as "The world's most idiotic millionaires kicking a sphere around a lawn") to hold the back line for Charlton Athletic, so why do footballers think they're suddenly great newspaper columnists and that they can write like Martin 'Bluto' Samuels? There's a reason why they're footballers and not writers and that's because they can play football and they can't write. Most of the time they can't even be trusted to write the damn things themselves as these articles are usually book-ended with the phrase "Steven Gerrard was talking to...", so just like their premature autobiographies, they're on-the-whole written by someone else. If you have the desire for more evidence as to why footballers shouldn't be allowed to write in public, then just take to Twitter and see how dull our boys and their thoughts on training and playing computer games really are.
Anyway, that's enough for now. I see the fourth official is holding up the board and the referee had indicated that he generally doesn't have a clue what he's doing.
Joff Thompson was talking to....