Be Kind, Rewind (and then Fast Forward)


2 Be Kind, Rewind (and then Fast Forward)

This has been the first World Cup in which I have been able to use Sky+, having finally signed for the Murdoch revolution last autumn… The opportunity to pause and rewind live TV, and record matches whilst watching something else, was a part of why I was so excited about this tournament.


In the months leading up to this summer, my appetite was whetted by some of the games I watched in La Liga and the Champions League, then the decision my friends had made to collect the Panini stickers (see my previous article) and the release of some lovely new kits from the competing countries. I was asked to write some World Cup Haiku, and every other car seemed to be proudly displaying the flag of a Turkish knight and a recent Inter Milan away shirt, whilst the hundreds of channels I flick through aired a plethora of World Cup themed programmes, many of which showed the highlights of previous World Cups, some amazing goals, matches and moments. One of the best of these were the indepth profiles of “Football’s Greatest”, documentaries detailing the careers of the great names from World Cup history. Zidane, Cruyff, Platini, Van Basten and Laudrup (M.) featured in some of the standout episodes.

michel platini Be Kind, Rewind (and then Fast Forward)

Anyway the big day arrived, I rushed into town to meet my mates in one of our favourite hostelries for the first game. Anticipation was high, the weather was warm, and I was quickly drunk, so much so that the second match – that I had been looking forward to even more – passed by in a blur and was instantly forgotten. This was the first sign that this might not be the tournament I had hoped for…

The following weekend was a continuation of the anti-climactic feeling I had developed. An Argentine unspectacular start, England’s game against USA, Cahill’s sending off, even stolen moments in school listening to or watching online the mediocre daytime matches, underlined this. Thankfully, I was able to record those lunchtime and late afternoon games, which I could then watch on fast forward.

Often the half-time punditry was the highlight, as fading stars and never-weres discussed uncomfortably the main moments of the preceding events. Even the evening games could be watched at a quicker pace, if you missed the start, or, for extra excitement, could be watched slightly behind ‘real time’. The Brazil v North Korea match was a perfect example of the emotion of the World Cup with the crying striker during the anthems, but also of this delayed response effect – having popped out at half time I was a few minutes behind the action, and knew from texts and facebook status updates what was to come but couldn’t bring myself to speed through.

chong Be Kind, Rewind (and then Fast Forward)

Fast Forward…

To the Friday, when I was booked in to have corrective eye surgery. You can read more about this on my blog, but as I sat nervously in the waiting room watching the great USA v Slovenia game and a potential winner was disallowed, I realised one of the problems faced by the tournament, and the game. The thousands of camera angles, super slo-mos and digital reconstructions were undermining referees, adding pressure, and adding weight to the arguments put forward during the over analysis by the ‘studio’. Similarly, many of the games I was watching, featured players I was used to seeing regularly whether at Goodison or on the flat screen and so the surprise element that people must have had in those tournaments which featured so heavily in the list / talking head shows I discussed before, had gone.

Things improved a little with my new eyes, I admit. Whilst recovering, I witnessed the Portuguese seven goal victory, and even partly enjoyed England’s demise, another game spoiled by an official’s mistake, then later saw Heinze bump into the camera celebrating a goal, and was grateful that I could rewind to watch it again and again ( ) but when it got to the serious business, watching the games in a pub, I suddenly realised something was missing.


Brazil v The Netherlands, for example, highlighted that I wasn’t controlling the transmission and so couldn’t utilise the remote control as I might have liked. I wasn’t as upset as this kid ( ) but the experience showed the effect that Sky Plus has had on me. The next day I was disappointed to see Argentina implode, but sat nursing my cider helpless, unable to fast forward to the inevitable end of the defeat.

heitinga Be Kind, Rewind (and then Fast Forward)

Fast Forward to Sunday’s final. Although the Evertonian me would like to see John Heitinga marshal his team to victory, the realistic alter ego suggest Spain deserve to win as they have been the best team in the worlkd for a couple of years. They certainly have the great players, technically gifted individuals like Iniesta, Xavi and Alonso who have tac-tac-taced their way to the final a bit underwhelmingly but with understated style all the same.

Whoever wins, I am glad the winners will be doing justice to those heroes of the past:


People like Cruyff and his phantom goal, Van Basten, Butragueno the Vulture and Di Stefano who apparently never even played in a World Cup. I hope that whoever wins it is a great game, as this might elevate the status of a tournament that has not fully delivered on a lot of levels.


Fast Forward to Brazil 2014.

As I post the article, I flick the channels in advance of the third and fourth place play-off, and what should be on but Be Kind Rewind.


POSTSCRIPT: Sod Sky Plus, just get an octopus who will predict what the outcome will be.

Well done Spain.