No love, no joy


Helen Chamberlain’s former sidekick has celebrated leaving Soccer AM for 6.06 with a book. Taylor Parkes wants to know why anyone – anyone – thought it was a good idea to expose the presenter’s ego and prejudices across 288 smugly written pages

Soccer AM is a bad memory: hungover mornings in other people’s flats, disturbed by a crew of whooping simpletons, the slurping of pro and ex-pro rectums, cobbled-together comedy that made me long for the glory days of Skinner and Baddiel’s old shit. Yet Tim Lovejoy himself, with his fashionably receding hair and voice oddly reminiscent of Rod Hull’s, I remember only as an averagely blokey TV presenter – in fact, one of the few averagely blokey TV presenters to make me clack my tongue in irritation, rather than buff my Gurkha knife. Other than as a namesake of The Simpsons’ self-serving man of the cloth, he barely registered; just a bland, blond ringmaster in a cocky circus of crap. Almost a surprise, then, to find that his new book is not just ­tedious in the extreme, it is utterly vile.

Chopped into “chapters” that barely fill a page, in a font size usually associated with books for the partially sighted, Lovejoy on Football is part autobiography, part witless musing, and one more triumph for the crass stupidity rapidly replacing culture in this country. Hopelessly banal and nauseatingly self-assured, smirkingly unfunny, it’s a £300 T-shirt, a piss-you-off ringtone, a YouTube clip of someone drinking their mate’s vomit. Its smugness is a corollary of its vacuity. I hope it makes you sick.

First, it’s clear that being Tim Lovejoy requires a very special blend of arrogance and ignorance. When he’s not listing his media achievements with a breathtaking lack of guile, he’s sneering at those “sad” enough to take an interest in football history, revealing his utter cluelessness about life outside the Premier League (in a section called “Know Your Silverware”, he refers to “League Three”) and making sundry gaffes, major and minor. He names Johan Cruyff as his all-time favourite player, then admits he’s only seen that five-second World Cup clip of the Cruyff turn. Grumbling about footballers’ musical tastes, he complains that “all you’ll hear blasting out of the team dressing room is R&B, rather than what the rest of the country is listening to” – by which he means indie bands. Everywhere there are jaw-dropping illustrations of insularity, self-­satisfaction and a startlingly small mind.

There’s something sinister here, too: beamingly positive, thrilled by wealth, too pleased with himself to ask awkward questions, Tim Lovejoy is the football fan Sepp Blatter has been waiting for. Roman ­Abramovich’s darling young one. Not least for his complacency: his lack of understanding of how football works (and doesn’t work) is best illustrated in a section called “Give Your Chairman A Break”, in which he defends “that Thai bloke at Man City”, and implores us to “look at the Glazers… you would have thought they were nothing but a bunch of Americans intent on buying the club and selling off Old Trafford to Tesco judging by the howl of protests from the fans. Within two seasons though, they had won the title and built a squad the envy of Europe.” Bang your head off the wall at such unreviewable stupidity – Tim’s infantile ideas of shunning “negativity” prod him into precisely the kind of thinking that has had such hugely negative influence on the game. “Look across our national team” – he means England, by the way – “and there isn’t one player who wouldn’t walk into any side in Europe… why is it, before every tournament, we start believing we’re overrated?”

And, surprise: Lovejoy is as wretched a starfucker as could be inferred from his television shows. Everyone in football is Tim’s mate (and here we have pictures to prove it, stars looking confused in his grinning, over-familiar presence, frozen by an arm around the shoulders). He’ll “even watch the occasional game of rugby now, because I’m friends with a lot of the players like Will Greenwood, Matt Dawson, Lawrence ­Dallaglio and Austin Healy”.

It’s perhaps telling that among the many anecdotes offered here, the most heartwarming (and least surprising) involves Tim getting clattered hard by Neil Ruddock in a charity game; even in this version of the story, there’s nothing to suggest Razor meant it affectionately. Still, our man is blinded by quite astonishing hubris, reprinting a photo of a banner at Anfield reading “LOVEJOY SUCKS BIG FAT COCKS” with a glee that is nothing like self-deprecation. “The hardest thing about leaving ­Soccer AM,” he says regretfully, “is the thought that I might no longer be influencing the game.” True, it’ll be tough. But who knows? Perhaps the game will struggle on.

