is a British
show presented by Helen Chamberlain
and Max Rushden
. It has been broadcast on Sky Sports 1
each Saturday morning of the football season since 1995 between 0900 and 1200. It is also simulcast
, since the spring of 2007. It is also shown on Sky's Sky Anytime
service in a cut down version of around 50 minutes. This is available to view from the Monday after the show broadcasts until Saturday.
Tim Lovejoy transformed the show from a serious football programme to the current popular format when he took over as producer and presenter in 1996 and stayed on screen until Sky announced on June 5 2007 that he had quit the show after eleven series as co-host. Sky announced Tim's replacement on June 22 2007 as Andy Goldstein. However, Goldstein lasted just one season as co-host and it was announced on June 10, 2008 that Max Rushden had been chosen as Goldstein's replacement.
The success of Soccer AM has come from an eclectic mix of football, comedy and entertainment every week, and has seen its influence spread well beyond the world of football. Parts of the show have remained since the beginning, whilst new items have been introduced each season. In that respect, it is almost the same every week, the difference being new football footage and comedy skits. Every week sees a new group of celebrity guests, generally featuring at least one footballer who is free on the Saturday, and a mix of musicians, TV personalities and other sportsmen.
Fans of the Week
In 2008 current theme music used on the show includes The Maybes? track called 'Boys'.
In 2002, Soccer AM's All-Sports Show
was launched for Friday nights, an hour-long show catering for a broader range of sports. Lovejoy and Chamberlain hosted the show initially until 2004 when Andy Goldstein
replaced Lovejoy - just as he did three years later on Soccer AM itself.
The close of the 2005-06 season marked the completion of ten seasons of Soccer AM, and also heralded the beginning of its own spin-off - Cricket AM.
List of crew members and jobs/characters:
- Helen Chamberlain - Co-presenter;
- Max Rushden - Presenter;
- Tubes (Peter Dale) - Guest interviewer;
- Rocket (James Long) - Skill Skool Presenter/That Is Life Interviewer;
- Chris Nutbeam - The C Word;
- Steve Sutcliffe - Writer;
- Baby Elvis (Adam Smith) - Small Talk/Loose Men/Car-Park Goalkeeper;
- Tom Oliver - Forces model/Loose Men;
- Trevor Giess - Referee Mark Battenburg/2008 Dance Off Champion/Brian the Bear
- Dave Morgan - Loose Men/Soccerette Gag
- James Kirtland - 3rd Place in 2008 Dance Off/New Lad)
- Jimi Ahmed - Aka Borat - New Boy
- Lisa - Webcam & Dance Off
- Colin - Dance off
- Graham - Dance off
Former crew members
- Fenners (John Fendley) - Stan Hibbert/Barry Proudfoot/Mike Schweinberger/Referee Gallagher;
- Sheephead (Joe Worsely) - Topless Weather/Soccerette Gag;
- Neil Smythe - Autobiography Reader/Randy Wakeman III/Yorkshire News/Angry Fan;
- Robbie Knox - "That Is Life" Interviewer/Fixtures Man/Tramp;
- Jon Dyson - Writer/Yorkshire News;
- Brian Regan - Can He Kick It goalkeeper.
Fans of the Week
The "Fans of the Week" feature has been a mainstay - where eight fans of a British football club come in as studio guests every week, seated in the "Luther Blisset Stand". They are featured in various aspects of the show, culminating in a team footballing challenge at the end of the programme.
Helen Chamberlain also interviews the fans, asks them to sing a song and asks a few other questions.
The challenge, which takes place outside in the Frank McAvennie Car Park, involves the fans attempting to kick a football through a hole as many times a possible within the time limit, generally 60 seconds. The challenge has been renamed almost every season, along with the props and background music for the feature. The other studio guests all have the opportunity to attempt to score as well. Its various guises through the years include:-
- "Road To Rome" (2008/09) - Fans now have a much larger hole to kick the ball through. The set now features a large Champions League trophy surrounded by players such as Steven Gerrard, Ryan Giggs and Bobby Charlton. Other features of the set include Julius Caesar holding up a red card and a red carpet displaying the Champions League logo along with the city in which the final will be played, Rome.
- "Hollywood" (2007/08) - following David Beckham's move to LA Galaxy, the game featured a Hollywood Walk of Fame-style "pavement" leading to the familiar target with a David Beckham mock-up alongside it. The stars included friends of the show with Jeff Stelling as the biggest star on the walkway. Noel Gallagher, Ricky Hatton, Mani and Kasabian's Sergio Pizzorno (scorer of possibly the finest goal in the game's history) also featured.
- "Road to Wembley II" (2006/07) - a revision of 2005-06's "Road to Wembley" - a tongue-in-cheek response to the failure of Wembley Stadium to be completed in time for 2006 FA Cup Final. On August 26th, 2006, Kasabian guitarist Serge Pizzorno scored what was hailed to be the best goal on Soccer AM by Helen Chamberlain - flicking the ball up in front of him and unleashing a spectacular right footed volley clean through the hole target whilst wearing cowboy style boots.
