And to emphasise, yesterday I have no argument with Liverpiool FC. They won fair and squre. It's the Parryman that got my goat up, but never again I say
Sorry for the lenth of my letter, but I rekon without somehing like this Sky Sports editors might think I am some mad and bitter Blue, or objecting to merly one or two comment by Parry. I am not bitter - we are still top of the 2006 league table. Europe here we come - but spare us Parry if we get there)
TO THE EDITOR OF SKY SPORTS
25th March 2006
I am writing to make formal complaint about the blatant bias of you commentator Alan Parry on today's Merseyside derby on PremPlus. I mean this literally - he should have been on fan zone instead ( You guess what side.)
I write a an Everton fan, but not a fanatical one and indeed I have always have had a soft spot for Liverpoool FC with its Scottish connections, particularly as a Celtic fan growing up in Scotland during the days of Dalglish. (And was born in form Paisley so I have always liked Bob's teams!) And believe me I roared as loud as anyone when Liverpool won the Champion's League - and this despite the fact that at the time the win threatened Everton's champions league spot.
So I am no narrow blinkered Evertonian, but I am sure I speak for all of us - blinkered and open minded - to say that the commentry of Alan Parry totally spoiled our enjoyment of the game. It was worse than the result - a result may I say Liverpool thourougly deserved. We were poor, even against 10 men.
My compaint is this: TV panel pundits with partisan loyalties are one thing - good luck to Beeky, he wears his heart on his sleave as anyone would expect from a former Liverpool captain and manager. But surely the match commentators should be as fair as they possibly can, leaving the pundits to take sides?
But from the moment of kick off we were treated to Alan Parry's quite blatant and smary Liverpool bias. It was so biased that, even with Everton on top and and a man up in the first half, I could not enjoy the game, so angry was I with Parry's comments.
And of course then came Stevie G's 18th minute sending off. A more straightforwerd red car it would be difficult to imagine . Indeed the only debate was surely that the ref shoud have given him a straight red rather than just a second yellow for his two footed lunge at Zinadine KIlbane? But what did we get from Alan Parry ? Howls of outrage at the Refs "controversial" decsion. How the controversial decision would dominate the papers tomorrow, had ruined the game etc.
But if you looked at the pictures I (I thoughtthat's what match commentators were supposed to do), even the Liverpool players and Stevie G himslef knew he was a goner, and Rafa's touchline mood suggested dissapointment, not with the ref but with his captain. And look also at the Everton players and Kilbane in particular - Did they pressurise the ref or did Kev roll aroung, Garcia style, faining a hernia? But it was a shocking takle by Gerrard, a potential leg breaker: No Kev got up right away and Everton's respone was mild by any standards - maybe because they knew they never needed to protest so obvously was Stevie G a goner, but I'd also like to think becuase they'd rather beat an 11 man Liverpool team than a 10 man one ( Which we do do sometimes, but sadly not too recently!)
But what did we get from Parry ? He virtually stopped comentating on the game - a game which at the time Everton were dominating - to bleat on about the ref's controversial decison. And he all but accused Kilbane of diving ( He is "normally such a fair plyer he said, implying he was chetaing today! ) Indeed he bleated on so much about the "unjustice" to Stevie G ( it was like "Free the Birmimngham 6"!), that he missed what any half decent commentator would have spotted - namely that the yellow card for Alonso shortly afterward Gerards sending off , really should have been a red. I say this because, if you look at the foul which led to Stevie Gs first yellow card - just before the second one - Alonso was the culprit of another dreadful tackle, most fair minded people would say he should have got a yellow then : But with Stevie G kicking away the ball and getting a deserved yellow, I reckon the ref kind of forgot about the Alonso foul, and thought one yellow for the Liverpool team was enough for the incident. A resonable enough common sense decison by the ref so early in the match, but a JUDGEMENT - by the letter of et law both Alonso tackles should have been yellows. But surely this is something any a half decent commentor should have picked up on - my 9 year old son spotted it?: - 25 minutes into the game Liverpool really shoud have been down to 9 men, with their best two players back in the bath.
