MOTD & The Emancipation Of Enrique

Posted by BreakfastPercy on November 22, 2012, 10:32:37 AM

After amazing feedback for my Suarez post, and kind requests for more, I hope this isn't too much a case of the disappointing sequel. Something to chew over the morning coffee, instead of events elsewhere! WARNING contains graphic descriptions of Harry Redknapp...

Six Degrees of Separation (SDS): the theory that everyone is, on average, approximately six steps away (by way of introduction) from any other person in the world.

A relatively well-known, but by now dusty, social experiment, SDS is the theme of some new ads for mobile network 'EE'. You might have seen Kevin Bacon's 'Jedward' hair-do during one of them, and in the ad released next month he kills them with a pickaxe. Twenty years on, perhaps the theory needed a makeover.

It was whilst watching Match Of The Day (MOTD) on Saturday night, that I had a scientific breakthrough. I realized this theory could easily be condensed, since everybody is linked simply by the fact that if you have a pulse (negotiable), Harry Redknapp has probably tried to sign you. It's even more likely if you've played well on any given week. Harry Redknapp is middle man to the world, or so he says.

Alas my eureka moment was fleeting, and hopes of a Social Sciences grant evaporated when I remembered 'Arry had signed Peter Crouch three times. A scouting network sprawling Toxteth to Timbuktu, and he's signed 'Crouchie' three times? The man's claims would make a Football Manager addict blush, sales patter pouring from his mouth like a Magician's handkerchiefs.

At least Lawrenson wasn't on for the weekly jowl-off, himself a mixture of limp sarcasm and riding the fence so hard I'm surprised we never see him climax. I sometimes wonder whether him and Redknapp are a two-man cult, religiously stockpiling skin for the afterlife. And I almost pity Alan Hansen, who looks like he's one David Luiz mistake away from just packing life in. Or better still, he'll snap, grease himself up like Bronson, and yell 'diabolical' until security drags him butt-naked from the building.

The channel would be wise to heed its history. The BBC- forever the martyr to its self-recrimination- aired a documentary last year called 'Top of the Pops: The Story of 1976'. It was accidental viewing, but it showed how TOTP became a garish parody of itself; the presenters and gimmicks more important than the music. When the show started to dictate the music, rather than the other way around, the program lost touch. Sound familiar?

I didn't survive MOTD past the Suarez 'stamp', choosing instead the full, unadulterated second half of Liverpool 3-0 Wigan. I was rewarded by Jose Enrique in all his rippling glory. A juxtaposition if ever there was one. You see if mankind proves the existence of God, José Enrique proves God does a shit load of drugs. He's visually baffling; physically unsettling; sexually questioning. Dani Pacheco still tears up at the merest mention of last year's team-building trip to Alton Towers. And yet, we love that crazy Motherfucker.

Unlike Harry Redknapp, Jose Enrique isn't conceited. He doesn't have an 'angle'. Unlike Lawrenson (and Stewart Downing), he isn't content with treading water and playing it safe. After a few weeks out, it would have been easy for him to duck responsibility. Yet every idiotic five yard pass misplaced, every powerhouse dribble, comes from a truthful naïvety that's far more palatable than MOTD's self-sanitizing slop. It was a pleasure to see a player freed like Jose was, rumbling down the wing like a sexed-up man-boulder.

Not every player is a Michelangelo, some are just the mallet. And if ever there was a mallet, it's Jose. But whilst the title of 'pragmatist' is reserved for managers who juggle their squad like a street-performer, sometimes pragmatism is about clearing the work space so the maestro has room to create. Rodgers has done that with Suarez, and is only now introducing his more limited players in functional roles. For Jose, Rodgers now finds a place in the team that makes little of his deficiencies, but liberates his strengths. Similarly, I don't ask that Harry Redknapp start name-dropping his favorite Trequartistas, just that he free himself enough from CV-plugging to do what he's fucking paid for.

Garry Neville analyses one corner and there's not a dry seat in the house. He's punditry's Pavlovian dog. Journalists miserably shackled to the gossip machine, waiting for somebody to make tactical analysis vogue, keep feeding Gary a biscuit and tickling his belly, because they hope he'll start the revolution for them. He can't do it on his own.

And so I suggest to 'Arry, face bubbling lazily like a Raheem Sterling bath-time fart, that he and his chums cast a glance towards 'El Toro'. Jose Enrique is a clear-as-day example that football fans don't demand perfection. We appreciate simplicity,  functionality and honesty too. Just have a bloody good go at it instead of covering your arse! We've seen your handwriting Harry, we know you're capable of simple, so take a leaf out of Jose's coloring book.

The BBC owes more than sly PR. It's about time Match Of The Day cleared the workspace and let their Michelangelo, the entire bloody Premier League, take the lead. If they're not prepared to show that kind of pragmatism, then they had better hope Lineker has plenty of Top Of The Pops re-runs to fill his Saturday nights.

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