TV View: A good night for Jackpot, Chizzy and Real Madrid
Juve doomed because they can’t compete with the monied clubs?
will.i.am, apl.de.ap and Taboo of The Black Eyed Peas perform prior to the Champions League final between Juventus and Real Madrid at National Stadium of Wales in Cardiff. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
While the football-loving audience no doubt appreciated the Black Eyed Peas’ optimism about the night ahead – if they told us once they had a feeling it would be a good one, they told us several dozen times – as kick-off time approached it looked like they had misunderstood Uefa’s invite and were all set to give us a two hour show. All the time wondering why so many had travelled to Cardiff from Madrid and Turin to see them.
George Hamilton, waiting impatiently for his 30th Champions League final, sounded a little exasperated by the time they were done, somewhat rudely suggesting that the only tune the crowd recognised was the last one.
“They promised a show harnessing the excitement of the fans – they certainly silenced them to start with,” he said.
By now, the only feeling Ronnie Whelan was experiencing was intense irritation, the fella spittin’ over the amount of smoke left in the stadium after the show.
Not a great start, then, but as it proved, the Peas’ feels were spot on – it proved to be an excellent night. (Well, unless you’re a Juve fan).
At its conclusion the only unanswered question, really, was how did Luka Modric only cost Real Madrid €35ish million when the little fella’s left earlobe should be worth that alone. But, majestic as he was, he was pipped to our ‘Man of the Night’ award.
That went to Steve McClaren for his performance over on Sky Sports News, which was only happened upon accidentally when getting lost while trying to flick from RTÉ to BT Sport.
And there he was, sitting at a big glass table with his headphones on, watching the game on a little telly all by himself, while the presenters updated us on the World Cup of Darts in Frankfurt where Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis and Dave ‘Chizzy’ Chisnall had given England a 2-0 triumph over South Africa.
While Clare Tomlinson was sharing this news with us, Steve let out a big “OOOOOH”, so she asked him what he was oooohing about.
Real Madrid had gone 3-1 up, he told her, and were producing “a football exhibition”. Claire could have told the viewers at this point that if they switched over to BT they could, like Steve, watch the exhibition for free. But she said nothing, the only live coverage she offered was that of Real Madrid fans watching the game on a big telly back in the Bernabeu.
When it was all over Steve put Real’s success down to the fact that they tend to score more goals than the teams they’re playing, a level of insight that probably clinched him the England job back in the day.
Claire thanked him for his work through the evening.
“Thanks for inviting me,” he said, “it’s been great!”
Back on RTÉ, Darragh Maloney had left viewers gasping for news about Jackpot and Chizzy in the dark, instead focussing on the contest in Cardiff with Eamon, Didi and Liam on panel duty.
Eamon had his doubts about Madrid because, he said, they were beaten in the Spanish Cup semi-finals by Malaga. Didi looked mad tempted to point out that it was actually Celta Vigo in the quarters, but he resisted, and like Liam said he had a hunch Juve would prevail.
They started well, too, as Steve McManaman noted over on BT, but he made his observation after 36 seconds, so that was a little hasty. By the 20th minute they were 1-0 down, but then Mario Mandzukic scored a goal so exquisite if there was any justice it would have counted for five, and Gianluigi Buffon would now have a complete set of medals.
“The ball never even touched the ground,” a purring Darren Fletcher said of the move. “It was like Subbuteo,” gasped McManaman. Puzzled glances were exchanged in living rooms the length and breadth of these islands. If Maccer was able to make his Subbuteo men perform overhead kicks, then he should have a job at NASA.
Any way, the only disappointment about the first half was that it ended.
“Pulsating,” as Liam put it, but the second was a touch less competitive, Juve running out of steam while Real steamrolled them.
“Real literally blew Juve away,” said Rio Ferdinand back on BT, and they almost literally did too, the only blip on an otherwise flawless display that moment Sergio Ramos got Juan Cuadrado sent off, proving he’s the devil’s spawn.
Eamon was a bit wistful about it all, concluding that Juve were doomed because they can’t compete with the monied clubs.
“And that means we are losing one of the great footballing nations in the world before our eyes,” he said. Liam’s face suggested he thought this conclusion was excessively apocalyptic, Juve being one of the top 10 richest clubs in the world after all, but he let it go.
Over on Sky Sports News, meanwhile, they were showing us clips of the darts all over again, and you could never see them enough.
All round, a good, good night, then, for Jackpot, Chizzy – and Real Madrid.