GARY NEVILLE was presumably trying to be funny when he signed off Sky’s ‘Super Sunday’ show with the words: “You were live on Liverpool TV.”
But his comments weren’t completely wide of the mark after another afternoon of pundit ‘bantz’ from the Premier League’s leading broadcaster.
Neville had a face like a slapped arse after watching his beloved Manchester United being ripped a new one at Anfield.
And he made no attempt to hide his displeasure at their 7-0 defeat by the bitter rivals from the other end of the East Lancs Road.
On the other side of the microphone, we had Jamie Carragher whooping and cheering every Liverpool goal live on air.
During the post-match inquest they had Carragher grinning away with fellow Kop idol Graeme Souness while Neville sulked alongside professional United grinch Roy Keane.
And just to make sure there was absolutely no chance of impartial analysis, the whole thing was hosted by Kenny Dalglish’s daughter Kelly Cates.
Now I have no problem with these former players having their loyalties forged over many years in a certain team’s colours.
But there comes a point where favouritism becomes outright bias and we’re very close to crossing that particular bridge.
And it’s not as if Neville and Carragher are the only culprits.
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Match of the Day regularly films Ian Wright and Alan Shearer celebrating Arsenal and Newcastle goals like mad things while Rio Ferdinand is equally vociferous in his support for United.
And it seems that many viewers actually lap this stuff up.
Nevertheless, it does beg the question whatever happened to objective football coverage?
There used to be a time when Scottish sports writers were dismissed as ‘fans with typewriters’ because of their unwavering support for their national team.
But now it appears that correspondents throughout the whole of Britain are actively encouraged to display their colours and are criticised for not being partisan enough.
Now I know that I am a miserable bastard who is no-one’s idea of a ray of sunshine.
But almost every time I write a match report for this paper I get taken to task by certain readers who complain that I have not been positive enough about their team.
Well I’m sorry that I missed the memo that I’m now required to be a cheerleader and I’m still awaiting delivery of my spangly costume and pompoms.
But judging by the number of scarves and club colours we’re now seeing in press boxes up and down the country, maybe I’m the one who is behind the times.
Because there is a new breed of football reporter who happily admits that they are only interested in one team and couldn’t care less about anything else that is going on in the sport.
And I understand that these guys connect with a lot of fans because they are every bit as fanatical as them.
Yet we have now reached the point where post match press conferences are carried out in front of more tourists than Madame Tussauds.
Many of them don’t even bother with the pretence of bringing a laptop, camera or notepad because all they’re interested in is the free pre-match meal and a nice comfy seat to cheer on their team.
And the clubs don’t care less because they’d much rather open their doors to unquestioning loyalists than to grumpy old sods like me.
So forgive me if I don’t get offended by Gary Lineker showing his political colours.
It’s his sporting neutrality which I’m worried about.
A right old Mess
ANOTHER year, another early Champions League exit for Paris St.Germain.
The flat track bullies of European football are strolling untroubled towards their ninth French League title in 11 years.
Yet in spite of all the insane spending by their Qatari owners, they still cannot buy a win in the game’s most prestigious club competition.
Maybe it’s because they have gathered more stars than the Milky Way that we all take such pleasure from their annual humiliation.
And the fact that Messi and his chums have been sent packing by former Stoke and PSG cast-off Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting only adds to the comedy value this time.
But we really shouldn’t laugh too loudly at this in-Seine farce.
Because here in England we have our very own perennial Champions who have still never lifted the European Cup in spite of squeezing FFP until the pips squeak.
So it’s probably best that we wait to see how Manchester City get on against RB Leipzig next week before we start gloating at Les Flops.
F1 opener was the pits
SERIAL winner Lewis Hamilton knew before the first Grand Prix of the season had even got underway that he had no chance of winning the championship.
Now he knows how Harry Kane feels at Tottenham.
But after more than a decade dominating Formula One, Hamilton is entitled to feel downhearted by the car which Mercedes have served up again this year.
Team-mate George Russell was equally despondent after reigning champion Max Verstappen led from start to finish in Bahrain last weekend.
“Red Bull have got this Championship sewn up,” he gloomily predicted. “My bet is that they will win every single race.”
Now that might be good news for Verstappen and his team boss Christian Horner.
But the lack of competition can’t be good for Formula One because no-one wants to watch a procession.
And even the most obsessive petrol heads will soon lose interest if the highlight of the race is the pit stop.
Where are their heads at?
THE geniuses at FIFA have refused a request from the Premier League and various other countries to trial the use of concussion subs.
Why on earth would they do that?
Time to send on a replacement for Gianni Infantino, who is clearly dazed and confused.
Devil’s in the detail
APPARENTLY Manchester United are looking to sign the Anfield pitch invader who slid into Andy Robertson on Sunday because he managed to get closer to the Liverpool players than anyone from Erik ten Hag’s team.
In the aftermath of that 7-0 humiliation, Wout Weghorst has been getting dog’s abuse from irate United fans for touching the ‘This Is Anfield’ sign ahead of the match.
Might I suggest that of all ten Hag’s weekend problems, that was the very least of them.
All’s Wells that ends Wells
THERE has been predictable outrage at Novak Djokovic being barred from competing in America because he still hasn’t been vaccinated against Covid.
But the GOAT of tennis knows the requirements for entry to the land of the free and has opted not to comply with them.
It is entirely his choice what he puts into his body and he is happy to live with the consequences of that decision.
The US border ban is due to end in two months’ time anyway, so Djokovic will still be allowed to enter the US Open in August.
It just means he cannot participate at Indian Wells and Miami this month. And he’s obviously not losing too much sleep over that.
CONGRATULATIONS to Chris Wilder on his appointment as Watford’s third manager of the season and their ninth full-time boss in four seasons.
And if he achieves Championship promotion in May, he can still look forward to the sack.