To tell you the truth I’d grown tired, a long time ago, of his self congratulatory style. Goodness me, did he fancy himself or what? Despite this he could, on many occasions, make me smile in admiration for his deft analysis. He had a very deep understanding of the game – deeper than anyone else on Sky.
The thing I disliked most was his trashing of match officials. On balance his departure is a blessing. How fitting that the issue that got him the sack was the disparagement of a linesman.
TV and Sky have a lot to answer for. So do the press
It was the Telegraph, I think, a few days ago, that had a story about how O’Neill refused to take the job at West Ham because he was outraged at the way Avram Grant had been treated.
At what level of gullibility will these journos smell the coffee? Oliver Holt has also bought into the myth. They’re all working with an agenda and anything that doesn’t fit gets discarded.
Don’t worry, fellas, this is not an O’Neill rant. I'm on the wagon - "My name is Jerry and I'm an O'Neillrantoholic". In fact, I think he did the right thing in refusing the job. He would have inherited a piss-poor squad with very little money to spend. The whole set-up at West Ham is a kick in the nuts to nothing.
Moreover, why would anyone accept being ordered about by Karen Brady? Now there's a lady that understands how to play two up top and a sweeper at the back. Fair play Martin – bide your time.
But let’s not pretend it was ethics. Do behave. O’Neill and the rest know a poisoned chalice when they see one.
What’s the journo’s agenda then? I think it has to do with O’Neill’s treatment when he applied for the England Job.
If England are successful then all the journalists and the TV commentators and pundits and summarisers get awarded first class accommodation in the Garden of Eden. They get to go to all the big tournaments and see all the big games – from the comfort of the private commentary boxes. They stay in five star hotels and dine in classy restaurants.
And best of all they get to parade their vacuous opinions before the vast millions who have no choice but to listen to the drivel unless they watch with mute button on. For the record, I’ve done that a few times.
But in recent times England has not done so well and the retinue of parasites has had to surrender their privileges at an early stage.
And the job gets harder. Writing and talking about success is infinitely easier for these mediocre talents than picking the bones out of failure. More customers are willing to read and listen to a success story so their work is judged with greater reverence if England succeeds. England failure is heavy-duty toil at the coal face.
Someone has to take the blame when we lose and the first one in line is, of course, the manager. But after the failure, the first thing that gets dusted off is the pundits’ twenty/twenty vision. They always knew Sven/McLaren/Capello were duffers and that failure was inevitable. So if they knew, why didn’t the FA?
Now we get to the true culprits. The FA – the morons who appoint these failures. And who should they have appointed? Why, none other than the man they rejected and went on to do such a wonderful job at Villa Park. He was a Messiah for the Villa and he would have been a Messiah for England.
Convoluted? Some of you will think so. But it is no more than human nature at its egotistical best – when did any of these time-servers ever admit to a mistake. They know best and they are never wrong.
Remember Hansen and Shearer at the World Cup? They set new standards for idiocy. I once saw Kenny Dalglish commentating on a match, and the linesman gave a goal in difficult circumstances where it was not easy to tell whether the ball had crossed the line. Dalglish was convinced the ball hadn’t crossed the line and berated the linesman mercilessly. Later, slo-mo evidence clearly showed the ball had crossed the line.
Dalglish was invited to comment. He said the linesman was still at fault because he couldn’t possibly tell from where he was standing on the touchline.