- "Road to Wembley" (2005/06) - the original edition was named to celebrate the return of the FA Cup Final to Wembley Stadium in May 2006, although remained unchanged despite the The FA's announcement that the stadium would not be complete. The challenge was 'scoring' by hitting the ball through the hole in the letter "b" (of the inflated word "Wembley") as many times as possible in 80 seconds from 12 yards. Viewers are encouraged to text in and guess the amount of times the "Fans of the Week" will get the ball through the "b". This is done with the background music of "Que Sera, Sera". Teams who score 7 or more times won an "Easy" T-shirt for each member.
- "We Are the Champions League" (2004/05) - celebrating Sky Sports' purchase of broadcasting rights for the Champions League, the central star of a 3D UEFA Champions League logo 2.svg was removed and made the target from 12 yards. The background music was, "Blitzkrieg Bop" by "The Ramones"
- "Feed The Iron Curtain" (2002/03) - fans had to kick the ball through the Iron Curtain as many times as possible in one minute. Meanwhile, the Eastern European substitutes (wearing red TCCCP tracksuits - a pun on the old CCCP shirts and TCP the antiseptic) would warm-up, a memorable moment from "Feed the Iron Curtain" was when one of the celebrities missed the "goal" and kicked the rebounding ball in frustration and the ball hit one of the eastern European substitutes in the face. This celebrity was Frank McAvennie and Tim and Helen loved it so much that they renamed the car park The Frank McAvennie Car Park in his honour.
- "World Cup 2002"(2001/02) - a giant face of Sven-Göran Eriksson with his mouth wide open was the target, with the background music of "Sven, 'Gor-don', Eriksson, tra, lala, lala!" (to the tune of Brown Girl in the Ring).
- "Feed the Goat" (2000/01) - the target being the mouth of a giant goat, with the background music of "Feed The Goat And He Will Score" (to the tune of Cwm Rhondda) - a popular terrace chant for Shaun Goater at Manchester City.
- "Lob Star" (1999/2000) - The target was a large net, held up by a lobster. The object being to chip the ball into the net from distance. Notably, Neil Lennon successfully found the target, only to be told he had done so before the whistle. Following the whistle, he repeated the feat.
- "Chips" (1998/99) - As the name suggested, the ball had to be chipped into the target. This had to be done over a short "brick" wall. The ball boys at this time were American state troopers in the style of those in the popular TV show CHiPs.
- "Rob Jones" (1996/1998) - A round target with a head shot photo of Liverpool F.C. defender Rob Jones glued onto it. The target was on a spring sticking out of a small box. Each week Tim would joke 'because Rob Jones hasn't scored for Liverpool in the 2/3/4/5 seasons he's been playing for them'.
"Can he kick it?"
Should one of the studio guests include a retired footballer, it is customary for them to take a penalty in the car park. A comedy character plays the role as goalkeeper, such as "Oliver Kahn't" (a parody of Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn) and "Gianluigi Bouffant" (a parody on Juventus 'keeper Gianluigi Buffon played by John Dyson until 2005/06). The original keeper was former Brookside actor Brian Regan, who also featured in the show. Crew member, Robbie Knox, who keeps for his local Sunday league side "Dynamo Ealing" took over in 2006/07 and the current goalkeeper is "Baby Elvis", another crew member.
Referees are also parodied in this feature. "Referee Gallagher" was a "merger" of former Premiership-referee Dermot Gallagher and Oasis front man Liam Gallagher who welcomed viewers "outside to the sunshiiiinnnnneeee".
"Hugh Dallas" was a cowboy and a parody on Scottish referee Hugh Dallas, "Paul Guerkin" used a penny whistle (a parody on referee Paul Durkin) and this season "Mark Battenberg" (dressed as a Battenberg cake, a parody on referee Mark Clattenburg).
The Soccer AM Soccerette has been a feature of the show for several years, and is a woman - generally young and attractive - modelling the female version a Soccer AM T-shirt, which is re-designed each season and acts as a competition prize. Viewers can win the T-shirt by guessing the number of goals scored by the Fans of the Week in the Hollywood Game. The Soccerette is introduced by the male presenter and is asked a series of questions that almost inevitably lead into pre-prepared gags and innuendo.
The Soccerette is asked about her marital status which results in rampant cheers if "single", and boos if the Soccerette "has a boyfriend" or "married" (although the latter is fairly rare), and a crew member will run on without a shirt and react. Former host Lovejoy used to declare that the Soccerette's relationship will "never last", regardless of how long they had been together.
The Soccerette is asked to play 'Take it to the Max' with a choice of one of the Fans of the Week.
