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Miserable Hansen has become unwatchable; STEVE DAVIES.

AT the fear of sounding all Al Murray, you only get a real sense of how great Great Britain truly is when the legal profession reckon it's time to review some of our more arcane laws.

Where else in the world, for example, would cabbies be liable if they don't ask their fares if they are suffering from smallpox or the plague? And did you know that it's illegal for a woman to be topless in public in Liverpool, although presumably there must be an exemption on the Statute Book to cover Aintree's Ladies Day.

The Law Commission is the body responsible for validating or removing such quaint pieces of legislation and will also be adjudicating on whether reoffenders in the Wigan area can appeal against being handed 'season ticket orders' for the DW Stadium or if journalists should be hung, drawn and quartered if they fail to laugh sycophantically and look doe-eyed at selected moments during Jose Mourinho press conferences.

And then there is the small matter of legislating a date for when Alan Hansen and Gordon Strachan should be sent to the stocks, because surely the time for that has come.

Look, it's been a wonderful start to the campaign across all divisions with goals galore. Forget the tiresome debate about the state of the England national team and the part the Premier League has played in that - as football fans we are loving the first month of the season. Apart from Southampton supporters perhaps.

Hansen, however, is unhappy. It's hard to know whether he's quite as unhappy as he was at the World Cup, where the BBC pundit cut an increasingly dispirited figure during a competition that had few bright spots on the pitch.

The miserable Scot had the opportunity to brighten it up from the studio with words of wisdom and pearls of knowledge, but decided he couldn't be bothered.

But then why should he be? In another quirk of the British legal system, it has been decreed that a job at the Beeb is a job for life regardless of how average you are. Jimmy Young was about 132 when they finally shoehorned him out of his Radio 2 bolthole - much to the chagrin of Mail on Sunday readers who still pine for JY in much the same way that they yearn for the return of hanging, rickets and men at football matches throwing their caps in the air in unison - and Hansen knows full well that he'll be sat alongside Gary Lineker for years to come.

So that means more graceless acknowledgments of the odd good performance and more withering assessments of a side like Blackpool, a team who will live - and doubtless die - by Ian Holloway's thrilling and admittedly flawed sword of adventure.

We've just had a Premier League weekend featuring 38 goals and entertainment galore and Hansen is urging the competition's newest breath of fresh air to be transformed into Blackburn or Stoke. God forbid.

Strachan has done his fair share of punditry because TV producers seem to love the edgy wit that the rest of us have found so tiresome over the years. Remember this encounter? Reporter: Bang, there goes your unbeaten run. Can you take it? Strachan: No, I'm just going to crumble like a wreck. I'll go home, become an alcoholic and maybe jump off a bridge.

Umm, I think I can take it, yeah.

Oh, how we laughed. While Hansen has been desperate to pour scorn on breezy Blackpool, Strachan has discovered a new pathetic stick with which to beat officials.

Middlesbrough were dumped out of the Carling Cup by Millwall on Tuesday with the help of a penalty awarded by the ref's assistant. Boss Strachan tore into the officials claiming that the referee, not his sidekick, should have made the decision (and presumably not given the spot kick) because he is paid more. And there were we thinking the four officials worked together as a team, unlike Boro who look like being every bit as unwatchable as last season.

And every bit as unwatchable as Hansen has become. Opinionated is fine, perceptive is good, but he's neither of those things any more.

CAPTION(S):

Blackpool have been a breath of fresh air in the Premier League despite their 6-0 humbling at Arsenal on Saturday
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 26, 2010
Words:717
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