Sunday 24 June 2012

24.6.12 Andy Townsend Masterclass

Football commentators are generally muppets, who love to hold on to certain phrases and terms when delivering their monotonous drivel.  Andy Townsend is no different, and probably provides one of the best examples of how entrenched commentators can get, and how they can so often talk rubbish.

Half a Yard

This is the basic unit of measurement for everything in the universe, let alone on the football pitch.  No player can do anything clever with a football without first "making himself half a yard", as AT would have us believe.  When a player does not manage to beat an opponent, or cross the ball into the box, AT will tell us all that the player "just needed half a yard" to have succeeded.  If a player is offside, and it's a close call, the distance by which the offending player will have been deemed 'offside' is always half a yard.

Asking Questions

Attacking players don't, these days, try to beat defenders, nor do they cause problems for a defence with their runs and ball control.  No, according to AT, the attackers are in fact "asking questions of the defence".  Continued pressure by a team is thus a spell of questioning - "there are many questions being asked of xxxx".

Picking Pockets

No longer can players be tackled.  Instead, players are "caught in possession" or they have their "pockets picked, according to AT.  I always thought caught in possession" sounded rather more like a term the police might use when describing someone who's been arrested for carrying drugs.  As for the picking of pockets, I think AT must have an obsession with the 'Artful Dodger'.  I am not sure when tackling became an obsolete aspect of the game, but it's been a good while, as AT's been talking about pickpockets for many years now.

Give and Go

Fuck off with the new term.  "It was a little give and go" is bollocks.  It was a "one, two".  For decades, players have played a "one, two" but all of a sudden, it's a "give and go" according to AT.  Shite.


AT is not alone in referring to "quality" at least a dozen or two times per game.  In his monologue the other day, talking about Samir Nasri, he managed, "let's give a lot of quality to the finish" in the waffle he offered.  "We struggled with a lack of quality" is now the accepted euphemism for "We were just shit".

The Final Third

This is where everything happens, or doesn't happen.  There is so rarely any reference to the middle third - maybe once a month.  The first third simply doesn't exist.  But the 'final third' is the real zone of interest - a zone not defined by any pitch marking, irrelevant in respect of ANY of the Laws of Association Football, and unrecognised by the FA or FIFA.  That's right, this weird zone that features in the comments of every cunt with an opinion is in fact a made-up part of the pitch.  None of the commentators or pundits or twats has ever decided to refer to the 'final quarter' instead.  With a football pitch having variable measurements, the third being referred to could be of variable size.

This simple diagram shows the permitted measurements and variations that can occur, and they are significant in respect of the 'final third' for the following main reason.  On a pitch of minimum dimensions, the final third would have an area of 1666 square yards.  On a pitch of maximum size, the final third would have an area of 4333 square yards!  That is 2.6 times the area within which stuff could happen on a smaller pitch.  In fact, on the largest possible pitch, the "final eighth' is only marginally smaller than the 'final third' of the smallest pitch, and the 'final seventh' is much bigger.  So, there's much room for other options, and maybe there should be talk of the final eighth / seventh / sixth / fifth / quarter instead (?)

If we restrict our view to the one dimension of pitch length, then in round numbers, we have three possible sections typically at 40 yards each.  I suggest that either commentators desist from referring to this arbitrary zone, or the football authorities sanction a change whereby there are lines across the field 33.3 to 43.3 yards in-field from each goal line, and we could do away with the centre line.

Further Positions and Areas of the Pitch

Andy is very knowledgeable on the invisible elements of the football pitch, and manages to display excellent awareness of players' movements, the intended tactics of managers, and the complex approaches adopted in how to make best use of some wonderful extras that the standard football pitch apparently provides.  Despite none of these positions or areas being denoted on any football pitch in the world, AT has inside knowledge and can see in an instant the imaginary spaces, as he commentates whilst sitting next to his friend, an imaginary 6ft rabbit.

Yes, there are some special places, known as: Gulleys, Channels, Holes, Pockets and Lanes.  These are all on top of the more widely used term of 'thirds' which I have covered above.  The thing about a 'final third' is that while it does not technically exist, one can work it out, as I've done, using maths and pitch dimensions.  The aforementioned list contains no hints, though, of how one could possibly decide on the their whereabouts!  This is football, not cricket or space exploration.  Andy - please can you get a grip, and try talking sense?


No comments:

Post a Comment