It is widely acknowledged that ex-sportsmen find it difficult to adapt to civilian life after retirement. Football is no exception with many opting to do their coaching badges. For those not inclined to stay pitch side there is the ever welcoming sanctuary of the television studio. Much like signing for a new club there is transition period for these former professionals to the world of punditry. However for every Pat Nevin there is a Dean Windass. Below are ten of those whose expert opinions should be kept quiet.
Dixon is relatively new to this game but has graduated from Five Live and Final Score to a regular guest on Match of the Day 2. He enjoys some friendly banter with Lawro on Football Focus but is prone to the odd gaff. For instance he called Germany, West Germany during the World Cup. Perhaps the biggest problem with former Arsenal full back is his excruciatingly dull persona. When giving his reaction on radio to the six goal thriller at Goodison Park last week, he may have well been describing a bore draw at Turf Moor.
The former Liverpool striker can invariably be found on Sky’s Soccer Saturday or in the mid-week version of the popular show. Walsh has affected a rather frosty, aloof style but his major crime to punditry is his lack of pronunciation skills. Sevilla are just plain old Seville and by that logic Thierry Henry becomes good old Terry Henry.
When not posing in woeful Thomas Cook adverts, Redknapp is one of Sky’s leading pundits and providers of match analysis. Alongside heavyweights such as Graeme Souness the feeling was Redknapp was too conciliatory, simply agreeing with his more experienced colleagues. He has been decidedly more forthright recently but many wish he wasn’t given his now infamous tirade against Fernando Torres last Sunday. He accused the striker of having a ‘diabolical game’ and questioned his appetite. Roy Hodgson rebuffed these comments, stating that it was perfunctory to assess the psyche of a player in 90 minutes.
The former Arsenal and Aston Villa man’s favourite phrase is ‘different class.’ For Merson it is a fine line between said definition and being a donkey the next week, as his expert opinion is as changeable as a British summer. Merson is disliked mainly for being incredibly partisan. He recently said that Birmingham were lucky not be at the bottom of the league. Peculiar statements are frequently aired too as he recently said that Mark Schwarzer was no better than Manuel Almunia but Shay Given would win Arsenal the title.
After being axed by Middlesbrough, Southgate decided to make the switch to ITV’s football studios where he regularly sits alongside Andy Townsend and Adrian Chiles. Southgate has picked up on many of Townsend’s traits including the endless clichés and tendency to state the obvious. However he does not have the smooth, talkative style of the former Republic of Ireland midfielder. At times the former manager can seem almost apologetic in his views as he frequently was in his post-match interviews.
At the opposite end of spectrum is the BBC’s Garth Crooks who is a mainstay on their Saturday afternoon results programme. Crooks has clear opinions which is fine and has the ability to wind up his fellow pundits which is also fine. The problem is the aggressiveness and intensity of his tirades. With a characteristic point of the finger and a heightened tone, the impression is that if Crooks cannot have the final say no one can.
Shearer has enjoyed a meteoric rise in punditry, being first choice on MOTD along with the other Alan. He has perfected his chummy repartee with Messrs Lineker and Hansen. However it is the Scot who offers the bulk of the insight and analysis while Shearer agrees with a customary grin. Why the BBC got him to comment on the legacy of Apartheid in South Africa during the World Cup is beyond comprehension.
The former midfield journeyman may be a victim of the Football League Show’s format as there is always a smorgasbord of games to get through. Alongside host Manish Bhasin he can offer little more than the odd football sound bite. With no fellow pundit to bounce off, it is an uphill struggle for Claridge to raise any interesting points or meaningful debates. He is football punditry’s answer to Steve Davis.
Lovejoy is neither a former player nor a regular pundit but has presented football shows in the past, featured on 606 and was a candidate to replace Chiles on MOTD2. The media harlet has put his name to countless books and DVDs which have one thing in common, they are all about Lovejoy. The trendy Lovejoy is besotted with his beloved Chelsea and that is where his football knowledge begins and ends. The magazine, When Saturday Comes had this to say about one of his many books: “Lovejoy on Football is part autobiography, part witless musing, and one more triumph for the crass stupidity rapidly replacing culture in this country.” An expert analysis if ever I saw one.
Ferdinand has crossed the terrestrial divide with the BBC and ITV but has so far failed to offer any meaningful or thought provoking comments. He is chirpy enough but as Spurs’ resident striking coach, he is only useful when explaining Roman Pavlyuchenko’s latest miss.