Agnew’s Angle: Thanks, Thommo

Isn’t it? Wasn’t it? Marvellous.

You know, I’ve been lucky in my life, writes David Agnew. No, change that. I’ve been blessed in my life. I really have. I am old enough to remember when sports commentary and summarising really was just that. The thing that has moved me enough to write this article, was the news that our former captain and manager, Steve Thompson, has summarised his last game for the Imps.

I’ve always liked Thommo, ever since I first saw him play for us. The legend that is Colin Murphy signed him in 1989 and he saw out his time with the club, as a player. Of course, that was his second spell with the club. Sadly, I never saw him at his zenith in that wonderful squad which Murph had, in his first spell here.

Much is known about Thommo’s time as manager. He really did do a good job. He took over from the disaster that was Allan Clarke and rescued us from the abyss.

He was a bullish manager. He spoke his mind and he didn’t always get it right. You were, however, a brave person if you disagreed with him without a decent argument to backup your opinion.

I fear that we are seeing the end of an era, with summarisers and commentators. The old guard are being swept out to sea and we now have the same sort of soundbites from the same type of people. That just makes listening to football a very turgid affair.

I truly believe that if Thommo had been a cricketer, then Kerry Packer would have signed him to the old Channel 9 Team. The thought of him, mixing it, with Benaud, Greig, Chapelli and Lawry, makes me beam from ear to ear. He would have just slotted in and let the cricketing public enjoy his wry Yorkshire wit.

I know that Thommo got into hot water recently and was placed on the naughty step, following complaints about the language he used. I do not, for one moment, believe those comments were, in any way, malicious. They were said in his wry Yorkshire wit. Unfortunately, one cannot say what he said on the radio. It was not acceptable in today’s world. Thommo had the support of Piers Morgan. I’m not sure how to evaluate that sentence.

Thommo was taken off the naughty step and returned to the wireless, post-COVID restrictions. It was a delight to hear his views on football, especially when it came to pulling no punches about his assessment of this year’s squad. He will have, no doubt, have made Michael Appleton’s ears hurt – in private, with that assessment too.

Sadly, we are now left with the current commentary team, having a football gravitas style crater. There will be an unfillable gap left. Thommo’s comments were well observed and it showed how much knowledge he has about the game. Unfortunately, that cannot be said about the main commentators. During the worst of the pandemic, we were left with the away commentary for our games. Although we missed Thommo and his analysis, the knowledge of the away team was far better than our commentators have of the opposition. This showed how far our local BBC commentators, were behind some of their counterparts. At least with Thommo sat next to a commentator we would get some useful insights, less of Liverpool and more of Lincoln City.

It’s a pity we couldn’t enjoy Thommo’s last match commentating for us. Relish it. Cheer and applaud him like you did as a player and manager. Thommo really did deserve that. He deserved at least a minute’s applause. He really is the last to represent jumpers for goalposts. All the best Thommo. Take care. Thank you for your service. You will be sorely missed on the airwaves.

Isn’t he? Wasn’t he? Yes, he is marvellous.