Will Hawkes: Phone-in generates lots of heat but little light or delight

View From The Sofa: You're on Sky Sports, Sky Sports 2

It's one of football's eternal truths that managers operate under the most intense of pressures. Take Avram Grant, for example. West Ham's hangdog manager has not had the best of months – or seasons for that matter – and things just keep getting worse.

Unfortunately for Grant, supporters have opinions and they're not afraid to express them. The internet has led to an explosion of footballing heat – if not much light – but the real crucible for footballing chat remains the phone-in. You might think that this is a format made for radio but that hasn't stopped Sky Sports from doing it on the telly. You're on Sky Sports features two ex-footballers (on Saturday the strangely intense Jason Cundy and Graham Stuart), a blonde referred to only as Chloe, and lots of opinions.

Grant, understandably given his side's failure to see off Everton, played a starring role in a number of these opinions. After Chloe had set up the debate ("We want to know if you are happy with the manager at your club, and more importantly, if you would like to see someone else in charge." More importantly?) the callers got down to business. John from Yeovil hit the nail on the head. "We don't seem to be able to hold on to leads that often," he lamented. Cundy nodded, turned to Stuart and asked: "They do not seem to be able to hold on to a lead. Where does the manager come into that?"

After Stuart had answered that to his satisfaction (something about team spirit – I drifted off a little), Andy from Chelmsford demanded: "Why did Avram Grant take all his strikers off the pitch at the end?" A good question and one Stuart couldn't really answer. Fortunately another opinion came whizzing along, this time on the subject of Wigan's manager, Roberto Martinez. Paul from Wigan asked: "Does Dave Whelan even care any more? Why will he not sack that joke of a manager Roberto Martinez? Boring, rubbish football."

Stuart didn't agree that Wigan's football was boring but his heart wasn't really in the discussion. Wigan, it turns out, just don't have enough fans. "I do not think too many people would be too worried to see Wigan drop out of the Football League," he said. Cundy looked taken aback. A controversial point of view? Uh-oh. Stuart was unrepentant: "Do you want to go to the DW Stadium?" he asked Cundy. I don't think he meant for a date. "They only get 10,000 people in. This is the Premier League. We want to see packed stadiums."

Stuart should know about empty stadiums, having played for Chelsea in the early 1990s before they reinvented themselves as an international brand. West London's playboys were the subject of John from Blackpool's call. "I don't understand what's going on at Chelsea," he said. "Who's in charge?"

"I think the championship is out of reach," was Stuart's response to a question that hadn't been asked, "which is sad to see because as ex-Chelsea players, Jase, we want to see them do well." And if they don't, just blame the manager.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence