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Hansen needs to get his teeth into his BBC chums; VIEW FROM THE SOFA Match Of The Day BBC1, 10.25pm.

Byline: Bruce Millington

THE highlight of wedding receptions is usually seeing the groom's zany old uncle cavorting drunkenly around the dancefloor, falling up on his arse and frightening the bridesmaids.

But at a wedding bash I attended last week the entertainment was provided not by an elderly oaf but a guy who was desperately trying to avoid conversations about that day's football as he had recorded Match Of The Day and wanted to watch it when he got in without knowing what had happened.

I didn't know people still did this. I always assumed the newsreader of the 10pm bulletin was wasting his time when he warned people who didn't know the scores to look away.

But, no. Some people do stay away from all relevant TV and radio on a Saturday afternoon, including my pal, whose desire to avoid the scores manifested itself in him running away from conversations with his fingers in his ears making loud droning noises.

Actually, while the evasion of information process must be a weekly chore, if you could get beyond ten o'clock on a Saturday night without knowing what had happened between 3 and 5pm it would be great to sprawl on the sofa with a beer and a kebab and watch the action blind, especially if you have a variety of potentially lifechanging bets running.

The trouble with MOTD is that it has become such a bind sitting through the non-stop mateyness of the presenters.

I happen to think Gary Lineker is over-maligned. He's fluent, knowledgeable and cheery. But he must get out of the habit of thinking we have tuned in to sample a few bursts of banter between him, Alan Hansen and Alan Shearer.

Last week, for instance, Lineker made a reference to Hansen's extra work as an actor in a pizza commercial, whereupon all three of them fell about laughing.

It was pathetic, and it is to be hoped whoever runs the show issued an instant reminder that nothing annoys people more than an in-joke that they don't understand.

It is also noticeable that Hansen is mellowing slightly, which is a disappointment. Perhaps he gets fed up with bumping into defenders who want to fight him for criticising their errors. Maybe that's just what happens as you get older.

But it is a shame he no longer shows the same ability to clinically dismantle a player's performance because without his superbly cutting analysis the show is losing its teeth.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 29, 2007
Words:410
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