Tag Archives: coverage

ITV almost nail it on a stunning first night. Almost…

11 Jun

EURO 2016 has begun! What a night in Paris as things finally got under way with the hosts taking on Romania. Over the next four weeks, the Last Word goes a touch continental. Well, as continental as you can from a sofa in front of the TV in Brentford. Much as I’d love to be joining the likes of Billy and Dave from Beesotted in France, this is as close as it gets. I’ll leave the Russian hooligans, drunken England fans, Marseille ultras and reactive police to them ( their site is sure to be a very interesting place over the next few weeks). Instead, as ever, we look as much at ‘the other stuff’ as the serious

7pm, Friday night. Here we go. It’s an hour until kick off. Beer in hand, sofa groaning and remote control in hand. ITV, here we come….

But no. It wasn’t football. With the tournament due to start in 59 minutes, instead of Gallic charm I got Emmerdale Farm. Instead of Glen Hoddle I had a drunk driving a JCB into a farm house, followed by some shouting from the woman who used to be Lizzie Conlon in Dream Team.

Wow. People actually watch this for pleasure? Where was Clive Tyldesley when we needed him?

Fifteen minutes later, ITV finally delivered. The mayhem of farming life was replaced by a sumptuous set of opening credits featuring many of the tournament’s big names and Wayne Rooney, vacationing in a series of 20’s style tourism posters.

Buffon was juggling in the kitchen and we even got a cheeky wink from Cristiano Ronaldo in his, brackets free, number 7(seven) sports car.

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Ronaldo looking sharp on ITV

And that was just the start.

Cut from there to the slightly less salubrious image of Lee Dixon, Slaven Bilić and Emmanuel Petit. ITV having chosen to switch the traditional studio for a Paris roof top to begin their outside broadcast. Albeit with a wonderful backdrop.

Considering the rain that had gripped the French Capital in recent weeks, it was a brave choice. Moreso given the reaction offered to anybody in football seen within 10 yards of an umbrella.

Since Steve McClaren did his ‘wally with the brolly’ thing for England against Croatia back in 2007, being seen to protect yourself from the elements has been an act akin to being caught with the Super Victor toy in your hand luggage.

ITV had adopted for a pundit’s table that had four legs meant to resemble those of the city’s most famous landmark. A lovely touch until Bilić sat directly in front of it, giving him the appearance of Eiffel Tower legs.

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Wonderful backdrop; strange trousers

Cut to the Tower itself, where roving reporters Louis Saha and tennis player Marion Bartoli seemed in what could politely be described as ‘high spirits’. “Allez Les Bleus” exhorted the former Wimbledon champion, in a performance that suggested she may share Maria Sharapova’s medical team. Hey, let’s just say they were both high on life or just drinking in what was clearly an incredible atmosphere.

13 minutes prior to kick off the opening ceremony started. Started! They should have been packing up by this point, not tempting Clive to utter lines such as “The French are famous for their kisses” as an anthropomorphic pair of lips sauntered past the camera.

The central prop, a carousel, was odds-on to have a big reveal. Sure enough, as the can can girls moved on it opened to present none other than Emmanuel Petit, who must have hot footed it down from the ITV rooftop . But no, on closer inspection it was actually Disc Jockey David Guetta, singing along to the songs he was ‘playing’. As one Twitter observer notes, “Where’s Sacha Distel?

The sheer volume of the home support sining the national anthem and a stunning fly past from the French Air Force really were the cherry on this opening ceremony cake. All we needed was Diana Ross, or perhaps Vanessa Paradis, to miss a penalty for a bingo ‘full house’.

They hadn’t even begun clearing up wit the players came out for the anthems but, incredibly, we were go for ‘8pm’. And then Glen Hoddle opened his mouth.

All the good work ITV had done came crashing down in an instant. Not even a wonderful game of football – and what a winner from Dimitri Payet at the death – could detract for his ongoing banality. The commentating equivalent of the England Supporter’s band. I’d rather have had Lizzie Conlon’s ranting.

Having jettisoned Adrain Chiles, its a shame they still persist with the one time England manager. Perhaps its just me.

A great start to a great tournament but with ITV again tonight for the England – Russia game, let’s hope Wayne proves me wrong and Glenn keeps as quiet as I’d love that band to be.