It’s not that there was ever a time when football on telly wasn’t in the hands of dimwits, poseurs and blowhards. It’s not that Lovejoy is significantly more objectionable than TV shits of ages past. The point is, in his own mind and that of the powers that be, he’s one of us. He is us. Savour that. God help us.

Lovejoy on Football is published by Century at £16.99

Illustration by David Squires

This review was first published in WSC 250, December 2007. Subscribers get free access to the complete WSC digital archive

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Comments (37)

Comment by Jonas77 2008-03-19 19:21:47

Why would anyone seriously want to hear what this guy has to say?

Comment by Psycho Charlie NobCheese 2008-03-24 17:35:18

Four or five years ago i would have been a big defender of Lovejoy and Soccer AM, but since Sky has cottoned on to what a minor success this show has been it’s slowly but surely been commercialised and has taken away from the show.

As for Lovejoy, i think the author here is spot on, and his bitchy little comment towards Gail Porter after she made a Beckham joke was not particularly becoming of the man.

Comment by Zorg the Leveller 2008-03-27 13:07:51

Soccer AM ran out of ideas about five years ago, and should have been put out of its misery. As for Lovejoy, 606 is the best place for him. After all, the alternative is that he presents something that might otherwise be listenable, or that someone with half a brain occasionally tempts you to tune into 606. Like Victoria Derbyshire doing the morning phone-in on 5 Live, this kills two birds with one stone. So to speak.

Comment by Etienne 2008-03-28 08:56:18

Does he really mis-spell the name of his “mate”, Austin Healey?

Comment by benfawkes 2008-08-14 08:22:17

I used to like Lovejoy when I was about 15 and Soccer AM was still fresh but yeah he is a rather vile, pseudo trendy character.

Comment by dtruck83 2008-11-22 18:12:05

Lovejoy is the biggest arse licker i have had the misfortune to watch, did anyone see that allstars programme he did? Or david beckhams soccer USA? If he was made of chocolate he would eat himself!

Comment by SpunkBubble 2009-01-14 17:34:08

Man, this Lovejoy is a plank! What a superb article, makes so much sense if you’ve seen this dude on telly. Influence football? Don’t make me laugh!! I’d “love” to see him in another celebs match, and this time have a certain Vinny Jones clattering into him full on. It would give me so much “joy”. All he ever said that he thought was remotely funny was “dirty Leeds”…and this from a bloke who doesn’t have the faintest understanding of the English game, its history or any feel for what football is about. Another plastic glory hunter!! Oh please, no one buy this book. It deserves to be the biggest lemon in history.

Comment by HectorCuper 2009-03-23 23:49:13

Possibly the best review I’ve read since Shark Sandwich … brilliant.

The man’s an arse … the personification of a WKD advert – vacuous, unfunny, trite, unoriginal and offensively representative of lowest common denominator ‘lad culture’.

I get the impression that he’s the kind of ‘New Blokey Man’ ™ that you’d only need to be in the company of for a bare four pints before he’d start driviling on about being at the birth of his child with a whistful look in his eye.

A tw*t … synonym, a Chelsea supporter post 2001. An embarrassment to the beautiful game of Finney and Shankley. My grandad would’ve hit him in his L’orel man experted f*cking face.

And his cooking programme’s sh*te aswell. Tart.

Comment by Liffrok 2009-05-12 18:23:33

Sadly, he has been removed from 6-0-6.

What a loss to football he will be.

Comment by El Nacnud 2009-08-12 18:08:57

I realise now that it was seeing the football, not the presenters, that made me enjoy Soccer AM.

Comment by Terry Savage 2009-09-17 16:51:55

“Hopelessly banal and nauseatingly self-assured, smirkingly unfunny, it’s a £300 T-shirt, a piss-you-off ringtone, a YouTube clip of someone drinking their mate’s vomit. Its smugness is a corollary of its vacuity. I hope it makes you sick.”