A nutmeg is the term applied when a player plays the ball between his opponent's legs and regains control of the ball after going round him. Another ever-present feature of the show, the weekly edition of "The Nutmeg Files"
shows a clip from the previous week's football matches of a player being nutmegged, while the "nutmegger" is superimposed shouting "NUTS!", "Tunnel" (Italy) and "Petit Pont" (France), depending on which country the "nutmegger" is from). This feature is (very loosely) based on The Rockford Files
has been a feature of the show from its outset, and involves viewers sending in often-comical mishaps from the television (generally football matches) that may well have been missed by the majority of the viewing audience. These typically involve people falling over or being caught doing something stupid. A classic was a Mancunian
woman trying to take pictures on her camera, realising half an hour later that the lens cap was on, or a Grimsby ball-boy calmly heading the ball back into play whilst slouched on his seat (the boy later appeared as a 'Stranger On The Sofa'), or one where, during a match, Liverpool
's John Arne Riise
fell victim to the schoolboy empty chewing gum prank
whilst sitting on the subs bench.
has also made a few choice appearances in this feature, especially his goal mouth leapfrog incident.
The feature Taxi!
, accompanied by the theme tune of the US sitcom
, consists of yet more clips from the previous week's live football. The clips chosen are typically embarrassing displays of showboating gone wrong. The embarrassed player's name is then suffixed to the voice-over phrase "TAXI FOR...". Concluding with the quote "Taxi is filmed in front of a live stadium audience.
Recent seasons have seen the male presenter (currently Max) and Helen highlight several embarrassing moments from the previous week's football, the worst comes last and is usually introduced with:
Max: "It's time for a trip to (stadium)".
Helen: "Taxi for (name)!")
is the section at the end of the show where a player from a football team, is given questions, which they respond by telling which team mate, is more related to the question. The questions are as followed:
- Best Trainer
- Worst Trainer
- Most Skillful
- The Joker
- Most Intelligent
- Least Intelligent
- Worst Dress Sense
- Worst Taste in Music
- And...Who's the longest in the shower (a double entendre that is often ignored)
I love football
I love football
is a new feature added to the show this season. Each week either a current or ex footballer will answer a series of questions related to football, such as "i love football fans because", My favourite piece of memorabillia was", "my footballing hero was". The list of names that have taken part in this so far this season include Wayne Rooney, Pele, David Bentley, Nemanja Vidic, Gary McAllister, Ian Holloway and Emmanuel Eboue. The song played in the background of this feature is by Hard-Fi and is called Watch Me Fall Apart.
The Crossbar Challenge
"The Crossbar Challenge"
is a relatively new feature to the show, and involves a weekly trip to the training ground of a British league football team. The entire squad, including willing coaching staff and managers, are filmed, one-by-one, introducing themselves and attempting to hit the crossbar of the goal
from the halfway line. The feat is rarely accomplished - the majority of squads fail to hit the bar once. However, a successful strike generally provokes manic celebrations by the kicker and his team-mates. Normally, the background music is the instrumental "Seventeen Years" by Ratatat
but has been changed recently to "Smiling" by The Beta Band
The current record is held by Northampton Town who hit the crossbar 3 times, leading to Tim Lovejoy declaring Northampton as "the best team in the world".
Soccer AM aim to, at some point, visit every team in the league, although this is likely to prove very difficult as clubs such as Manchester United are unwilling to allow players onto shows such as these. However, other clubs like Chelsea have appeared in the past. Players who appear as guests on "The Orange Sofa" are always shown their attempt at the challenge if it is one of the many on the database.
The first manager to actually hit the bar is former Huddersfield Town Manager Andy Ritchie.
My Favourite Goal
A famous footballer is asked to name his 3 favourite goals throughout his career so far, and the choices are played (in reverse order) at various stages throughout the show. Notable appearances have included Wayne Rooney
, David Beckham
and Ryan Giggs
. Ruud van Nistelrooy
in this section was only asked to pick his top three favourite goals for Manchester United
. The song used during the older version of 'My Favourite Goal' is "Strange and Beautiful (I'll Put a Spell on You) "
Terry V. Terry Shield
Introduced during the 2004/05 season, "the most important goals competition in football" as Soccer AM like to put it, focuses on the goalscoring form of Chelsea
captain John Terry
and his older brother, Paul
, currently playing for Leyton Orient
. The winner would be the player who scored the most goals during the season and would be awarded with the "Terry V. Terry Shield". So far, John has won the contest both times it has been presented.
On 26 August, 2006 Soccer AM pondered whether goals scored in international friendlies should count towards the total of goals counted for that player in the goal chase. This came after John scored against Greece the previous Wednesday on his debut as captain. The debate went as far as asking FIFA what they should do, but they ended up being confused about all of this. So Helen had the last say and said that goals scored in international friendlies don't count.
During the 2005/06 season a similar competition was invented: Ferdinand V. Ferdinand between Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand and his little brother Anton Ferdinand of West Ham United. Rio won the inaugural competition.
Ferdinand Vs Ferdinand III
This features the two Ferdinand brothers, Rio (Manchester United, Defender) and Anton (Sunderland, Defender) going head to head to see who can score the most goals in a premier league season. Only league goals count and whoever scores the most in the season will win the title of Ferdinand Vs Ferdinand, currently Rio has won all three seasons.
