November 13, 2021
This documentary about the club remade from the ashes of Macclesfield Town FC should be a moving paean to the fans. Instead, it ends up totally dominated by one man
Robbie Savage: Making Macclesfield FC – this would be touching TV … if football’s court jester would shut up
If you’re in a particularly strange mood can I recommend you watch the Robbie Savage documentary that is also a little bit about Macclesfield, Robbie Savage: Making Macclesfield FC (Saturday, 11pm, BBC One). Nominally it’s an hour-long documentary about Macclesfield FC, a phoenix club remade in the ashes of the wound-up Macclesfield Town FC, and how small towns need local clubs with big hearts as much as teams at the lower end of the footballing pyramid need the love of local fans. But mainly it’s about Robbie Savage, who is also there for some reason. Here he is, look, wearing an incredibly absurd pair of trousers, doing the crossbar challenge. Here he is again, interrupting the actual manager to give a ferociously bad team talk halfway through a game they are winning. He makes the camera operator turn round so we can see that he’s got chocolate on his hoodie. Robbie Savage, Robbie Savage, Robbie Savage.
Savage is an interesting facet of British culture. As a professional footballer, he was a high-level player who played for middling teams and seemed to exist purely to collect yellow cards and annoy opposition fans. Since retiring he’s sort of carried on doing exactly that, somehow. As a broadcaster he lurches between court jester and wind-up merchant, and at some point you have to sit down and admit: the Football ecosystem needs him. The sport itself is about wins and losses and goals. Supporting football is about the ether: who could do better, who could do worse, who is or isn’t out of their depth. Discussion needs conflict, and Savage is an infuriating lightning bolt of it.
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