Nicest people in sport - My Top 20
Greetings and salutations, sporting comrades. As I write this, I have a cold sausage number on brown bread with a condiment combo of mustard and mayonnaise alongside me. It's a strange one, but it's definitely a winner.
Anyway, rolling on from last week, thanks very much for all your suggestions for our 20 nicest people in sport. This is by no means the definitive list and I am sure there are loads we have missed out but - based on your suggestions, and my original three - this is what we came up with...
1. Chris Waddle - left-footed genius with a perfect mullet
2. Mark Webber - Aussie driver man with no PR people to get in the way
3. Linvoy Primus - nice man of football with impressive hair
4. Tim Henman - terrible fist pump but genuinely good tennis boy
5. Peter Beardsley - some strong support from all corners
6. Euan Murray - baguette-eating Scottish tight-head prop
7. Gareth Southgate - former manager of Middlesbrough and nice guy
8. Martin Laursen - the bloke who started it all off
9. Niall Quinn - very tall, genial Irish guy who is now a significant figure at Sunderland
10. Sir Chris Hoy - enormous thighs and very good at cycling
11. Jeremy Davidson - Ulster dude warmly recommended by peteram79
12. Graham Taylor - gentleman... simple as that
13. Steve Bruce - hideously broken nose but what a fella
14. Mark Cueto - scored a try in Rugby Union World Cup final but had it ruled out
15. Tim Flowers - just a nice bloke who happens to be good at football
16. Gianfranco Zola - small but perfectly-formed Italian who is always smiling
17. Colin Jackson - excellent bendiness and well-oiled grin
18. Jack Kelsey - former Arsenal dude nominated by Holloway2Holland
19. Roger Federer - excellent forehand and all round good egg
20. Matt Holland - impressed on Focus on Saturday
Matt Holland was a late addition to the list after coming on as a guest last week. The day had started badly when I discovered there was no ketchup for my early-doors bacon sandwich. (I am a straight down the line red-sauce-with-bacon / brown-sauce-with-sausage man, apart from the one I am currently eating but we were all out of the brown stuff). That said, the dry bacon sarnie turned out to be surprisingly tasty.
Anyway, there are very few pundits who come on Focus and settle in as quickly as Brother Holland did. He went for the jet black shirt and black trouser combination, which is a solid start for your first programme. You can't get any grief for that - no-one can complain about the double-black.
On the subject of trousers, I got an email from a viewer about the grey beauties I wore on Saturday. "Dear Sir, can I take this opportunity to pass comment on the trousers you wore on last week's programme (14/11/09). They distracted me from watching because they were the same colour as the sofa. It looked as though the programme was being presented by a torso. Please don't wear them again."
The Prince of Wales check trousers. Winner or loser?
Well, Mark from Cheshire will be pleased to hear that the editor also had the same reservations about the Prince of Wales check, which has now been relegated to the back of the wardrobe.
I should have followed Matt's example. I was also impressed with how well the former Republic of Ireland, Ipswich and Charlton midfielder responded to the presenter stare. You don't often get to see this as a viewer, but it's a great tool that is very effective on a live programme. It involves the presenter widening their eyes, like a demented owl, to inform the bloke who is currently speaking to button it.
Because it was Matt's first programme, he wasn't on what we call "talkback". As a result, he had no earpiece and couldn't hear the director and editor telling me what was happening next and when we needed to move on. Most regulars - like Lawro and Lee Dixon - love a bit of talkback, which is why the programme very rarely runs over. They can hear the production coordinator telling them exactly how long is left.
On Saturday, we only had 15 seconds to talk about the footage of Elizabeth Lambert fouling everything in sight. I asked a question, Lee made a gag about her being Martin Keown's sister, while Matt, responding to my stare, said just he was glad he had retired. That was it. Perfect. All in all, it was a very solid debut from Matt. I am sure he'll be back.
Talking of the future, we have some tasty interviews coming up over the next few weeks. Joleon Lescott will hopefullly be on this week and then the plan is to do Wayne Rooney next Monday. It's a great time to get him with Rooney Jnr arriving on the scene and following his elevation to the England captaincy for the game against Brazil.