Thursday, March 24, 2011
ESPNsoccernet: March 29, 12:21 PM UK
Ricky Tomlinson - Football My Arse!
Ricky Tomlinson is an English comic actor, best known for his role as loudmouth Scouser Jim Royle in award-winning sitcom The Royle Family. His fictitious character is an endearing one, but in Football My Arse - the latest in a long list of football compilation DVDs - Tomlinson is grating, not great. Fans of The Royle Family may resist the temptation to press the eject button for slightly longer than most, but this DVD is definitely more pauper than prince.
I tried desperately to retain my interest through the painful puns and excruciating jokes rammed down your throat at every opportunity, but Tomlinson's presence and his regular squinting at the autocue made it a real struggle. Again, those who are fond of Tomlinson will probably be waiting at my front door to lynch me tomorrow, but I just find him highly irritating on this DVD.
One example of the sort of cheap gags thrown in is as follows: "Now I know what you're thinking, why didn't we go to 'Arse-nal'? Well, call me old fashioned but I'm not fond of going anywhere that's seen its fair share of Seaman."
The more I think about, the more I feel sorry for Tomlinson. The man, like most comedians who appear on football compilations, is out to make a fast buck and fair play to him. I imagine he probably had no actual part in writing such tasteless tripe.
A difficulty of DVDs like this is finding new material to use, but the one triumph of Football My Arse is actually the use of old material; its preservation of oft-forgotten black-and-white footage of some of the game's magical moments is superb.
The DVD begins with an entertaining couple of minutes of archive video from the matchday experience in the early 20th century and some of the goals in 'Ricky's top ten' include Ferenc Puskas' strike against an England and Stan Mortensen netting in the 1953 FA Cup final, a goal created by the wing wizardry of the great Stanley Matthews.
But it quickly deteriorates back into the Tomlinson show, with his regular cries of 'Gooooal' likely to give dentists the world over nightmares as his yellow-stained dentures receive top billing. The widescreen shots are particularly disturbing and the inclusion of three Liverpool goals in his top four is painful for the neutral.
Really, there is just too much Tomlinson and not enough football. The montages of some of the best celebrations and on-pitch scuffles from across the globe are impressive and contain some original selections that offer something slightly different to those that usually appear on compilation DVDs. The inclusion of a feature on the Football War between Honduras and El Salvador is well handled and a particular highlight.
The tagline on the DVD cover is 'Footy - it really is a funny old game', but this reviewer was left thinking that perhaps 'Ricky - he's really not a funny old man' would have been more appropriate.