THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Use superlatives wherever possible, as often as possible.
"Oh, what a lovely left-foot that boy has. My word."
"A wonderful piece of play, my word that was exceptional defending."
"He's got a wonderful leap and that was an excellent header there, my word that was travelling."
"Fabulous technique from little Luka/David/Rafa/Luis/Chicharito there, my word, he's an incredible footballer, I have to say, he really is."
"He's an incredible athlete, he really is, my word he's covered some ground today and his passing, my word, it's been first-class."

"That was an exceptional strike from the young man there, my word, we know he has a foot like a wand and boy did he show it there. Exceptional football, from both sides at times, I have to say."

Mention that you have met all of the players, loads of times, as often as you can crowbar it into a sentence (sometimes even if you can't).
"Have you ever had the pleasure of meeting Heidar, Rob? I have. What a lovely guy. He's a lovely chap. What a lovely human being."
"The lads at Chelsea did a hell of a lot of charity work when I was there, Martin. They're all lovely lads. A set of really good lads. Some of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet."
"Yeah I spoke with him beforehand, Rob, and he was talking about the playing surface. He's one of the nicest chaps you could ever wish to meet."

Sensationalise everything, and tell some lies if you like because everybody knows football fans are all fickle swines who can't remember the game two weeks ago but can remember losing on penalties to Shrewsbury in the League Cup in 1991.
"Gareth Bale, he's an incredible talent, one of the best there is. He's been exceptional for two years now."
"Cor, imagine if Ledley King hadn't suffered those injuries, imagine how good he would've been for England and Tottenham."
"Yakubu is one of the best about. He's been in good form for the last couple of years and he always comes alive in the box."
"This league is the best there is, there isn't another competition like it anywhere in the world. That's why the best players in the world play here."

Completely change your opinion on how a team's season will go within the space of 70 minutes and not even realise you have completely contradicted yourself.
"Bolton look like a really good side under Owen Coyle. I must say, they pass it well. They have a goal threat and they have some very good technical footballers in their ranks. I wouldn't be surprised to see them challenging for a Europa League spot this year, Rob, I have to say."
Liverpool then set-about making Bolton look like amateurs and establish a 3-0 lead.
"I think Bolton are going to struggle this year, Rob, I have to say. I was worried about them before the season started and I'm worried about them a tad more after today, I have to say. My word, they're all over the place and lack a goal threat. I think it could be a long, hard season for Owen. Though Owen is one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet, I have to say."
Dave Hearn

Comments (25)
Comment by Stumpy Pepys 2011-12-14 11:33:38

Excellent. And maybe throw in a few more lovelys for good measure.

Comment by Calvert W. McCutcheon 2011-12-14 12:41:41

Excellent piece.
Ancelotti surely deserved an acting award for dead-panning Wilkins' departure when inside he must have been jubilant.
'Just think, Carlo, no one shouting 'MY WORD, THAT'S SUPER FRANK/ASHLEY/JOHN' in my ear at training anymore.'

Super.

Comment by jimmya28 2011-12-14 12:56:21

Nah, i'm not having that. I find Butch very enjoyable on commentary. Cliched and hoary he may be, but he gives colour to the game, and at least has some tactical knowledge - remember at one point he mentioned that City can play a decent pressing game when they lose the ball, as they play so many short passes that there are lots of players around when it's lost. A small point, but one that makes sense.

So tell me, people, as long as you are positing your subjective opinion as objective fact, who would you rather have on commentary instead? Townsend? Lawrenson? Trevor Francis? Compared to lumpen idiots like these, Ray Wilkins is Lord Byron.

Comment by jimmya28 2011-12-14 12:57:21

PS If he 'ruins' your enjoyment of the game so much, Dave, press the mute button and stick Radio 5 on. You probably prefer Alan Green, anyway.

Comment by Calvert W. McCutcheon 2011-12-14 13:03:20

'He gives colour to the game'

Hahahaha.

Super.

Comment by Lincoln 2011-12-14 13:21:15

I am suprised he has been picked out amongst the sea of drivel.


As we all have our hate figures, who do we actually like as commentators? You know just to give a unique positivity to the usual Daily Mail style everything is wrong this country/game is going to the dogs in a Sky TV cart.

For my money, Gary Neville is decent but Tim Flowers when on the radio is superb talking about different set moves from corners and how they have changed in each one and how the defence adjusts to this.

Comment by Paul Rowland 2011-12-14 13:53:45

What is the point of all this punditry? There is a basic pre-requisite that Butch Greenie Lawro Nev and the rest of them should know more about football than you or I do. Based on their spoutings in the media, the sad but inescapable truth is - they don't. They offer nothing over and above what we can see for ourselves. Seriously, can you remember the last time you heard something from a so-called football expert and thought to yourself, "yes, that's a good point. I hadn't thought of that."

I can't.

Comment by jonmid 2011-12-14 14:06:08

Maybe some people could put their money where their mouths are?

