Date: 9th March 2009 at 11:49am
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There was no live football for Wanderers fans over the weekend due to Gary Megson`s lack of prowess in domestic cup competitions. So far, under the Ginger One, Bolton have played four and lost four on that front. So unless you availed yourself of the special offer at Chorley FC (£3.50 entrance fee for season ticket holders) then it was time for a stint in front of the TV for the FA cup sixth round. Unfortunately coverage was provided by ITV, a channel who are to football what Marcel Marceau is to rock music.

The sycophancy started as Manchester United breezed past Fulham. It was a competent performance by the Reds, but aided by generous defending from the home side. After Carlos Tevez had put his side ahead, with a scruffy goal from a set piece, he added to the lead with a superlative strike from the edge of the penalty area, but only after being given the freedom of Craven Cottage. If the defenders had backed off anymore, they`d have been in with the crowd.

Goal three came after a catastrophic pass out of defence by Brede Hangeland and the fourth came in similar fashion after Zoltan Gera had played in Ji-Sung Park. Yet all were presented as examples of United`s brilliance. Cut to shots of the clubs younger players interspersed with one of 67 year-old Ales Ferguson, jogging across the turf, as if he`d discovered the elixir of life. Football followers up and down the land who don`t have an allegiance to the Old Trafford outfit, went in search of a sick bucket.

Not to be outdone, the highlights programme late on Sunday night, featured yet more vomit-inducing drivel as Arsenal saw off the challenge of Burnley. ‘Gorgeous, Gorgeous, Gorgeous,` trilled the commentator as Carlos Vela chipped in the Gunners opener. It was a cute enough finish, but did it really warrant the man with the microphone lapsing into the vernacular of a pre-pubescent girl?

More of the same followed. Wasn`t Arsenal`s football so beautiful that it made you want to weep with joy? That they were playing a side from the Championship who aren`t even in the play off places didn`t seem to matter.

It all seems a long time ago that Brian Moore, the best ever commentator, presided over ITV football. Then, it felt like watching the game with a knowledgeable friend. His successors are lazy, hysterical, ignorant and cliche-ridden. Oh, for an option to watch the game without commentary, that doesn`t involve turning the volume control off.

There is a positive though, as Sammy Lee might say. The BBC have managed to hold onto Match of the Day. Lineker and Co may have their faults, and emphasis is still skewed towards the top clubs, but their offering is far ahead of that lot on the other side. Long may it continue.

 

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