For Sunday’s North London Derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, FOX Soccer Channel decided to bring on Arsenal supporter Piers Morgan. He was present for their pre-game buildup, half time and post-match highlights along with their normal studio setup.
I am still baffled by many of FOX’s current decisions regarding FOX Soccer Channel. They have always taken a somewhat cutting edge approach, even dating back to the beginnings when they were FOX Sports World, however, some of their most recent decisions have been rather more controversial.
FOX Soccer Issues?
I can deal with the FOX Soccer News attempts to be a combination of news program and opinion source with their pundits, but I have never been a fan of their somewhat low-fi set and quality. I have also been able to cope with having Rob Stone coupled with Warren Barton, Eric Wynalda and sometimes Brian McBride. They get annoying at times and not always the most well informed, but at least they are trying.
What has me completely baffled is bringing in newbies like Gus Johnson to commentate for very high profile matches and the latest decision to have Piers Morgan on for the Derby today. He is such a polarizing and opionated person that I just don’t understand it.
Here are my three reasons why he should never have been on:
1) He’s an Arsenal supporter:
Piers Morgan is not a football “expert” or a pundit, he’s simply a famous Arsenal supporter who has worked in the press industry for many years. In the past couple of years he has also been extremely vocal about his views on Arsene Wenger and opinion that Wenger should leave or be sacked. What FOX Soccer did was to provide another venue for him to get on his soapbox and continue his “Wenger must leave” mantra.
He spent the majority of his time analysing all of the reasons that he thinks Arsene Wenger should no longer be at the club rather than actually analysing the match that was going on.
2) He did not add anything to the analysis:
Morgan added nothing in terms of any real tactical analysis of the match, and particularly from the point of view of Tottenham. His only real addition to any of the buildup or highlights was to say how awful Arsenal were and that Wenger needs to leave. He did very well at putting down his team and when he was asked for positive continued to rave about how horrible they had played.
The match itself was a very exciting and intense match, in my opinion. There was a lot in it tactically speaking from both sides. I will admit that he was able to point out some of the defensive errors on the Spurs goals, but he did not give any positives from Tottenham’s point of view, which also led to the others on the program avoiding this as well.
3) He’s not interesting and brought nothing special:
Time spent on the highlights portion of a sports broadcast should not be used to further an agenda. What really bothered me about it was that the other three in the studio were really pandering to him and his views instead of calling him out on anything. Nobody bothered to mention how well Spurs played in the entirety of the game, instead they stuck with Morgan’s own analysis of the horrid job that Wenger did with the team selection and tactics. They even went so far as to back up his analysis of Tottenham’s two goals and didn’t bother questioning him.
What I want to hear from guest pundits is insightful analysis mixed in with a few well informed opinions. While I may agree with him that it is time for Wenger to move on (or possibly change his tactics and footballing philosophy), I don’t think that going on FOX Soccer as a so called “football expert” is the place to so fervently voice this view.
FOX Soccer losing it after losing EPL rights?
I think that FOX is really clutching at straws now that they have lost out on the rights for the English Premier League for next season (with NBC set to take over coverage in the US). They are trying desperately to draw in viewers outside of the typical audience. It’s hard to say if it’s working or not.
What do you think, are you a fan of Piers Morgan? Would you rather he stayed on his own program and stay out of football punditry? Maybe you think that FOX Soccer should bring in famous fans from other teams?