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Pundits like Andy Gray? Why the players couldn't care less.

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That many football pundits don't even try to scratch beneath the surface, despite knowing what it takes to win a match at this level, is deeply annoying.


Anyone can navigate a giant iPad, sliding faces of famous players around with their pinkie while throwing out rubbish phrases.

What if Sky Sports offered me Andy Gray's job? Not a chance. Let me tell you something, football pundits are universally despised by players and not just because at some point in the past they would have been on the receiving end of criticism themselves.


It doesn't matter what you've done in the game, where you've played, what you might have won or how much money you earned – pundits are held in the same regard by players as female assistant referees once were at Sky.


And while on that subject, prepare to be disappointed. While I found the whole episode with Gray and Richard Keys at Molineux cringeworthy, inside the world of football nobody is particularly bothered. Don't interpret that as evidence that players are condoning Gray and Keys for their behaviour. It's more a case that most of my team-mates would have no interest in listening to anything pundits say in the first place.


There's no obvious reason why those sat on the sofa are thought of in such low terms, but it may have something to do with a sense that they are going against the inner sanctum that we pretend we are a part of. Perhaps, subconsciously, it tugs at those still playing, who realise the ex-players know things about them that they probably wish they didn't.


Their new position of influence over millions of people is a little uncomfortable for some, I'm sure, and their failure to go the extra mile when analysing matches can also grate.
Switch to our world and the level of detail that goes into games still, to this day, amazes me. Every player has his own script, what to do, when to do it, information on the player he's up against, including weight, height, age, strengths, weaknesses, even what that opponent is likely to do when the ball comes to him in certain situations. We memorise every single set piece, where we have to stand, run and end up. We even memorise this for the other players so we know where everyone else will be at any given time.


You know that pass when you say to yourself: "How did he spot that?" Often he didn't need to; he knew the player would be there because, the night before in the hotel, he read about the runs he would be making.


It's exactly the same pass after which sometimes you might find yourself saying: "Who was that to?" The receiving player either forgot to be there or was taken out of the game by a tactical manoeuvre by his opposite number.


Football at this level is very chess-like, maybe not to those outside of football but certainly to those inside. I sometimes wonder whether it's more enjoyable playing lower down the leagues. After all, who wants to play chess?


With top-level football being so complex, it is very difficult to deconstruct a live game within a couple of minutes of it being over, and because of this the "analysis" is usually reduced to goals and individual performance. But the fact that many pundits don't even try to scratch beneath the surface, despite knowing what it takes to win a match at this level, annoys me. It's the trivialisation of what we do by people that we used to call our own and, more importantly, deprives the viewer of some very interesting ***-bits that would, I feel, add to the entertainment.


Anyone can navigate a giant iPad, sliding faces of famous players around with their pinkie while throwing out phrases like "Third man run" and other such rubbish. What particularly riles me is when you hear a pundit or co-commentator say something like, "I can't understand, Martin, why Drogba is not on the post here. That header would have fallen to him and if I'm Petr Cech I'm saying: 'Go on son, clear that off the line for me!'"


The fact is corners are routinely cleared by a man stationed on the six-yard line, exactly where Chelsea position Didier Drogba. If somebody scores inside that post it is for no other reason than a player having lost his man. That is the mistake. If there is a player on the post he will clear one, possibly two shots off the line a season. If that same player stands on the six-yard line he will probably clear 100 corners away over the course of the season.


The worst thing, though, is when this dross gets into popular culture and my friends start saying stupid things to me like, "We should have a man on the post, our manager doesn't know what he's doing", just because it sounds like the right thing to say. It's such an easy way of analysing that it infuriates me. It's lazy and it takes you, the viewer, for a fool. But, then again, Sky is an expert in creating a villain.


By the Secret Footballer for the Guardian


http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/jan/29/secret-footballer-andy-gray-pundits
 
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Fantastic. Exactly why i hate 90% of pundits and commentators, stop telling me **** i know, carefully explain what i dont know, hate everything about sky showing football
 
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Fantastic. Exacltly why i hate 90% of pundits and commentators, stop telling me **** i know, carefully explain what i dont know, hate everything about sky showing football
Precisely why I put this article up, I thought it was superb. I still don't understand why people were lamenting the absence of Andy Grey: a mediocre pundit, and one whose job (pulling people around on a big screen, telling people that left footed people on the right would cut inside, informing us that Alex Song is a defensive midfielder and would therefore stay deeper than the other midfielders) could be done by most of the people on this site, let alone the wider viewership.

Joss said:
This is last week's! A good read, though... This week's is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2...-players-wages
This one caught my eye in particular. Useless pundits are something I like to riff on occasionally.
 
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I only really like John Motson, does Jeff Stelling and Chris Kamara count? :p
 
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Precisely why I put this article up, I thought it was superb. I still don't understand why people were lamenting the absence of Andy Grey: a mediocre pundit, and one whose job (pulling people around on a big screen, telling people that left footed people on the right would cut inside, informing us that Alex Song is a defensive midfielder and would therefore stay deeper than the other midfielders) could be done by most of the people on this site, let alone the wider viewership.