And as the game went on, with Liverpool attempting to kick Everton out of the game - a deliberate tactic I am sure, but a legitimate one in any derby , what did Parry do? He bleated on about Everton'S!!! rough house tactics and the inconsistency of the Ref!!. One incident I recall was when Davy Weir and Peter crouch jumped together for a high ball, and Crouch cried foul. But Parry cried "Polax", as if Davy Weir shoud have been sent off. Even at worst, all Weir had done is use his arms to keep Crouch at bay ( hardly a new Premier defender's tactic, and even that was higly debatable). But for Parry it was a cardable offence and evidence of the ref's bias and inconsistency!
It got worse and so bad - and at this point Everton were dominating and man up with victory in their sights - that I considered puting the TV off or certainly the volume off. But I was watching with others, some, Liverpool supprters so I kept listing , indeed started taking notes!. ( they were embarrassed by the way and agreed with me, if not that bothered about it)
And then, with half time just about upon us, Liverpool scored. A freak own goal off the back of Phil Neville's head. And what did Parry - Sky's "objective" match commentator exclaim at this point - and I quote - "What a BRILLIANT goal! ( check for yourself if you don't believe me.)
I pressume Sky Sports will now feature it in March's "Goal of the Month", or even gaol of the season, but I think not. I mean here we have your coverage - with the esteamed Alan Parry commentating - on a Prem Plus match I and thousands of other Everton fans had paid good money to watch, describing a freak own goal as "brilliant". If you to not agree with a single other word I write, surely you must agree that by that one action alone Alan Parry has been exposed: Never again should he be allowed to commentate on any Merseyside derby, or indeed any Liverpool or Everton game.
Indeed he is so obviously biased ( and inept with it ), hung by his own words, that he should be barred by Sky Sports altogeter, dropped I suggest when his contract premably run out at the end of the season. or sooner - we dont know how thing will pan out, but if, say, it all comes down to the Liverpool-Bolton game for the final champions league spot, please don't inflict Parry on Bolton fans and the rest of us -for their sakes and own credibilty. I can just hear Parry scene setting - "what a shame if Rafa s seasoned European superstars and Strevie G in particular missed out at the expense of, the, " with respect" journeymen and ageing mercenaries of Sam Alardice: All Europe awaits the opportunity to be booted up in the air by Stevie G's two footed legbreking lunges, -with Alan Parry no doubt then attacking the johny foreigner ref with the audacity to send him off ! "What a shame,, the game is ruined" Parry will drone on in a champoins league qualifier - " due respect to Ajax, but they are no potential European champions!!)
Fans of other teams can speak for themesleves, ( and Totenham have a real interest in the Champions league run in and its supporters have lots more money that us and Bolton), but I am sure they too have been the victims of Alan Parry "objective" commentary when their teams play Liverpool. So just get rid of him for the sake of us all please - maybe Liverpoolfc.tv will give him a job, but I doubt it - even they would probably baulk at his bias, and certainly the fee he will demand. Ken Dodd woud be more credible anyway
If I could digress a little, a a Scottish fan often irriated by BBC and ITV comentators when Scotland play England or a Scottish club play an English club ( But not by Sky's beloved Jimbo White and Andy Gray - and give George Graham a knighthood for services to Scotland and Goodison) , I can tell you that were a commentator to greet an own goal by a Scottish player FOR an English team with, "What a brilliant goal" , there would be riots in the steet, questions in Parliament, and the offending commenator would never commentate again. Indeed if Parry were to get to commentate as he did today on a Liverpool v Rangers/and or Celtic game in next season champions league - a distinct possibilty I reckon - he could up the SNP's poll rating by 10 percentage points. Indeed if Liverpool drew the Old firm teams on consecutive rounds, Old firm supporting Northern Irish catholics and protestants might be drawn together to demand a United Ireland just to escape the match commentary ( Parry might yet have some hidden virtues).
