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It’s all over bar the quoting

‘Now over to Garth Crooks at the Theatre of Dreams.’

‘Thanks, Ray.’ (Assumes most serious expression) ‘Sir Peter: a full house, a flawless performance, a standing ovation. Does it get any better?’

‘Well, obviously, we’re all happy with the result. But at the end of the day it’s too early to get carried away. We’ll be taking each performance as it comes.’

‘Well, absolutely, Sir Peter. (Pause) What about the boy Othello? Magic?’

‘Well, buy canada goose jacket cheap obviously. He gives us a lot of options up front. He’s a big lad. Not afraid to put himself about. Gels well. Natural finisher. Lovely lad.’

‘Tremendous. And little Desdemona?’

‘Yeah, well, Dessie’s come in and done are there any canada goose outlet stores a phenomenal job of work. There were a lot of people who questioned her stamina, her commitment, canada goose coat 1000 calorie diet her… how can I put this… balls. But we don’t hear so much from them now. (Chuckles) Do we?’

‘Well, absolutely.’ (Fiddles with earpiece) ‘Sir Peter, I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got time for. canada goose coat 1000 calorie a day meal plan Thank you so much. Back to canada goose coat – hybridge lite the studio.’

‘Thanks, Garth. And Sir Peter Hall. Great to see him back on the programme. Less happy news from the West End of London – Gerald Sinstadt.’

‘Jeffrey, a sad day for everyone here at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, with the news that mathematically it’s all over. Three weeks and your run in the top flight, plying your trade among the big boys, will be at an end.’

‘Yeah, at the end of the day it’s the lads I feel gutted for. They’ve given everything. The lot. You should see the scenes in the changing room now. Grown men crying in the showers. They’re… they’re…'(Chokes up)


‘Beyond upset. Utterly gutted. Words fail me.’

(Long pause)

‘Well, thank you very much, Jeffrey Archer. Back to the studio.’

What a bunch of baloney. Very nearly unreadable. And imagine if every director and every actor was given his or her say. If after every episode of EastE nders the cameras would wait outside Albert Square for Ian Beale to appear and tell the world: ‘At the end of the day, Carts came in from the right and delivered the perfect line and all I had to do was put a finish on it.’

Horrible to contemplate. Yet if there is one group less interesting on the subject of their work than thespians it is professional footballers, and every day similar nonsense is parroted incessantly on our various TV channels and reported verbatim in multifarious national newspapers.

It authentic canada goose outlet is very rare for this column, in any of its guises, to agree with the Daily Mail, but it’s hard not to concur with Ian Wooldridge’s comment on Wednesday that ‘it would now appear that no report is complete without some participant stating the imbecilically obvious’.

A fine sentiment although somewhat at odds with the rest of the Mail that day, which included:

Walter Smith: ‘There’s no point trying to hide behind excuses but… ‘(page 73)

Glenn Hoddle: ‘But what I really like is the way that he plays with his head up.’ (page 74)

Mart Poom: ‘I just can’t wait for each game to come along at the moment. The main thing for this club is to make sure we stay in the Premiership. Everything else is just a bonus.’ (page75)

Lucas Radebe: ‘On paper no one can beat us but, unfortunately… ‘(page 76)

Graham Taylor: ‘Things seem less of a mess now than they did on Boxing Day, sitting around looking at cold turkey.’ (page 77)

Alex Ferguson: ‘Having taken maximum points from our first two European games, we are in an excellent position.’ (page 78)

Dean Kiely: ‘In this League, you have to fight to earn the right to play.’ (page 79)

Bobby Robson: ‘I don’t condone what Kieron Dyer did. He’s apologised and was silly. He has to learn to control himself but… ‘ (page 80)

Beyond padding. Beyond blotting-paper. A goo of unfinished papier-mché that seeps into the brain and rots it senseless. There’s no escaping it and no stopping it.

Only last week, the High Priest of Babble, the Sun’s Brian ‘Wooly’ Woolnough (random quotes: ‘Kevin Keegan has the energy of a horse and the mental capacity of a scientist’; ‘take away David Beckham and Paul Scholes and our technique cupboard is bare’; ‘Group A in Euro 2000 was pressure like never before on the man known as the Messiah’) was, according to the UK Press Gazette , ‘wooed to the Daily Star by a fabulous salary hike and promise of club-class travel around the world’. You sense it was the club-class travel that swung the deal.

Wooly is the leader of the pack. When football writers gather to receive their post-match quotes, it is always Wooly who gives the sign to David Davies, or whoever, that the Sundays have had their fill and it is time for the Mondays to gather in a corner and receive exactly the same but sufficiently different quotes. Thus it is that Saturday matches generate sufficient ‘quotage’ to fill not one report but two.

Double bubble for the merchants of babble. Before best canada goose jacket womens long Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays will be in on the act. The ‘quotage’ will be overflowing. Like the magic porridge pot, it will generate enough stuff to drown us all.

The Woolster is also the eminence grise of Hold the Back Page , a programme that, canada goose coat 1000 bulbs reviews depending on homesite your mood, is either the funniest or the most depressing on television. It can be deeply funny to watch grown men ponder, furrow their brows and generally behave like someone who has been raised 20 grand he best fake canada goose jacket doesn’t have, before finally saying, with a grimace, something like: ‘I don’t think the Man United back four can accommodate both the Nevilles.’

There are other times when it’s not. When it leaves you feeling dispirited and not a little worried. Bereft of hope that romance and humour and fun will ever return to football and football writing. For while there is nothing funnier than people taking something essentially trivial achingly seriously, even the best jokes can go on too long.

Mercifully, there may be an escape. One ex-sports editor once asked me rhetorically, ‘Do you want to know the four most important sports in this country, son?’ And, before I could stop him, answered: ‘Football, Football, Football and Football.’ But those days may be about to end.

It is the first week in Janu ary, but what has football to offer for the rest of the year? United winning the Premiership for the seventh time in nine years? Yippee-skippee. A tense relegation battle involving Bradford City? Can’t wait. A non-Premiership team winning the average cost canada goose jacket FA Cup? Won’t happen.

Up against this motley crew there is a tranche of events that may interest even the non sports fan: the Six Nations, Istabraq at Cheltenham, the Lions tour of Australia, an Ashes series we might win, Lewis v Tyson, Henman at Wimbledon, Tiger Woods and the Ryder Cup. Make the most of it while you can. In 2002, it’s the World Cup against the Commonwealth Games.