DAVID PYE: Nothing wrong with our commentators talking up British successes

The Bolton News: David Pye David Pye

I WILL never forget the look on the careers advisor’s face at school when I proclaimed my ambition was to be a football commentator.

It may not have been the standard response of wanting to be an accountant, teacher or policeman but that was my dream line of work.

A football addict for as long as I can remember, when the big club’s scouts did not come knocking on my parents’ door for my playing abilities, my thoughts were to do the next best thing and report on the beautiful game.

I had grown up listening to iconic voices like Brian Moore, Gerald Sinstadt and David Coleman and wanted to pick up a microphone just like them.

But I wonder what many of those would be like working in today’s climate.

While they brought flavour to watching sport with memorable soundbites and phrases, there was always that level of neutrality.

When Kenneth Wolstenholme famously pronounced ‘some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over...it is now’, he did so with calmness – not over excitement that England had just won the World Cup.

But most of the great sporting moments described by those greats have been done so with enthusiasm to add extra excitement.

However, it is nowhere near the hype we have today coming to us through our digital radios and LCD televisions.

It has been interesting to read comment pieces in some of the national newspapers about the BBC’s coverage of the current Winter Olympics in Sochi.

There has been criticism of some in the commentary box who have continuously referred to Team GB as ‘we’ when British hopefuls have taken to the snow or ice – the argument being the BBC should, like its news teams, remain impartial.

I do not see a problem with it in sport, after all it is the ‘British’ Broadcasting Corporation talking about athletes from these shores and, in the main, for a British audience.

Going back to those days as a youngster watching what limited football we had live on TV back in the pre-Sky 1980s I used to love clips from World Cups of Brazilian commentators shouting an elongated ‘Goooaaall’ when their nation scored.

The closest we got to anything like that was Barry Davies in the crucial final group game in 1986 between England and Poland and the cry of ‘Linekerrrrrr’ when the striker completed his hat-trick.

I want to hear more of that when our national teams are in action. I want to hear the passion from commentators and modern-day summarisers talking naturally like a fan when success comes our way.

Enough aspects of modern sport have been sanitised; let’s keep the commentary as entertaining and honest as we can.

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