Word reaches the Cutter that jovial man of the people Gary Neville is due to begin his co-commentating duties for Sky earlier than expected, possibly this Saturday for United’s potential title-clincher against Blackburn.
Footballers have never excelled on the small screen. From Souness’ piss-poor attempts at cinema verite in Boys From The Blackstuff, to Bryan Robson’s rabbit-in-the-headlights turn on Jossy’s Giants, right through to Clark Carlisle eyeing up Rachel Riley as roast-bait on Countdown, they simply aren’t programmed for programmes.
Big personalities on the pitch often become awkward, shuffling schoolboys once removed from their comfort zone and placed in front of the camera’s harsh glare.
Surely though this has to be the most surreal and baffling recruitment yet. Neville is as universally well regarded as Maggie Thatcher in a Nazi uniform visiting a synagogue in a northern mining town. His blood is 80% hatred and permanently has the face of a vengeful rat who has just escaped an experimental lab. Even United fans only like him ironically; viewed with the same conflicted affection as a racist grandparent.
To celebrate such televisual lunacy, and a venture surely doomed to inglorious failure as millions of viewers cancel their subscription and head down the pub to listen to the foreign blather on the illegal stream instead, we suggest some other ludicrously incongruous television/football mash-ups that we’d like to see.
Former Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards in Peep Show – Appearing as Mark’s posh father he is caught spying on Dobbie as she takes a tinkle.
Ron Atkinson hosting the MOBOs
Married ‘family man’ footballer (you know who we mean) guest-presenting 1980s kids show Play Away
Sammy Lee appearing on How To Look Good Naked – ‘You’re fat, you’re round, you bounce on the ground. You’re hardcore gorgeous girlfriend!’
Avram Grant on Live at the Apollo
Richard Keys guest presenting Loose Women
Completely inept ex-Spurs chairman Alan Sugar hosting a special one-off where he preaches from a self-built pulpit entitled Lord Sugar Tackles Football
Of course no such programmes would be made. But we can always dream.