Sky Sports Scotland And The Unbearable Andy Walker

Image for Sky Sports Scotland And The Unbearable Andy Walker

Today, as you’ll probably know, I had the dubious pleasure of watching the wholly unimpressive Sevco as they stuttered and shuddered towards a single point at dreary Dingwall.

The game itself was abysmal; what’s worse was the continuing, stinking, standard of Sky Sports Scotland’s commentary, and their “analysis.”

Analysis of Sevco matches has long been absurd.

If they are in front in a match the half-time scrutiny, and much of the commentary, is about how they can build on their lead. When they are behind it’s all about how they can mount a comeback. The opposition are there simply to make up the numbers. No-one ever asks how they can get back into a game, or how they can hammer home the advantage. It’s all about how Sevco can improve their position.

This isn’t even conscious. I’m sure of that. It’s deep seated, simply there, honed from years of these people watching Rangers games. The idea that this isn’t that club hasn’t sunk in, hasn’t hit home. You get the same when you listen to games on the radio.

But what brings you down most isn’t even that; it’s the sub-standard commentators and analysts themselves. Andy Walker anybody? The poor man’s Chris Sutton, in more ways than one. Listening to him today, I wanted to bang my head against the wall. Sevco “totally dominant” in his words, when they were 1-0 in front with Ross County on the offensive.

What game was he watching? 

 Walker has become unbearable. His palpable hatred of Ronny Deila was ridiculous. He spoke of Moussa Dembele as “unconvincing” after two games. Yet he seems enamoured with the Sevco misfits Garner and Dodoo. Worse is that he advocates cheating. It’s scandalous. Today he thought the away side should have had a penalty when the ref booked Holt for diving; that’s one thing. On another day he might have been urging on the dive.

Without Celtic no-one would have heard of Andy Walker. It’s impossible to imagine him in the media had he not played for our club, because honestly, who would care what he had to say? I never hear him making one insightful comment. I’ve never heard him offer much more than an idiot’s opinion. I’ve never heard him suggest a tactic, never heard him properly analyse a substitution and I’ve never got the impression he could.

Sky Sports also brings in unbelievable poor pre and post match “experts” at times too; today’s was Lee McCulloch, last seen out in public haunting Ibrox in the guise of Ally McCoist’s clueless assistant. In the history of dumb sidekicks he is one of the most magnificently hilarious.

Exactly what he contributed today I am not quite sure, but trying to imagine him scrutinising a tactics board and giving a run-down on the weaknesses of both sides in that match makes me snort laughter like someone at a bad teen comedy who, against his will, finds one of the gags funny.

Part of the problem, of course, is that here in Scotland we have a habit of this, of finding media gigs for people who have enough pals in the industry to get them in the door. One radio station employed, though only for a brief period, the colossally stupid John Brown, the man who might have made Ford Kiernan stop doing The Big Man sketch as there was no more material to mine. Brown’s version is infinitely better, and scarier; when I hear him talking these days I always think of someone with a mouthful of vodka flavoured marbles, slurring through sentences and slashing at the English language like a BNP parliamentary candidate.

Clyde still employs Derek Johnstone, and Keevins, neither of whom can be taken remotely seriously as a journalist.

Gordon Dalzeil has something to say, but it’s never anything intelligent and he has one of those voices you expect to find on one of those CD’s that’s supposed to help you get to sleep.

All that pales into insignificance when you consider that, for years, the two main anchors over on Radio Scotland were Jim Traynor and Chick Young, who’s famous argument over whether Alastair Johnson nodded duting a press conference to a question about whether Rangers could go bust was hilarious, and is even more rib-tickling when you consider it with hindsight; this is what they chose to focus on whilst the club rotted from the inside, serious “journalists” on a show about the issues in the sport.

But Sky Sports Scotland has a much wider audience, and so it’s always more embarrassing for the country when these guys are on.

The English games are covered with far more professionalism, by people who’s entrée into the business was through the broadcast media itself, real honest to God pros with expertise. Their analysts are frequently first rate.

We get Neil McCann. And whichever ex-Rangers player happens to need a few quid that week. Or, when Celtic are playing, some semi-literate boot-boy who used to play for whoever we’re going up against. On Sky, anyway.

Over on BT we have an anchor who can’t hide his disappointment – like Tanner, to be fair – when we win, and Big Chris Sutton, whose legend grows with every time he puts the boot into a referee. He’s controversial and cheeky, but he’s played at the highest level in the game and when he actually talks about matches you can tell he knows his stuff. He wants to stay in the media, and he will because his analysis is often right on, and insightful.

Our print media is a joke; there’s barely anyone rational, even sentient, who isn’t wholly aware of that. But I shudder at times at our broadcast media, who should at least be polished and aware and clued up. They are often just as bad as the hack pack.

And over them all reigns Walker, the summit master of mediocrity, the living proof of the Dilbert Principle, that a man rises to the level where his incompetence can do the least harm.

He must lose Sky ten thousand viewers every game, but you wouldn’t put him in charge of British Nuclear Fuels.

Share this article