What could possibly go wrong?
Take two passionate fans, stick them in a confined space while their respective teams play each other, and broadcast their reactions to the nation as the game unfolds.
Sky Sports’ FanZone could (and should) have gone horribly wrong.
But it was so, so good.
Credit to Martin Tyler and co, there is an art to commentating.
Calling the action seems an easy task but it’s not until you hear it done badly do you appreciate those who do it well.
But nobody pressed the red button for FanZone in search of articulate coherency.
We watched it because we wanted a s**t show of emotion.
And, if we’re all honest, we wanted to witness someone cope with crushing frustration live on Sky Sports.
Generally, it was all Friendly Banter™ but FanZone was at its best when there was a palpable undertone of tension and mild hate.
Naturally, goals provided the highlights.
One unleashing a guttural volley of animalistic sound, the other lamenting his team’s defending with a resigned drawl, praying for a sinkhole to open up beneath him.
Rowdy participants didn’t shy away from physical contact either — they frequently jostled each other in that play-fighting way to used with siblings.
I distinctly remember a big lad getting his top off at one point.
Did they swear? They can’t have, surely.
But it had the atmosphere of swearing, you know? The feel of it, without the actual words.
FanZone was a novelty, yes.
You wouldn’t press the red button every time and you’d often stick it on for 15 minutes at a time as the full 90 was something of an endurance test.
The shouting was a bit much, unbearable at times actually.
But rival fans in close quarters is a tried and tested recipe for hilarity, as long as it doesn’t get *nasty*.
Sky Sports portray a more professional vibe these days.
G Nev and Carra are given hours to dissect the games with the help of an army of almost intrusive camera angles.
And fair play, the coverage is good bordering on great.
But nothing will come close to the raw, semi-lawlessness of FanZone — bring it back, you cowards!
Just think of the fans they could get in.
There’s those charming Chelsea fans with a crush on Raheem Sterling.
Or the Islamophobic gent who abused Mo Salah on Monday night.
Ah, there might be a flaw in this plan…
- Pep Guardiola and Maurizio Sarri’s near-identical starts to Premier League life show patience is still a virtue
- Man City need to spend another £80million on full-backs to reach the next level
- How Leeds have profited after embracing their chaotic DNA with ‘El Loco’