But to get back to the serious, here we have Prem Plus - through its coverge of what is still one of the jewels in the Premiership callender, nae world footballing callender, letting Alan Parry loose, offending every Everton supporter in the process, and I reckon embarrassing a good half of Liverpool supporters as well. And also selling short every neutral lover of good football and quality tv coverage at the same time, by his biased, misleding, smarmy, and rubbish, "Red TV"
In the second half he got worse, but not before Gary McAllistair, ex Red of course - did the decent thing in his half time match analysis and said more or less "the ref had no choice ., Stevie G had to had to go, indeed he had been stupid and had let his team down" Fair doos Garry. But my argument is not with Sky Sports - whose coverge of all sports I much admire - but with Alan Parry. But you do employ him and impose him on us , hence my letter to you. All Gary McAllistair's comments did did was prove my point - Parry ain't up to it, so biased he is in effect blind.
And so into the second half. Livepool's second goal was my view "brilliant", but not in Parry's - only these can be scored by ex-Man U players into their own goals whilst playing for Everton in a Merseyside derby game. But 2-0 up, his gloating became unberable. How "great" Liverpool were, how brave they were, how Rafa was great.... I mean pass the sick bag - it must have embasrrased even diehard Liverpool supporters: They had been outplayed for 45 minutes by Everton (particularly the first 20 when it was 11 a side), got a freak own goal and then a good one ( I blame our keeper though), and all of a sudden they were world beaters: The same world beaters that had bombed out the Champions League last 16 to a secod rate Portugese side 3-0 less than two weeks ago. A team that ain't even yet guaranteed one of the four chamnpion league spots, despite spending millions.
It just got worse. Please just watch the rest of it - all of it indeed, -you presumably review these matches - and ask youslef is this really a man you should be employing in a staion there to serve fans of hundreds of clubs? Alan Parry will, indeed I supsect is already, costing you money in lost subscribers and viewers. For example, forget me ever subscribing ever to any Prem Plus match Parry ever commentates on for starters, and not just the ones invoving Everton. Indeed I will start a campaign of Evertonians and supporters of other clubs to ensure Sky pays if it backs Parry against the overwhelining evidence of bias and incompetence. And today's derby was just the tip of the iceberg - a big tip though: The guy has stank for years.
Check out also what he said about the Van Der Meydre sending off in the second half ( c 70 mins) In Parry unambiguous view it was "A deserved Red card.... the ref was left with no choice". Now in my view it was a red card and a deserved one, but I don't think it was a stonewall one, and certainly not compared with Stevie Gs.; To joke for a minute ( and oen can only laugh at Parry - he is a joke), I am just suprised Parry didn't call Stevie G's tackle on Kev, a "Brilliant" tackle - maybe he would have had Phil Neville been the victim.
But now 10 a side and Liverpool 2-1 up, the ref all of a suddenm became "fair ", "consistent". But , Parry's blinkers aside, he had always been fair, indeed he had a good game. But Parry only conceded this belatedly and grudgingly after he had sent off an Everton player: Before this the ref in Parry's view was biased, had lost control , ruined the game, would be the centre of controversy in the Sunday papers etc.
I ain't read the Sunday papers yet - it's still saturday but I am sure the main talking point will be Gerards; recklessness and "what if he does this in a World Cup semi final?, etc". Perceptive, if slightly exagerrated stuff - the tabloids are not daft enough to employ a red clown like Parry to do their feature writing.
I have though already read the bbc.co.uk online report of the match and SkySpots.com's coverage. Of the Stevie G incident.
The BBC site says:
"His (Gerard's)first booking was for blatantly booting the ball away after Xabi Alonso had fouled Kilbane.
"Kilbane was involved less than 40 seconds later when he was brought to the ground by a lunging, two-footed challenge just outside the box from Gerrard.
"It was a tackle that could have earned the England star a straight red card but referee Phil Dowd opted for a second yellow."
The BBC then quotes Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez as saying:
"We must learn, Steven and all the players, that you can play with the brain as well as the heart.
"It is important in every game. Steven is truly disappointed but happy for the team.
"He knows it created a difficult situation for the team and we must learn for the future."
