You’re probably entitled to wonder what right does a grumpy old prick of a washed-up hack sub-editor have to take the mickey out of two of Australia’s leading television sports presenters?
And with very good reason if I told you that once as a sports sub on the Daily Sun in Brisbane, I changed the copy about some rugby union player being given the “pivot” role to “pivotal” role which at the time made far more sense. Still does, actually.
Or that when subbing on the sports desk at The Independent in London, I once changed a football story so that some player of reasonable renown was returning to “Sheffield tomorrow”.
To be fair to me on that occasion, I was subbing the story on a Tuesday night and the following day, Wednesday, was in fact “today” for the paper’s readers. I think the error might have also come after our mid-evening, first-edition break when we seven sports subs had toddled down to a pub on the quay for a quick round of London Prides.
Seven pints of ale sloshing around in your belly does little for both your wallet and sharp brain function.
And they’d be quite in their rights to shake their heads violently over my criticisms if they knew that while subbing two football matches in tandem one Saturday arvo at The Sunday Times at Wapping – I seemlessly folded the main body of a Premiership game report into the other yarn I was subbing simual.. simil… simonta…. at the same time, some first-division rubbish involving Bolton, from memory.
It just read so well, wedged between the top and tail sent in later for the other match report.
These errors came relatively easily when you know nothing of home ground features the writer is mentioning to show off, and even less of the names of the players involved, and don’t even get me started on where to put acutes, cumquats and oblongathongs on their various vowels if they’d even permit me to be so personal.
But, anyway, let’s forget my credentials as a top gun sub here and abroad and get to the core of this rant: what on earth were Paul Kennedy and Erin Molan thinking!
They are, presumably, on salaries that I could only have ever dreamed of in my working life, so I expect them to be flawless. That’s fair enough, isn’t it?
And while I may not know a lot about rugby and football and quite a lot of other things, come to think of it, I do know and love my cricket.
Kennedy, whom I have a lot of time for as a no-nonsense sports presenter on ABC TV’s News Breakfast program who puts up with Michael Rowland’s dreadful third-division puns, said the other day that the Aussies were out to “regain the Ashes”.
Regain!!!! We already hold the Ashes. Some quick wickets over at Elderly Trafford tonight and in a day or so, Australia will have RETAINED the Ashes, Paul, and will be celebrating the feat singing “You fucking beauty” under a sprig of wattle in the dressing rooms in Malepersonchester.
And as for you, Erin! You looked great by the way on Channel 9 Sydney’s 6pm news sports report last night but what were you thinking?
The Aussies had put together a “big first-innings lead” in the fourth Ashes Test, you declared. Not lead, Erin. Try SCORE! A big first-innings score! Let’s wait a bit longer, eh, to see how big a lead that might end up being – or not – after England finish their first dig.
Stokes and Bairstow might go berserk tonight and the Aussies might need a hundred to make the Poms bat again.
No, it’s these sorts of simple errors by the next generation of journos that make me angry. It’s why all my mates and I all agree we saw the best of our industry way back when and rather modestly believe we were the best at it to boot.
And it’s simple errors like the ones made by Paul and Erin above that have got me so angry in fact that I’m going to try to put both them and the current sorry state of the craft I loved out of my mind.
I’m going back to a happy place where I slip into a pleasant reverie and revisit the excellent pair I made as an opening batsman when my side won a warehouse division premiership in Brisbane way back when.
You probably had to see both knocks to fully appreciate their value even though they were both first-over dismissals but my guess is that Mr Paul “DoubleYou” Kennedy has never made a contribution like that himself.
If he had, he’d know the difference between “retain” and “regain” regardless of what day of the week it might be in Sheffield or anywhere else for that matter.