independent

Saturday 21 September 2019

Chiles gets the boot but there are worse!

Former ITV soccer frontman Adrian Chiles, who will be replaced by Mark Pougatch
Former ITV soccer frontman Adrian Chiles, who will be replaced by Mark Pougatch

Daniel Gorman

So Adrian Chiles' goose has been cooked. The much-maligned former ITV Football frontman was handed his P45 on Friday morning and it was met by almost unanimous joy by the people of the internet.

Mark Pougatch, formely of BBC Radio 5 Live, will be the new top brass. It's safe to say not many tears will be shed for Chiles. Although seemingly a pleasant chap, he doesn't quite fit the bill to be a football presenter and perhaps now he can return to the helter-skelter world of daytime/evening television.

Chiles' popularity hit an all-time low during the 2014 World Cup as ITV viewers seemed to take out their frustration at England's latest flop out on the well-meaning frontman.

But ITV have decided to cut their losses and bring in Pougatch before the Champions League returns to our screens in February.

Chiles was once-upon-a-time oft joined by Roy Keane on the couch and the Cork man constantly seemed one dodgy question away from shoving a microphone up the bottom of the former host.

For me, Chiles is far from the worst offender when it comes to annoying faces/voices that sully my football viewing pleasure.

Step forward Mr. Andy Townsend, Mr. Niall Quinn, Mr. Michael Owen, in fact, step forward 99% of pundits.

In October, 2014, the Independent took an online poll to see which pundits rubbed their pundits up the wrong way (metaphorically).

Top of the charts was Andy 'That's better' Townsend with 37%. The silver went to Michael 'The craic is -90' Owen, whilst third place goes to Mark 'Not receding at all' Lawrenson who scooped 13%.

The best (worst) of the rest were Phil 'The Thrill' Neville (10%), Clarke 'We wish him a speedy recovery from his car crash' Carlisle (8%), Niall 'What's the weather like up there' Quinn (4%), Alan 'Suave' Smith (3%) and Gary 'MNF' Neville (2%).

First things first, how Niall Quinn only got 4% is a mystery. He must have stayed up all night voting for the rest.

The beanpole, patented nice-guy is harmless but he's just too pleasant and never offers any insight or anything at all, come to think of it.

Phil Neville is also dull and labouring to listen to and recently revealed that he didn't know how to make coffee. His bleached head must be a wonderful place.

Clarke Carlisle isn't the worst of them but as for the top three, the mind boggles.

Andy Townsend is like a jukebox, Michael Owen is like a cardboard box and Lawrenson should have followed his pal Alan Hansen into retirement.

Alan Smith is grand and very tolerable, while Gary Neville is incisive and brave and tells you the tale of the match with not just his words but also his delivery of those words.

Naturally, you're never going to agree with pundits all the time and especially if your favourite team is playing but if they are informed, eloquent and passionate, then they're okay.

But all those fellas ply their trade over the water.

Here on our own shores, our pundits are a different breed altogether. Occasionally we'll borrow the likes of Didi Hamann and Brad Friedel but more often than not, it's the same old, familiar Grandfather-like faces that will greet us: Liam Brady, Eamon Dunphy and John Giles.

They're reliable, they're safe. They're like security blankets to us.

Their firm opinions and fearlessness gets them much praise from other nations but they're no strangers to the odd gaffes themselves, as we can see below.

Eamon Dunphy: (On Cristiano Ronaldo): 'A puffball…will never be a player as long as he has a hold in his arse'.

(On Niall Quinn): 'Niall Quinn is a creep. The man's an idiot, a Mother Theresa'.

(On John Hartson): 'That is not the arse of a seven million pound player'.

(On Harry Kewell): 'Kewell should have been yanked off the pitch at half-time and put in a hot bath, a boiling hot bath'.

(On Steven Staunton): 'Would you let him drive the train to Cork?'

(On Match of the Day): 'You have to wonder about these clowns'.

John Giles: (On the UEFA Cup): 'I've no time for the UEFA Cup at all'.

Bill O'Herlihy: 'Hold on a second, John. We've got the final on Wednesday'.

Giles (grinning): 'It should be a great final, Bill. It always is on RTE'.

And while those outlandish statements and slip-ups make them all the more endearing, droppings like this make Townsend et al all the more punchable.

Townsend: 'The Belgians will play like their fellow Scandinavians, Denmark and Sweden'.

'Tim Howard is as sharp as a tank.'

'In the end, Rosicky did initially well.'

'That was six of a dozen and one of the other.'

* Disclaimer: I am in no way declaring myself some sort of punditry genius.

I go live on local radio every few weeks and it is a very tricky business.

I'm sure if RTE rang me up in the morning to come onto their coverage I'd melt under the cameras and be gobbled up or I'd drown to death on my own sweat.

When punditry is done right it is absolutely brilliant and enthralling and compulsive viewing.

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville are an absolute treat on Sky Sports every Monday evening and because of them, the standards expected now are higher than they've ever been, which doesn't bode well for some of the verbal diarrhoea sufferers out there.

Wexford People

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