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Anorak | Sky’s The Limit

Sky’s The Limit

by | 30th, August 2005

‘CONGRATULATIONS to Sky Sports News on its commentary of Arsenal’s home game against Fulham.

McCaffrey is super slow motion

We’ve received a barrage of letters on the subject of why it now takes two presenters to introduce a TV show. Haven’t we? Indeed we have.

And in last week’s reporting of the match from Highbury this process reached a dizzying new level of repetition when the main presenter was joined by not one but two co-presenters.

Sky’s Rob McCaffrey, a man who has been known to appear before the magic eye dressed in a pair of sleeve braces, thus giving him the appearance of a hard boiled hack who learnt journalism from watching episodes of Lou Grant and buys his kit at Journos R Us, was joined by former professional footballers Frank McLintock and Tony Cottee.

McLintock was there as the Arsenal expert. The Scotsman captained the London side during its first glorious Double year in 1971. Cottee was there because he can speak English as well as the next retired footballer.

What’s more, Cottee parts his hair on the left, which in the spirit of fair play and balance acted as a counterpoint to McLintock’s right-sided parting.

The next hour and a half, with extra time for adverts and injuries, allowed viewers the chance to hear in turn from all three men.

The routine moments were heralded by McLintock, who would periodically announce his presence with an “OOOHH!!!”. To those of you who have never seen Sky Sports, this sound is the channel’s catchphrase, its gift to sports broadcasting. It succinctly captures the mood of the spectator in the stands and relays it live and unedited to the armchair fan who a) couldn’t get to the game and b) likes to watch radio commentaries delivered in triplicate.

The cry of anguish necessitates that McCaffrey stops what he’s doing (waiting for the “OOOHHH!”) and goes in a flash to the crier. It’s great telly, although it could be made better if the pundit could raise his hands to his head or bury his face in them.

McLintock then told us what occurred, all the while not daring to take his eyes from his TV (known in Skyese as a “monitor”), lest he miss a goal and another chance to say “OOOHHH!!!”.

And then Cottee, watching the game on his own monitor, positioned to the left of McLintock’s, so affording him a different angle on the match, told us what McLintock said, only in a London accent.

And it got even better whenever McLinotck had an actual goal to tell us about – which also meant that by the time we’d heard from both pundits and McCaffrey, Sky had produced three goals for the price of one. All things considered, such a development is sure to make the sport more interesting to the casual viewer, goldfish and Manchester United’s new American owners.

At the final whistle, both sides celebrated a fine performance, even if McLintock’s Arsenal had won 4-1 (or 12-3), and referee McCaffrey could look back on a clean game played out in fine spirit with no rows, swearing or handbags.

While viewers were left to wonder where things go from here. Perhaps eleven pundits on each side replicating the game proper? And if they can all talk at the same time, we will edge closer to what it’s like to be there at an actual match.

It will be like football…only better…’



Posted: 30th, August 2005 | In: Celebrities Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink