Just as I was reeling from the Thwack! Flap! Bounce, Bounce, Agony of Sunday, Andy Gray’s mindless witterings popped up on my Twitter feed. As is customary, he was presenting the viewer with his usual assortment of tripe, offal, and offcuts. Both Andy and his pal Richard seemed to be using this year’s Merseyside derby to defend Sam Allardyce.
If the Just A Minute teams were given the topic “Utter Nonsense” – they’d have trouble competing with Keys and Grey – who without repetition, hesitation or deviation belched out the purest essence of sh*te about Everton.
Keys kicked things off with this,
“Everton had a really good go there, might have pinched that… But Big Sam took a team to Anfield last year, not as good as that one and got a point.”
Gray: a man who didn’t trust his opinion enough to take over at Everton, but trusts it enough to make money off it as a pundit, opined
“We don’t know where Sam would have evolved to, if he had been allowed to continue…”
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) December 2, 2018
Sam is a plague ship, travelling from club to club, infecting everything he crashes into. His footballing world view is so nihilistic that we may have finished eighth, but it was at a brutal cost. The Faustian pact that got us in the top half was implementing a style of football so barrel-scrapingly dire that we were 20th in the league for shots on target, shots at goal, and chances created. The reason he keeps on getting offered jobs is his supposed guarantee of safety, and his friends in the media who seem all too happy to praise him. Thanks to these pundits, football fans who haven’t witnessed the horror of an Allardyce regime first-hand are left thinking that he’s not that bad, and Everton were pretty spoiled in kicking him out.
It wasn’t just Keys & Gray who had some questionable post derby views though… The Guardian’s award winning flagship football podcast featured Barry Glendenning and Jacqui Oatley this week, and they both managed to make a dog’s dinner of their Jordan Pickford analysis. The two broadcasters used the same weird tactic of faux reluctance – I shouldn’t be saying this, but what the heck, here you go – in spreading some horrid and just plain wrong views.
Glendenning went first:
“No one’s a bigger Jordan Pickford fan than me… I have heard a suggestion that is perhaps unkind and possibly very unfair that the reason he is so mentally resilient is that he’s not the brightest bulb on the tree shall we say.”
Then Oatley, who had some highly original analysis of the 6’1″ goalkeeper:
“It’s not been mentioned yet, but he is only six foot and whilst he is an outstanding goalkeeper…but he can’t help being six foot and at times like that it really doesn’t help his cause… Had he been your regular 6’3″/4/5 goalkeeper it wouldn’t have been an issue.”
For what it’s worth, he’s the same height as Gordon Banks, and an inch taller than Peter Shilton. And goals were the same size in those days. Goals were also the same size last summer, when Jordan did this. Alas, it seems like this tired dogeared line about Pickford’s height will follow him around wherever he goes and whenever he makes a mistake. I wonder, does Atlético Madrid’s goalie Jan Oblak get critiqued for his lack of stature? After all he’s just a mere 3 cm taller than Pickford?
It seems like Everton are an uncomfortable topic for the football cognoscenti. We’ve barged into the top six, and plenty of these pundits clearly don’t know that there’s a league outside the ‘big six”… Hence this week’s wrongheaded, quarterwitted tripe-fest from Keys, Gray, Glendenning, and Oatley. Roll on Newcastle.