AN extraordinary Saturday for the Premier League! Berbatov! Keegan! Robinho! Zola! Walcott! And a Titus Bramble own goal.
Last night’s final match: Wigan 1 Sunderland 1
Commentator: Alistair Mann
Thanks to Last Night At The Proms over-running for the 873rd consecutive year, we were actually 20 minutes into Sunday before Match Of The Day showed brief highlights from a remarkably unremarkable match at the JJB Stadium.
Unremarkable, that is, save for the latest calamity to befall Wigan defender Bramble, the Premier League’s answer to Unlucky Alf from The Fast Show.
It happened like this: Steed Malbranque received a return pass following a short corner, and crossed towards the near post, where Bramble’s glancing header diverted the ball perfectly past his own keeper. (In the interests of fairness, I should point out that it was only the second own goal of his career. However, when a former Newcastle defender scores an own goal in a match against Sunderland, he can expect to be opened up to ridicule. And he was.)
As I watched the replay of Bramble’s embarrassment, my mind drifted back to an incident in the previous match, a remarkably unremarkable game between Fulham and Bolton, which itself might have appeared last on Match of the Day but the fact that one of the teams managed to win it.
During the first half, Fulham striker Bobby Zamora had a goal ruled out for a foul on keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. However, the referee’s whistle came too late to stop the matchday DJ blasting out the chorus of Blur’s ‘Song 2’ to celebrate the “goal”.
It was a sign, perhaps, of just how much the frightening phenomenon of goal music has infiltrated English football that, if the ref is not quick enough with his decision, we now get a few seconds of bombast even for disallowed strikes.
Wigan do this too. When Amr Zaki equalised in the second half, we got what sounded very much like whichever version of ‘Tom Hark’ is nestling in the DJ booth’s CD tray at the JJB. However, we got nothing for Bramble’s own goal. There’s no music when the away side scores. And there’s definitely no music when the away side scores thanks to an own goal. But if disallowed goals are already getting the treatment, how long before away goals and own goals get it too?
If we are to get a burst of Blur, James Brown, or the Fratellis every time the home side’s leading scorer taps one in from four yards, then surely it’s only a matter of time before a DJ at a ground somewhere near you starts coming up with tunes to play when a defender clogs one past his own keeper.
The theme tune to Steptoe and Son would be the obvious choice or, if you’re feeling particularly cruel, ‘Loser’ by Beck. (John Askey, the heroic Macclesfield centre-forward of years gone by, once told me a story of trudging off the pitch after a defeat at the Moss Rose as the DJ played out ‘You’re An Embarrassment’ by Madness, which does seem excessively harsh.)
Alternatively, matchday DJs could just stop playing music after goals altogether, and leave the atmosphere during games to those curious people who sit in the stands and shout a lot.
1. Wigan: 2 (Capello difference: +1)
2=. Capello: 1
2=. West Ham: 1 (Capello difference: +1)
4=. Blackburn: 1
4=. Bolton: 1
4=. Hull: 1
4=. Sunderland: 1
4=. West Brom: 1
9=. Gubba: 0
9=. Arsenal: 0
9=. Aston Villa: 0
9=. Chelsea: 0
9=. Everton: 0
9=. Fulham: 0
9=. Liverpool: 0
9=. Manchester City: 0
9=. Manchester United: 0
9=. Middlesbrough: 0
9=. Newcastle: 0
9=. Portsmouth: 0
9=. Stoke: 0
9=. Tottenham: 0
(NB: Teams level on points will be separated by Gubba difference: the number of times a team is last on Match of the Day with Tony Gubba commentating. If they are still level, they will be separated by Capello difference: the number of times a team is last on MOTD with Fabio Capello present.)