Is Ed Smith in or out of a job?

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The photo on the homepage of Ed Smith’s website is worth a look. It is from an actual photo shoot. We haven’t exactly done extensive research on this, but booking a photo shoot to get some pictures of yourself would seem to us to be quite an unusual thing for a broadcaster to do.

As an ex-cricketer – one who played three Tests for England – you’d think Smith might go for something from his playing days. But this is not how Ed Smith sees himself any more. Ed Smith’s Twitter handle is @EdSmithWriter.

But back to that photo. He is in a suit and tie, walking across one of those featureless photographic backgrounds where there is no wall or floor, only a great expanse of grey.

Two questions:

  1. Where is he going? Deeper into the grey void, presumably.
  2. What is he looking at? Something above and slightly behind him, judging by his eyes. The thing is not a pterodactyl because Ed looks very calm, bordering on contemptuous. If it’s possible to look down your nose at something above you, Ed is doing that.

The photograph is highly airbrushed.

The reason why we are talking about Ed Smith is because he was made semi-redundant today (a fate that also befell us a few months ago, funnily enough). He has had his hours cut.

While Test Match Special will continue throughout the British summer, it has lost the rights to cover England’s next couple of winter tours to a radio station we’re going to refer to as Talk Sport, even though the name is supposed to be written as talkSPORT.

Talk Sport has a cricket track record. It has covered the last two years of the IPL, plus the World Twenty20 in 2016 and the Champions Trophy last summer. It last did an England tour in 2005. You can find Talk Sport on medium wave or via digital means.

The BBC will presumably be very unhappy.

Ed Smith will be less concerned because Lizzy Ammon is reporting that he has been named as England’s new national selector.

Maybe Smith is looking at “the axe” in that photo on his homepage and is feeling faintly smug at having fully evaded what had promised to be a glancing but still debilitating blow.


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  1. I’ve heard nothing good about tALKsPoRt, of however they call themselves. Wondering if anyone on these hallowed pages has a different view.

    1. I did listen in in 2005 I think. That’s no guide to how well they’ll do this time round but I did like the fact they weren’t just trying to ape TMS. One thing I dimly recall (provided I’m not getting it mixed up with some foreign commentary I overheard on internet radio)… bombastic audio introduction for each player might be a bit OTT but on the TV when a new batsman walks to the crease it’s conventional to display their vital stats so it doesn’t seem a bad idea for the radio to announce them. Also for all of its many virtues TMS can be extremely chummy. Some of us get into that thing, but it does put other people off. There’s something to be said for an alternative take on the sport’s commentary with a different set of eyes and voices.

      1. I reckon I actually like less than 25% of the TMS team. Competition is good, it won’t do TMS any harm to have a need to raise the game. I’m not entirely sure why there isn’t a potential in the near future for them to both broadcast games.

      2. That’s the best argument for this I’ve seen, Steve – sweeps out some of the complacency. I’d like there to be the choice, but wonder if there’d be any point in having the option with adverts? Surely very few people would choose that.

        I like the chumminess, but I concede it’s not for everyone.

  2. Ed Smith is an English author, journalist and academic, former professional cricketer and cricket commentator.

    I am deeply concerned about his website. Firstly, what sort of list is that? Surely the list ought to have said, “… is a former professional cricketer, cricket commentator, and some other stuff.” But it doesn’t. It relegates “professional cricketer” to fourth place.

    This is the first piece of evidence, but there is loads more, and it all points to the same conclusion:

    2. He is wearing a suit, the official uniform of people who want to feel superior.

    3. He is ignoring you – that is why he is looking somewhere else. As KC says, it’s a photo shoot. There isn’t anything there for him to look at, so what he is doing in fact is deliberately NOT LOOKING at something. And that something is the camera, aka YOU. You have visited his website, but he wants you to feel like he couldn’t care less about this.

    4. He says he is English. Many people are, me included, but the only people who ever tell you that up front are the sort of people who dream of Spitfires and white cliffs.

    5. He says he is an author. Not a writer, an author. I reckon he sat down and wrote his introductory sentence with the word “writer” in it, and then decided it needed more smugness. So he thesaurused “writer”, found “author”, and knew his work was done.

    6. He says he is an academic. Nothing else to add to that one.

    And to reiterate the first point, none of YOU are a former professional cricketer. You would love to be, but you aren’t. But that’s not even the best thing about Ed Smith. He is better than you, even with the fourth thing on his list.

    There is nothing whatsoever to like about that webpage, and given the deliberate and considered nature of it, decreasingly little to like about its creator. I hope, really hope, that he was advised by a PR consultant with red glasses who he now knows to be a wanker, and that he will at some point come to his senses.

    1. I always got the impression that Ed Smith would rather be a former amateur cricketer.

  3. A sort of poor man’s – or woman’s – Gideon Haigh;

    Basically, a non-cricket fan’s – Prince Prefab’s perhaps – concept of what an “English” cricket chap should be like.

    I sense his appointment may be greeted with some scepticism round these ‘ere parts…

  4. ” presenting a series comparing sport and classical music for Radio 3″

    Gutted I missed this one.

