Jumpthefence notes with some worry that Ken Early of Newstalk's Off the Ball has been drafted in to replace James Richardson on the Guardian's football podcast this past week. It seems Richardson, Barry Glendenning and others are away on hols or something and for some reason they decided another Irish voice was necessary and sent for the Irish football correspondent across the water. Reaction has been poorish, Early's laid-back vocals perhaps not gelling right in the absence of the excitable Richardson.
The podcast can be sensationally entertaining at times - Sid Lowe from Spain (though his following on the blogs can be so lickarsey it's embarrassing) is solid and informative, Paul Doyle and Sean Ingle are likeably nerdy and other random contributors make a nice mix of funny yet intelligent views. Also we've been a fan of Offtheball on Newstalk, which is capable of some stunning radio. But Early bugs us - we know, we know, you either love him or hate him it seems. It's the voice and the pauses before each answer that seem to be fashioned for no other reason than to make him seem more intelligent. It's the drawling and searching for the right word to come across as knowing more than he does. He just tries too damn hard and we don't find it genuine. (Jumpthefence is more than willing to accept that many, more informed people would reason the opposite.) Anyways, we hope his appearance on the Guardian pod is a fill-in rather than a more long-term development.