Alan Green is a mouthy, splenetic commentator who works on Radio Five Live, often alongside Jimmy Armfield.
Green has described himself, humbly, as nothing more than a ‘fan with a microphone’. Unfortunately this means that – like most fans – Green oscillates between being wildly over-excited and furiously angry, even when describing a match which doesn’t justify either emotion.
Green’s frantic commentating style leads him to yell and shout at the least provocation. A hopeful ball played into the box, a throw-in deep in one team’s half, or a wild strike from forty yards will all prompt him into a hoarse yell which leads listeners at home to believe a goal is about to be scored.
At half-time during his commentary on the insipid 2005 FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Manchester United, host Mark Pougatch had to read out a statement reassuring listeners that ‘the score is in fact still nil-nil’, after Green had spent 45 largely incident-free minutes bellowing things like ‘THERE’S A SHOT FROM GIGGS!’, ‘DANGEROUS BALL IN TO VAN NISTELROOY!’ and, most controversially, ‘HOLY FUCKING SHIT, HENRY HEADS IT TOWARDS GOAL! JESUS!’
At one time Green held the record for the highest decibel level achieved by a commentator, but this was broken in 2003 by hyper-excitable broadcaster Jonathan Pearce, who was famously revived by paramedics after being clinically dead in his commentary box for nearly seven minutes, having suffered a heart attack in a Chelsea-Parma European tie when Wayne Bridge fired a dangerous ball across the box.
For about ninety percent of his career commentating on football, however, Green has been angry about something. His match commentaries normally degenerate into tirades about the many aspects of the game that infuriate him.
Lack of Knowledge.
In January 2012 Green commentated on FA Cup Tie between Birmingham City and Wolves. The game was a Noon kick-off and also Live on TV. Green was shocked to see empty seats at St Andrews, stating he had been looking forward to a full house on his drive to Birmingham. If only Green had taken the time to research full houses at St Andrews he would have seen there had not been one for at least 5 years and non between Blues and Wolves for at least 10 years.
Things that annoy Green include (although this is not an exhaustive list):
- Defensive play
- Missed chances
- Any refereeing decisions
- Bad crosses
- Teams in oddly coloured change kits
- Fans chanting anything
- Rash passes
- Too much, or not enough, injury time
- The cold
- Players complaining to the referee
- Managers voicing opinions
- Anything else that can happen in football
Because of this irritable nature, Green has only ever enjoyed one football match: Liverpool’s dramatic 4-3 win over Newcastle United in 1995-6. All other games have ended up being a crushing disappointment to him.
Green tends to preface his grievances with phrases like ‘let me know if I’m being unreasonable here…’ or ‘now, maybe I’ve got this wrong…’, in an attempt to look as if he is merely expressing the common-sense view. But these are purely rhetorical phrases for Green, who has the comfort of invariably being backed up by the mild-mannered Armfield, e.g.
Green: …Lampard crosses… oh no. What on earth was that? I mean, I’m at a loss to understand what that was meant to be.
Armfield: Just a poor cross from Lampard, I think.
Green: Well. I mean, let me know if I’m being unfair here, Jimmy. Lampard is paid a lot of money. Surely he can do better than that.
Armfield: Yes. Disappointing from Lampard.
Green: I mean, I mean… maybe it’s just me that doesn’t understand this. How can England be playing this badly? Is it just me that’s wondering this?
Armfield: No. Very poor from England today.
Green: Do tell me if this is just me, Jimmy.
Green becomes impatient very quickly if a match fails to live up to his astronomical expectations. When picking up the action half-way through from another commentator, he will almost always begin his remarks by saying: ‘well, so far, it’s been shocking’ or ’25 minutes played, and I wish I was dead rather than in this stadium’.
His speed record for a negative remark about a game is eleven seconds, during the Wigan- West Ham match in 2008. Wigan kicked off and Mido played a hopeful long ball which was headed into touch for a throw by the Hammers’ Danny Gabbidon. It was too much for Green, who ranted: ‘this has been absolutely awful from start to finish. I cannot believe people have paid money to watch this. Shame on the two clubs’. He then added: ‘ ZAKI SHOOTS GOALWARDS FROM FIFTY YARDS’.
Not surprisingly, Green has angered some with his attacks on every other person involved in football. He has hurt the feelings of some referees, famously saying about Andy D’Urso: ‘Now, stop me if I’m being unreasonable or making sweeping statements here, but Andy D’Urso is the worst man ever to walk the face of this planet’. This was a response to D’Urso’s having played only two minutes of injury time after the fourth official had signalled that there should be three.
Green offended large-headed no-nonsense football guru Sam Allardyce and his Bolton side several years ago, accusing them of playing ‘ugly football’ which ‘I wouldn’t pay to see’. This was a moot point of course, because Green doesn’t have to pay to see football matches; on the contrary, he is paid to attend them and slag off everyone else doing their jobs. Green received the blessing-in-disguise of being banned from the Reebok Stadium.
In 2004, Green was a bit racist. He said of Manchester City’s Chinese player Sun Jihai: ‘he’s wearing number 17 – so that’ll be the chicken chow mein’. Green later apologised for this remark, but undermined the apology by saying ‘me velly solly!’ and pulling his eyes at the corners so they looked like Chinese eyes. Co-commentator Jimmy Armfield distanced himself from the incident, saying: ‘I didn’t see what ‘appened’.
During the nineties, Green became the 35,450,129th person in Sir Alex Ferguson’s bad books. The original spat was a trivial one, caused by Green accusing Ferguson of practising ‘propaganda’, but it has persisted for more than a decade because of both men being unbelievably stubborn arseholes. Ferguson now refuses to speak to Green – as well as Roy Keane, David Beckham, the BBC, anyone connected with Liverpool, Arsene Wenger, HRH Queen Elizabeth II, his postman, the cast of ‘Hollyoaks’, Madonna, and most of his family.
The rift was almost healed when the two men met in a lift at the 2005 PFA Player of the Year Awards and Green offered his hand, only to do that joke where you withdraw it and waggle your fingers with your thumb resting on your nose. Ferguson later commented that this was ‘the kind of thing people have been doing to Manchester United for years now’ and that the FA ‘always seemed to be looking the other way’.
Eamonn Holmes LookalikeEdit
Green looks a bit like Eamonn Holmes.