Robin Scott-Elliot: 'Wee Gordie' Strachan attacks Chiles for slipping into cliché
View From The Sofa: FA Cup, ITV1
Monday 31 January 2011
This is, it's safe to say, a time for football presenters to mind their Ps and Qs, and do their own ironing. When the Manchester United team-sheet arrived in the ITV studio at St Mary's on Saturday it must have tested the resolve of all those in the box to keep schtum. That strange "nggghhhh" sound was Adrian Chiles biting his tongue as he sought to stop a flood of invective that might have touched on his company paying all those millions (for the competition rather than to him) to show United's reserves, becoming a sort of MUTV with knobs on (if that sort of language is acceptable).
We had seen the United coach arrive and seen Rooney, Berbatov, Nani, Giggs stride off it with Fergie at their head. The next time we saw them they were huddled on the bench – the money shot as it were – with Rooney, as he does off pitch, resembling one of the Bash Street Kids.
Gordon Strachan is more Wee Eck (see Jocks and the Geordies in The Dandy) when it comes to cartoon casting. Wee Gordie – he kept mentioning his height – has an occasionally patchy record on the role of women in the workplace; and in the wake of the Keys and Gray, ahem, affair (there, mentioned them) he behaved impeccably on Saturday and even admonished Chiles for using the "small team can go out there and enjoy themselves" line. "That's a cliché," barked Strachan, who is good value as a pundit with his air of unpredictability mixed with moments when it is impossible to understand what he's saying.
With his downbeat, weight of the world (is that why he hunches?) approach, Chiles is a presenter for our times, the Chilesgeist. What he, and for that matter Gary Lineker and David Gower, has is an air that what we are watching is not the be all and end all. That was the Keys and Gray approach: every game and its consequences were apocalyptic, although not as apocalyptic as Key's longest (audio) suicide note in history on talkSport last week.
Sky Sports are broadcasting to a more niche audience than free-to-air channels, but Ray Stubbs on ESPN and Gower on Sky's cricket coverage are in the same bracket, yet still manage to interact with, rather than dictate to, the viewer. But wherever Keys ends up, anytime you see him in a studio it will be impossible not to remember him with his feet on the table uttering offensive nonsense. He did bow out on a broadcasting high, as his lunchtime ramble on the radio is already the broadcasting highlight of the year.
Paul Hawksbee and Andy Jacobs are not to everyone's taste – "Is this political correctness gone mad, Richard?" one of them (they are the Ant or Dec of radio) wondered at one point – but all they had to do was uncoil the rope and Keys did the rest.
There was one voice raised in Keys' and Gray's favour. It came on Question Time from Katie Hopkins, the former Apprentice who makes Thatcher resemble Florence Nightingale. Hopkins is the lady who likes to lamp. With friends like that, more enemies will follow.
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga