TV View: The punditry equivalent of making a Tuscan salad in 20 minutes

Ted Walsh doesn’t disappoint while Sporty Stuff TV’s darts hosts prove heroic

Sporty Stuff TV is kinda one of those channels you stumble upon accidentally while looking for Food Network and its repeat of the Jamie Oliver 30 Minute Meals episode that shows you how to make a Tuscan salad in four hours despite only having half a red pepper and two mouldy scallions in the fridge.

It’s such a low-budget channel that it’s possible it costs less to run than what you’d actually pay for half a red pepper and two scallions, but they’re not short of sponsors, which probably helps.

“The Online Darts Live League is brought to you in association with Bet365, Betfair, BetFred, Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, Unibet and William Hill,” said the Sporty Stuff voice. You can only assume they lost BoyleSports’s number.

This announcement usually takes place right after one of those “gamble responsibly” warnings, and just before you’re enticed to have a wager on its menu of sports, which is largely made up of greyhound racing, darts, poker, motor sports and pool.

The darts hosts are heroic because they sit in a very small box for 3½ hours commentating on contests that take place in a slightly bigger box in Southampton, the sport seemingly unaware that crowds are now allowed back in and there’s no need to be socially distanced any more.

‘Stroke me, stroke me’

Coverage of the greyhound racing lasts in or around twice 3½ hours, Julie Collier our host on Sunday, with Anneliese Thompson alongside her and our very own Emma Buckley zooming in from Limerick.

“In my experience, bitches give men those doey eyes, mine wanders around looking at them, saying ‘stroke me, stroke me’,” said Julie in the course of their chat, latecomers to the coverage possibly thinking they were analysing rap lyrics.

But the chat was about the difference between training boy and girl greyhounds, it taking place just before we were transported to Mullingar for the 2.58 race.

Those who had just tuned in from the golf might have wondered if the world leaders currently in Glasgow should be exercised by Climate Swap rather than Change, not least because they’d just seen Graeme McDowell almost transported to Mullingar by the tempest that had kicked off in Bermuda. It would be wrong to say it was tropical in Mullingar, but by comparison it wasn’t far off.

On Saturday, meanwhile, there was a hint of climate change in the air in London when Spurs welcomed Manchester United to a game where defeat for either side would most probably result in the losing gaffer ending up on the dole.

Roy Keane was on Sky duty, so harsh words were uttered, not least when he mimicked Harry Maguire’s apology to the faithful after that Liverpool annihilation. “He was like a robot!”

For Roy, sorry is the most unforgivable word, especially when possibly prompted by a team of PR consultants who assemble a focus group of disgruntled supporters and ask if it would help if a doey-eyed apologetic player said “stroke me, stroke me” after defending like a drain.

‘United are s**t’

Mind you, Danny Mills provided the week's most succinct summing up of Ole's lads when he thought his mic was switched off on Sky Sports News. "Basically," he said, "United are s**t."

Roy and Graeme Souness said as much too, if more politely, but both reckoned that when you've hit rock bottom what you really need is a game against Spursy. And so it proved, Nuno Espírito Santo's lads making United look like AC Milan of the late 1980s.

"Who'd be a manager," said Gary Neville when the camera zoomed in on Nuno's broken face.

“Well,” replied Martin Tyler, “when you see the payslip, everybody”.

True.

Spurs? “Abysmal”, “toothless” and, worst of all, “boring”, Roy and Graeme concluded, while Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t wrong in his post-match chat with Sky. “One day is perfect, another day we are crap. . . sometimes life is like that.”

The punditry award of the weekend, though, goes to Ted Walsh when he was analysing the prospects of Getupthemstairs at Down Royal.

“Did you ever say that to Ruby and Katie when they were young, ‘Get up them stairs’,” asked Hugh Cahill.

“No,” said Ted, “we lived in a bungalow”.

The punditry equivalent of making a Tuscan salad in 20 minutes, that.

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