Eye On The Experts: Chris Waddle

This week, Alan and Johnny look at Chris 'Sminky Pinky' Waddle, a man who divides opinion but isn't afraid to call a spade a f***ing shovel and has a heartfelt passion for England...

Last Updated: 29/05/14 at 14:01 Post Comment

Latest Articles

F365's Complete List Of Summer Transfers

13 comments

All the Premier League ins and outs in one place...

Football Managers On TV: Sean Dyche

1 comments

He's the gravelly-voiced one, a manager that seems to remain calm and maintains an admirable amount of self-awareness in his job. He is Sean Dyche...

All Articles

John Nicholson and Alan Tyers look at pundits and commentators and pin down what makes them good, what makes them bad, and what makes them ugly. This week, it's Chris 'Sminky Pinky' Waddle...

Style
Definitely one of those men who looks better as an old bloke than he did as a young 'un. The legendary mullet has been consigned to the hairdresser's dustbin of history, though somehow, its ghost always seems present whenever Chris peers back out of the TV screen at us. The Waddler has even been seen to tuck his shirt in on occasion, though we like to think he still rolls his jacket sleeves up like it's still 1987. Unlike many of the slim-fit ex-pros, Waddler has thickened out like a proper old school male of the species. This is much to be celebrated and speaks of a man not overly concerned with vanity and primping. We imagine the whiff of brown ale and strong tobacco to follow him around like an especially masculine eau de cologne.

Special Interest
Despite, or perhaps because of, being such a free-spirited and joyous player to watch, the Waddler is something of a curmudgeon on air, particularly when England are on. Has been outspoken on several occasions about the systemic flaws in English football, talking passionately and with a lot of sense. Had a famous rant post-2010 World Cup when he said:

"The FA sit on their backsides and do nothing tournament after tournament after tournament. Why don't they listen? Why don't they look at other countries and ask 'how do they keep producing talent?' We lack so many ideas and it is so frustrating. The amount of money in our league is frightening and all we do is waste it on rubbish ideas."

This is as apposite a critique as anyone has ever offered.

Strengths and Weaknesses
Not afraid to call a spade a f***ing shovel, has a passion for England and what the national side could/should be, but without letting it descend into tub-thumping. Can be fearlessly critical of players who are just not good enough.

His utter fury at England's rubbishness at the last World Cup was a stellar moment. Could be heard off mic, beating his desk in sheer fury.

Some may think he is prone to miserablism, possibly mistaking the phlegmatic Tow Law accent as overly downbeat, but his voice is one of his biggest assets. Impossible to imagine him adopting any modern idiom of speech. The rising inflective and increasingly Valley Girl-isation of language will never leave an impression on The Waddler.

Tactical genius or tactics truck?
The Waddler is a solid presence on this aspect of the pundit's calling. Appreciates the game with a sound understanding of the principles rather than dipping into intricacies.

Leg squeezer geezer?
You don't see Chris on the pundit sofa; perhaps he turns down such offers. The Waddler certainly gives the impression that he thinks there are far too many know-nothings involved in football and we are also fairly sure that he would not give too much weight to the opinions of the non ex-professional. And not that much weight to the opinions of many ex-professionals either, to be fair.

Bantersaurus Rex?
Oh yes, the Waddler is a Good Team Man and not afraid of a bit of horseplay. In the early days of Football365, a staffer was lucky enough to be granted an audience with Jimmy 'Five Bellies' Gardner, during the course of which interview Five Bellies spoke on the phone with the Waddler, at whom he was squeaking in a very high, very Geordie voice "Waddler you look like a pimp!" Quite why or how the Waddler looked like a pimp has been sadly forgotten over the ensuing years, but clearly any man willing to share jokes with Jimmy Five Bellies is no stranger to a bit of Hashtag Banter.

Cliché counter
The Waddler is not a major offender in the crime of repeating the same old inanities. We reckon this is not so much because he is an exceptional communicator but because he has actual opinions he wishes to express and is thus less likely fall back on tired stand-bys. His assessment of Theo Walcott, "I just think he doesn't seem to understand the game," for instance, was very much outside the beltway of "he's a top, top player" pundit-on-English-player matiness, which in turn leads to many of them all saying the same things.

Why does he get gigs?
Researching this article, we found more people disliked the Waddler than we had previously thought. Maybe the accent isn't for everyone. People seem to get extremely upset by him saying "pelanty", which we choose to find endearing. Benefits from quite a media-friendly CV - his time at Spurs helps him, as fans of that club are disproportionately represented in the media. Also associated with Newcastle, who few people dislike. Gets a vote from the cultured crowd as a result of having played for Marseille, and is otherwise best known for Sheffield Wednesday, and frankly it would be unreasonably cruel to hate them these days. Was a great player, seems like a good dude, isn't afraid to speak his mind. We are pro-Waddler.

John Nicholson and Alan Tyers

See extracts from Alan's new book 'Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects' here.

Check out John's new series of crime novels about life, death, sex and UEFA Cup football, here.

You can also follow Alan and Johnny on Twitter.

It's bottom of the barrel time. Waddle's not an expert, he's just someone who mispronunciates. You should have gone with Trevor Brooking as I suggested.
- jd.quench

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

E

ven if United were to sign CR7 & Messi to play upfront, the fact remains Fletcher and Cleverly are playing in midfield. That's where the problem is. Fletcher is too slow with an awful pass, while Cleverly is simply rubbish

mrunited4life
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

T

hese days, these days, you can't say something racist without somebody saying that you're a racist.

tk421
'Wrong' Views Not Silenced By Shouting...

D

rop Rooney (he's so disappointing, overrated and overpaid), and play Di Maria and RVP upfront, much like the set up at the Netherlands team with Roben and RVP...

eric bush3
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

Latest Photos

Footer 365

SPFL: Scottish FA take Celtic's to petiotion FIFA over John Guidettti's loan move

Scottish FA confirm they will apply to FIFA for an exception to help push through John Guidetti's loan move to Celtic

Premier League: Wayne Rooney hails Radamel Falcao's Manchester United arrival

England captain Wayne Rooney claims Manchester United have made a statement of intent by bringing in Radamel Falcao.

Transfer news: Liverpool refused to consider Fabio Borini loan

The agent of Fabio Borini claims 'very important clubs' were keen on his client but Liverpool decided against a loan.

Mail Box

Reasons To Feel Positive At Spurs...

They didn't complete any big deals on deadline day, but that doesn't mean Spurs fans should be down about their hopes this season. Plus, United fans say farewelbz...

Danny Welbeck - Yes, No And Maybe

And understandably busy Mailbox with the instant reactions with those happy and sad on their club's transfer dealings. On Welbeck, Arsenal, United, Spurs and loans...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property