Comment by stuart77 2009-11-14 16:40:57

bring back Standing Room Only – with that fella off Brookside, I think he played Damon

Comment by George at asda 2009-11-16 21:35:27

He’s too busy doing one of those property programmes on BBC1.

Comment by Mulder 2009-12-04 20:26:41

I could never get along with SoccerAM, it was too polished and trying to be this “down with fans” programme. It was Skinner and Baddiel that came from proper footy fans, and i so want to start a campaign to get “fantasy Footy with Baddeil and Skinner” started up again. Lovejoy was the right sort of cock to front such a crap piece of TV. The sky generation doesent speak for proper footy fans

Comment by madmickyf 2009-12-18 03:48:44

The sad things is it’s wankers just like Lovejoy who work for TV companies commissioning new shows. No wonder shallow twats like him are on every channel these days, they’re moulded in their maker’s image.

Comment by uninformedandunbalanced 2009-12-24 23:05:46

I used to do a lot of things I now regret when I was an ignorant teenager. Complain to my parents about “life not being fair”, join in with that despicable chant aimed at Wenger and also watching and enjoying Soccer AM. I still occasionally complain to my parents, but mercifully the latter two are things of the past. Lovejoy and Soccer AM probably set back my knowledge of football by about 3 years – a bit like falling in with the wrong crowd at school – it takes a while, but you realise in the end that you’ve been a bit of an idiot.

Comment by Les Bagg 2009-12-28 21:42:36

An astonishingly good review!
At Mudhuts Media in Wigan we have been demonizing that man and that programme for as long as I can remember.
The loathesome and insulting way that he used to seriously think he could play for any 4th division club (sorry, old fashoined me!) just about summed up his horrible attitude.
“Save Chip”, “Bouncebackability”, “Easy, Easy” Sad, sad warnings about how easily modern football fans are duped and follow the “Monkey see, monkey do” way.
We recently started a thread on the worst football books ever written, however, the book needs to have been read to be included, so even though Lovejoys book probably deserves the top spot I don’t think any of us are brave enough to do the deed!

Comment by Lemmiwinks 2010-02-25 10:11:52

This is the best review of anything, ever. Simply brilliant.

I was once dragged onto Soccer AM by some mates. We were ‘fans of the week’, and apparently we were only going on to wind Lovejoy up.
In the bar after the show, one of our group approached Lovejoy and asked him at what point he had switched allegiance from Watford (who he apparently used to support) to Chelsea.

His reply, and I quote, was delightful: “Shut the f**k up, you c**t.”

As arrogant and self-delusional a man as I’ve ever met in my life.

Comment by redmondo82 2010-03-20 12:09:49

This odious talent vacuum is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with the modern football fan that knows nothing of anything before, or outside, the Premier League.

You’d think he’d at least have the good grace to be embarrassed by his ignorance rather than celebrate it.

Comment by adhemar78 2010-06-30 13:12:48

While I am a regular reader of WSC, I live in Australia and have never seen a single second of Tim Lovejoy in action (which, judging by this article, would appear to be a blessing). However, I remember reading this review when it first appeared in WSC, and I thought it was brilliant and hilarious back then. Reading it again today, it’s still as superb as I remembered it being. Bravo, Taylor Parkes.

Comment by atlanticjaxx 2010-07-15 20:56:35

Enjoyed this review, thanks.

Comment by blufink 2010-08-20 18:05:51

A masterpiece of an assassination. Enjoyable even if you don’t know who Lovejoy is, as Ashemar says above, but sublime if you do.

Comment by Martin Hatter 2010-09-10 18:10:28

Still one of the finest hatchet jobs I’ve ever read and so, so well-deserved.

For anyone entertaining the merest suggestion of sympathy for Lovejoy, have a look at this clip of him talking about his “Chelsea heroes” who include Joey Jones and Mickey Thomas. Both of these, of course, have become his “mates.”

Comment by eighteen85 2010-09-10 23:00:15

I never, ever tire of reading this – the only criticism I could possibly have is that it’s perhaps a little too kind to its subject.

