TV soccer mouthpieces ranging from Big Ron Atkinson to Tim Lovejoy have been pilloried in this space previously, so it’s nice to focus on the positive for change, even if it’s just someone else’s opinion. The Guardian’s Scott Murray considers the state of modern football analysis and declares, with few reservations, former Milwall midfielder, RTÃ‰’s Eamon Dunphy (above, middle) to be “the most entertaining, blindingly brilliant pundit of all time.”
His scattergun performances are legendary, impossible to definitively list. But high points include: accusing fellow pundit Liam Brady of putting in a performance for Ireland during the early 1980s that was “a monument to cowardice”; accusing fellow pundit Johnny Giles of deliberately breaking another player’s leg in the early 1960s when at Manchester United (Giles refused to speak to Dunphy off air for a couple of years as a result); accusing fellow pundit Brady, annoyed at a montage of ArsÃ¨ne Wenger prancing around on the touchline, of having “jumped the fence, baby” (Brady being involved with Arsenal youth training); and, when asked early one morning during the 2002 World Cup if Russia were likely to win a game, replying in the still-refreshed manner “I think they fucking should” before failing to reappear after a quickly convened commercial break.
The man is a genius. Anyone who disagrees now stands accused of taking football way too seriously. Shame, shame, shame on British television, which has never unearthed a delicious talent like this.