Smart
Thu 16 August 2007

A Gray matter

Is it me?

Be honest, because if it is, I'd like to know. I'd appreciate your honesty, dear reader.

It's just that I have watched some of the new Premier League season on Sky Sports and something is already irritating me - and no, it's not the Spurs performances.

Sky co-commentator Andy Gray, he of Everton and Scotland 'fame', just won't shut up.

Now, before you leap in with both feet, legs, arms, torso and kitchen sink, I would like to point out that I am fully aware that he has always been a 'bit of a chatter-box' - to put it politely. But thus far this season his co-commentary seems to have extended into the realms of main commentary, psychic phenomenon, and Uri Gellar-style mind-bending tricks.

The usual quips of "Good hit, son" and "Take a bow, son" are still there for our aural pleasure, but this season he is being particulary adventurous.

He's talking more and sometimes talking over the main commentator (which sounds good in theory, I'll grant you). No longer content with commenting on action replays he seems to have taken it upon himself to oust the commentator and describe the action to us himself.

I'd love Sky to equip the commentary booth with just one microphone. It'd be great to listen to the muffled bashing of the mic during the ensuing 'I had it first' argument.

What's getting to me most, however, are his comments telling the players what to do. Does he really think they they can hear him?

"Pass it now, son…"
"Go wide, son…"
"{insert name of player here} is unmarked, son…".

That's all well and good when you have a great vantage point up in the rafters as he has, but when you are in the heat of the battle with instant decisions to make, it is somewhat different.

Heaven help the player who doesn't make the move as suggested / predicted by 'The Gray One'? My god do we hear about it, and usually for the next minute.

"He chose the wrong option there..." {I wish I could recite the rest of whatever follows, but luckily my brain switches off at that point. Suffice to say it's usually a minute of inane drivel on why Andy is right and everyone else is wrong.}

It's all well and good thinking these things, as I'm sure we all do it. You're at a match, you see something and think "Pass it now!" If it happens, you applaud (yourself?) and if it doesn't, you curse the player. In the main, they are comments that don't leave your head but with Andy Gray it's different. He's like the devil on your shoulder, the voice in your head telling you to do something when all you want to do is scream "SHUT UP!"

Andy Gray is the bloke behind you at the football match, who won't shut up, the one someone ends up asking to "Shut up", who's tries to play the game 'his way or no way', acting like a frustrated father yelling at his son, living his football via his offspring whilst pacing up and down the touchline of a youth football pitch on a Sunday morning.

Or is it me? Be honest…

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