Soccer AM's own goalscoring competition, the "Golden Shoe"
is the show's light tug on the Golden Boot
award given to the top scorer in a league or competition. This competition is based on a goals-to-game ratio. Only league goals count and a player has to have played in at least half of their team's league games to be in with a chance of winning the shoe. The Golden Shoe is open to every player in the FA Premier League
and the Football League
The "Golden Espadrille" is the European equivalent to the Golden Shoe. The same rules apply, and the only real difference is that it is open to the English FA Premier League, Spanish La Liga and Italian Serie A players.
Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo is the new current holder of the "Golden Shoe", and the new holder of the Golden Espadrille.
100 Greatest Goals
The 100 Greatest Goals from the Games that Nobody Remembers except our Panel of Talking Heads was introduced in 2006/7 as a sarcastic take off of the many "100 best..." countdown shows on TV. A piece of unremarkable football action is used, typically a scrappy goal from a lower division game in the 1990s, which is analysed in the same way as these shows tend to do, with the action interspersed with different experts views of it. Jamie Redknapp
, Chris Kamara
, Jeff Stelling
and Matt Le Tissier
are a few of the people who enthusiastically talk about the goal as if it were the most amazing goal ever scored.
I Want to Be Like Bas
After seeing the on-pitch antics of Brighton & Hove Albion
player Bas Savage
, namely his moonwalk
celebrations after scoring a goal, a feature called "I Want to Be Like Bas"
was introduced in the 2006/7 season. If Savage scores in a game previous to the showing of Soccer AM, his goal and celebration is shown to the music of Michael Jackson
's "Smooth Criminal
", as the video also features moonwalking.
In this part of the show former footballer and current Sky Sports pundit Chris Kamara goes head to head with Mystic Ed, a horse that Soccer AM insist is magic and can predict the scores. Each week, Kammy and Mystic Ed must predict the score of a live game, usually from the Premier League.
Current comedy features
One of the strengths of Soccer AM is its talented crew members. Throughout the show's history, its various producers and researchers have contributed to comedy skits, playing various characters. The level of talent varies, but they are all excellent sports and likeable performers. The show's humour is generally of the corny, old-fashioned variety, but no less hilarious for that.
Current, and former performing crew members include "Fenners" (John Fendley), "Sheephead" (Joe Worsley), "Tubes" (Peter Dale), "Rocket" (James Long), Neil (Smythe), Robbie Knox (TRAMP! is sung every time he is mentioned to the tune of The Champ by The Mohawks), Jon Dyson, Chris Nutbeam and newest member Steve Sutcliffe.
Crew member "Tubes
" (Peter Dale) has had a regular feature on the show in recent seasons, where he has "one question and one question only"
to one of the studio guests. Max asks "Who is your question for this week"
, and the answer results in a dimming of the studio lights and a spotlight on the questionee. Tubes' popularity has grown significantly - a public vote saw him being voted more popular than (crew member) Rocket - in part due to his woeful (but comic) rapping
ability which he demonstrates every week before actually posing a question. Due to his weekly binge drinking
exploits, Tim Lovejoy called for pub
landlords across the country to ban Tubes from their establishments for his own good. Tubes' rapping has also been used in a parody of iTunes
, where at the end instead of saying "iTunes", it says "iTubes".
A VHS video from 2000 was recently broadcast showing Tubes, dressed as a sailor, dancing on stage to the YMCA song.
Each year, the Soccer AM Dance-Off is held which is a dancing competition usually involving all crew members. The crew have 15 seconds each to dance before the next contestant goes on, and each dance usually receives good natured laughing and booing from the audience & Tim
It is usually held on the first Saturday in January of each year, and viewers at home are encouraged to vote for who they thought was the best by texting in. However, they can also vote for "Don't care". The 2007 Dance-Off winner was Rocket, the 3rd time he has won the competition. In 2008 Trev won the competition despite being a 33/1 shot. Helen asked him how he felt about winning, he replied "It's alright I suppose."
Soccer AM Dance-Off Roll Of Honour:
- 2000: Gadzooks
- 2001: Gadzooks
- 2002: Robbie Knox
- 2003: Rocket
- 2004: Tobes
- 2005: Rocket
- 2006: Baby Elvis
- 2007: Rocket
- 2008: Trev
Take One For The Team
Take One For The Team is another new feature added to the show this season and takes place in the Soccer AM car park. Every time someone in the office, usually a crew member will have to let three other member of the crew kick a football at their backside. This occurs when one of the crew members makes a mistake. Rocket, Tubes and Dave have all faced this so far this season and Tubes has managed to hit two other people successfully when kicking.
The Big Tackle feature was added to the line-up in the 2008/2009 season to celebrate the art of the "Big Tackle". The feature begins with the phrase "Big Tackle, Sponsered by Claude Makélélé" said in a French accent. This is possibly a Double entendre.
