With the start of Euro 2012 less than 24 hours away, it only seems right to evaluate the pundits who will be causing our ears to bleed with nauseatingly awful punditry over the next 3 weeks. Here’s what we’ve got to look forward to.
Gary Lineker: From poachy striker to televisual anchor man, it hasn’t been the happiest of position changes for England’s all time 2nd highest scorer. The sad truth is his autocue delivery still sounds like a tired adult delivering a bedtime story to a 4-year-old, though occasionally he comes across as intelligent and funny when engaging in ad-libbed conversation with his guests. Talks to Shearer too much, needs to stop encouraging him.
FifPro Pundit rating: 4/10
Most likely to advertise: Sunbeds’R’us
Alan Hansen: For almost 20 years, he has been obsessed with distance between centre-backs being the root cause of defensive calamity. He’s probably right. One of his generations finest defenders, clearly harbours excellent tactical nous, and it’s still fun watching him analyzing terrible defending. Suffers from BBC’s dumbed-down approach to football coverage, and from having sat next to Shearer for too many years.
FifPro Pundit rating: 7/10
Most likely to advertise: Defensive tape-measures
Harry Redknapp: Who needs Jamie and his tight trousers when the beeb have conscripted ‘Arry and his, er… face? Somehow overlooked as national team manager despite winning 1 FA cup, 1 Intertoto cup (the trophy real European powerhouses wanted to win – just ask Aston Villa), 1 Associate Members cup, 1 Third division title and 1 Second division title all in just under 30 years! How Europe would have quaked in their Adidas Predators before facing master tactician Redknapp Senior! Spends every other summer driving around Wapping looking for journalists to talk to with his window down. If he decides to join the BBC panel this year, look forward to D-grade punnery and wisecracks, all lapped up and lovingly embraced by his sofa buddies.
FifPro Pundit rating: 3/10
Most likely to advertise: Paul Stretford Agency Services
Jurgen Klinsmann: Germany’s finest, he’s now in charge of the US men’s football team (“Good hustle, ja!”) An unusally erudite and eloquent choice for the BBC, expect the producers to tell him “tone it down” if he starts getting too clever during matches. Watch Shearer pulse with rage as Jurgen’s Teutonic-American accent makes him look more stupid than normal.
FifPro Pundit rating: 9/10
Most likely to advertise: Holiday homes in the Florida Keys.
Alan Shearer: Famously does no research on any countries apart from England before a major tournament, because, well, those rounds of golf aren’t going to play themselves, are they? It’s not like the paying public care about them bloody foreigners anyway! Who’d have thought that Lewandowski fella was any good, playing for a no-mark team like Poland? Oh and while you’re there, what’s a “João Moutinho”? Oh, right.
FifPro Pundit rating: 10/10
Most likely to advertise: Hair implants
Clarence Seedorf: Not a man you’d want to be up against in a bar room brawl, he has literally (Jamie) been playing football forever. Literally. His deep, soothing voice is football’s answer to Michael Holding, and while his English is not quite up to Klinsmann’s, at least you’ll feel better about your dog being run over after listening to him talk.
FifPro Pundit rating: 8/10
Most likely to advertise: Life assurance
Lee Dixon: Easily the most understated of the BBC regulars, you can tell the rest of the “boys” look down on him because he was “only” a full-back for “Arsenal”. Gets credit for chancing his arm at some tactical analysis on MOTD2, though his incredulity at a ball “moving in three directions at once” shows a lack of basic understanding of the laws of motion. His overall former boyband look means he’s unlikely to be a regular at the top table.
FifPro Pundit rating: 7/10
Most likely to advertise: Backstreet Boys Greatest Hits
David James: That rarest of breeds, an intelligent and articulate footballer in an age of almost universal stupidity. He used to talk about “picturing [him]self saving the ball”, which is about as close as he would get when playing for England. Will bring back happy memories of unsighting himself behind his own bloody wall for France’s equaliser and conceding the penalty for their winner against England in Euro 2004. Presumably has a lot of theoretical knowledge about being a goalie, but years of failing the practical examination mean his critique of other keepers should be taken with a pinch of salt.
FifPro Pundit rating: TBA
Most likely to advertise: H&M Clothing
Exiled in Polkraine: Jake Humphrey & Gabby Logan: Jake “The Snake” Humphrey will all be about asking David Coulthard if Arjen Robben activated his DRS when overtaking the defender. Gabby Logan brings a wealth of blonde-haired banality to proceedings. She is about as interesting as a seagull.
MIA: Mark Lawrenson: “It was his right foot… know what I mean?”