If you’d made a list of phrases you didn’t think you’d hear during Euro 2012 which two would have been top of the list?
I’d wager No1 would have been ‘And that was a superb save from Chalkias.’ But BBC commentator Simon Brotherton chalked that one off during the Poland v Greece game.
Second? It has to be ‘ITV’s coverage is pretty good so far...’ And there – I’ve just said that one. And I meant it.
Incredible, isn’t it? Today, I’m praising ITV’s attempts at covering football; tomorrow, the Devil is due to report sub-zero temperatures in his neck of the woods.
I love their opening titles – although you know what my Twitter chum Oscar Tollast means when he calls it an ‘ode to Lurpak’.
I love their location: note that a channel you don’t pay for (directly) can set up in Warsaw, and one you do pay for (directly) hasn’t got the cash to get Gary & Co abroad.
I also like ITV’s laid-back approach. Their presenters and pundits have more to say, are better at saying it and the assortment of characters they’ve employed shows more imagination – witness Roberto Martinez.
And they’re even happy to have a fans’ brass band playing outside.
The only problem for ITV comes when the games start and, more often than not, you have to suffer Tyldo and Townso. Still, the world’s never been perfect has it?
Compare this to the tired old Beeb coverage. It’s just boring, boring, boring.
Lineker is all scripted wordplays and sickly smarm, Mark Lawrenson’s contribution as a co-commentator is laughable (but not funny) and even the likes of Hansen, Harry and Seedorf seem to have little enthusiasm for it.
I usually like Harry as a pundit, but he seems disinterested this time, perhaps because he was overlooked for the England job.
During the first half of Denmark v Holland, I actually, literally fell asleep. A friend suggested this may have been because Jonathan Pearce’s commentary was more like a history lesson.
The best BBC offering so far has been Colin Murray’s late-night highlights show.
Unlike the main Match of the Day shows, it’s presented with humour and a bit of innovation. Friday night’s panel of Robbie Savage and David James was great.
Going back to Lawro, something I hope not to have to do too often, he’s not the only right-hand man who offers nothing to the commentaries. Surely the co-commo role should be to add something to what we’re seeing – a dissection of tactics and players. But too many just repeat what the commentator’s just told us.
Saturday’s action was pottering along but almost got interesting just before half-time in the Germany-Portugal game when the tannoy man warned the crowd the game would be abandoned if the German fans kept on throwing ‘soft missiles’ on the pitch.
That’s more like it – abandonments and missiles: how to double viewing figures in one swoop. Sadly, the threat wasn’t carried out and the ‘missiles’ were just screwed-up bits of paper, presumably old copies of Lineker’s scripts.
Never mind, we live in hope that something noteworthy will disrupt the football at some point, perhaps even tonight when France face Liverpool reserves. And there’s worrying news ahead of that game. Spain’s decision to start v Italy without a recognised striker has given Roy Hodgson the idea of playing just Andy Carroll up front...
Any thoughts? Email email@example.com or tweet me - @stevebone1
Read Bone on the Box first in The News throughout Euro 2012.