In Small Talk, Baby Elvis goes around the streets of a chosen British town and asks a question related to a current event in the Football world (e.g. in the episode from 13th September 2008, Baby Elvis asked people in Doncaster how they keep fit, following reports of Dimitar Berbatov being on an intensive fitness programme after his recent move to Manchester United.
This is the part of the show when the members of the public send in their videos from thieir mobile phones of them and their mates doing something stupid and funny.
Former comedy features
Following Tim Lovejoy's departure, several of the crew members including "Fenners" (John Fendley), "Sheephead" and Robbie Knox also departed, which meant the end of some of the features of the show.
Big Stan Hibbert
Another popular feature of the show - Big Stan Hibbert was "Here All Week"
. Hibbert - a northern, working-men's club style comedian, played by Fenners, appearanced early in the show with his standard one quarter full mug of beer, and cracked a joke to rampant cheers (and jeers). After his joke, he declared "I'M HERE ALL WEEK!"
before proceeding to spin around on the spot at high speed with his beer mug held out wide, and when nothing spills (not a given) stated "CENTRIFUGAL FORCE!"
Following the end of the "Big Stan Hibbert" feature, the week's joke was provided for the following season by former Northern Ireland, Manchester United and Everton player, Norman Whiteside
- who is filmed in a pre-recorded sketch
Soccer AM's response to European television's more lewd feature of the same name. Celebrated Bolton Wanderers
fan and crew member Sheephead
gave his "weather forecast" for Britain without wearing a shirt. During the run of Topless Weather, Southern England
has yet to be forecast anything but "Light drizzle".
This part of the show was always introduced with a "sponsorship" message -
"Topless Weather, in association with "Gravy". Oooh, northern boys love "Gravy".
The background video of gravy being poured onto a plate of chips is a mimic of the television advertising employed by Bisto, where gravy is poured onto a traditional Sunday lunch with the voice-over "Ahh, Bisto".
Sheephead finished Topless Weather every week with "keep smiling, back inside to Mr. and Mrs. Lovejoy", upon which the sponsorship message is repeated, albeit with gravy now over-flowing from the plate.
When Exeter City were in the football league Sheephead would always forecast "Glorious weather at the Real St. James Park." This was a dig at Helen as Exeter are Torquay Utd's rivals. This ended when Exeter were relegated to the Football Conference
There was normally a mention of the Polish weather for Warsaw (Walsall) fans.
Due to popular request, from the 2006-07 season, Sheephead also delivers the weather for Ireland, and adds a new running joke. When forecasting, he points at Ireland, and says "Oh my god, it's Kilkenny" in reference to the Irish county of Kilkenny and a play on the South Park running joke, said in every episode when Kenny is killed.
However, Sheephead transferred to David Beckham's Soccer USA so topless weather is no longer running.
Allegedly separate from the show itself, Tim announces that "It's time for the news from your region."
Regardless where you are (or so it seems), "Yorkshire News"
appears on the screen, anchored
by "Yorkshireman" Geoffrey Trueman (Dyson). This name is taken from the names of legendary Yorkshire cricketers Geoffrey Boycott
and Fred Trueman
. Recently, however, the 'regional' news was styled from Manchester. The headline story involves "yet another example that change is not good.
The concept of change is almost certainly a gag at political correctness
, and is usually blamed on "those rich London-types"
from the South. "Change" has come in the form of female employment, foreign cuisine, men dancing, and non-beer beverages, amongst others. A highlight of this feature was when a reporter went to Blackpool to question whether Bradford City
striker Dean Windass
had 'lost his bottle' after a poor run of performances- an 'irate' Windass charged at the reporter, tearing his own shirt off in the process. Another famous moment occurred when the topic of YouTube
Ending the news with "S'thee later", Soccer AM reappears with Helen saying "Welcome back to Soccer AM!"
On the 3 February, 2007 edition of the show Yorkshire News was replaced by "Manchester News" with the people of Manchester being asked what they thought of the new supercasino being built there. This led to an apology by Tim as apparently the Yorkshire region got the wrong regional news.
Soccer AM's own little sitcom stars Barry Proudfoot (actually Fenners) as Barry, Pugsy as Pugsy, and Vikki as Vikki The Barmaid. Set at The Wheatsheaf pub in Perivale, Barry dresses in green seventies-style tracksuits and aviator sunglasses, and is known for his hatred of Northerners, and catchphrases "Oooh that's a right touch!" and "He's taking some right liberties". Some famous faces have appeared on this section of the show as well, including Tim, actor Tamer Hassan, West Ham fan Perry Fenwick (Billy Mitchell from EastEnders) and the band, The Rifles. "Two-Hits" and "Bob the Glare" have also appeared on a few occasions as "bouncers" and in one episode brought out their own DVD.
Barry also appeared in a Patrick McGuinness stand up. McGuiness asked Barry to come on stage and tell a few jokes to his audience, composed mostly of "Northerners". Instead of telling "tasteful" jokes to the audience, Barry started telling jokes that would be offensive to "Northerners" and got booed off-stage.
