By now, everyone’s had his sixpenn’orth where Wayne Rooney’s outburst at West Ham is concerned.
We’ve heard about the increasing charmlessness of a man whom it would seem not even the great Sir Alex can tame (whoever it was labelled Rooney ‘the assassin-faced baby’ deserves some sort of award). We’re told how this was the hair-trigger anger of a troubled nation in microcosm, not to mention the national game gone rotten, Vol. LVI, Episode XXX. All of it done to death in the last few days.
So I offer only this. Were Sky Sports not so keen to have cameras up the nostril, anus and navel of everyone remotely connected with Premier League football, there would not have been an incident in the first place.
Just as bigger isn’t always better, neither is closer.
There’s a reason why few magicians would ever entertain the idea of being filmed at a range of two feet and from every conceivable angle, either on-stage or in their rehearsal room. There’s a risk of the illusion we all know exists being shattered, to no-one’s benefit but the carpers and smart alecks.
Football, too, I believe, could use a similar stand-off. While not all professional footballers are graceless oiks, there is ample evidence that a significant proportion of their number most definitely are. The beautiful game is practised by some ugly personalities and when you probe cameras into every nook and cranny of their working environment, far from gaining an improved appreciation of their world, you’re too often left wrinkling your nose at a tarnished spectacle.
Touchline cameras are not ‘progress’ and dressing-room cameras will eventually do their own bit to chip away the game’s veneer, as uneducated people high on adrenaline eventually resolve post-game differences of opinion as they have done for a century, only this time in the full gaze of a national audience.
And many in that audience, I suspect, will wonder if they need it. We’re well aware that professional sport has its dark side and we get our quota of ugliness from Monday to Friday; on the news and on our streets. When we turn to games for light relief at weekends, many of us would gladly settle for the same suspension of belief we implement with David Blaine & Co. Spare us the reality; we’re happy with the illusion.
I have no idea what Wayne Rooney’s best side is where cameras are concerned but for the second time in a year we have proof that it’s best viewed at a minimum range of 25 yards.
You want to be truly innovative and ground-breaking, Sky? Here’s an idea.
- Wayne Rooney axed by Coca-Cola after foul-mouthed tirade on live TV (dailymail.co.uk)