Remote control - Saturday June 21, 2014

Phil Neville, football pundit

Phil Neville, football pundit

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He will be disappointed with that

As one of the great World Cups unfold before our eyes another sport has taken hold.

Social media is having its own contest to find the worst pundit or commentator to take to the airwaves for this festival of football.

While fans really should be overjoyed at feasting on the skills of Arjen Robben, Juan Cuadrado and all the other stars in Brazil a rather tragic obsession with those behind the microphone is in full swing.

Maybe it is jealousy at those privileged to be paid in licence fee payers’ pounds to shuttle between Copacabana Beach and the Maracana to watch the best football has to offer.

But was Phil Neville’s performance at the England vs Italy game (BBC One, Saturday) really bad enough to warrant hundreds of complaints to the BBC?

Did his considered views seriously distract so much from the enjoyment of one of the first week’s more absorbing games so as to spoil the occasion?

And if you are going to take the time to contact the BBC surely it should be to praise them for leaving Garth Crooks at home rather than giving young Phil the chance to make his debut in the biggest game of the year.

In the unforgiving gaze of 15m viewers, each seemingly armed with a Twitter account, the poor lad may be no more than Gary Neville light. Ever was it thus on the football pitch.

But who really cares who is calling refereeing decisions when the football is so damned entertaining.

Especially when silencing Neville is just a push of The Red Button away in a World Cup which allows the discerning viewer to pick their own commentator.

Press it, I dare you. You might find Robbie Savage at the other end and experience the pain of commuters everywhere dashing home to watch the last of the match on TV with only Radio Five Live for company.

But let’s be honest, when you have been waiting four years and you have all your mates on the patio, if you are the slightest bit worried about the opinions of an expert analyst then the World Cup is really not for you.

It isn’t as if the nation’s most watched politics show ever invited the world of football’s very own Joey Barton for his considered views on UKIP and such like.

Now that slice of trivialisation might be worth a letter to Points of View.

Mike Hill