Mansfield v Middlesbrough: A Case Study of Cliché

Some casual, unstructured observations from today's FA Cup game between Mansfield Town and Middlesbrough, live on the BBC. I'll try and avoid addressing the usual Cup clichés, as that would, in turn, be an act of cliché in itself:

2 mins - Martin Keown, today's co-commentator, contends that the "swirling wind" will be a problem for the Midlesbrough defence. Therefore, watch out for a plucky Mansfield defender getting caught out by the swirling wind at some point.

5 mins - BBC coverage of a lower-league side hosting an FA Cup match is not complete without some young scamps (probably on the Beeb playroll for the afternoon) clambering up a tree outside the ground. This will, whatever its position, be described by the tradition-struck commentator as "the best seat in the house".

7 mins - David Wheater, apparently, has impressed this season. Why? The young, English, homegrown local lad has scored FOUR goals this season, making him the club's joint-top scorer. Oh, right. He can't manage to stop his side conceding to drag them away from the dropzone, but he has scored 4 goals. That's what he's in the side for, obviously.

This is typical. No defending can really catch the eye of any pundits, but a couple of goals will always be conspicuous for a defender. Furthermore, as soon as one media outlet describes him as "having an outstanding season", others will blindly follow.

My advice to any young defender would be to go up for a few corners. Get lucky at some set-pieces, and the media will be all over you.

17 mins - In a massive turn-up for the books, Mansfield's bright start has been followed by a straightforward Middlesbrough goal, caused by the Mansfield defence getting caught out by the swirling wind. The opener is "barely deserved", of course, because Mansfield have had a couple of corners at the other end.

25 mins - Robert Huth is booked for clearing the ball and following through on Michael Boulding's midriff. Cue horrified yelps from the commentators, convinced that a red card should have been issued. You wonder, if a Mansfield player had done the same, if the incident would have been dismissed as "clumsy". But no, Huth's foot "cut Michael Boulding in two".

47 mins - The second half begins with another bright start by Mansfield. A couple of corners brings about an "air of belief" at Field Mill.

60 mins - Mansfield embark on a "magnificent spell" of two corners and zero shots on goal.

73 mins - Martin Keown shares a joke with the commentator about the size of the latter's car. The nation can breathe a sigh of relief as it collectively ticks the box marked "Self-Deprecatory Joke between Commentators".

81 mins - Gareth Southgate demonstrates the modern skill common amongst aspirational, young English managers - standing up from the bench and clapping earnestly towards one or more of his players.

84 mins - A Mansfield defender commits an "understandable" foul, to go with the home side's "unfortunate" individual errors and under-hit set-pieces, which have been "a shame".

86 mins - Mansfield score an own-goal. "Cruel".


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My favourite is rounding - ie he rounded the keeper - genius!