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Dhaka Tribune

Exactly what you want from a pundit

Bangladesh-based football media platform Plaantik has published a first-of-its-kind title, Plaantik: An Anthology of Bangladesh's Football Culture, with Dhaka Tribune as editorial partner, featuring essays and articles from a galaxy of top football writers and players. Today's excerpt is from the essay Football Crazy by Andy Penders. You can read the full text by getting the book at plaantik.com/book 

Update : 15 Dec 2022, 10:39 PM

“Well, Shebby … ”

“Well, Andy …”

This is how Shebby Singh and I got used to greeting each other when we met. 

Whenever John Dykes, who hosted the Football Focus show on the network, would ask Shebby a question, he would always begin with: “Well, John …” and would continue with his response. 

I recall this one time when I was presenting a Premier League show and asked Shebby a question on one of the matches, and he started with “Well, Andy … ” 

That's how the inside joke started.

Shebby should need no introduction to the generation of football fans in Bangladesh and the rest of Asia that watched the Premier League in the early 2000s. 

A former Malaysian international footballer, Shebby became a household name in the region when he transitioned to a football analyst role on the ESPN STAR Sports network.

It is such a shock he is no longer with us. 

I was in disbelief when I heard about what happened to him because he was so fit and in the best shape of his life, cycling regularly following his retirement.

He was an amazing man, who would always have time for you. I enjoyed his company a lot and really, truly miss him. 

I worked closely with Shebby during the ESPN STAR Sports and Malaysian Football League production days where we would use him as a pundit, being one of the best that I've ever worked with – because he always had an opinion or two backed up with extensive knowledge. 

He had played the game at a professional level and was meticulous with his research, having in-depth knowledge, making him entitled to any opinion that he had. And the best thing about having someone with those sorts of opinions was that he divided audiences. 

That's exactly what you want from a pundit.

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