Jun 252010

You analyse the fixtures, pick a match you’re desperate to watch, and get into work early to ensure you’re home in time. Minutes before kick off, you grab a beer from the fridge and perch yourself on the sofa, no intention of moving for a couple of hours. On goes the television, and then comes the big moment – is it on BBC, or ITV? Flick on to BBC1 – The Weakest Link. Crap, it’s on ITV.

Cue painful commentary from Clive ‘Pointless reference to the past’ Tyldesley, analysis from Andy Townsend and Robbie Earle (at least, until he was sacked), and general annoyance from Craig Burley. Adverts that take up more of half time than the programme, endless slow motion replays, and a complete lack of intelligence all round. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t even mind Adrian Chiles.

But what really takes the biscuit is ITV Live, supposedly the way to track the games while at work. It seemed such a great idea – streaming the matches online, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, for starters, the ITV stream is usually around three minutes behind, although on one hand I don’t mind that so much – I can hear someone in the office exclaiming at the goal, and then flick up the images and watch it ‘live’. Or at least I would, if the online coverage hadn’t already dropped out.

You see, the stream cuts out approximately every two minutes. Sometimes it comes back thirty seconds later (and now thirty seconds further behind reality than before), and sometimes it just dies entirely. No matter, you might say, just refresh the page, and since the online coverage is a couple of minutes delayed, you’ll probably get the pictures back before the goal goes in.

Well, that’s true – you get pictures back. Unfortunately they aren’t pictures of the match – they are adverts. ITV have come up with the genius idea that instead of attaching you direct to their main coverage (and therefore getting adverts at half time with everyone else), they will force you to sit through three adverts every time you load the service. Even if a penalty shoot out is at a critical juncture. Or if you have the restart the ‘service’ every few minutes.

What this means is whenever you hear a yelp to indicate there’s been a goal, you flick to the stream, only to find it has inevitably fallen over. You desperately fumble around to kick it back into life, get the ‘loading’ screen, and sit back relieved. Three infuriating adverts follow, by which time the goal (and all the incessant replays) have been shown. Oh joy.

They have been shambolic from start to finish. Their presenting team is painful, I’ve watched more matches on mute than ever in my life, their online service is crap, and the debacle of missing England’s goal against USA would have sounded ludicrous had they not done the exact same thing in the FA Cup tie between Liverpool and Everton last season.

Not that the BBC get off scot free. While their coverage certainly seems more professional, they still have the infuriating contrast of the monotone Mick McCarthy and the squeaky over-excited Mark Bright. Both come out with complete nonsense – Bright is a master of idiocy, regularly watching a slow motion replay and describing the events wholly wrongly.

McCarthy, meanwhile, was asked why Argentina were so impressive against South Korea, and replied ‘It’s because they play 4-4-2‘. There was a pause, as clarification was awaited, but none came. That was the full analysis, as if the formation was the sole reason for success. Can’t argue with it, after all Messi has been spectacular for Barcelona this season in a 4-….oh.

But with the BBC, there seems to be higher level of professionalism. With Lineker, Hansen, Hodgson, Dixon and Seedorf providing the intelligent points, their analysis is far more insightful, especially for the bigger games, when the hysterical are ditched and the experienced brought in.

The BBC have their flaws. But ITV have an astonishing knack for removing my pre-match excitement just by knowing it is them covering the game. Some feat.

  34 Responses to “ITV coverage is sapping my World Cup enthusiasm”

  1. Which channel has Edgar Davids? He can’t even speak English

    I don’t watch the punditry if I can possibly avoid it

  2. I feel your pain mate. But to try and make you feel better, I live in Thailand. Having been told I need to upgrade my membership to the HD package in order to view the World Cup. Imagine my frustration when I tune in for the first match and discover there is no english commentary option that is always available for the premiership games! Having looked into the matter, FIFA refused to sell the commentary rights due to “piracy issues in the region”. The only reason I upgraded my membership was for the english commentary as the games are available on terrestrial tv in Thai commentary anyway! The only internet radio station with commentary is ESPN. I listened to it for 5 mins and it was like Soccer AMs’ “Boston Goals”. What I would do for Tyldesley and Townsend! Cheers AFC

