Eamonn Dunphy – the best football pundit?

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles

Each week, we have to listen to the views of ex-footballers on BBC, ITV and Sky. Ex-players like Alan Hansen and Andy Gray have become synonymous with football punditry. But how honest are they in their opinions? Do they hold back? The answer is yes!

As much as I enjoy hearing the respected views of Hansen and Gray, they play by the rules. There are occasions, where I would enjoy a good rant at a player or manager, straight after the game, when it’s most deserved. If the most uneducated football fan can see that a manager has made a grievous error, then they can too.

However the BBC and Sky seem wary of not rocking the boat. Indeed BBC have landed themselves in hot water with managers in the past. Sir Alex Ferguson, Sam Allardyce and Harry Redknapp refuse to partake in interviews conducted by Match of the Day due to previous programmes broadcast on the BBC that were perceived to have been a swipe at their good names.

Too often the English pundits are willing to sit on the fence. It’s a shame. In Ireland it’s a different story. Each week the Irish football fans are treated to the views of a certain Eamon Dunphy. Dunphy is without doubt the most outspoken man in the Irish media.

His views are often outlandish, bordering on the ridiculous. But on other occasions, he says exactly what the football fan is thinking at home. He is not afraid to be brutally honest. In his eyes reputations count for nothing.

Each week, Dunphy is joined in studio with ringmaster Bill O’Herily, Leeds United legend, Johnny Giles, Arsenal legend, Liam Brady, and recently ex-Liverpool captain Greame Souness. O’Herily struggles to maintain calm in the proceedings in studio, as from 7-11PM, Dunphy tries to upset as many of his fellow pundits as possible.

Where the BBC or Sky pundits would be too afraid to lambaste another shoddy performance from an English club in Europe or the English national team, Dunphy is all to willing to proceed on a rant, all guns blazing. He fears no one.

Indeed with the rising cost of digital television, I would pay good money to see Dunphy switch to BBC or Sky and take on Hansen and Gray head to head. It would make for interesting viewing and would certainly ruffle a few feathers.

Dunphy’s most famous rants over the years, have been over topics like Roy Keane, the England team, Arsene Wenger and Cristiano Ronaldo. Indeed his analysis of players is often nothing short of amusing.

After Liverpool progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2007, beating Barcelona, Dunphy was quick to criticise them. He branded them terrible and adding about their captain:

“Gerrard – found out tonight. Nothing player!” and added “Luis Garcia belongs in a dustbin!”

He has entertained Irish football fans for years. Sure, he can be hypocritical at times, but his passion and honesty have to be credited. It’s a shame such a character doesn’t grace English TV screens, instead of the passive characters of Lee Dixon and Jamie Redknapp.

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