This one caught my eye in particular. Useless pundits are something I like to riff on occasionally.
using some hyped up machine on monday nights and shouting "take a bew" doesnt mean you're good pundit
 
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Agree with all of this. I always thought Gray was a tool, as are most of them. We could probably give a better insight into a match.
 
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Andy Gray was good and drew so much attention from the viewers. As a pundit, he is average, why only him almost all the pundits are very poor.

Article explains everything and let me tell you, people who regularly watches these **** pundits are the ones who are knee jerks, who comes up with, "We should buy him", "Manager has lost it". "We should have played 5 in the middle", "He should have started instead of him".

God it is so annoying. And you are so blessed, i had to tune at exact time to watch Champions league, La Liga and Serie A matches as i have to avoid Charlton Palmer. God he is so ****, makes Andy Gray looks like Messi among Pundits.
 
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Agree with all of this. I always thought Gray was a tool, as are most of them. We could probably give a better insight into a match.

tbh with u, they have very little time to give an analysis, I am pretty sure if they had time they can give great breakdowns of games but they have to decide on the spot so I'd think its best if Sky did away with his punditry nonsense
 
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good read!

but is anyone else not convinced this is written by a Footballer?
 
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I'd be really interested to see how the likes of Hansen or Lawrenson or Andy Gray would do in football management themselves. It is easy to sit there and talk about what went wrong/right and stuff but would they be able to be up to the test themselves? I'd like to see it happen.
 
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using some hyped up machine on monday nights and shouting "take a bew" doesnt mean you're good pundit
Oh yes it does... :p

It's true though that the pundits have an easy job and what not but Gray was kinda entertaining for me.
 
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read this before, is somewhat silly since regardless of planning individuals chioces and errors effect games massivly.
also Andy Gray was offered management jobs in the 90s but turned them down, probably because sky was much more stable employment.
My main issue is that Andy Gray DOES know what he's talking about, obviously he chats ***** sometimes but everyone does, for the most part he was fairly insightful
whereas a lot of players don't know much about football, they don't have to nor do all of them love football to the same degree as say Jamie Carragher

but he will probably become a pundit and when everyone has forgotten his achievements as a player they will say the same thing this guy, and others, have said about the likes of Andy Gray
talk about loyalty in football but it goes both ways, players rarely get remember after their time's up
 
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If it was given the chance to talk about football on television, watch the highest quality games in the premier league and champions league AND get paid for it at the same time, I would bite their hands off. Yes, pundits are overpaid but you cannot tell me Alan Hansen doesnt know what he is talking about? They are just there to point out the basic wrongs and rights of the teams playing and discuss formation, tactics, players etc. and if they entertain us along the way, Brilliant!!
 
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If it was given the chance to talk about football on television, watch the highest quality games in the premier league and champions league AND get paid for it at the same time, I would bite their hands off. Yes, pundits are overpaid but you cannot tell me Alan Hansen doesnt know what he is talking about? They are just there to point out the basic wrongs and rights of the teams playing and discuss formation, tactics, players etc. and if they entertain us along the way, Brilliant!!
Hansen is useless. Remember the phrase "you'll never win anything with kids"? All Hansen ever does is tell us the obvious, ironically exactly what this article is railing against.

Pundits aren't paid to tell us the basic wrongs and rights of the teams playing: we know that. They're there to provide in depth and detailed analysis, tell us things we don't know, something which is sadly lacking today. The reason I enjoy ZonalMarking, for example, is because he is in depth, detailed, unbiased and informs me of things I didn't know.
 
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I hate Andy Gray. He just talks utter rubbish, and Townsend is another one for that. The only ones I like are Stelling, Kammy :)P) and maybe Ruud Gullit... Good read there as well :)
 
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Pundits aren't paid to tell us the basic wrongs and rights of the teams playing: we know that. They're there to provide in depth and detailed analysis, tell us things we don't know, something which is sadly lacking today. The reason I enjoy ZonalMarking, for example, is because he is in depth, detailed, unbiased and informs me of things I didn't know.
It is shame Michael *** will never make it as a TV pundit because he's not played professional football.

Surprising thing about Andy Gray is that he's actually written a book on football tactics yet his insight on matches is pretty poor.
 
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It is shame Michael *** will never make it as a TV pundit because he's not played professional football.

Surprising thing about Andy Gray is that he's actually written a book on football tactics yet his insight on matches is pretty poor.
Makes it even worse. As Sacchi said, "I didn't realise you had to be a horse before you could be a jockey." Same rule applies here. He knows a **** sight more than someone like Jamie Redknapp ever will, but he's not on TV because he hasn't played football. Shame.
 
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Hansen is useless. Remember the phrase "you'll never win anything with kids"? All Hansen ever does is tell us the obvious, ironically exactly what this article is railing against.

Pundits aren't paid to tell us the basic wrongs and rights of the teams playing: we know that. They're there to provide in depth and detailed analysis, tell us things we don't know, something which is sadly lacking today. The reason I enjoy ZonalMarking, for example, is because he is in depth, detailed, unbiased and informs me of things I didn't know.
Sorry but how is Hansen useless? He clearly knows alot about defending and team ethic, winning mentality etc. You seriously suggesting BBC would have kept hinm on all these years and regard him as their top pundit if he was useless?
 
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