And you own Sky Sports.com, online report of the incident says:
"Cahill continued in the thick of things by picking up a booking for a poor challenge from behind on Gerrard before the Liverpool captain endured a minute of madness.
He was booked for kicking the ball away, after Xabi Alonso had brought down Kevin Kilbane, and he compounded his petulance barely 60 seconds later.
With The Reds still defending the set-piece, Gerrard lunged recklessly, and needlessly, into a tackle on Kilbane, leaving referee Phil Dowd with no option but to produce a second yellow card."
So there we have it - even your own news site, Rafa, the BBC's and Gary McAllistair on your own Prem Plus programme effecively say Parry talked bull**** - and not just at the moment of the sending off but over and over again during the first half and beyond. And this even with the benefit of multiple replys - in these you could virtually feel Gerard kicking Kilbane's legs in a two footed scissor movment. A partially blind man could have interpreted the incident better than Parry.
And incidentally, neither SkySports.com nor bbc.co.uk, or I am certain a single newspaper in the world published tomoorrow or Monday will describe Phil Neville's own goal as "brilliant" Unleses Alan Parry owns one.
And as I say this is not an isolated incident in the match. Parry's bias from start to finish was blatant. It undermines Sky's credibility , its professionlism and will cost you moeny - unless you do the decent thing. Ron Atkinson, did wrong and was booted by ITV. And whilst racism ( a single comment off canera mind) is an altogther bigger evil, surely the professional repuation and credibiutity of any company is important to it, and particularly for a sport company servicing supporters of hundred of clubs? Here the need to be very sensitive to even accusations of bias in its main presenters and match commentators is important. let alone actual proveable bias. I am sure near all you presenters and commentators have their favoured clubs, but apart from a few pleasant smiles and nods when their team wins, they are professioanl enough to keep their club loyalties to themselves, amd certainly not irritate the fans of other clubs in doing so. There are moments even I believe Jim White is a Celtic supporter.
Alan Parry I believe is the excpetion to the rule in terms of British sports broadcasting. Obvoius bias, annoyingly bias, dangerous bias - and he ain't even good.
One other thought: I presume the coverage, along with Sky's commentary was beamed by Sky all over the world. The Australians, for example must think Sky Sports employ partially sighted sports commentators or people who are mentally deranged. Indeed, they might have been expecting to learn from Parry at half time that England were top of the Commonwealth Games medals table - with half the medals won by Stevie G, Robbie Fowler and John Barnes.
Check out some Alan Parry's other comments during today's game. Tim Cahill's brave header to get Everton albeit temporarily back into the game was essentially dismissed as a fluke: ( "he and Beattie did not know what they were doing" or words to this affect said Parry said as he talked us through the replays. And the way he talked you woudl think Alonso - and he had a great game - was the new Pele. I mean it was almost a joke, as though Parry had taken a private bet with somebody to see just how much he could wind Everton fans up. He was like Talksports' Mike Parry - a wind-up merchant that people like, even Liverpool fans - because everybody knows what he says is is tongue and cheek. But your Parry is serious, or at least is trying to be.
Get him out please and save youslef a lot of hassle.
Despite my jokes, please be certain that this is a serious and formal complaint to Sky Sports. I don't intend to let this matter rest, and as a recent former TV producer - a compliance officer no less - I know the Ofcom/ITC regulations backwards, and could if I was minded get a ruling agaisnt Prem Plus and Sky Sports. ( ask Jim White - he knows me from his STV days) But I like you all - Jimbo for First Minister, Kirsty Gallagher for Queen - and the services you provide, with this one blatant exception. So please just do the decent thing and a save us all a lot of hassle.
Liverpool won fair a square today, and congratulations to them. But with Alan Parry off our screens forever, we Evertonians could call today a score draw - with us winning on away goals. And believe me, all Manchester, London, Newcastle, Glasgow,etc would be rejoicing - as well as your accountants come next season when people come to renew their Prem Plus subcriptions - or don't as the case my be.
Alan Smart, Edinburgh
Edited by Smarty7, 26 Mar 2006 - 15:10.