  5. I wonder if @EdSmithPlagiarist will call up Gary Ballance and Sam Robson and then claim it was all his idea?

    Biting satire that.

  6. He must get a lot of crinkle from selling blue shirts. In fact I added a link to his advert in a thread ages ago. He’s earnest. Very earnest. Very earnest indeed. Nothing worse than being earnest

  7. Anyone who mentions their degree qualification except on their CV is a wrong ‘un.

  8. He’s an academic in the same way that Gladwell and Matthew Syed are………. in that he isn’t.

    The Boris Johnson of cricket writing.

    1. Was it Jonathan Liew laying into Syed the other day, saying he’d built a career on espousing Dave Brailsford’s philosophy of marginal gains? (The point being that philosophy is beginning to look less magical of late).

      1. I think it is safe to say on any given day that Jonathan Liew was laying into the Syed the other day. It’s his favourite hobby, and I for one can’t get enough of it.

    2. I think the “academic” thing is in relation to his role as director of the MA History of Sport (by Research) offered by the University of Buckingham but studied in London. With no further comment…

      Based in London, this groundbreaking Master’s programme offers students unique access to world-class scholars, thinkers and practitioners drawn from the world of sport and its academic study.

      It is directed by Ed Smith, the commentator, historian of sport, and former cricketer for England, Middlesex and Kent.

      The course enables the student to undertake research on a specific topic, agreed with the supervisor, in any aspect of the history of sport over the last two centuries. Assessment is by a dissertation, written under expert guidance over the course of the year.

      A central feature of the programme is its series of ten evening seminars and post-seminar dinners in a London club, at which participants can engage in general discussion with guest speakers. These experts include:

      Mike Brearley OBE, former Captain of the England Cricket Team and former President of the MCC
      Dr Kasia Boddy, Lecturer at Cambridge University and author of Boxing: A Cultural History
      Mervyn King, Lord King of Lothbury KG, GBE, FBA, former Governor of the Bank of England and ex-Director, Aston Villa Football Club
      Professor Christopher Young, historian of sport, Cambridge University
      Simon Kuper, author and Financial Times columnist
      Matthew Syed, journalist, author and broadcaster

      Sport’s place in modern life has never been more central, and the history of sport is a rapidly growing area of academic study. The course will touch on all major sports – in Britain, America and on the Continent. Some of the themes addressed by the lectures will be:

      Why was Britain so central to the development of modern sport?
      When and how did sport become politicised?
      How has sport influenced attitudes towards class, race, gender and sexuality?
      Sport’s role as an agent and beneficiary of globalisation.

      The course will begin with two seminars about how to choose, research and write an academic dissertation, held at the University’s London offices, 51 Gower Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 6HJ. These will be followed by ten guest lectures and dinners, held at the splendid Caledonian Club (Halkin Street, London SW1X 7DR), a few moments from Hyde Park Corner in central London. The cost of the post-seminar dinners is included in the tuition fees.

      For dates of the seminars, please click on “Teaching & Assessment”. Those wishing to attend the seminars, but not to undertake a dissertation, may join the course as Associate Students at a reduced fee.

      Which is precisely the kind of degree that one would have imagined Ed Smith to be teaching. Wonder who chose the dining club?

      1. Oddly this means he is the Director of an MA course but the highest level of course of study he has actually undertaken was a BA! I’m not counting the weird Oxbridge MA thing, what with it having no exams or any other form of assessment. Or indeed it being impossible to “fail”, unless you fail to fill out the paperwork and send off the fee.

  9. I’m sorry to be a dissenting voice, but I don’t mind Ed Smith on TMS. He is a more thoughtful counterpoint to the bombast of Tuffnell, Swann or Vaughn . I’ll admit that having seen his website, I like him a little less, but I’d rather judge him on how he does his job than what his website looks like. Ebony and Charles Dagnall have rather rubbishy websites, but I rather like them too..

    1. I’ll share in this dissent, but then again I like most everyone on TMS. Apart from Vaughan. Can only torment myself so much.

    2. We’re neither one way or another on his commentary. This wasn’t meant as a takedown. We just happened to visit his website and thought that photo was funny.

      1. Yes, I appreciate that where the initial article was. It was just your court seemed to have taken against him more generally, so I thought I’d put my oar in.

      2. It’s not a very writerly photo. Maybe I just avoid authors who represent themselves in such visual terms.

        KC, though, should be cautious about inviting comments about author images, or perhaps we’re all past that.

  10. His bio is also quite entertaining. I like the fact he ‘took’ a double first from Cambridge, rather than ‘got’ a degree like other plebby students.

    I bet he ‘read’ history rather than ‘did’ it as well. I always hate it when they say that on University Challenge.

    1. “And now, ladies and gentlemen, I will make a cricket ball hover with only the power of my mind. Theremin music please, maestro…”

  11. Is this what happens when The Hayden Way gets sent to university? Or just secondary school really.

    That photo. It’s from the family of corporate photos – like the ones where a group of suits are all leaning over desks (several ethnicities – check), nominally discussing work but having a right old laugh too

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