Sport

Armchair Reporter: Keeping up with football scores on a Saturday afternoon used to be straightforward and uncomplicated.

Former Celtic star Chris Sutton 
 
Paul McConville

GOD bless the vidiprinter. Keeping up with football scores on a Saturday afternoon used to be straightforward and uncomplicated.

The vidiprinter beeped along as the soothing tones of Des Lynam effortlessly eased between games.

There was no posse of ex-pros and their exaggerated shouts off camera to alert viewers to the fact Olivier Giroud had almost thought about nearly shinning one in from six yards out but the pass was about ten yards over his head.

Now it’s not enough to have the latest scores ticking along at the bottom of the screen (and the odd occasions when anything over five goals had to be spelled out to further enforce the indignity of the team on the wrong end of the thumping).

Sky Sports have been churning out Soccer Saturday for enough years now for it to almost qualify for ‘institution’ status but BT Sports Score is a lot more rougher around the edges.

For a start, there’s just too many people there.

On Saturday, viewers were invited to pull up a chair with Robbie Savage, Chris Sutton, Harry Redknapp, David James and ‘JJ’ (Jermaine Jenas to you and I).

BT have gone for the casual look, there’s no desks like on Sky, with the pundits slumped on chairs, some of them clasping notes as if they’re boarding passes and, any minute now, they’ll be jostling for position at the departure gate – my money would be on Sutton.

The former Norwich, Blackburn and Celtic striker and some-time centre-half was by far the best value, especially as he was sat next to the man child that is Robbie Savage.

Sutton is excellent at pulling off sinister and disinterested at the same time.

When Savage let out a comical ‘Arrrrrghhh’ for a goal which turned out not to have stood, Sutton’s sideways glance of mild disgust said it all.

“Robbie thought it was a goal, but I knew it was going to be disallowed,” Sutton told host Mark Pougatch, with a mammoth slice of self satisfaction.

While seeming to be personally insulted by Man City’s wastefulness in front of goal in the first half of their match against Swansea he doubted the veracity of Kevin De Bruyne’s avowed altruism.

“He says he prefers assists to goals, which is a lie,” said Sutton with all the sneer of young Jeremy Paxman.

Sutton was easily the most compelling thing about BT Sport Score, which wasn’t difficult considering the other highlights included Harry Redknapp’s close-to-the-bone quip about how tight Daniel Levy was and David James’s neurotic analysis of Jordan Pickford’s kick-outs.

Just to add to the mayhem, we had Steven Craigan trying to report from the Celtic match as pundits shouted, groaned and cheered in the background and Howard Webb attempt to explain the minutae of a refereeing decision while being constantly badgered by Robbie Savage (see, he even has you feeling sorry for refs).

There was also a nod to the lower leagues in the form of a giant floating scoreboard popping up from time to time and a girl call Rachel, shoehorned in the corner, occasionally confusing Paul Ince (it isn't difficult to be fair).

It was all a bit haphazard and the regular cuts to Mark Webster and Kevin Day for what I can only imagine was supposed to be light were just outright bizarre.

An hour and half of Chris Sutton trolling Robbie Savage would have done rightly.

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