Comment by Calvert W. McCutcheon 2011-12-14 14:17:13

Is jonmid suggesting we should all become television football co-commentators?

Comment by BennyB 2011-12-14 14:49:35

Lincoln, for good pundits Clarence Seedorf during the last world cup really stands out. A lot of sensible comment and actual insight without getting overexcited.

Comment by Analogue Bubblebath II 2011-12-14 15:35:48

I like Butch. His voice is very soothing.

Comment by jonmid 2011-12-14 15:40:07

why not? since the current lot are so awful

Comment by Peter_Bateman 2011-12-14 15:52:40

Can someone ask him for his views on Ned Zelic? That might shut him up :-)

Comment by jonmid 2011-12-14 16:30:19

All I was saying was that since many people on here think most commentators and pundits are terrible, why don't they try and do their own commentating and punditry.

Comment by Riverman 2011-12-14 16:43:59

jonmid's idea of doing one's own commentary is very sensible, sort of liking saying "if you don't like that novel/album/skyscraper, why don't you go and write/record/build one yourself before criticising others.

Now and again and do actually try the DIY commentary idea in short bursts when I watch football. It's mainly to amuse my kids (it doesn't amuse them, it annoys them). Also, I tend to do it in a Bill McLaren voice, so it never quite works. Not so easy with radio - when you turn the sound of the commentator down you can't really tell what's going on so you have to make it up.

As for Butch Wilkins, he is a philosopher and a gentleman and totally entertaining. I like it that he is nice. Most people aren't, they're just boring or snarky. However, this article was nice, too, and I don't think the writer was really saying Ray ruins games. It's just Ray's catchphrases that can be a bit annoying.

Comment by The Exploding Vole 2011-12-14 16:44:00

Is that how it works?

Comment by Riverman 2011-12-14 16:47:36

My word - I seem to have forgotten to put a " at the end of the first paragraph!

Comment by biziclop 2011-12-14 16:52:39

Paul Rowland, on the other hand, have you ever heard a football fan say "Yes, that's a good point. I hadn't thought of that"?

Comment by Calvert W. McCutcheon 2011-12-14 17:52:46

Ian Plenderleith's right.
jonmid really [I]is[/I] twelve.

Comment by jonmid 2011-12-14 18:45:50

I don't see how proposing that fans should do their own punditry and commentating is being twelve. Afterall the idea of fans owning and starting their own clubs is strongly supported by people here.

Comment by sturge512 2011-12-15 09:22:24

I'm going to disagree with this piece too. Yes, Ray "My Word" Wilkins has his annoying habits but who doesn't? (I find comedian Dara O'Briain annoying since noticing he goes "eeehhhhhhhh" at the end of almost every joke!) I'd take Wilkins ahead of the hyper-critical Andy Gray any time and I'm warming to Gary Neville in Gray's other MNF role.
I watch games on TV to be entertained, so when a co-commentator sees a replay of a studs up, over the ball tackle and says, "Meireles was lucky that was a yellow card...that was NAUGHTY", I found myself literally bursting out laughing. Keep it up Butch.

Comment by Duncan Gardner 2011-12-15 13:47:46

I went to the same school as Greenie (where he actually played hockey, we didn't and don't have organised football). Reverend McCutcheon is from the same street as Gerry 'elite mentor' Armstrong. We might have a go at this punditry lark, or at least some impersonations.

Butch is great.

Comment by Dalef65 2011-12-15 17:47:42

You have all been tango-ed

Comment by caleyi 2011-12-16 12:49:52

Butch is definitely one of the better pundits, he is far better than most because, like Gary Neville, he occasionally offers good insight and does give his opinion.
I think there are a few others who should get more air time - Seedorf was terrific compared to the terrestrial channel morons who offer no analysis no opinion no personality no humour no insight and no awareness of the world game. Souness is generally good.
Why don't they get print journalists instead of just ex-pros?

Comment by SoccerLimey 2011-12-20 01:11:16

I couldn't resist wading in here after spending most of my misspent college days in the cold and the rain on the Stretford End watching "The Crab" spray his ultimately useless passes all over the Old Trafford pitch. Simply the most overrated player ever to come out of English football and he is surpassing himself in the commentary booth in similar fashion.

A good way I have found to judge a color analyst is to determine whether "you learnt anything today". Quite categorically, with Wilkins on duty, the answer to that question is NO.

http://www.soccerlimeyinamerica.com/?p=3337

Related articles

Graeme Souness – Football: my life, my passion
by Graeme SounessHeadline, £9.99Reviewed by Peter BrooksbankFrom WSC 378, September 2018Buy the book To football supporters of a certain...
Great football sitcoms are in short supply because fans’ teams are tragic enough
. There are plenty of good comedy writers who love football but almost all shows on the subject come up short, which is no surprise...
Chris Sutton and Ian Darke discuss caramel during Everton v Lyon
Chris Sutton and Ian Darke, here, going all Samuel Beckett on us. Possibly the bleakest 15 seconds of commentary ever pic.twitter.com/TpsK7UhQqj &...