Comment by imp 2010-10-27 13:54:43

WSC should put a paywall around this piece and retire on the proceeds. Once Taylor gets his cut, of course.

Comment by knownidiot 2010-10-30 19:41:47

It’s a commentary on present day twattery beyond the gobshite lovejoy and I’m afraid I’ll be stealing ideas from it for a long time.
Well done Taylor, a masterpiece.

Comment by lebowski 2010-11-05 12:22:43

Hats off to Taylor, he tells it like it is, congratulations on your unstinting honesty.

Comment by DaveWallace 2011-01-15 18:13:49

I remember reading this review when it came out in the issue and loving every word of it. I still return to it every now and then to read.

Simply the best article the mag has ever – ever- printed.

Comment by FootballFarrago 2011-03-03 20:49:59

Brilliant review, kind of makes me want to read the book – in the same way that I pick of The Sun and read their sport section sometimes to discover what idiots think about football. Like the above comment I think I’ll be re-reading this piece, it’s fantastic, well done.

Comment by quoththeraven 2011-03-31 19:08:56

I regularly enjoy reading this review. Even after 50 times it still fails to make me smile. I saw this book in my local library today and was very nearly tempted to borrow it. Not that I doubt Taylor’s review, but part of me thinks something this bad needs to be seen to be believed. I left it where it was, though, and seeing it on a shelf that could have been used to display Shakespeare, Byron, or Blake made me die a little inside.

As a reformed former Soccer AM viewer, I now realise that watching Soccer AM is a bit like believing in the tooth fairy – encouraging when you’re young, but if you’re still doing it when you’re in your 20s, with a house, a job, and a committed relationship, you wonder if it’s really still appropriate.

Comment by rawiron 2011-05-04 15:55:05

Lovejoy has a face, & intellect, for radio. . .preferably in Greenland, the Faroe Islands or one of the Poles.

Comment by erwin 2011-06-14 16:43:03

I was a bit in the dark about Tim Lovejoy, never having seen him on the telly as I’ve been out of the country for years. So I never really got the vehemence of this article. Until this morning.

During a ham-fisted review of the newspapers with Eamonn Holmes on Sky News Andy Murray was featured, and Lovejoy suggested, without an ounce of irony, that “we all love him”.

“But that’s just it – we don’t,” corrected Holmes (quite rightly). “He’s surly.”
“Nah, Eamonn – that’s him being focussed.”

I’ve now re-read this excellent article with a much better idea of where it’s coming from.

Comment by Vim Fuego 2011-08-16 17:06:51

As excellent as the review is I feel Taylor Parkes should have torn Lovejoy’s book apart page by page to prolong the

I’ve never watched Soccer AM but having watched that awful Something For The Weekend” I have yet to come across anyone on TV with the same level of banal, inane smugness as this twat.
I hate him.
And don’t get me started on Louise Redknapp who could easily be his twin sister.

Comment by Vim Fuego 2011-08-16 19:39:59

Oh and he’s scared of coriander.
Lovejoy can’t just not like the taste of coriander he has to make up some nonsense about how it’s to do with an ancient fear of unknown plants and how they may be poisonous.
Pretentious twat!

Comment by the cantering captain 2011-11-22 21:07:36

This is a brilliant review, and is now half way down the first page if you google “tim lovejoy”, so he must surely have read it, as I imagine he googles himself constantly. The only line I take issue with is

‘with his fashionably receding hair’

Since when was receding hair fashionable ? Its part of encroaching middle age, what’s next piles ?

Comment by ClayDavis 2012-02-16 12:34:36

Still creases me to this day.

Comment by mutley 2012-03-28 20:35:04

This is a masterpiece of modern writing, its almost like watching a public flogging and reporting each lash in painful detail…..however you can feel nothing but a sadistic pleasure in the fact that its Lovejoy getting dismantled over the course of the review.Anyone who can make David Mellor seem tolerable deserves all they get and more, what is it with these JCL Chelsea fans?

Brilliant stuff Taylor, you could probably dine out on this for years to come.