The downfall of Soccer AM

by Matt Quinn

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

Fight bland and back Brand

Saturday mornings used to be so enjoyable. Turn the TV on. Switch over to Sky Sports and tune in for the best dose of hangover TV known to man. Soccer AM.

One half of Sky’s luxurious flagship Saturday schedule. The other half being the most spectacular example of visual simplicity possible. Gillette Soccer Saturday, hosted by the brilliant Jeff Stelling, featuring 4 blokes sitting around a desk talking about football, while watching games that the viewer can’t see. A ludicrous concept but one that works superbly thanks to the sheer passion and charisma of its host and guests. While never quite recreating the halcyon days of Best, Marsh and McLintock, Soccer Saturday remains nothing short of excellent. Stelling is a one-man televisual whirling dervish, never missing a beat, never failing to amuse and educate in equal measure. This week has seen Stelling named as the new presenter of Countdown. Sky must be praying to the punditry gods that Stelling’s head isn’t turned by the glittering mainstream world of consonants, vowels and conundrums. Put simply, they must cling onto their crown jewel as if their broadcasting lives depended on it. As proven by the mundane caricatures of Soccer Saturday, available on the BBC and ITV, the dearth of such charismatic presences in sport programming can render a show’s viewer appeal impotent. Stelling is the Viagra that raises (pun intended) Soccer Saturday to a higher plateau.

While the second half of this once-unbeatable double act maintains its consistency, its early morning counterpart has fallen somewhat from grace, at least in my household. Again, the underlying reason behind Soccer AMs rise and fall is the presenting skills of its hosts. The immensely watch-able Tim Lovejoy was, in a less obvious way, as much of an anchor to Soccer AM as Stelling is to Soccer Saturday. When Lovejoy left the show two years ago, Sky initially filled the gaping hole with Andy Goldstein. A relatively likeable sort, but somewhat uncomfortable to watch, Goldstein floundered under the spot-light and a painful confrontation with Ray Winstone was the final straw. Goldstein was promptly replaced by someone whose name I can’t even be bothered to google. He is the most bland, non-descript presenter Sky could have chosen and as a result I haven’t watched Soccer AM for months. As a result my Saturday mornings are filled with woe-is-me, pounding, thumping headaches which aren’t eased by Saturday kitchen or T4 or Sam and Mark. As a result I have to speak to my girlfriend on a Saturday morning.

Well, ive had enough. I want my hangover-cure TV back. I want to ignore my girlfriend again. I want my Soccer AM back. The format is still the same, Helen Chamberlain is still the same, all that is missing is a charismatic male lead. Thus, we at UKFF are starting a petition to bring Russell Brand out of the shameful satanic sluts shadow and into the bright spotlights of Saturday morning TV. Admittedly Brand and morning TV probably aren’t the most likely of bed-fellows. And the shows producers may have to think about erecting some sort of electric perimeter around the soccerettes, but one thing is sure. Brand is watchable. He exudes passion, charisma and he knows his football. His articles in the guardian are often superbly written (in his usual Dickensian style) but are also exceptionally adroit and accurate. He would have no problem fending off an irritable Winstone. Theyre both Hammers fans after all. He could help shake Chamberlain out of her recent slumber which has seen her dozing mind drift to Poker tournaments and nude photo-shoots. He could resurrect this once proud programme. He could stop my headaches. He’s one of a dying breed. Charismatic TV presenters who know a bit about footy. Don’t let this breed become like the giant panda of the television world. So I ask everyone: Fight bland and back Brand.

Back Brand

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  • Stevie

    The swine!

    Got my vote!

  • SarahJ

    Yes yes yes yes yes yes!!! If he was doing it I’d love to be a soccerette!!!!


  • Darren

    I can’t remember the last time I watched Bland AM, Brand would be amazing!!

    The show lacks personality since Lovejoy left, we miss Bwarry Prwoundfoot and co, Brand would bring in his own characters!

  • Martyn

    Brand is a complete pratt and his comedy and the way he acts is so forced and fake. He also is clueless about football. And he’s useless as a person.

  • Tom

    He might be a pratt but at least he’s an entertaining pratt!! Which is what Soccer AM badly needs!

  • Stephen

    I hate soccer AM and its New Football agenda. Brand would sort it out. Then again I haven’t got sky and have no intention of getting it. But they could count on me watching it hungover from my mate’s sofa whenever i stop over at somebody else’s house after a bit of a sesh.

  • Parks numero uno

    Soccer Am isnt really any good anymore and hasnt been for years to be honest.

    They need to really freshen it up, i used to watch it every saturday morning but i would rather sit and watch spongebob squarepants.

  • dexylongshot

    Same here, this is the 1st year i haven’t bothered watching.
    It wasn’t too bad last year with goldstein but it was big ask for him to fill Lovejoys slippers, they have tried to spruce it up but the set change and new bloke are just not doing it anymore. The latest bunch of newbie extras aren’t in the same league as the Pwoadfoot et all, Fenners was the best thing about it, comedy genius. If they can’t get Brand, maybe just have Proadfoot in character the whole time, it will be more entertaining.

  • Phl

    Russell Brand is the new Kate Moss, the only way is up, so to speak!

  • Craig Wesseldine

    Its either brand Or bring back lovejoy. EASY, EASY, EASY, EASY

  • Rob Evans

    anyone but that rat they got at the moment i cant even remember his name



  • Darren

    what about Roland Rat? He’d be better than that toilet roll of a presenter they’ve got at the mo.

    Rat fans, yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!

  • Bertie

    here here…i’m for the idea…give the old mucker a chance. I’ve read the odd bit of his column and he seems to know a bit about the game…just a shame he’s a hammers fan

  • Jon Mason

    Lovejoy was rubbish, he still is rubbish, he’s probably the worst presenter on tv. He’s always swaying about, saying erm’ and doesn’t look very sure about anything.

    Start a new mission to get lovejoy off the tele

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