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Adrian Chiles goes over the top in search of magic

By Billy Weir

IF the magic of the FA Cup is still very much alive and well according to ITV, then why can it not make Adrian Chiles disappear?

There was no cup on show as Tamworth took on Bristol City, just a mug, and I'm not being rude as Adrian used one he'd been given by the hosts and was now using it to hold down his notes.

"Do you know how many times I've been to Old Trafford and they've never given me a mug," he mused, and we were all thinking there is going to be a serious shortage of cups down Salford way quite soon.

Tamworth were the lowest ranked team remaining in the competition but spoiled ITV's chance to be really patronising by having only one part-time player in the shape of Lee Hildreth, a Royal Marine Commando.

Adrian moved his mug, looked at his notes, and then asked possibly the most ridiculous question asked since someone at ITV once mused 'do you think Adrian Chiles would be a good choice to present football?'

"Can you suffer from nerves in a football match when you've been on operations in Afghanistan?" he asked and thankfully the Marines training kicked in and he didn't pull out a bayonet.

It would be quite hard to get him cleanly though. He has a strange habit of asking a question and then swaying back and forward in an alarming fashion. I may be speaking out of turn, he may have had a run-in with a mine and his legs have been replaced by a rocking chair, or he may have possibly been a Weeble in a previous life.

Undeterred by the 'it's a different type of nerves' Chiles went on the attack again, asking Lee would his 'commando training help you get up and down this slope?' only to be told, cryptically, that he hoped the slope would be a great leveller.

"Do you have flashbacks to being in Afghanistan when you're playing football?" came the reply and you were begging him to say 'yes, especially when the Taliban sent out a cretin to ask me ridiculous questions' but he replied with a simple, dismissive, 'not really, no'.

In general though the fire was friendly, Adrian remarking that he'd met a Bristol City fan on the way to the ground who had named his son Ashton, after City's home ground. Thank goodness they weren't Bristol Rovers fans, imagine someone shouting 'Memorial, come in for your dinner.'

At the break, Chiles was having a few flashbacks, talking about Jay Emmanuel-Thomas pulling the trigger to give City the lead, and no doubt Lee was taking cover.

Pundit Clarke Carlisle wasn't helping his stress levels either, saying Tamworth had 'seen off the onslaught and now they can create wave after wave of attack' but it never materialised as City gave new manager Steve Cotterill a winning start.

"We'll talk to Steve Cotterill to see what he thinks about Bristols," blurted out Chiles, still rocking about, but it was getting too much like Carry on Commando for my liking, and that is far from magical.

Belfast Telegraph


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