The second volume of Danny Baker’s autobiography, Going Off Alarming, is upon us, this the volume in which he properly breaks into the media. Though at time of writing we haven’t read it we wonder if it’s going to get as far as those few years where he broke ground in the field of comedy football videos, in doing so setting the bar far too high for everyone else even if just taking the pop-eyed covers into account. Now, while plenty of wrong has been wrought over the years since on the good name of the football cock-up video and DVD, the four tapes with which Baker would associate his name ever more with voiceovers on League 2 goal round-ups referring to any own goal as “a contender for this year’s Christmas blooper tape market” more than stand up two decades on. And they’re all online too…
Own Goals And Gaffs (1992)
Danny had been doing 606 since the previous October, and while it started as a talking shop about the game and its problems and campaigns – Andy Townsend rang up in its first week to try and win Chelsea fans over after a defeat at Arsenal – it soon enough became more of a repository for recalling ephemera and detail of the game past. One week, mentioning the terrible Jimmy Greaves vehicle Football Gone Crazy, Baker mused on whether there couldn’t be a worthwhile lengthy compilation in high quality own goals and errors. Whether it was that which sprung VVL into action is unrecorded, but the week after Danny left 606 (he told the Mirror at the time that he didn’t want to be a crusading force but merely a fan again, though surely it had more to do with him having recently taken up the Radio 5 breakfast show) this 84 minute monster was unleashed. Most of the middle section is mere unlucky deflections for too long and most of the crowd reactions are the same effect dubbed on in post-production, but Baker’s script is smart and quite a bit of that therein hadn’t been seen for decades.
Right Hammerings (1993)
Having had the best selling sporting video of that Christmas, the following June VVL brought out Whose Season Was It Anyway?, which isn’t on YouTube as it’d be copyright claimed to hell and back, being a review of every aspect of the 1992-93 season with Danny adding his thoughts between packages voiced by a tyro Gabriel Clarke. Evidently wanting to do something other than rehash the previous year’s success this was a compilation of heavy wins/defeats, a curio that doesn’t quite seem to fit in comfortably but works as an extended exercise in the mental strain of defeat. Stay tuned for Derby v Finn Harps near the end, it’s ideal for connoisseurs of bad defending.
Own Goals And Gaffs 2 (1994)
But you can’t keep a good idea down for long. This, some say, is the better of the two – punchier, little lag, more genuinely funny observations of things happening around the periphery. Plus running jokes around Fulham’s Jim Stannard.
Fabulous World Of Freak Football (1995)
In which Dan and company get out of the studio and go on a local wander. Eventually every blooper video would try this, but they go to the trouble of hiring professional scriptwriters to build a narrative or storyline, whereas Danny wanders about a bit, pops into a pub and a greasy spoon cafe, and finds new opaque ways to link what aren’t just own goals and/or gaffs but early and late goals, comebacks, fights, odd refereeing decisions and anything else that, as Baker says, you’d love to have seen if you saw it written up in the paper. “Get on with it, you tosser!”
And with that Baker retreated, handing the baton on to sometime Radio 1 sideman Nick Hancock (whose Football Nightmares came out on VVL in 1996). VVL did bring out a Best Of Baker compilation with no new material, and in 2009 The Glorious Return Of Own Goals And Gaffs promised much and was given the necessary publicity but was in fact just like every other blooper DVD in that Danny’s input, apart from ten minutes of freestyling at the end, was reduced to little overlong sketches on location between dull montages, just like everyone else rushing to take his early examples’ name in vain.