Thanks to the broadcasters, a legion of ex-footballer pundits are actually paid real money to torture the minds of unfortunate viewers. As the new season approaches, remind yourself of their respective talents, and be afraid. This is England’s very own Magnificent Seven.
Profile: scar-faced misery addict. Penchant for satin shirts popularised in 1980’s wine bars.
Likely to say: “right now, these spirits are all available with 50% off at Morrisons…” oh, his other gig? How about, “pace, power… pace, power… defenders hate pace, he’s got in in abundance.”
Insight: proposes a unique theory that suggests defenders hate playing against pace. In Hansen’s mind this discovery is more significant than any bullshit that Einstein came up with.
Profile: the worst kind of pub humour; prone to dreadful puns and astonishing displays of arrogance.
Likely to say: “tell you what, good substitution, eh?” then sprawl out on the MOTD sofa looking incredibly pleased with himself, as if he’s just lifted the collective scales from the nation’s eyes. That’s not analysis, Mark, that’s the man in the pub who tries to start a conversation with me when I’m watching a game. The man I want to ignore, but make the mistake of acknowledging thus inviting a stream of infuriatingly banal observations. The thing is, Lawrenson isn’t stupid; he can do so much better. He’s just not trying, at all.
Insight: belittled Lee Dixon for daring to know who Tomas Hamsik was. This was during a world cup.
Profile: sartorial guru for a new generation of estate agents; expert spotter of ‘top top’ players, and masterful use of metaphorical language.
Likely to say: “he’s literally on fire.”
Insight: plenty, just check out this extract from his fledgling career as a journalist, interviewing cousin Frank for his own (now defunct) magazine, “As I sat by the window in Scalini, our family’s favourite restaurant, Frank strolled in looking every inch the footballing icon he is…As Frank tucks into his favourite grilled chicken and penne arrabiata, I’m eager to delve deeper into his career…It hasn’t always been plain sailing for Frank and he has shown real guts and determination to get where he is today.”
Each sentence leaves you literally begging for more.
Profile: successful national team striker turned failed manager turned universally derided pundit. It’s been an unfortunate trajectory of late.
Likely to say: on camera, “no one knows much about him”, off camera, “Well, what do you know about him… yeah, well, how should I know he played for France. I’m not paid to sit around watching France. Oh, fuck off.”
Insight: aside from his managerial record, and comments about French internationals, I think this piece by Twisted Blood is as good appraisal of Shearer’s mind as you will find.
Profile: fuck knows. Seriously, do they even bother screen testing anymore?
Likely to say: [after prolonged silence watching a replay of someone taking a shot] “that’s a good hit, that.”
Insight: see ‘likely to say’.
Profile: least insightful comments ever heard on TV or radio.
Likely to say: “what’s he’s done there, he’s got the ball, he’s kicked it, he’s scored a goal.”
Insight: thinks Alan Shearer should manage the GB Olympic team, which he . This man is paid to talk about football.
Profile: England’s biggest flag follower, representing the views of the common man; paid to spout hyperbole in The Sun.
Likely to write: “the boys can do it!” and “sort it out!”
Yeah, but what would he say? Sadly, he’s not on TV anymore, but if he was, he might blub something like: “I don’t know what it is about little people like that, I just love ‘em, man.” Confused by the reference to ‘little people’? Oh, you’d forgotten about that?
Insight: last summer suggested “Jermain Defoe is as good as David Villa, and he’s getting better.” Of course he is, Ian, of course he is [makes crazy person gesture and slowly moves away].