5. Jamie Redknapp – ‘Arry’s lad is literally one of the worst pundits on TV at the moment. And when I say literally, I mean it literally, and not in the way our Jammers frequently uses it. When he’s not busy talking over better and more experienced pundits or inexplicably touching Ruud Gullit on the shoulder, he’s distracting us with his fantastic collection of skinny ties and tight shiny suits. Incredibly tight suits in fact which unfortunately never compliment the way footballers usually sit on those incredibly uncomfortable looking studio chairs. Quite why anyone has to wear a suit to comment on football I’ve never been quite sure of to begin with but in Jamie’s case specifically I think he should be given special dispensation to wear some loose fitting baggy tracksuit bottoms because since he’s already talking balls, we don’t really need to bring anymore into the equation. When both he and Graeme Souness are in attendance there’s a tendency for the studio analysis to turn into a terrifying interpretation of the Battle of the Bulge. Quite literally.
4. Andy Townsend – So banal was Townsend’s punditry that iTV decided they wouldn’t even allow him into the studio for a few years and as such, he and Robbie Earl were subjected to the grueling task of giving unexceptional pre-match and half time analysis whist standing behind a cheap portable wooden desk positioned in the corner of the pitch, whilst the fans behind shouted, mocked and occasionally threw stuff at them as they did so. Though certainly not in the same realm of dullness as sometime iTV commentator David Pleat, who could send an insomniac to sleep whilst describing a breathtaking counter attack, Townsend, now allowed back in the studio, generally gives the impression that he honestly has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about and has scribbled it all down on a napkin just before the break but can’t quite remember it.
3. Eamon Dunphy – Quite possibly the brashest man to ever hold the position of pundit, Dunphy can at times be incredibly entertaining. Forceful in his views, and often raising his voice to the level of “very shouty” on RTE’s Premier League and Champions League coverage, Dunphy has occasionally been prone into hilarious 180 about turns in opinion. At one time an almost fearsome detractor of Cristiano Ronaldo and supporter of Roy Keane, describing the former as a “poof ball” and “the most wicked thing in the game” and the latter as a man of unquestionable honor and integrity, he now views Ronaldo as “something special” and Keane, whom he assisted in the writing of the players autobiography, as a “bullshitter”. To watch some of Dunphy’s impassioned rants is often like watching a man arguing for the death sentence.
2. Alan Green – Though not strictly a pundit, more a commentator come pundit come radio evangelist, Green makes the list purely because of his ridiculously totalitarian Five Live program and inflated ego. The self appointed voice of the England fans, despite being Irish, he hates David Beckham with a passion, no matter how he plays, will steadfastly refuse to tolerate any opinions that conflict his own and has even managed to infuriate most Liverpool fans despite being a quite clearly biased supported of the club himself. He spends huge sways of matches ranting about officials, the people around him or other things he thinks people are interested in his opinion on instead of describing what’s actually happening in the match itself before pompously giving his Jerry Springer like conclusive ‘Final Thought’ on every call made to his show after the person’s been cut off. Always at pains to point out how much of a real fan he is despite being paid a large sum of money to rant bizarrely during what’s supposed to be match commentary.
1. Big Ron Atkinson – Before his downfall Big Ron was, ironically, one the most colourful pundits on television. His colourful personality, colourful language and even more colourful face, made him an always entertaining fixture on iTV’s Champions League coverage. However Atkinson has to top the list in light of his downfall and staggering unprofessionalism. Even before he made the gaff of all gaffs by uttering a ridiculously over the top racial slur whilst unaware that his mic was still on, it was fairly clear Ron wasn’t the most PC of people. Constantly confusing Dwight Yorke with Andy Cole during Manchester United matches, despite their difference in physique, movement, shirt numbers and the fact he’d managed Yorke for 4 years, should have been an early clue. Ronglish, his unique personal football language which included gems such as “lollipop”, “gamblers run” and, perplexingly “Little eyebrows” (a glancing header apparently), became his trademark, even creating his own spin off version, Fronglish, on a foreign exchange reality show by merging and mangling both English and French into his own personal understanding of them. Certainly a one off, we’ll probably never see the likes of Big Ron again. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I’m not quite sure.