Among the scores of cliches that football pundits spout every season, some are ill-thought out, some witless and a lot are just plain wrong. One of my personal bug-bears is the claim that some forwards can ‘hang in the air’. Yep, they reckon that when a corner is swung over a striker can leap above his marker, ‘hang’ for that split second longer and head the ball home. Now, I’ve watched a lot of cartoons in my time. Wylie E Coyote, for example. He can hang in the air. If he’s on the edge of a cliff clinging to a branch and the branch breaks, he does just stay there for a while with a wild look in his eye. Then, he plummets to the ground. But he’s a drawing. What the pundits fail to recognise is that when Crouch, Drogba, Ferguson and all the other gravity-defying players ‘hang’, they are actually pushing down on the defenders shoulders. You can’t argue with science.
A recent addition to my list is something that David Pleat (I think it’s him anyway) is fond of using. It’s the assertion that being 2-0 up is a ‘Difficult Score-line’. What?! In trying to justify this strange claim I heard Pleat say that when you’re 2-0 up and the opposition score you’re then only one ahead and that means that if they score again, well, bugger me, you’re level again. Surely any right-minded football supporter would disagree with that. If it’s 0-0 and the other team score you’re then losing 1-0. I prefer to think of 2-0 up as a big plump cushion that you can relax into. No, it’s not difficult at all. Unless you’re connected with a team like…hmm…Tottenham.
Another statement guaranteed to set me wailing like a banshee at the telly is the notion that the England team is weakened by the lack of home-grown players in the top premiership sides, thereby reducing their chances of playing at the very highest levels in European competition. Here are some facts for you; feel free to check them and correct me. In 1977 Liverpool won the European Cup. At that time England were busy playing the qualifying matches for the 1978 World Cup. The number of English players in the winning Liverpool side? Nine. Yup, 9! And did we qualify for the World Cup with all those experienced European players? No.
Hit the Red Button! Switch ’em off.