Villa fans have long been suspicious of the existence of an agenda by the BBC towards Aston Villa. It starts with an alleged bias by the Beeb towards London and Manchester clubs, and ends with the fact Villa’s games have tended to be on last on Match of the Day. Of course there are mitigating circumstances to the BBC’s behaviour, for which they can be forgiven, namely Villa have been pretty naff in recent seasons.
But there’s no excuse though for some of the commentary remarks made during the BBC’s live coverage of Villa’s quarter-final game. Remarks that have again come into focus after the polar opposite treatment the Reading fans were afforded during their pitch invasion.
Some people point to the pre-final whistle invasion, but we’ve already discussed the BBC’s reaction to the premature pitch celebration when fans thought the final whistle had gone. Lets not forget the Reading game also had pitch invader (doing flips on the pitch) during the game, alleged racial abuse of a player from the stands and also a Reading fan throwing a smoke ban into the Bradford fans end.
But as Gary Lineker said, these were ‘lovely scenes’.
Mark Lawrenson & Jonathan Pearce, BBC MOTD Live – Villa vs WBA
‘What you’re seeing there is not right and has soured the day I’m afraid’ – Jonathan Pearce on the game’s final whistle
“It’s like a scene from the 1980’s all over again, absolute ridiculous” – Mark Lawrenson on the game’s final whistle
Compare to Gary Lineker’s comments of “Lovely scenes” when describing the Reading fans coming on to celebrate after their club heading to Wembley after the final whistle:
Evaluation of the BBC’s MOTD Live remarks:
Anybody with an ounce of common sense would have seen that the fans who ran on the pitch on the 93.27 mark at Villa Park, thought the referee’s whistle had gone. Yes, you technically shouldn’t be on the pitch, but with such celebrations tolerated, was there any need for Jonathan Pearce (no stranger to the hyperbole approach to commentary) to declare, in reference to Tim Sherwood: “His face tells the story, his day has been ruined, his day has been completely ruined.”
Just how far from the truth could Pearce be?
Sherwood had guided his team to the FA Cup semi-finals and in his post-match interview completely understood the fan’s joyous reaction and he even dedicated the win to the Villa fans. He wasn’t having any of the BBC’s attempt to scandalise their joy.
While Lawrenson had labelled the Villa fans ‘idiots’, Gary Lineker to his credit, refused to offer a knee-jerk reaction like his BBC colleagues.
“Quite extraordinary scenes at Villa Park – the fans overly excited,” said Lineker, when the coverage switched to the studio. His neutral statement, while unsure in tone, was buying him time to see what the reality of the situation was.
Later Lineker dampened the outlook on the Villa Park celebrations after analysis of the game’s highlights.
“The scenes are going on here, I must say, it all seems in remarkably good spirits…after the game it’s sort of acceptable,” said Lineker.
Compare and contrast with the Reading vs Bradford game and his first words in reference to the Reading fans celebrating on the pitch were “Lovely scenes.”
If Lineker can see sense and understand the context of what he’s seeing, why can’t the BBC commentators?
During the coverage of the Reading vs Bradford game, the actual commentators seemed to ignore on the Reading fans running on the pitch at the end. It’s how it should have been and how it should have been at the Villa Park game.
Maybe this was because of the complaints by Villa supporters to the BBC, that MOMS had suggested (at least 200 fans send them in, that we know of). Villans have started to receive replies from the BBC stating the production team who did the live games would be informed. Maybe they just hedged their bets and avoided the subject when the Reading fans came on the pitch?
I just want to clarify, we have no problem with the Reading fans’ celebrations, we’re merely using them to contrast the hypocrisy of the BBC towards our own celebrations.
Afterwards, the media did its level best to blame Villa supporters for putting West Brom players safety at risk (we all know they did that themselves when they assaulted fans) and one nincompoop presenter on Talksport to jump on the bandwagon lamely held up ‘Health & Safety’ as the reason it shouldn’t have happen. You could make the same excuse for outlawing anything in life.
Yet, little to no mention of this incident of a smoke bomb being thrown at opposite fans at the Reading game in the media:
The BBC in both games set the tone for the corresponding media coverage.
The BBC’s standard response to most Villa fans’ complaints about what both Jonathan Pearce and Mark Lawrenson said, included these lines:
We appreciate that football is subjective and that fans hold a hugely diverse range of opinions, especially during a tense local derby such as this.
Mark Lawrenson and Jonathan Pearce were simply expressing their own views on what they could see at the moment in time.
What is subjective about inferring that fans running on the pitch at full-time are hooligans? There views are irresponsible, especially when the such scenes of a FA Cup pitch invasion are considered as “lovely” a week later by the same institution.
Surely the BBC must take action against Lawro and Pearce since their views obviously don’t tow the company line on pitch invasions based on this additional evidence:
Media Muppet Score: 10/10
Gary Lineker is excused (one of the best football presenters there has ever been), while full Media Muppet marks to both Mark Lawrenson and Jonathan Pearce
Let’s keep the pressure on and ask the BBC about their hypocrisy via their complaints form – http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/complain-online/
Select ‘Television’, then ‘BBC1’, then ‘Live FA Cup Coverage’
Ask why after the final whistle, the on pitch celebration at Reading was described as ‘lovely scenes’ while Villa Park’s were described as “like a scene from the 1980’s all over again, absolute ridiculous”. Also, ask about the above BBC MOTD Tweet, declaring their love for FA Cup pitch invasions; they’ve chosen to avoid it when other Villa fans have mentioned it in earlier complaints.
It’ll be interesting to hear their reply and also give us something to do while the FA sorts out a date for our FA Cup semi final! UTV