I watched the opening game of the World Cup on ITV yesterday. I had started on RTE but when the commentary is about two seconds ahead of the picture it gets tiresome very quickly. Not as tiresome as the vuvuzelas, but still.
Master of pomp and bluster for the day was Peter Drury, ably supported by Jim Beglin. The highlight, and by highlight I clearly mean lowlight, of their commentary came a few short minutes after South Africa’s wonderful opener. We had gone beyond Drury’s toe-curling shriek of ‘Bafana! Bafana!’ and the stomach churning ‘A goal for all Africa!”, when inset footage showed a group of people watching the game and their reaction to the goal.
Drury explained how ramshackle and downtrodden these people were.
“They only got electricity last week”, he said, as we watched them watch the game projected onto a big screen.
“That’s not even a TV!”, chimed Beglin, “that’s a sheet!”
Drury, the raw emotion of first world privilege barely under control, managed to exclaim, “Football is for people”, before getting on with the live coverage of the game.
“Football is for people”. Amazing insight. Will there be a more banal piece of commentary between now and the end of the World Cup? There certainly won’t be a more patronising one, that’s for sure.
And if you hear anything from ITV, BBC, RTE or wherever you have to live, please get in touch and let us know. There’s a whole world of terrible commentary out there, it would be wrong not to share it with fellow football fans.