Here's the other, slightly better half of Magic Spongers, Adam Bushby, on his more-than-just-an-aversion to three men on channel three...
"[Watching him is] like being stuck in the buffet car of a slow-moving train with a Toby jug that has miraculously discovered the power of speech… A talking Toby jug full of steaming hot piss.” Comedian Stewart Lee on Adrian Chiles.
I am 27. I earn an average wage only made average by the overtime I put in. I would say I am slightly better than average looking; women would disagree.
Adrian Chiles is 44. He earns £1m a year, which is above average. He is below average in terms of looks because he looks like a potato that a child of below average intelligence has drawn a face on.
He is a below average human being so handsomely rewarded for being such that sometimes, in my lesser moments, I want to build a life-size reconstruction of his face out of mashed potato, kiss it, and then smash it to bits with a rounders bat. That I have yet to do so speaks more for the wonders of modern medicine and alcohol than it does for my peace of mind.
Chiles earns his crust by heading up a triumvirate of tossers on ITV Sport of which the other two are Andy Townsend and Gareth Southgate. But I’ll get to them a bit later on. At its peak, ITV’s commentary is truly devastating. It is little less than an avalanche of shit, swallowing all in its wake and coating the most benign of intentions in a thick layer of excrement. I like to call this effect ‘The Wall of Shite’. It works in exactly the same way Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound did in the ‘60s. Dense, layered, unblinking, resounding. But rather than sound, the effect is to overwhelm the viewer with a splattering of bullshit. *Affects best Anton du Beke voice* “Bring on the Wall… of Shite.”
Watching Adrian Chiles in full flow is like sitting with the mate of a mate no one likes at a party. He is nondescript and shit and you want to punch him in his face, but of course you can’t. And he won’t shut up. And then a really tidy bird comes and sits next to you and she seems keen, but Adrian won’t shut up and keeps hijacking your jokes, somehow managing to flip them on their head so they are no longer funny. He keeps talking about all the ‘mad’ things he does when he’s drunk and how all his mates think he’s ‘mad’ and before you know it the girl has made her excuses and fucked off and you are sat on the sofa with this complete dickhead and he WILL NOT LEAVE.
It’s like a rugby team full of twats has been told to make a shit little mascot in their own image. He’s like a kid who is about eight, so they aren’t even cute anymore, saying or doing something really fucking annoying over and over again because they think it’s funny but it isn’t funny is it. He’s like a dripping fucking tap that won’t turn off. He’s a mouldy onion in a fruitbowl full of glistening apples. Adrian Chiles is the peawet on a fish supper: only popular in one pocket of the country and reviled everywhere else. Green, disgusting and irrelevant. THAT’S YOU ADRIAN.
Chiles has essentially been ruining large swathes of my life for years now. He ruined Match of the Day 2 for me with his ‘banter’. He ruined the African Cup of Nations for me. He ruined the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008 for me. He continues to ruin any match I am forced to watch on ITV by saying things like, “look at her in the crowd, she looks bored”, or “look at that fella with the facepaint”, or “you can still buy pints in German grounds”. If I wanted to hear a no-mark tell me his no-mark opinions I’d listen to Talksport. Or I’d go to a pub.
Chiles seems to have hoodwinked major television networks into paying him vast sums of money because he supports West Brom, which I think, was once the sole achievement on his CV. Fucking brilliant. Well done ITV.
On to Southgate. When Gareth Southgate bears his massive fucking gnashers, I always get an intense feeling of dread. Like he is sucking all the intelligent football observations I have (yes, sometimes I do have these) out of my brain and replacing them with a tepid larvae of unsubstantiated, turgid footballing bullshit. It is like he’s vomiting on my face and brain incessantly. It’s predominantly his voice that gets me. It pierces my skull like endoscopic surgery. And he bores me to tears. He never says anything I didn’t already know. And he says the things I already knew in this sort of nasal dribble piss of a voice that sometimes makes me hate not only him, but football and myself.
The Guardian’s Barney Ronay got it pretty much spot on when he once described Southgate thus: ‘…Scrubbed and primped, [he] increasingly resembles the kind of upmarket and slightly sneery serial killer who wears a cravat and sits in his palazzo listening to Mozart. For the sake of balance though, I do agree wholeheartedly with the new initiatives to be rolled out by the FA for youth development, overseen by head of elite development Gareth Southgate. So I suppose I’ll let him off. He still annoys the hell out of me though.
And then there’s Andy Townsend. I actually expect him to start flinging shit around the studio one day. “Look at me,” he’d yelp. “I’m literally sat in my own shit.” The joint king of the literally with the imbecilic Jamie Redknapp, Townsend is the antithesis of what a pundit should actually be. Dull, cliché-ridden, Premiership-obsessed (and all the trappings of ‘passion, hard tackling and commitment’ this brings) and ineloquent. The man is such a dickhead that he turned up to the Napoli v Liverpool match last season looking like… well judge for yourself.
I like to refer to Townsend as the ‘ghost of Andy Townsend’ in that he haunts more or less my every waking hour. Popping up at the vending machine at work and saying stuff like “get it up to the big man” or growling at me in the bogs: “You need to put it in the mixer”. Fuck off Andy and go and haunt John Inverdale or Jim Rosenthal.
In his playing days, Townsend et al used to label Graeme Le Saux ‘gay’ because he read the Guardian. Wear your ignorance like a badge of honour Andy. And boy, is it one large badge. You massive dickhead.
Harder to forgive for me is that everything on ITV’s commentary package is reduced to binary definitions and received wisdom. So all Brazilians have flair, all English players are fair, all African defenders are naïve, all Chinese are inscrutable and the Premier League is the ‘toughest and best in the world’. And you know for a fact that if England meet Germany again in the knockouts in the Euros next year, all three will bleat on about England being ‘better on paper’ and John Terry, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney ‘walking into any other team in the world’. You know that if Manchester United come up against Barcelona again in this year’s Champions League, Townsend will explain that the Catalans ‘don’t like it up them’ and would advise that the best course of action is to ‘get in their faces’. Its some sort of reverse self-fulfilling prophecy whereby the more they say it and believe it, the less true it becomes.
My rant is almost at an end, but let me leave you with the sort of symptomatic, anodyne, witless nugget of shit that Chiles will come up every three minutes. It’s the World Cup second round. England v Germany. More than enough has already been made of the ‘history’ of the fixture. Patrick Vieira praises the management style of Fabio Capello – strict, disciplined, organised. Chiles settles in his chair, leans forward… ‘But you wouldn’t want to go on holiday with him.” No one moves. Silence descends. Adrian fucking Chiles, ladies and gentlemen. He’s no Des Lynam is he.
See the brilliant Stew Lee talk about Adrian Chiles among other things (Chiles crops up about 5 mins 40 seconds in).