Match of the Day’s informal campaign to introduce a more formal vocabulary into its football reporting appears to be gathering pace.
In this weeks (27/02/10) programme Portsmouth’s fall into administration and the resulting 9 point deduction is about to be ‘ratified’, not confirmed, approved or even formally approved. The Manchester City team that overwhelmed Chelsea on Saturday, beating them 4 goals to 2, was ‘galvanised’ , not brought together, or united. Though I must concede I can see why using ‘united’ – ‘Manchester City is united..’ – was unsuitable and could have caused some confusion.
The reasons predicated by the BBC reporter at the Chelsea game as to why the Manchester City team should be galvanised, are the same as those that have dominated the press for the last few weeks. The relationship between John Terry and Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend, the mother of Bridge’s child (http://tinyurl.com/y9ogokj).
When Carlos Tevez , the Argentinian Manchester City striker, was asked about the influence of the obvious animosity between the two players the word ‘galvanise’ didn’t compute, which was both unfortunate and understandable, and he promptly referred the interviewer to Craig Bellamy, one of the other goal scorers.
Craig Bellamy, in his own inimitable style, then mumbled something virtually indecipherable about knowing all about ‘JT’s’ antics off-the-field’, before commenting on his on field achievements as a ‘outstanding player’ and attributes as ‘Captain’ http://www.youtube.com/user/idStarfleet#p/a/u/1/pjhbv1UxjjU.
By not answering the question the viewer was left wondering if he had simply prepared a stock answer, avoided the question, or whether he had just not fully understood the question and what ‘galvanised’ meant. What is certain the significant victory on the pitch at Stamford Bridge was clearly over shadowed by off field events, and the coup of getting an on-the-record comment from a close colleague of Wayne Bridge was overshadowed by the interviewers application of Galvanise.
To be fair it was an excellent use of the word, as Manchester City appeared ‘fired up’ and sparking with life, and many viewers will have instantly understood what was being asked in the interview. However, if the comments under the YouTube clip featured above, are anything to judge by quite a substantial part of the programmes audience did not.
And here in lies the problem for the BBC. Does Match Of The Day because it has such a broad franchise adopt a LCD (Lowest Common Denominator) editorial policy in order to ensure universal understanding, or because of its role as protector of English culture have a duty to maintain its ‘standards’ and stretch its audience?
In recent weeks more of these type of words have been appearing in the Match Of The Day show and one is left wondering is this part of a new policy, revitalisation of an old one, or the work of a maverick script writer?