Radioheads have a sidelines kickabout

15th February 2008 at 00:00

Two men are talking balls on the radio. As their subject is football and this is the Saturday Premiership commentary, this should present no problems.

The men in question are Alan Green and Jimmy Armfield. Green, doyen of the live match commentators, is outspoken, occasionally abusive, and the sworn enemy of the big-shot managers. Armfield, an English international in his day who went on to manage Bolton Wanderers and Leeds United, also likes to tell it like it is. Between them, they certainly know a thing or two about projecting spherical objects.

A free kick is awarded. Green is incensed that the referee doesn't make the defending side retreat the prescribed 10 yards. "Can the referee count to 10?" he asks in his distinctive Ulster brogue. Armfield doubts it. They both laugh.

"Do they still teach geometry any more?" Green asks, in a sudden leap from basic numeracy to geometry, presumably prompted by internal musings on the arc of the ball once kicked. You can sense Armfield shaking his head. "I don't know."

"Do they still teach anything in school these days?" asks Green. "Good point, Alan," responds the expert match summariser. They're beginning to sound like a cross between a Daily Telegraph editorial and Harry Enfield's old gits.

"I don't know what they teach in schools these days," Green chuckles. "Listeners to the World Service won't know what we're on about." He chuckles some more, then is suddenly serious: "It's the terrible state of British education today." Armfield mumbles assent. "I know you feel strongly about this Jimmy," adds Green.

As I suggested at the top of this piece, this is two men talking balls on the radio.

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