Recently Barry has been on a Soccer AM edition of Partner Swap, (take of Wife Swap), where he was partnered up with Theresa O'Sullivan. After constantly making jokes about Teresa being Mother Theresa, Theresa confronted him, pleading him that there be no more of those jokes. Having been asked this, Barry said there would be none - (nun). That is a right touch.
The "Love it" song
A cameraman and a man with a microphone went round asking pretend cockneys, who were actually acted by crew members about the TV soap EastEnders. At the end they would say "We larve it, larve it, larve it, larve it, larve it." It was eventually released before the World Cup 2006 as a song by the Soccer AM crew and rap artist MC Neat, with all proceeds going to Barnardo's Children's Charity. Obviously, the song was edited as it focused on the England football team, rather than EastEnders.
Coventry City TV
is inspired by the television channels of several of the larger clubs in British football. Set in the 1986/87 season, the fictitious channel brings us features which resemble Closed-Circuit TeleVision
of funny and unusual behaviour. Usual topics of conversation include whether Keith Houchen
should be selected by boss John Sillett
, and that the club should never leave Highfield Road
(which has of course happened with the move to the Ricoh Arena
The channel is presented by Paul Gardner (Fenners) and Brian Kildare (Sheephead). The two presenters also ask every guest whether they have a 'genuine Coventry accent' and not a "Cod Birmingham" accent.
Introduced in the 2006-2007 season Soccer AM have done their version of the BBC Two
programme Dragons' Den
. Basically every week Sheephead shows the Dragons an invention which already exists. For example, he recently showed them crisps where you put the salt on them yourself although this already had been done
. One of the Dragons tells him "It's already been done"; he then responds by saying "Oh has it! Oh, I'll be back. You'll see!"
When a guest(s) or someone they talk to on the phone has written a book, Tim Lovejoy used announce, "I can't read very well, and neither can Helen or any of the crew, but Neil's a good reader, so we had him reconstruct the best bits", which Neil duly did, often exaggerating for comic effect. So far he has reconstructed scenes from the books written by footballer John Hartson
, millionaire businessman and TV personality Duncan Bannatyne
and Natalie Appleton
and Nicole Appleton
and Real Madrid
star Steve McManaman
and horse racing jockey Frankie Dettori
to hilarious consequences.
Soccer AM webcam
A new addition to the show, introduced in the start of the 10th season, is the Soccer AM Webcam
Refreshing every 5 seconds, it gave viewers the opportunity to view a live feed from the Soccer AM Office. Due to popular demand, it was later upgraded to refreshing every 3 seconds
. The webcam
soon gained its own feature on the show - a soap
picking out the best behind-the-scenes moments from the office, and concluding with a cliffhanger of a will he-won't he. The webcam broke in between seasons in the summer of 2006, but at the start of the following season the team announced that a new webcam had been installed with improved pictures as well as the ability for the team to zoom in on certain aspects of the office.
The Ten-Yard Bucket Challenge
Borne out of the link between professional footballers and golf, "The Ten-Yard Bucket Challenge"
sees a professional footballer attempting to chip a golf ball into a bucket from a distance of ten yards. The football-golf link exists due mainly to the amount of free time footballers are allowed in the daytime after training sessions, and Soccer AM's homage to golf involves a single personality from the world of football who attempts the challenge. One notable attempt was from Ryan Taylor
, then of Tranmere Rovers
, now of Wigan Athletic
, who was not featuring in the challenge that week, but was accompanying team-mate Jason McAteer
. While cameras happened to be rolling, he had a go and accomplished the feat in a single attempt (Taylor is also one of an elite few to hit the crossbar in the "Crossbar Challenge", and reportedly hit it in his practice attempt as well). Many over-confident amateurs have been known to run tallies of well over a hundred attempts. The background music to the challenge is Ladyflash by The Go! Team
Club and player specific
- Whenever Accrington Stanley are mentioned a voice over calls "Accrington Stanley? Who are they?" to which Goldstein responds "Exactly!", which is a parody of a 1980s TV advertisement for milk. However, at the end of the 2005-2006 season it was announced by Helen that this phrase could no longer be used after Accrington Stanley's promotion back into the football league. Despite this, the gag is still very much alive and is being used despite Accrington Stanley being in the Football League.
- Arsenal F.C., In the 2001/02 season, whenever the Premiership fixtures for the day were being announced, Arsenal's (under the leadership of Arsene Wenger) name was announced as The Vengaboys (Wenger Boys), which would prompt Sheephead and Fenners to jump from behind the orange sofa topless and dance rave style to 'The Vengabus is coming'
- When German football was featured on Sky Sports in the early 2000s, Soccer AM took the liberty of changing certain Bundesliga club names, including:
- Bolton Wanderers F.C., whenever the Premiership side are mentioned on the show, a sample from Sheephead screaming "COME ON YOU WHITEMEN!" is played.
- Boston United F.C., thought to be the only American club in The Football League, come all the way from the USA, and are featured in "Boston Goals" with commentary by Mike Schweinburger and Randy Wakeman III (pronounced "3rd").
