I was watching the second-half of Brazil v Croatia last night (after I had spent the first half with Springwatch; you need a bit of give and take in a relationship I find), when John Motson goes all statistical on us, wibbling on in irritating fashion as is his wont. Do I really care that if Brazil beat Croatia then it will be their eighth straight win in the World Cup finals, a new record? If Motty were even a half-decent commentator that I could ignore his numerical excursions, but his continued pre-eminence on the BBC is an affliction I really hoped would have been dealt with in the appropriate manner by now. Will there be no end to his reign of tedium?
But then I perked up when he continued “and if Croatia lose then it will be their first competitive defeat in four years”.
Eh? You’re probably thinking what I was thinking; did I dream Rooney ripping their defence apart two years ago in the European Championships? It was Croatia, wasn’t it? It was, I was certain of it, but for a moment I began to doubt my sanity.
The ball went out for a corner to Brazil, and Motson piped up “as I was saying, Croatia’s last defeat was two years ago to England in Portugal”.
As I was saying! You lying git. Or was he? I questioned myself again, wondering this time if I had initially misheard.
But technology is a wonderful thing. I pressed rewind on my Sky+ like PVR until I saw Roberto Carlos take a throw, and listened again as Motson clearly made the claim that Croatia were undefeated in four years, and then continued on to make his “as I was saying…two years” comment; then I pressed the red button, selected Radio Five’s audio, and ditched the pillock once and for all.
I wouldn’t have minded if he had said “oops, silly me, my mistake, what was I thinking of”, but no; instead he embarked on a shameless attempt to airbrush his error from history, to try to purge the mistake from his spotless record on statistics. It was all very ugly.
How did he realise he had got it wrong? Did it just suddenly occur to him and panicking he blurted out his lazy covering tactic; or more likely did Mark Lawrenson, off mic, point out that he had fouled up? I don’t know, but I have enough fear in me to be anxious for Lawrenson’s welfare; I don’t think Motson appreciates someone pointing out his feet of clay. Please, as soon as someone spots Mark safe and well, leave a comment on this post and put my mind at rest.*
*I don’t count a surreal sighting of Mark Lawrenson reading a story at the end of the Bedtime Hour on Cbeebies. I am sure they were recorded ages ago, (and I pray that they are not all we will have to remember him by).