Stan Collymore wrote a TwitLonger screed about snobs in the football punditry game. The money quote:

Ive noticed a massive increase of these snobs,whose major selling point is usually a degree of some sort,and an opinion which barely disguises an inbuilt hatred of former professional footballers who have turned to broadcasting .

Why? Well for me its simple.A degree in journalism gives them the belief that their hard University work and study should somehow put them automatically in the front of the line for a plum job in whichever industry they choose.And in football,the number who think this way is increasing.

Now I’m not going to be a dick and cover this thing with a bunch of ‘sic”s or whatever because Collymore doesn’t make his money from writing so steady on, football snobs.

As to his general point: I agree, in part, that punditry is fundamentally about how good you are at your job. But I think Collymore is burning a straw man when he attacks careerist hipster, nouveau smart arse journalists with a grandiose sense of entitlement.

Because most of those non-existent “snobs” who dislike Alan Shearer or Alan Hansen (what’s with the Alans?) adore Gary Neville who has the remarkable habit of taking his job very seriously, and doing it very well. And not only that, doing it in a way that relies on his playing experience.

Collymore is also stuck in 1985 when he claims that football is still rooted in the world class community. Football and the Premier League is now a global concern. This has led to a renaissance in football writing online, writing about statistics, history, art, science, politics, and yes—Burkina Faso v Equatorial Guinea.

On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog, or at least no one knows or generally cares if you’re a former player. They do however care if you’re good at what you do (peruse the comment section on this site if you don’t believe me). All some of us are asking for is a little more quality on the TV/Radio side of things.

Stan clearly thinks working class people want bad, pedestrian football commentary. In other words, he thinks working class people are stupid about football and therefore need to be protected from anything beyond an assortment of lazy cliches spoken through the guffaws of people paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to not know why Joe Allen holds the ball instead of passing it like a mad horse. Until TV punditry reflects the ideal Collymore holds to these nouveau smart arse journalists, he should cease his wailing over how they’re taking our jeeeerrrbbbs!

Comments (4)

  1. I think a trip down to the archives will find newspapers filled with wonderful writing on football/soccer up to the 1990s, writing that was designed to explain in vivid language to the “working classes” what happened at the matches they could not attend. Radio broadcasters had and have a very different vocabulary for description than television. I personally believe it is the television, and the small-minded corporations looking to save time and thus money, that has taken away from the aesthetically challenging and expressive language – not ‘low brow’ working-class culture. The internet has helped (re)publicize expressive language in sport, which had continued to be performed into fan-zines, whose authors and audience, some being working class blokes, were more geographically limited. The internet is also the domain of those same small minded corporations, however, and they struggle to either find cheap ways into new ‘markets’ (which could be exploitative, in that they turn a profit while paying writers little because writers have other motivations) or when they see no financial value to belittle any competition or cultural forms that they are uncomfortable with.

    Fancy-pants bloggers and writing is not ‘new’ and it is not anti-working class; some writers never have nor care about working class, not all supporters are working class, etc. But in focusing specifically on that argument, it is also true that working class has not always, nor should always mean, simple aesthetics or basic language in sport. That is the corporate idea of the ‘working class’ and it is more a reflection of what major corporations WANT FROM the working class, both in terms of what the working class should BE and also what the corporation wants to pay for when providing knowledge to the working class. A flip through the Sun is the perfect example.

  2. George: Maybe I could be, like, an announcer. A colour man. You know how I always make those interesting comments during the game?
    Jerry: Yeah, you make good comments.
    George: So what about that?
    Jerry: Well, they tend to give those jobs to ex-ballplayers and people that are, you know, in broadcasting.
    George: That’s really not fair.
    Jerry: I know.

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