This was not match of the day – just another symbol of broken Britain

There were no words. Which was appropriate in its own way, because when people can’t speak freely, they often don’t exist. Noises were heard, the sound of various crowds. But it wasn’t even the most iconic theme tune in sports broadcasting. Which is just as well, because this wasn’t Match of the Day. It was a 20-minute highlights package stitched together, looking like the kind of cheap goal production from a second-tier European league waiting for some interchangeable, off-putting song to be added before airing.

Six days after Matchday 2 saw a record low for Manchester United, Match of the Day was a record low for Match of the Day. The most successful club ever in the English top flight suffered their heaviest defeat for 91 years last Sunday, but the most iconic show in British football broadcasting is in its biggest crisis in history. No presenter, no experts, no analysis, no interviews and no commentators. There was less of real football, little of the feel or the fun. Instead, anyone who had missed the news that the program had been shortened and tuned a little late was greeted by Sully, a movie about avoiding a plane crash. It might not have been the smartest choice: not after the BBC car crash of a week.

It is tempting to say that it is a crisis caused entirely by the BBC. tempting, but not true, because that is to ignore the role played by the aggressive, toxic Conservative Party, in its determination to silence and scapegoat anyone who disagrees with them. But general manager Tim Davie’s brand of crisis management has been to create a crisis with his administration. Chairman Richard Sharp is finding that, as rewards for Tory donors go, he’s better off taking a multi-million contract to supply unusable PPE than being in a position where he’s met people with unchanging values ​​about uncomfortable things like free speech .

Instead, the BBC gave Gary Lineker more assignments than any referee or football governing body, operated under the illusion that they could purge anyone who didn’t toe the (Conservative) party line and, hopefully for just one week, ruined the best sports show on terrestrial television. They had a show stripped of its personnel and its personality, its wisdom and its spirit. The goals were good: brilliant, in some cases. The games were exciting, along with the plots and characters. Match of the Day should have been a brilliant 90 minute drama. Not this week. The real action took place before the shots and saves were televised.

The strikers went on strike in support of Lineker, led by the laudable Ian Wright, supported by his sidekick Alan Shearer. Commentators Steve Wilson, Conor McNamara, Robyn Cowen and Steven Wyeth organized the mutiny on the bridge. Even more people were unavailable than in the average Everton injury crisis: Alex Scott, Mark Chapman, Micah Richards, Jermaine Jenas, Alex Scott from a second show, Mark Chapman from another show, Jason Mohammed, Kelly Somers, Colin Murray , Dion Dublin, Jermain Defoe. It was a test and they all passed it.

And so, after the BBC ditched Presenter Hunt, Bargain Hunt replaced Football Focus. Without a final score, a company with relationships for repair chose the Repair Shop. There was no Fighting Talk. not without freedom of speech.

Match of the Day was broadcast in the most bizarre manner in its history

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Match of the Day was broadcast in the strangest way in its history

(BBC / Pete Dadds)

Meanwhile, the BBC’s top brass were too busy bowing to an authoritarian government to read the room. not the green room, as the pundits pointed to their principles, or the dressing room, as the PFA made it clear the players did not speak on Match of the Day, or the rooms inhabited by the BBC class. Probably not the largest hall in the country. Most people can see through disingenuous claims. It cannot be denied that Lineker would have been allowed to present if he were an enthusiastic supporter of the government’s immigration policy, if his politics echoed those of Suella Braverman or Lee Anderson or Dominic Raab. Instead, he used his platform to talk about refugees. And, for this mischievous regime, it is especially galling when several footballers and ex-footballers have a social conscience. It is obvious that some members of the government do not.

It’s a world where the most prejudiced people claim to want impartiality, where those who claim to hate cancellation culture want to cancel. And, yes, it is a distraction tactic. After 13 disastrous years, all the Tories have left are culture wars and lies. There is something very Trumpish about the way they corrupt everything they touch. There is something typically inept about how all their cunning schemes backfire: the outpouring of support for Lineker from his colleagues clearly took them by surprise. The BBC’s reputation is being damaged, at home and abroad, by doing the Conservatives’ bidding: “In turmoil” ran the New York Times headline, while CNN went “chaos” and the Washington Post “boycotted the BBC”. The BBC kept doing news – El Pais, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, La Repubblica – but it was all bad news for them.

But in 13 years of vandalism, the Tories have destroyed almost everything they can. As the NHS shows, national institutions are particularly sensitive. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before they made it to Match of the Day. And so Saturday nights across the country were ruined. It was quite typical that others suffered because of the actions of the right-wing heads. It’s a theme of recent years. The people thinking of knighting Stanley Johnson tend to be the ones in favor of banning England’s leading scorer at World Cups from the national broadcaster. And a broken British Broadcasting Corporation is another sign of a broken Britain.

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