Sport on TV: Man time is the wrong time for a miniature chef

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The Independent Online

Nuts TV – motto "Night Time is Man Time" – launched last September on a tidal wave of testosterone, promising to cover "the essential topics of entertainment for men, including sport, gadgets, cars, music, comedy and news" (but not topless birds, for some reason). So a series entitled Football Hurts doesn't raise hopes of a quality-TV experience. What might we be in for? 100 Worst Fouls? 50 Most Entertaining Instances of Players Getting Hit in the, er, Nuts? 10 Handiest Orifices in which to insert a Mobile Phone?

None of these, bizarrely. Football Hurts actually kicked off on Thursday with a proper, sane and sensible documentary – no tacky voice-over, no body part that could be described as pert or lithe, not a nipple in sight – about the rise of AFC Wimbledon, England's antidote to the depression induced by the kidnapping of our national game by American hedge funds.

They've been going since 2002 now, founded when the old Wimbledon so disgracefully decamped to Milton Keynes. And although they've experienced Ryman Premier play-off grief the last three seasons, they're still only three titles away from the Football League. They've got a goalkeeper on loan from Spurs, and old Dons favourite Marcus Gayle shoring up the back four. As Kevin Day, on loan from his day job as roving reporter on Match of the Day 2, put it: "If you'd sent that script to anyone – even ITV4 – they'd have rejected it."

The film followed them through the first couple of rounds of the FA Trophy. The fans are all clearly slightly unhinged – shades of Dennis Wise and the Crazy Gang – and it's the holistic football experience they're after. We see one of the co-founders, Marc Jones, leading an expedition to a Trophy game at Tonbridge Angels (the alma mater of Malcolm Macdonald, Ron Saunders and Roy Hodgson, as it happens). At 10 to three they're still in the pub.

"It's a 25-minute walk," Jones says. "Trouble is, there's four pubs on the way." They get there in time to see another AFC win. "Wimbledon matches are like Woodstock or the '60s," says Jones. "If you can remember them you weren't there."

So up the pyramid they go, their massed legion of travelling fans giving most clubs they visit a record payday, with the hope of eventually reaching League status. But there's more. As Erik Samuelson their chief executive, says, the battle plan also includes eventually returning to Merton, their spiritual home, and being a professionally run football club. They've already achieved that last objective; the others must surely follow.

As the father of young children, it was highly disturbing, however, to see that Nuts TV's star attractions – they're on everything, from Beer Club to the game show North v South – are the heroes of CBeebies's Big Cook Little Cook.

Ben and Small on Nuts TV? Is nothing sacred?

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