World Football Pundits Who Are Notoriously Wrong
Being a football pundit is an extremely difficult gig.
No matter how good they are, people will always disagree with their opinions, and if they make a mistake or show an unusual tic—which is easily done in a high-pressure, live broadcast situation—they are slaughtered by the general public.
If you make a list of all the good pundits and another of all the bad pundits, the latter will almost certainly be longer. In the modern age of instant feedback through social media, the scrutiny on a former pro in the studio can be higher than anything they ever did on the pitch.
Sadly, not everyone can be Gary Neville under the lights. With this in mind, here are the pundits who seem to attract the most attention for getting it wrong.
Michael Owen had a regular spot on the Match of the Day sofa during the final part of his career, with his monotone drawl and vanilla opinions helping viewers ease into sleep on Sunday evenings.
This season, with his boots firmly hung up, he has become BT Sport's "lead co-commentator"—which sounds a little like David Brent's "assistant to the regional manager."
Owen seems like a nice guy, but that voice does not lend itself to the passion and excitement of the beautiful game.
Also, he's wrong about lots of things. Even the best analysts make assertions that turn out to be inaccurate, but his recent article in the Telegraph stating that Arsenal do not look like a top-four side seemed a little thin on the ground.
To his credit, Alan Shearer's analytical skills have improved over the past few years, but they can still come across as exceptionally shallow.
When talking us through a goal on a replay, his comments frequently don't go any more in-depth than "the ball has come in from the right, he's risen up and headed it into the back of the net."
He essentially describes the things that are quite easy to see, offering little of the insight he might have gained from a tremendously successful career on the pitch (and a very short-lived and ill-fated one as a manager).
BBC veteran Mark Lawrenson has had a reduced role on Match of the Day this season, with the broadcaster looking to breathe life into a format that has become a little stale and complacent.
Lawro does offer some valid opinions, but far too often his analysis is drowned in unnecessary sarcasm and a lack of focus.
His predictions are also mildly entertaining.
Roberto Martinez is among those who feel Mark Lawrenson does not know what he is talking about.
Strictly speaking, Adrian Chiles is a host and not a pundit, but his "jokes" and opinions have made him a very divisive presence on BBC and ITV football coverage over the years.
The Brummie presenter received plenty of criticism during coverage of the 2012 UEFA Super Cup, when he referred to 26-year-old proven goalscorer Radamel Falcao as a great "prospect." He also made a politically incorrect gaffe during coverage of England's World Cup qualifier against Poland, referring to fans of the opposition as "builders."
Just this week, Chiles baffled viewers by calling David Moyes "Sir Alex" during ITV's Champions League broadcast.
Garth Crooks is another BBC personality who seems like a thoroughly nice guy, but he often gets things wrong and makes some bizarre comments. His "4-2-1-3-1" formation study during the Olympics and his references to cobras are good examples of each.
I was speaking to my uncle Ben on Saturday and said that Aaron Ramsey was almost certain to be the unanimous choice for footballer of the year. He took the glass of champagne out of my hand and said: 'You mean Wayne Rooney, don't you?' I told him that he had made a very good point and promptly went home.
Some dislike Redknapp for his questionable command of the English language ("that player is literally on fire!") and his predilection for tight shiny suits, but it is his over reliance on cliches and a tendency not to criticise his friends and former teammates that calls his abilities into question.
The Guardian's Michael Cox, for example, cites an instance during Euro 2004 when he refused to acknowledge the errors of former teammates David James and Steven Gerrard during England's defeat to France.
Redknapp is a very affable chap, but it is sometimes hard to look good when surrounded by older and more experienced pundits—not to mention Gary Neville, who has taken to punditry extremely well.
Those outside North America may not be aware, but Piers Morgan is an occasional Fox Soccer pundit.
Any time Arsenal played last season, the former tabloid editor seemed to turn up, rant about how Arsene Wenger should lose his job, show little appreciation for the nuances of the action and then Tweet the points he was going to make in the next segment during the commercial break.
The hyperbolic journalist certainly has his detractors, and has even admitted that his opinions can be "over-emotional, angry, reactive and inconsistent."
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