In December 1974, at a muddy Maine Road, Derby County's Francis Lee cut inside from the left wing and welted an unstoppable shot into the top-right corner. It remains one of the most famous goals of all time, mainly thanks to the accompanying commentary. "Look at his face!" hollered Barry Davies. "Just look at his face!"It was a gorgeous soundtrack, the BBC man lost in the moment, his voice cracking with innocent glee in genuine appreciation of a wondrous artistic achievement.
Society hasn't become totally cynical since the 1970s. You only have to listen to Gary Neville responding to Fernando Torres's goal on Tuesday night, channelling Jimmy Savile at the height of knee-trembling rapture, to realise that. (Providing, that is, you haven't pegged GNev's celebration as the most disingenuous crowd-pleasing yelp transmitted over the airwaves since Andy Gray responded to Steven Gerrard's famous Olympiakos thriker with that frankly bogus "yaaaaa beautyyyyy". But that's an argument for another day.)
Still, compare and contrast the childlike wonder of Davies, and latterly Neville, to the numbing joylessness of Geoff Shreeves. No appreciation here. Branislav Ivanovic had just put in one of the great shifts at the coalface, a defensive display so staunch that one of the greatest teams in football history has probably been damaged irreparably. And his reward for his efforts? To be hunted down on live television, and informed with apparent relish that his dream of playing at the very pinnacle of his sport is over.
The internet has, of course, responded with a mixture of pity and amusement – the comparison with Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons may possibly break your heart – but then punters are under no obligation to act respectfully; Ivanovic will know that schadenfreude goes with the territory. A professional broadcaster should know better, though. No doubt that old journalistic excuse, the pursuit of a good story, will be wheeled out in mitigation, as though Shreeves was uncovering Watergate multiplied by phone hacking on the end of a stick. But this was nothing more than a manipulative disgrace, a transparent attempt to goad poor Ivanovic into tears. A Kyle's trick.
Was this the most tactless interview in the history of television? In the world of sport, David Vine shoved a microphone under Steve Davis's face seconds after losing the 1985 world snooker final, and asked him how he was. Over in the world of entertainment, John Freeman psychoanalysed Tony Hancock to such a degree on the 1960 show Face to Face that Hancock's brother later claimed the introspective comic never quite recovered from the grilling, analysing himself silly before eventually pouring himself a Special Drink eight years later.
But Vine apologised, while a few probing questions on a chat show can't be blamed for someone taking a header off this mortal coil. So we've got to be honest here, we're struggling. Is there anything out there to outshreeve the egregious Shreeves? Anything? There must be something. Over to you...