Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Retro Random Video: Richardson, Costello and Football Italia

Chances are if you're a football fan and you live in the UK, you'll know who James Richardson is. As the host of The Guardian's Football Weekly podcast, he's entertained a great many of us for more years than we care to remember with his clever wit and his excellent presentation style.

He also houses a vast array of knowledge about Italian football inside that hairless head of his, and if you've forgotten how that came to be so well-informed, let us remind you.

For ten years, Richardson was the presenter of Gazzetta Football Italia, a Channel 4 TV show that brilliantly did what no-one had dared do before, namely bring us a weekly magazine show with news and features from one of the major football-playing countries of continental Europe.

While Gazzetta Football Italia was shown on Saturdays, there was also an accompanying programme on Sundays featuring a live match from Serie A. This was a real treat for those of us curious to see Italian football shortly after the 1990 World Cup had taken place there.

To get a sense of what the latter programme was like on those occasions, look no further than this superb clip in which James Richardson provides us with a half-time summary like no other.

First things first, the man's got hair and lots of it - a staggering sight for anyone to see.

Secondly, during his introductory scene-setting at Genoa's Marassi Stadium, we get to marvel at the sheer speed with which he talks to camera. No doubt up against the clock with the second half due to begin in a matter of minutes, his words at times fall from his mouth quicker than a drunk on a mountain bike.

And then there's Richardson's run-down of the half-time scores from Serie A. At this point you need to know (if you haven't already guessed) that the special guest for this edition of Football Italia is none other than the acclaimed musician Elvis Costello. Keep this in mind when you hear the Guardian Football Weekly presenter run through the scores and crowbars in EIGHT Elvis Costello song titles in the process. Such pretty words indeed.

As if that wasn't enough, Costello himself proves to be no stooge when it comes to talking about Italian football. He actually knows what he's talking about! Take note, Alan Shearer...

Though it only lasts for little more than five minutes, this clip shows how great TV presentation of football can be if you take the time to bring the right people in. Let's hope someone somewhere reads these words and takes inspiration from them.

1 comment:

  1. A peerless performer and undoubtedly one of the greatest wordsmiths ever to leave our shores... Costello's not bad either! It was probably this program that got me through adolescence unscathed, and I spent most of my teenage years into young adulthood angling for James Richardson's job. What a shame he's wasted these days doing Guardian podcasts with a bunch of lazy hacks who know nothing and care less about Serie A. Actually going to see Elvis Costello & The Roots in Brooklyn tonight... I wonder if he saw yesterday's Genoa derby?