Football

Are there too many ex-professionals on television?

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Everywhere you look in sports broadcasting you have a well known ex-professional. On BBC you have Gary Lineker, ITV have Roy Keane, Sky boast Gary Neville and BT have Michael Owen. But is television and radio overdosing on ex-players and managers? 

The recent creation of BT Sport has seen a host of new names thrown in front of a microphone, with the most notable of those being England legend Michael Owen.

Owen, who has also done BBC work, has failed to mesmerise viewers however, who have complained about the tone of his voice and his plastic enthusiasm.

He has been the target of Twitter abuse, with people celebrating the return of disgraced commentator Andy Gray for the Arsenal-Liverpool FA Cup tie. 

Owen is not alone in having critics though. Pantomime villain Robbie Savage is perhaps the most controversial of analysts on television, purposely of course. The ex-Derby County captain retired from football and immediately went into broadcasting, after a quick spell on a dancing show.

Savage's questionable comments have raised his profile significantly, as well as that of his radio show on FiveLive, 6-0-6. 

A footballers life is a short one. Most go into the sport from the age of around 15, and are usually done 20 years later.

At the age of 35, it is unlikely they would just decide to retire and live the easy life, no matter what their previous wage was. Because of this, it is understandable why many would want to go into the broadcasting side of things as a second career.

There are few real options for them after retirement. Many choose to go into coaching, some such as Rob Hulse go into the medical side and others just do whatever they can to earn a living. 

But surely the stars of yesterday should not be able to walk straight into the media side of things without any real training.

Thousands of youngsters and graduates have put in valuable time, money and effort to achieve their dreams, yet are met by the likes of professional misery Mark Lawrenson.

Questions have to be raised as to whether university courses and qualifications in this field are really relevant nowadays, as so few "non footballing" people are given the chance to prove themselves on the big stage.

In a world where jobs are so hard to come by and university tuition fees are so high, the fact players can move straight from one form of entertainment to another is extremely questionable.

Whilst it is true that the bigger the name, the bigger the ratings, more show bosses should have the bravery to unleash new faces onto peoples television sets.

Presenters such as Jake Humphrey and Dan Walker have had big success in their roles, and more prodigies from the same mould as this one time BBC pair deserve to be given opportunities, at least at regional levels.

As successful a player as they may have been, that glory should not come into the equation if they struggle at their new job, and surely at the end of it, it is what the fans want that counts?

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have been hugely popular on Monday Night Football, whilst the Gillette Soccer Saturday panel have achieved legendary status. There are successes out there, but there needs to be a balance.

But the more who are given the chance and the time to build a new career, and the less new faces we will see on our screens.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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