Relationship is based on resentment and mistrust

All he wanted was his baked potato filled with beans and cheese...

STEVE CANAVAN: Pronged attack could have left me a goner  

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Television and professional football have an odd relationship. Both parties benefit, yet it is based almost entirely on mutual resentment and mistrust.

The inter-dependence is so strong it resembles that which existed between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at the Yalta conference in 1945.

These World War Two allies of convenience had gathered in the Crimea ostensibly to discuss Europe’s post-war reorganisation.

In reality they were there to shaft each other unashamedly and ensure their respective nations gained most from the carnage which had gone before.

At the moment football in general – and the top clubs in particular – have become accustomed to the obscene amounts of money pumped into the sport by Sky.

But the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs will drop Murdoch and his millions without a moment’s hesitation when they eventually come up with a foolproof method of cutting out the middle-man and selling their matches direct to the fans.

In the meantime the present, uneasy relationship will continue to bump along; an uncomfortable mix of faux bonhomie and festering suspicion.

It was exemplified this week when Sir Alex Ferguson graciously decided to talk to the BBC again after a seven-year silence which went unnoticed by most and was greatly approved of by the rest of us.

He presented himself at 45 degrees to the camera, as if he had just been interrupted on a dash to the lavatory and wanted to resume his journey as quickly as possible.

At least the old grouch has a reasonable command of English, which is more than can be said of some of the former players who think punditry is easy and then proceed to prove how difficult it really is.

The latest to commit grievous bodily harm on the mother tongue was Tony Cascarino, who proved as clumsy with a microphone as he was with a ball.

He said of one Arsenal defender who was undergoing a particularly torrid time: ‘He’s having a holocaust...’

Like many former professional footballers, Cascarino is insensitive, inarticulate and ill-equipped to talk for a living.