Mike Rowbottom: Smith et al could use a spell on Hell's Sofa

It's been a disturbing week for some of our high-profile sporting figures. Alan Smith has reaped an embittered harvest from Leeds fans after switching allegiance to the club's arch-enemy, Manchester United. And United's manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been criticised following the revelation that the club has paid more than £13m to agents in the past three years, much of which has gone to a business part-owned by one of his sons.

It's been a disturbing week for some of our high-profile sporting figures. Alan Smith has reaped an embittered harvest from Leeds fans after switching allegiance to the club's arch-enemy, Manchester United. And United's manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been criticised following the revelation that the club has paid more than £13m to agents in the past three years, much of which has gone to a business part-owned by one of his sons.

Meanwhile, Martina Navratilova has set herself up for humiliation by leaning on French Open officials for a wild card and then falling - literally, at one point - to a predictable first round defeat by...does it matter? Yet, for me, most disturbing was when, on Wednesday night, Dwain Chambers, having been persuaded that appearing in the ITV reality show Hell's Kitchen was a good way of spending his time while serving a two-year doping ban from athletics, thought better of it.

The man who once seemed destined to contest this year's Olympic 100m title was falling apart inside like a badly constructed pasty after four days of unrelenting labour and verbal aggravation. Hunched and wretched, with involuntary tears starting from his eyes, he told head chef Gordon Ramsay that the experience was bringing home to him everything he had lost and he could no longer continue.

Maintaining that he had no confidence and was at the lowest point of his life, Chambers concluded: "I'm weak." "No you're not," responded Ramsay. "You're built like a f***ing ox." It was a piercing insight from the hard man of the hobs. Cutting through the psychological garbage, he had revealed the essential truth of Chambers's position - he was indeed a big lad.

I can't help thinking that ITV are misusing this uniquely gifted server of food and abuse. Sure, he can cook a bit. Yes, he can shout a bit. But consider the possibilities for new TV drama in the area of celebrity counselling - Hell's Sofa, if you like.

So we have Amanda Barrie, or a similar highly-strung luvvie, nicely settled on a couch in a Hampstead drawing room. They are invited to talk about why they felt their mother never really loved them or how they always felt their elder sister was their father's favourite. Then the camera pans across to the crumpled features of the man who looks like his own Spitting Image puppet, and...

"Do I give a s***? Do I? Shut the f*** up, why don't you! Any more f***ing drivel and you can pay for the couch to be steam-cleaned! Now get up, sort yourself out and be in my f***ing kitchen at 8.00am tomorrow or I'll stuff you like a f***ing Christmas turkey!" Oh - who's this poking their bleach-blond head around the handsomely panelled drawing room door? Come in, Mr Smith. Make yourself comfortable. Our resident shrink will see you now...

"So you think you're f***ing brave for leaving Leeds for Man U do you? Shall I tell you what's brave? Staying with Leeds, that's f***ing brave. Staying with them and making sure they get back into the f***ing Premiership. Yeah? Yeah? So don't f***ing whinge on to me about the backlash. You made your bed, now f***ing lie on it!Go on, f*** off out of it!"

The door slams shut and, as dusk makes its way almost imperceptibly through the tree-lined north London avenues, it quietly opens again to admit one more seeker-after-truth. Pausing only to balance a covered tennis racket against the walnut sideboard, the newcomer clambers gingerly on to the couch with a barely perceptible whince and gently massages a knee.

"What the f*** do you think you're playing at? Don't you get it? Give me that f***ing thing! (Muffled sound of strings twanging). There! You should have done that 10 f***ing years ago. You're old! You're past it! You're finished! Now f***ing get over it!" Who's the ITV commissioning editor nowadays? Rich possibilities here, I feel...

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