While UK TV biz insiders point to Five Live’s Colin Murray as the most likely candidate to succeed Adrian Chiles on the BBC’s “Match Of The Day 2”, the Guardian’s Barney Ronay launches a pre-emptive strike against another option, former “Soccer AM” host / author Tim Lovejoy (above, left).
Lovejoy brings his own brash, self-propelling sub-glamour. But he also brings a palpable ignorance of football beyond recent-vintage Premier League, as professed in his own brutally honest mea culpa hardback confessional Lovejoy On Football (misinterpreted by some as a simple celebrity memoir).
Plus, he brings a uniquely unapologetic amour-propre. Lovejoy loves Lovejoy. This is the dominant Lovejoy theme of any Lovejoy-fronted Lovejoy vehicle. This isn’t necessarily an obstacle to presenting sport well. Chiles is clearly also an operator and a toys-out-of-the-pram merchant. George Allison, the BBC’s first ever commentator, was an egomaniacal impresario who also managed Arsenal, hung out with movie stars and flashed about the place carrying a gold cigar case. But still some sense of detachment on screen is required, a concession to professional modesty. As opposed to that sense of having Lovejoy-scented laughter barked into your face, your CD collection name-dropped, your inner thigh forcibly autographed and essence of Lovejoy banter expertly syringed into both your ears.