As I don’t finish work until almost nine at night (this isn’t as bad as it sounds – four days out of five I don’t start teaching until ten to four), I’ve mainly been slobbing out in front of the football this week. There are, as you might imagine, some massive differences between the British Champions League experience and what you get on Ukrainian TV. For starters, although the onscreen graphics are in English the commentary, of course, isn’t, so I only ever understand the proper nouns, pass completion rates, average distance covered (individual and team), the ratio of shots on target….
The same commentator (whose physical appearance remains a mystery to me) does every game and the name of the channel’s in the corner instead of the score, which meant I had to wait until Barcelona scored before I realised Stuttgart had too. There’s no going back to the studio at half time either - instead of expert guests you get advert breaks, first-half highlights with random bits of crowd noise, and lots of substitutes kicking balls around, fans looking at their watches and ground staff replacing divots on the pitch.
All of which, it goes without saying, is very much preferable to Graeme Souness.