Five’s Two Up Front

One of the great disappointments of the World Cup and the Dutch team, apart from their thuggish play, was their selfishness in not drawing their first group match against Denmark, thus depriving us of a footballing palindrome — NED 0 – 0 DEN — in the corner of the tv screen.

I suppose it would have depended on which channel you watched the match on as sometimes it is abbreviated as HOL for Holland and sometimes NED for Nederlands. Why the latter isn’t NET for Netherlands, I’m not sure, since that is how the commentators and World Cup charts otherwise refer to them.

The Dutch themselves are not too bothered either way, at least not according to an online gaming conversation my son had with a lad in the low countries who said they prefer Netherlands, but don’t mind if we use Holland instead.

The same conversation also demonstrated how slow the broadcast signal is in reaching our screens. The Dutch lad was typing “Yay!” long before the men in orange had scored on our telly. Potential here for a betting coup — Sneijder to score in the next 60 seconds, van Bommel not to get booked in the next 90 minutes etc.

But there is one footballing question left unanswered — why does RadioFive need two commentators per match? It is something that has always puzzled me, but the BBC seems to think that it takes two to commentate, switching microphones twenty-two and half minutes into each half.

I can’t imagine it is because they get tired. After all, the poor expert summariser has to see out the whole match and they are often a good bit older than the commentators, David Pleat and Jimmy Armfield for example.

I did wonder if it was a way to safeguard Alan Green’s sanity. You can almost hear the steam coming out of his ears and that is usually before a ball is kicked. Any more than his twenty minute stint and I suspect that his head would explode.

Telly doesn’t seem to need more than the one commentator, although sometimes you wish they would. And God help us that there is more than one Clive Tyldesley.

That leaves just one conclusion — overmanning at the Beeb, that and a month-long jolly to South Africa. Unless anyone knows better?

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