The global pandemic caused by Covid-19 will have hit us all hard over the course of the past 3-4 months. People have seen reductions in income, losses of livelihoods and of course the departure of friends and relatives who are sadly no longer with us.
It also seems that for Sky Sports – the multi billion pound conglomerate – that makes the Premier League the greed machine it has turned into things are no different. For it certainly seems that for the past two games I have watched they have dispensed with their own commentators and instead just shipped in the team from Brentford’s ifollow coverage. In fact at one point I felt last night that we should have been almost grateful to be on the same pitch as the Bees such was the one eyed view from Mick McCarthy in particular who spent large chunks of the last half hour patronising us to the highest extreme.
I actually quite enjoy the ifollow streams of games when you get them. You know you are watching the opposition coverage so you know they will have their own version of Wyndham Evans in a studio somewhere ready to believe that every foul by us is free kick for them and every foul by them “wouldn’t have happened in my day” You accept that for what it is and actually it makes for a more interesting game, especially when we are winning.
But when you are watching the national coverage of a game you expect some more balance in the commentary. Some acceptance that the two teams are in the play offs because, over 46 games, that is where they deserved to be. Not comments like “Swansea have given a good account of themselves here” (or words to that effect) because it may have escaped your notice but we are here because we won 70 points over 46 games, a tally bettered only by 5 teams. Guess what, we are a half decent side you know.
The build up to the game last night was so one-sided you would have been forgiven had you tuned in not knowing the two teams of getting to kick off wondering who Brentford was playing. Ollie Watkins, Thomas Frank, Griffin Park and a whole gush of praise that makes you wonder if the Premier League were already thinking how could they manage without this team in their division.
McCarthy was clearly after a free seat in hospitality when crowds do return to football with several comments almost indicating that our players should be grateful to be on the pitch as this generation of superstars almost akin to Brazil of 1970. At one point I wondered in the drinks break if Steve Cooper may actually allow his team to collect autographs of the opposition while they had the chance to do so.
The first leg was a similar story. McCarthy was hugely critical of the Ayew penalty which clearly said he hadn’t seen him take one all season and the red card apparently by last night had completely turned the game at the Liberty. History is more than capable of re-writing itself at the best of times but the first leg was a reasonably even battle during which both sides spent some time threatening.
McCarthy sounded surprised when we had some possession in the first half and pushed forward – I mean how very dare we – and when Jansson allowed Brewster to finish so well then it was all about the mistake and nothing about the top class quality of the finish. Reverse that and it was Cabango who made the mistake and Ollie Watkins who finished can you imagine the same reaction from our own Uncle Mick?
For many years I have accepted that Sky believe that life starts and ends with the Premier League but this was taking their lack of understanding of the Championship to a whole new level. Don’t get me wrong, Brentford are an excellent side and comfortably beat us on the night but the gulf in class is not at the level that Mick and Sky would like you to think.
The final icing was us being a few years behind Brentford as a “project” which I kind of understand but it seems to ignore the fact that when Brentford’s “project” was starting we were completing league doubles over Arsenal and Man Utd.
When the final whistle blew and Brentford celebrated I genuinely would not have been surprised to see McCarthy in the middle of it all, all full kit w*nkered up a la John Terry, celebrating with the players. This isn’t the rant of a bitter loser, the better side undoubtedly won, but certainly the rant of someone who listened to two games of some of the most biased commentary that even Wyndham Evans would have thought was unbalanced.
Who are Brentford playing tonight? Hasn't been mentioned yet.
— Swansea Snapper (@JCJJMB) July 29, 2020
Nobody knows just yet what division Brentford will find themselves in next season but one thing is for certain, Mick McCarthy will have passed his ifollow audition for their next season in the Championship, whenever that is.