The Bluffers Guide to Punditry

Yesterday, we brought you a guide to the pundits who will be bringing you the sort of insight only years of playing at the top level supposedly gives you. Of course, being an ex-footballer, a hard week's work would consist of about eight hours of playing a sport you love and getting paid fortunes to do it. As a pundit you will be paid less than you were as a player, so to do more work seems the mark of insanity. Scaling down the pay/work ratio means that our newly appointed pundits will only work in the time they are on the screen. But will this lack of preparation be shown up live in front of the nation? Not if our army of readers includes, as it surely does, luminaries from the professional game.

You pundits should worry no more as, on the eve of the season, The Angle... brings you The Bluffers Guide to Punditry...

The Angle... appreciates that it’s a difficult time to come into punditry. When the Premier League was in its infancy and Richard Keys still wore a Sky Sports corporate blazer, the last truly successful foreign players were widely regarded as the Dutch pair Muhren and Thijssen who played for Ipswich back in the 70s. However, the influx of foreign players meant that no longer would the names be restricted to Smith, Adams and Jones. New, exotic and difficult to pronounce ("rather you than me, John, he he he") names would become widespread.

Things have become even worse with the expansion of European football and the seemingly endless proliferation of Eastern European states. Now, with the UEFA Cup extended to incorporate nearly 5,000 teams, it becomes even more difficult to keep the fact you know little more than Joe Public. First of all, don’t panic - Crvena Zvezda is actually Red Star Belgrade and you certainly have heard of them!

Rule 1: All information is good information. If you do know something about someone featuring in the game, don’t be afraid to blurt it out, even if my nan knows that same bit of information. Which football fan committed enough to watch Copa America games in the middle of the night would not know Julio Baptista spent last season on loan at Arsenal? None, yet this factoid was trotted out continuously in every one of Brazil’s games.

Rule 2: If an obscure team has a player who has been linked, no matter how tenuously, with a move to England, single him out as the danger man. Even if it is the goalkeeper.

Rule 3: If the game is an international, one of the players will surely be familiar to you. Again, pick him out as the main source of danger. This is especially helpful if Brazil have picked a side of largely home-based players but have included a Real Madrid player, isn’t it Trevor Francis? Don’t think we didn’t notice you pick out Robinho out as the man to watch in the Copa America final!

Rule 4: Predictions for the game are largely unaccountable, but to show you know what you’re talking about, make them as non-specific and uncontestable as possible. A good phrase is “I think we can expect a tight opening twenty minutes, before the game opens up in the second half as the players tire” (ie basically the model of nearly every football match ever played).

Finally, Rule 5: If an English team is playing a team you’ve never heard of, the match will automatically set to a minimum difficulty of “tricky”. Never mind that you are unable to name a single player, their manager, or any of their results in the last six months, this simple formula will suffice. We saw this in action last season as Tottenham’s game against Eintracht Frankfurt was labelled “tough” purely on the basis that the German side had played Real Madrid in the final of the European Cup 47 years ago.

Follow these simple rules and the rest of the season will be a doddle. Good luck, pundits!



Anonymous said...

fantastic...i swear you could publish some of these!

FootballClichés said...

That's the ultimate plan, Charlie. We hope to have enough material by the end of this season!

Please feel free to point anyone towards our site that you think might be interested in rising up against the football cliche!