Those who know me in “real life” will know that I’m a man of habit. Whether it’s food, the train carriage I sit in, the bottled water I drink or hundreds of other things – if I find that my routine has been broken, I get irritated. I’ve always been this way, and I’ll never change. Your behavioural patterns remain largely constant through life, and that’s just the way it is, innit?
One of these habits I have occurs on a Sunday evening, roughly ten minutes after the “Super Sunday” 4pm kick-off has concluded and my mind is whizzing with thoughts and opinions and viewpoints. I sit down at my computer, I load up NFL.com if my team (the Redskins. That’s not me being racist by the way, that is literally their name) are playing, and then once I’ve got their game up and all sorted I hurry off to the homepage of BBC Radio Five Live and I click “listen live”, just in time for the institution that is ‘606’.
Ah, 606. I absolutely hate the programme, by the way. Abhor it, and everything about it. But the problem with routines is that once they’re established, you’re kinda stuck with them, right? 606 is my Sunday night routine, and I curse the day that that came to be. Anyway, I hate the show for two reasons, the first being Alan Green. Now, the other day on another website I criticised a former Tory PPC, at which point he wrote a column pretty much dedicated to me in a local newspaper, so I’ve learnt to be careful about what I say and about whom on t’internet. Nevertheless, Alan Green is ghastly, isn’t he? The pro-Liverpool bias I can cope with, but it’s his rudeness and arrogance that gets to me. He’s not much cop on commentary, either. Alan Green doesn’t tell you what’s happening on a football field. Instead he tells you his opinion on what’s happening on a football field, which is an entirely different thing.
So I’m no fan of Green but the real reason why 606 gets my goat is the callers – the people who think that it’s perfectly sane and normal to ring up a radio station and moan to a Northern Irish man about a game of football most of us haven’t seen. These people are always very, very strange. Let me put it this way, you haven’t experienced humanity fully until you’ve listened to 606:
“Ere Alan, I was down the Lane today and I tell ya, that AVB, right mug he is Alan. Defoe up front…don’t gemme wrong I love little Jermain but ‘is hold-up play ain’t nothing compared to Adebayor’s, is it Alan? And what about the ref today Alan?”
“I didn’t see the game.”
“Proper big time Charlie I tell ya, booking Scotty Parker, what was with that eh Alan?”
And so on and so forth. I mention all this because after our game against Chelsea on Sunday, 606 went absolutely mental. I mean, more so than usual. A woman started screeching about Alex Ferguson and his influence. A man stated – genuinely – that he wanted to “kill Clattenburg”, an announcement which drew an apology from Green at the end of the show. At times I always think it is wise to take a step back from football, and take it for what it is – a stupid sport. But based on the callers into 606, you’d think it was something so terribly important, something so vital that if it stopped we may as well all just go and take our cyanide pill and be done with it.
Of course, Mark Clattenburg is in the news a lot right now, and not just because of his decisions on the pitch on Sunday. I’m not going to comment on the situation – it would be wise for everyone to stay away from that one – but what I will say is that I’ve never been a fan of his. Clattenburg to me always seemed a bit show-offy, that a football match could not be a spectacle unless he played a starring role in it. I can’t stand referees like that, and they are a blight on the game.
Actually, I feel pretty strongly about this issue. Whilst you finish reading this, I’ll go and find Alan Green’s number. I feel like giving him a call…