The radio phone-in. What a institution that is and a massive part of football folklore. I remember as a kid tuning into 606 to listen to irate fans phone in just to shout and scream down the phone. Usually, they wouldn’t turn down their own radio, making sure that every few moments a loud screeching noise would emit from the radio. They turned the air blue only for me to realise that actually their team had won and they just didn’t like how their team had played for a ten minute period after kick off. Crazy fickle fans. Who muttered “must have been Gooners” in the back?
There have been many great phone-ins over the years. Who can remember the Geordie phoning in and breaking down on air while singing the praises of ex-Newcastle striker Micky Quinn? If you haven’t heard it, it’s a must listen. Passionate? Yes. Comical? Like you would never believe. I’m talking radio phone-in gold people.
Things have developed further and clubs have their own phone-in type programmes now. Arsenal Fan TV is one classic that sends Arsenal fans into delirium and rants on a daily basis. Apparently it’s a site by “real fans” for “real fans.” Yeah, right. Arsenal win, interview angry supporter. Arsenal draw, interview angry supporter. Arsenal lose, interview angry supporter who then has a complete melt down, just before the “Wenger out!” chants kick in once again. For the neutral, it’s magical TV. For the fellow Gooners, it’s just cringeworthy.
606 have had their fair share of arguments on air. For example, the deluded Tottenham fan claiming they deserved to win the league more than Leicester City last season only to be shot down by Robbie Savage. Let’s be honest, you know your having a bad day or even a bad year when Savage shoots you down in flames.
There are times when I listen to the phone-ins after a game and I nod in agreement, thinking to myself, “ah yes a fellow supporter who understands the game!” This illusion is quickly shattered when the next caller rants and rave for twenty minutes about the same game, clearly seeing a completely different match oftne leaving me shaking my head in disbelief wondering what game they were watching. Oh, the joys of differing opinions.
The radio phone-ins are just not the same without someone losing the plot. If we are being truthful, this is the main reason we listen to them. We want the melt down. We want the tears. We want the anger. Damn it, we want controversy! We want the presenter to go, “Hold on, what the hell are you talking about? Do you know nothing about football?” That is the ultimate put down, isn’t it? Having you knowledge questioned is like having your manhood questioned. You never recover from that. So I have heard.
What about the phone-in supporter who attempts to make a point only to go completely off the track and forget the point that they were trying to make in the first place? Oh the confusion, oh the fun. The ultimate is having a player ring in and stand up to the presenter who has been ripping into him for hours on end on the radio. It’s great to hear the presenter to crawl back under their rock and do some major kissing up. Does that ring a bell Adrian Durham? How is your BFF, Jamie Carragher these days?
I have never succumbed to ringing in myself, although there are times when Adrian Durham opens his mouth that I am very, very tempted. I fear, however, I would turn into a raging banshee on par with Kevin Keegan who, as we know, would just “love it if we beat them!” I would probably end up losing my point, have my football knowledge questioned and finally my manhood taken away from me all at the same time. I would then disappear into some sort of supporter phone-in black hole, flanked by the crying Geordie and the deluded Tottenham fan. This, I presume, is where we all go after radio phone-in humiliation, never to return to normal life.
For those that do brave it, I salute you. Keep up the good work. Keep the calls coming and, more importantly, keep on ranting. This is what makes these radio phone-in programs so damn entertaining. Just try to keep the tears to a minimum or you just might find yourself drifting into the black hole wilderness.