Football People On TV: Jim White

Date published: Saturday 5th September 2015 11:58

John Nicholson takes an axe to his television and destroys it in a transfer deadline day rage, after exposure to too much Jim White. The Sky man seems to have evolved into an emojicon.


Fashion Police
A heavy-duty dark suit that looks built out of Kevlar, white shirt and the vivid yellow tie which has somehow become a kind of Transfer Deadline Day logo. Hair is white, as though also endorsing the Jim White brand. With his face a jarring pink, it all goes together to look like a bizarre confection created on the Great British Bake-Off from marzipan, icing and nougat. The rest of the year? Who knows? Is he even on?

Lingo Bingo
Strange accent that – while clearly Scottish – almost sounds like a parody. Certainly doesn’t sound like any other Glaswegian accent you have ever heard. Places emphasis on words that need no emphasis. Will shout out the conjunctive in a sentence as though it is a sudden revelation of truth. Banal utterances about things that are of no interest to any sentient creature are delivered as though the sermon on the mount. Couples the over-inflated words with a range of wild-eyed staring and expressions which suggest he is going to break down in manic laughter at any moment. In recent years, natural enthusiasm has evolved into forced, cartoonish, self-reverential behaviour.

Hits & Misses
After years as just one of many TV Scots, he found he had a hit on his hands presenting the manic mash-up of abused reporters and red-faced managerial goons leaning out of cars that was TDD. Popular with football nerds and people looking for a reason to indulge in drinking games, Jim became a private joke that only a select few appreciated.

Then he became self-aware, jumped the shark and is now a self-parody with an almost-admirable dedication to killing off everything that was once good about TDD coverage.

This year’s ‘boxing’ clip at 4pm, with Sky’s regulation grinning-like-we-mean-it women in tight dresses in pursuit of JW was just the latest in [redacted]. It’s made all the worse by the fact that TDD is rarely an exciting thrill-a-minute ride but more usually a parade of the anonymous in pursuit of gross financial excess. The mis-match between the hey-hey-hey-this-is-going-to-be-so-brilliant style and the truth is so wide that the one utterly undermines the other and leads to viewers surely shouting “oh do feck off” at the TV.

Rather than excitement being drummed up by new players, TDD has become an exercise in disbelief that so much money is being vomited from the limitless coffers of football clubs now utterly divorced morally, culturally and financially from the communities that gave birth to them and no amount of shouting by Jim White, nor him pretending to look at his phone, will make that sh*t taste like sugar.

Big Club Bias
Of course. The bigger the club the better. Will report anything to do with Manchester United et al as though reporting on the Father, The Son and the holy bloody Ghost dancing naked on the head of an angel. Chelsea not doing something is far bigger news than almost anyone or anything else actually doing anything. White brings the absence of any news at a big club to the point of ecstatic glory, as though just saying their name is like uttering a prayer to the glory of Our Lord. Then again, he will also report some bench warmer going to Stoke City as though it is news of the Kennedy assassination. Would report all-out nuclear war and a Victor Moses loan deal with the same degree of hyperbole.

Loved or loathed
Simple. Used to be loved. Now loathed. TDD is a humourless, ugly parody of itself.

Proper Football Man
Worships at the car door of ‘arry, so he would love to be. But all of that prodding at his mobile phone as though all the PFMs in the land have him on speed dial is suspicious. Would love a leg squeeze, an arm punch, a roister, a doister and limitless banter but the PFM knows he is nothing but a suck-up and the PFM doesn’t respect that, knowing, as he does, that unless you’re an ex-pro, sucking up has no value. Presenters are ten-a-penny and haven’t played the game therefore cannot be taken seriously when they offer any view on the game. They’re there to merely kow-tow to the PFM, agree with him and buy him drinks. He can never be allowed into the hallowed ranks and, when the sh*t hits the fan after a session with Reidy on the creosote and super glue cocktails, they will be left holding a PFM’s coat, or more likely, the brush used to paint abuse about Arsene Wenger on the side of a Carpet Warehouse in an Accrington retail park.

Beyond the Lighted Stage
Seems somehow unreal – as though he is merely an emojicon.

John Nicholson

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