- A.F.C. Bournemouth, Following Seth Rogen's appearance in an interview with Tubes, the team pronounce the team the way he did when he incorrectly referred to it as 'Ball-mouth'.
- Grimsby Town and its fans are known as The Fishy People.
- Hull City A.F.C. are referred to as "City Hull" and have been since the first ever Soccer AM.
- Any celebrity guest who reveals they're a Manchester United fan is always immediately asked "Are you Man U you?"
- Leeds United are known as "Dirty Leeds".
- Leicester City are usually referred to as "And Leicester" in reference to a terrace song (When You're Smiling), which ends with fans repeatedly chanting the phrase ("The whole world smiles with you ... and Leicester ... and Leicester ... and Leicester.").
- MK Dons F.C. are referred to as "McDons'" in reference to the McDonald's franchise, and the franchise nature of the football club.
- Every time Northampton Town F.C. are mentioned, the fans chip in with a shout of Cobblers! (the club's nickname) to which Lovejoy responds "No, it's true."
- Whenever Norwich City are mentioned somebody will make reference to Delia Smith's infamous "Lets be 'aving you" rant
- All matches involving Rushden and Diamonds always bring a moment of musing as to how two teams (Rushden and Diamonds?) can take on one, with the same gag used for Dagenham & Redbridge F.C..
- St. Johnstone F.C. was always referred to by Tim as the "Super J's"
- Walsall F.C. are known as "Warsaw".
- Often when Watford get mentioned Tim enthusiastically shouts "Come on the Glory Hornet Boys!" due to him being from the town and despite being a Chelsea fan. The term comes from the club's nickname, The Hornets.
- West Bromwich Albion are known as 'The Albion'.
- York City F.C. are usually called The Mistermen, based on the books by Roger Hargreaves, due to their nickname being The Minstermen.
- Cafu is referred to as "Cat Food."
- When the Spanish football league was promoted on the programme, Deportivo was pronounced Deportivoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh.
- Whenever Robbie Fowler is mentioned, both Tim and Helen put their hands in the air as the word Hallelujah is played, in part due to Fowler being referred to by Liverpool fans as 'God', but also as the first person to achieve the Soccer AM hat-trick and appear on the show three times, whereby he and other celebrities are given a football signed by the whole crew.
- Thierry Henry is referred to as "Terry Henry" with English pronunciation of "Henry".
- Jay-Jay Okocha is referred to as "The player so good, they named him twice."
- Whenever Aston Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker is mentioned, the "Do-do-do" from The Conga by Black Lace is played, and Lovejoy and Chamberlain will sing Nigel Reo Coker, to the tune of The conga.
- Rayo Vallecano are always announced with a massively long O sound at the end, in the style of a Spanish commentator calling a goal.
- Ian Wright was known as Ian Wrightwrightwright after the Arsenal fans' chant.
- When Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo's name is mentioned a voice over of ricky hatton saying 'bobbins' plays. This started when he was asked of his opinion on ronaldo's skills and he said bobbins.
"Show them the whole thing"
The part of the show, shown every week, where a member of the fans in the "Luther Blisset" stand do bodybuilding poses, and clips are sent in and shown of the public "showing them the whole thing" to the background music of Oxygene 4
by Jean Michel Jarre
The sketch apes certain well-known scenes from the 1970s bodybuilding documentary film Pumping Iron in which Arnold Schwarzenegger taunts Lou Ferrigno and mentors other gym users in poses.
When Tim left the show, this segment was replaced by 'Lift Fun'
As its audience share grew, its influence grew in turn. Some of the show's notable influences have included:
- The Save Chip campaign saw large "Save Chip" banners appear all over the world, not only in football matches. The full tag line was "Save Chip... Don't Let Sarah win!". The campaign involved a football fan's plea to help save him from his girlfriend Sarah, who would not let him watch his favourite sport. It became a cult when banners appeared at countless televised football matches across the country and also made airtime in WWE wrestling events, rugby matches and many more televised sporting (and non sporting) events. The banner also appears randomly in the first screens of the PC video game Championship Manager: Season 01/02 released by Sports Interactive.
- Getting a golden star on the England football shirt. Sparked after France 98, when the French national team added a golden star to their shirt as soon as they won the Football World Cup, the Soccer AM team successfully campaigned to get a golden star on England's shirt to commemorate winning the World Cup in 1966.
- Getting the word "bouncebackability" into the English dictionary has been credited to Soccer AM. Its creation is generally accredited to former Crystal Palace manager Iain Dowie's reference to his team's return to form in 2005, and the Soccer AM team took it upon themselves to continuously refer to the subject until their feat was accomplished later that year.
- The Soccer AM regulars are immortalised in the computer game Football Manager 2005, as an unmanageable team called The Badgers. Amongst the 'players' are Rocket, Sheephead, Fenners, Phil Neal, John Wark and of course, Tim Lovejoy himself. All of the players can be signed by the player.