  3. itv is a joke when italy were 2-0 down the idiot commentating was going thru all the italain players sayin goodbye and ur carear is terminated wat a joke and total lack of repect wat a a little pussy as well he woundnt dare to say it thier face what a wanker

  4. Chiles is the cock of all cocks,he (appears) to no nothing about anything.Why would you employ such a man?

  5. Im in canada at the moment and the people who host the pre game and post game shows on the local network cbc are absolutely horrible, endless hockey references, referring to pressing and forechecking (hockey reference) and it seems the only pre requisite to get hired to host the show was the english accent. when they were announcing the lineups for holland vs denmark they had van der wiel in the midfield, van persie in defence, aparently de jong was our striker, and “thomas sorenson” in net for holland (really…because i could have sworn he played for denmark, our keeper is stekelenburg) its the most amateur hour coverage and I can’t even be bothered to listen to what they say because its as if they have no knowledge of the game.

  6. Could not agree more! When I emailed ITV to tell them that their on-line coverage was unusable they simply emailed me back the very link that I had been using.

    Generally speaking one of the things I will remember most from this world cup is the utter paucity of the punditry. Craig Burley… don’t get me going! Mick McCarthy makes undertakers sound like the life of the party! It is almost like the TV stations’ policy is to find the ex-player or manger with the dullest monotone voice, who only speaks in clichés and grunts and then have the nerve to call them “colour” commentators. Why is British TV addicted to analysis by ex-players instead of professionally trained journalists or sports commentators?

    • I’ve never understood why pundits have to be former players. There are far more intelligent people out there with far more insightful views.

  7. and let’s not forget peter”i love man u “drury-had the audacity to call fabregas a barca player-what a complete & utter wanker-had the teeth grating habit of referring to juan sebastian veron as “seba”ffs!!

  8. Can’t remember the game, but clive tyldseley said “AND THE BALLS COME BACK OUT TO A UNITED PLAYER…..”

    Utter, utter cunt

  9. Nothing can match mick the bore Mcarthy and his interpretation of a football match.He sounds like a moany old yorkshire farmer who has been kicked in the bollocks!!

  10. Try tvcatchup.com. It’s basically freeview online, stream is live and usually v.good.

  11. Watching the Spanish game. Is it me? Or am I right to be extremely irked by Torres’ blatant dive. I saw the Italians at it, I saw that Ozul do it for Germany. I’ve now seen it for Spain. These are only the really blatant ones! The worst one was the the Ivory Coast guy getting Kaka sent off. The game was lost! The best he could hope for was that Brazil gave Portugal a right pounding in the last game. But oh no! “I’m going to get the best attacking influence in the Brazil team sent off so he misses the gameI can’t say I’ve noticed our boys doing it, although England games are my drinking days, so I’m probably less aware than normal. I’d be ashamed if we resort to these tactics. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
    The worst example I’ve seen is the Ivory Coast bloke getting Kaka sent off in the dying minutes of their game, The game was lost. The one thing Ivory Coast needed was for Brazil to give Portugal a good hiding in the last game, right? Am I crazy to suggest that having their most influential attacking player banned for that game would detrimentally affect the chances of that happening. Sawdust for brains!!!! Again, help me if I am wrong. Cheers AFC

  12. frankly, what really grates is the bbc punditry team referring to adebayor as manu.

  13. CAnt be worse than that Murdoch crowd at sky

  14. Seedorf has been the best (and probably most qualified) pundit of the whole tournament, its funny when he disagrees with Hansen and Hansen changes his point slightly!

    ITV lot have always been useless, still though, Mark Bright and Mick McCarthy have to be the most annoying pair of tossers you could have dreamt up to commentate, Micks so boring it makes watching Wolves exciting, and Mark Bright grinds on my ears so much, i feel like the crazy frog has come back to haunt me!

    That said, its still better than ITV, Incidentally, ITV is More Murdoch owned than Sky Alex….

  15. All the current pundits are utterly crap! I truly detest having to listen to ‘arry Redknapp the clueless twat and really resent having to pay the license fee for the privilege. I know they are paid to big up England, but does anyone actually take their comments seriously – chance of winning it – my arse!!

