by Noel Draper

During the past week I have suddenly, and inexplicably, developed a hatred for someone that I once admired. Someone that I once chatted to outside my favourite team’s stadium (I say chatted but it was more of a shouty greeting), someone who supports the same team as I do and someone who I always thought came across as quite fair and balanced if a little bland. That someone? Lee Dixon.

“My, my dear writer person, Whatever has Mr Dixon done to cause you this pain?” I hear you ask. “Surely, due to his dull but soothing voice, Mr Dixon is exempt from any anger you may bottle up inside?” you continue. “Kill everyone who looks at you funny” says another voice which I’ll ignore for now. “Whatever has he done to cause such hatred?” you ask finally.

I will tell you the reason for my ire because it’s very simple really and comes in two parts.

Part one is the fact that Mr Dixon has jumped to what I call the ‘dark side’ of football punditry or ITV Sport to give it it’s proper name. Dixon has left the relatively comfortable BBC sofa on which he used to provide trite but occasionally informative football chat about the Premier League surrounded by fellow excellent ex professionals and Alan Hansen, and joined a chaise longue that has been weighted at one end by the incredible bulk of the human manatee they call Adrian Chiles and at the other by a man who’s biggest claim to fame is making a pizza advert with a bag on his head.

Sure he gets to talk very slowly at Roy Keane during Champions League matches but he also gets to provide middle of the road sofa chat on such exciting games as Motherwell losing to Levante or Marseille beating that top Moldovan team, Sheriff. When he sat in the cosy BBC football studio whilst a football graphic swirled and whooshed around his head making whooshing and swirling noises you knew that a bit of football banter would be on the cards between him and his fellow compatriots but by joining ITV the only chemistry he will get close to now is if he brought his old school bunsen burner to work with him.

Was he pushed? Was it for the money? Did he have a falling out with Captain Scarlet? We will probably never know, but I do know one thing, and this brings up my second reason for hating Lee Dixon – he has been replaced by Harry Redknapp. Harry bloody Redknapp.

By jumping ship Lee, by hunting the dollar, by expressing a shrugged shoulder attitude to the location of your work place you have opened the door to quite possibly the only man that makes Alan Hansen seem balanced and informative. The only man that thinks tactics are just things that other teams use and the only man that will make me think that Adrian Chiles is a bloody good host. Yes Lee, because of you I will have to check to see who is in the studio before I watch Match of the Day.

Thank you Lee Dixon. Thank you.