So, it seems the Twitter campaign failed and James Richardson will not be taking over from Adrian Chiles on Match of the Day 2 (or MOTD2, as it’s more commonly referred to) on Sundays. As disappointing as that is, the appointment of Colin Murray perhaps isn’t as disastrous as it might first seem. And it could be worse. We could have had Tim Lovejoy.
A while ago, I used to watch Soccer AM fairly regularly, and while Lovejoy was an effective (if a little too cocksure) host, he would have been a terrible fit for MOTD2. Lovejoy feels like a relic from the lad culture of the mid-Nineties. He’s a 1996 issue of Loaded, all blokey swagger and “phwoar, eh, lads?” He’s the stranger you meet down the pub who’s uncomfortably matey, with his too-clean trainers and pints of fizzy, chemical-tasting lager. There’s a time and a place for Lovejoy – though some would question that assertion – but it’s certainly not here.
Murray might have initially looked a little out of his depth in his anchor position on Five (and that takes some doing on that channel) but has since settled into the role, and clearly knows a bit about the beautiful game, as proven by his prominent weekend role on 5 Live. He’s certainly better than most ITV sports hosts – safe-pair-of-hands Steve Ryder being a notable exception – and enjoys a decent rapport with the pundits he shares a studio with. Murray might not be many people’s first choice as Chiles’ replacement, but with the help of the BBC’s decent scriptwriters and a proven ability to ad-lib effectively when called to, MOTD2 might not feel too different to the show as it is now.
Let’s at least give him the benefit of the doubt before we start the “MURRAY OUT” campaign, at least.