    That said, there have been very few good quality games, so it gives the pundits little to comment on meaning they have to pad and fill time with mindless drivel which they all manage with aplomb…..

  16. Seedorf has been great but the real star of them all is Roy Hodgson.

    Whilst they were all saying that Gerrard would play in the hole after the team was announced, and all patting themselves on the back for Fabio “getting it right”, Hodgson stated on numerous occasons that Gerrard would play on the left..which he did.

    In fact he has shamed the whole BBC team with his knowledge.

    • Hodgson is brilliant – a truly intelligent man who has a wonderful knowledge of the world game. Always thought he’d made a great pundit.

  17. It took me half an hour in his first game to realise that it was McCarthy, I thought it was a particularly sizable droning parpsome vevuzela. Him and that utter wazzock Lawrenson really do suck the joy and lifeblood of what should be a joyous celebration. For the love of Buddha will you pair of muffs just end yourselves in a joint suicide pact?, you can televise it if you want, would still be more entertaining that watching England. Shearer is another atrociously dull fanny fart – he opens his tedious gob, my eyes glaze and I wander, then he stops and 3-2-1 I’m back in the room.

  18. why dont you just get on with your work or are you paid to watch itv you pointless post totalwanker

    • Charming. I am capable of working while listening to the coverage in my ear. Hence the ‘switching over to see the goal’ talk.

      Jog on.

  19. ITV suck ass!

  20. The most annoying tings about the punditshas been Adebayor. whats the point of having someone givcing their opinion when you can only understand every fifth word he says. Oh, and he’s a fulthy Judas cunt as well, just for good measure.

    Still, nothing’s been as bad as that Prostitute loving ex-Yid David Pleat on Radio5 after the Italian match the other day….and I quote, “Italy say Au Revoir to the World Cup”. Really? Only if they speak French in Italy you knob.

  21. I cannot even understand half of what “Manu” Adebayor is saying. Notice how all the African football related questions got aimed at him by old orange chops (Lineker) – like he can’t answer any another questions. Shearer hasnt got any better and I’m getting fed up Hansen’s buzzwords like “time and time again”, “pace” and “composure”. And please stop fucking slouching in that chair Hansen!! Agree with the comment about Lawro. Sick to the back teeth of him and his moaning and snide comments

  22. I have never commented here before, but I have to agree with the seriously annoying commentary over this WC. On the BBC – Mick McCathy! He talks as if we are watching Wolves Vs Stoke rather than a world cup match and has a way of sapping a bit the life out of the game from the first whistle. How did he and Adebayor (subtitles required) get selected?

    Then over to ITV, where Adrian Chiles has been found out. He is completely out of his depth, this not like presenting clips of the Apprentice and a light EPL review (which he was quite good at). Vieira and Desailly have completely upstaged him in terms of discussing tactics and he should just hand over the presenting mike to Garth Southgate (who has been a complete revelation as I never thought I was interested in anything he has to say) and quietly sidle off camera out of view.

    Craig Burley seems to be doing nothing to dispel the angry Scotsman myth. He seems to take every challenge by a player personally and is often still discussing minor challenges 10mins later when the game has moved on. Also I can’t stand it when he critises a players level of skill and ability as I never liked him as a player.

    Overall the BBC wins so far – I can’t stand Hansen still though, has his Liverpool blinkers on even at the WC! Gerrard and Carragher were not exempt from being abysmal in the first 2 England matches, but not if you listened to him, they were being dragged down by the others and were carrying the team! I love Lee Dixon even more for correcting him. Hansen is desparate to be pals with Seedof.

    Thanks for the opportunity to rant on this issue.

    • Chiles is best in non-live television, in my opinion. ITV can be the death knell of careers – ask Des Lynam.

      Agreed to Southgate – another intelligent chap.

  23. Whats religon got to do with it regarding david pleat you dirty turkish cunt

  24. ITV online TV have RUINED the World Cup. God it’s unbearable. Watching adverts whilst goals are being scored and being able to do nothing!

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