- The World of Wrestling sketch exploded into British culture in 2005. After destroying his opponent in a public place (e.g. a swimming pool), the masked "red" wrestler began a chant of "Easy! Easy!, whilst clapping his hands above his head, before stopping telling an observer "You shut up!" and resuming his chant of "Easy! Easy!". The sketch is a parody and play on words of the World of Sport wrestling, which had been repeated on TWC Fight! starting in early-2004. In the sketch, the masked wrestlers are based on Kendo Nagasaki, whilst the chanting is taken from Big Daddy. This chanting action has since been reintroduced thanks to the sketch and is now seen across the UK at all kinds of events - sporting or otherwise.
- On the Christmas Day Special 2007, The Pigeon Detectives became the first band to play live in the studio. The performance, however, was dubbed and led to criticism of the show and the band itself.
- Tim Lovejoy offered five of "the queen's English pounds" to anyone who went to an English football match with a banner saying "Lovejoy is a legend", although he soon stopped after it ended up costing him too much money.
- Tim Lovejoy and Bradley Walsh were flown by helicopter after the show to do Sky's fanzone commentary for the Arsenal v Chelsea FA Cup Final in 2002. Lovejoy has been ridiculed on Soccer AM ever since for saying "Oh it's okay, it's only Ray Parlour" moments before Parlour's spectacular opener in the 2-0 win, to which Walsh replied "That is some goal!". Whenever Parlour is mentioned, they find some way to bring this up.
- Usually every time a Welsh celebrity or footballer is on the show they are required to say "Ian Beale" or "Ratatouille".
Another memorable aspect to the show was in 2000 when Tim started to tell the same gag every week. The gag revolved around steak and kidney pies, and the gag would normally see Tim and Helen discuss what they'd eaten. Invariably, Tim would announce that he'd had a "steak and kidley" pie, to which Helen enquired: "Don't you mean steak and kidney?" Tim would then reply "That's what I said did'll I". This running gag ran and ran, to the point where even fanzone commentators performed the gag. Following on from one such occurrence, Tim pleaded with Martin Tyler and Andy Gray to do the gag during a live game.
Another recurring gag is when someone with the surname "O'Leary" or "Riley" is involved. For example, Helen once announced that Dermot O'Leary was on the current show and would be talking about his role as Big Brother's Big Mouth presenter. Tim then asks "Oh really?", to which Helen reluctantly replies "... no, O'Leary". This is clearly a pre-determined gag judging by Tim's reaction which gains much laughter when done.
Lovejoy actually had a few ongoing gags back in the day including famous one liners as "Is it a record?" "Oi fish head!" "Double sweet double douvet!"
- One of the most popular mobile phone clips, sent in by Soccer AM viewers, is Crazy Dave. Crazy Dave is a young tractor driver who chooses to over take his Dad, driving another tractor, on a narrow strip of road - with hilarious consequences. He has many phrases which have achieved cult status amongst Soccer AM fans such as "but yeah, YEAH, I do fancy it, big time!" and "He's gonna have my f***ing pants down!". His antics have been parodied by many people which have also been shown on the mobile phone clip section of the show.
Football League Trophy Play Your Cards Right
For the past few seasons, Soccer AM has had the privilege of being able to draw fixtures for
each round of the Football League Trophy
(until recently known as the LDV Vans Trophy
, it is now called the Johnstone's Paint Trophy
This is normally done - in the style of British gameshow Play Your Cards Right - by Tim & Helen cutting oversized cards onto large holders, and turning them over one at a time to generate football matches, with Tim normally drawing the Home teams first, and Helen drawing the Away sides. This process is overseen by an independent adjudicator from the Football League (Up until the end of last season, this was a man called Ian Christian, who would often have the Hallelujah music himself out of humour.)
The fans of the week are usually from a club that is in the draw, and if Tim draws that team he will proceed to dive into the fans.
As of today, the cards have only been dropped on the floor once, for which Tim was responsible. Thankfully, this happened before any matches were drawn properly.
Strangely, before the quarter final draw, Peterborough United fans were asked who they would least like to draw, to which they replied Bristol Rovers. The resulting draw then gave them an away game against... Bristol Rovers, which made the Peterborough fans boo Tim and Helen for their poor fixture making skills.
DVDs and music
In November 2004, Soccer AM released a DVD
, which became a success, mostly down to being the ideal Christmas
gift for men. Since this date, more DVDs have been released. The 2005 edition self titled, Soccer AM II included the 10 greatest players of the last decade, which included David Beckham
and Alan Shearer
. In June 2006, Soccer AM went musical
by releasing a CD
with music they use on the show with such bands as Hard-Fi
, The Automatic
and The Ordinary Boys
. Later that year another DVD was released titled, Soccer AM III- the greatest matches of all time including the 1982 World Cup Game, 1979-1981 and 2006 F.A Cup Finals. Also included is some extras. Current music in 2008 includes Liverpool five peice The Maybes? track 'Boys'.
http://www.channelbee.com - Tim Lovejoy's new internet TV Channel