Nick Bruzon 

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Why this will be the best Cup Final day in years

30 May

Let’s be honest. As Arsenal and Aston Villa prepare to do battle in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday evening, for us Brentford fans there is little immediate interest. Any hope of enjoying a run in this oldest of tournaments (this is the 134th final) ended at the hands of Brighton in the third round as a 2-0 home defeat saw us bow out at the first attempt.

And stop! Hold that thought. Even if you don’t support Aston Villa or Arsenal there is plenty to keep the neutral involved as the BBC have restored one of the most noble cup traditions – wall to wall coverage in the build up.

Recent seasons have seen ‘the light channel’ treat our showpiece match as, almost, an embarrassing afterthought – offering little pre-match entertainment beyond Adrian Chiles (now residing in the ‘where are they now’ files) mugging up to camera behind a portable pitchside lectern.

But back on BBC, with Gary Linker at the helm, we are being transported back to those glory days of the late 70s/early 80s when the Cup final, and preparations for it, were a BIG thing.

Since Lineker wrestled the highlights from Chiles, the BBC have performed miracles

Since Lineker wrestled the highlights from Chiles, the BBC have performed miracles

Taking a quick look at the schedule of events, we are about to be spoiled in a manner not seen since the Ferrero Rocher ambassador hosted his last reception.

12.10 Football Focus – Dan Walker and guests looks ahead to the game between Arsenal and Aston Villa.

13.00 The FA Cup – Gary Lineker on the road to FA Cup glory. In which our host meets men whose careers and lives were changed by the FA Cup. Presumably , this will feature the contractual obligation of an appearance from Ronnie Radford and mention of his, so called, rocket.

14.05 TOTP2- One of the highlights of the day as Mark Radcliffe rounds up the best and worst football records from the TOTP archives. Hopefully we’ll be seeing Chas and Dave, Ossie Ardiles and his wonderful solo “In the cup for Tott-ing-ham” (and if you can live with the ropey footage, that magical moment crops up at 1.57).

Spurs: come for Ossie; stay for Chas and Dave in the greatest FA Cup song of all time

14.30 Pointless Celebrities – not an exposé on Kerry Katona and the cast of ‘gogglebox’ but, infact, a topical episode of the popular quiz show. Featuring footballers

15.25 The FA Cup – the road to Wembley – This, the story of this season’s tournament, told through the eyes of famous fans. Expect Piers Morgan to be mugging it up for the camera. Bonus points if the BBC have secured HRH Prince William (although David Cameron more likely – if he can remember who he claims to support)

15.55. Build up. Gary is back, again, with all the build up from the stadium.

17.15. The final. Five hours after it all began, we cut back to the stadium for live coverage of the game.

The only sour note to all this being that there isn’t an episode of ‘Allo ‘Allo in the fall guy position straight after. Should the game over run due to the ,so called, lottery of penalties then this would be immediately booted into touch to some graveyard slot on BBC 2. Or, more likely, never to be seen again despite the assurance that “this will be shown at a later date”.

I support Brentford but I love football and all the fine traditions that go with it. On Saturday, the BBC promise to have me hooked from start to finish.

And if you want to read more about how Brentford failed in the FA Cup (this time) along with the rest of the incredible events of 2014/15, the amalgamated Last Word season compendium: Tales from the football village (from Saunders territory to unchartered ground), is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full.

Running from July 2014- May 2015 it contains some additional material and is available for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme.

ITV’s FA Cup Arsenal is less than fully loaded

17 May

The World Cup is almost here but there is still plenty of football before that. Brentford, of course, wait to find out their final Championship opponents (hopefully Leyton Orient and the Loftus Road mob) whilst, today, Hull City AFC take on Arsenal in the FA Cup final at the W place in North London.

I’ll be tuned in to ITV this afternoon, hoping that Hull City get the chance to take their celebrations to Slade-like levels. This is not a particular pop at Arsenal, although I am sure most neutrals would prefer their barren streak continued, but more because of the way it would round off the year for their supporters.

Any regular reader of this column will be aware of the ‘No to Hull Tigers’ campaign which was, eventually, successful. The team remains as Hull City AFC whilst their owner Doctor Assem Allam now needs to rethink his marketing plans somewhat.

So for them it promises to be a celebratory occasion but I can’t help feeling slightly let down. For me, the FA Cup is all about day-long coverage and the legend that is Jim Rosenthal.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.