Outside the Box – Football on TV: Dancing, glitterballs and very camp; and that’s just Clem at Football Focus
After the unwelcome interruption of the international break and all of the disappointing baggage it brings for England supporters, this weekend saw the glittering return of our domestic footballers into the spotlight. Over at Football Focus, the boys were practically giddy at the prospect of the weekend’s action. Lawro, sporting a trendy Morrissey-like quiff, was in his usual crafty-schoolboy mood and making quips about Grant Holt and Steve Kean. He actually risked the wrath of Kean’s Blackburn paymasters Venky’s though, when he completely rubbished their entire business plan. Raul? Forget it. The sacking of Sam Allardyce? Absolutely ridiculous. A fresh whole chicken for £9.95? You must be joking lads.
Still Lawro’s short-term ire may have surfaced after he watched Mark ‘Clem’ Clement’s roving report on the Notts County v Juventus friendly. That’s right, Clem was on the continent this week, blindly irritating hoards of foreigners as he followed the Magpies over to Turin for the grand opening of Juventus’ new stadium. Even Clem though couldn’t dilute the wonderful story that was at the heart of the match. The gesture by Juventus of passing over the chance to invite Europe’s elite in favour of the lowly League One club stretches back over a hundred years when County came to the European giants’ rescue and lent them a set of shirts. Clem though was happy enough barging his way around East Midlands airport generally getting on everybody’s nerves and ruining the day of many a holidaymaker.
Of course, the real reason for such excitement around the football department of the BBC was what was in store later on Saturday evening. The hallowed, classic weekend viewing was where the real action was and every football fan was eagerly awaiting its return. Yes, I’m sure you too tuned into Strictly Come Dancing as there was a certain contestant that every football-enthusiast is familiar with and who has always provoked a certain degree of controversy. Yep, Nancy Dell’olio’s taking part this year. Oh, and so is Robbie Savage obviously. This of course is perfect for every man up and down the country, we no longer have to pretend we don’t watch it, we have a legitimate reason to be tuning in. “I’ve got to watch it love, the footballer is on and he’s probably going to make a prat of himself”. Brucie certainly wouldn’t let us forget about Robbie’s footballing past as he was described as the “bad boy of football” and asking whether Savage had a “left foot at Derby?” I’m not sure he had any functioning body parts at Derby did he?
Savage himself has definitely updated his image in the short time that he’s been out of football. Those of us who remember his gruff, confrontational style at Leicester, Blackburn and Birmingham would possibly (but not entirely) be surprised to hear him admit that his hair and teeth are “the most important thing in my life”. A little harsh on his wife and two sons I thought. But then it is Robbie Savage isn’t it?
Speaking of Welshmen that are prone to saying daft things, Dean Saunders was an entertaining turn on Sky’s chilled-out Goals on Sunday. His chirpy, happy-go-lucky demeanour was perfect for the weekly Sunday get-together with Chris ‘Kammy’ Kamara and that bloke from GMTV; the hybrid of footy highlights and informal chat show is a good watch and a perfect tonic to its analysis-heavy competitors at the BBC. Saunders did darken the mood ever so slightly however at one point, when he related a story from his time playing in Turkey for Galatasaray when a couple of fans committed suicide after a string of poor results. Quite why Saunders deemed this necessary information for a Sunday morning chat is unclear, but it certainly fazed the usually cool Kammy who just wanted to talk about how barmy Graeme Souness was. Still, Kammy needn’t worry about the tone of his show getting more depressing; remember, Sunday morning follows Saturday night and the coming weeks with a certain fake tan-laden blonde could prove to be a far-more horrific experience for football fans.