Jack and JIMMY in a world of their own
"HELLO...again," said Richard Keys, nervously, on Tuesday night as he introduced the return of the Jack and Jimmy Show on Sky1 Sports. A week before Richard had made an heroic attempt to chair a debate involving the unruly duo (and the very ruly Ray Wilkins) when the task was to pick a team" made up of the best overseas footballers ever to play in England.
After threatening him with a Leeds United season ticket Richard finally gave in to the channel's top executives last week and agreed to chair the Jack and Jimmy sequel - the Best World Team of All Time.
Richard decided to assert himself from the off. "We're going for greatness FULL STOP - forget about formations," he warned Jack and Jimmy who had taken up most of the previous show arguing about Christmas trees. "Right goalkeepers."
There may have been a week's gap between us viewers seeing the first and the second Jack and Jimmy show but it was pretty obvious that there was no gap at all between the recording of the two programmes. The panel, even Ray, looked angry and jaded and they were still in no mood for compromise.
"I'd pick Pat Jennings as my goalkeeper," said Ray. "Well, playing with a team like Northern Ireland he was probably the busiest goalkeeper of that time but you wouldn't pick him ahead of Banksie," said Jack. Off we went again.
Centre backs? "The one certainty for me is Beckenbauer," said "Jimmy. "BUT HE WAS A SWEEPER," howled Jack. "Well I would put him in no matter where I played him," answered Jimmy. "If we're playing a 4-4-2 system you can't have him," said Jack. "Beckenbauer was an out and out sweeper," he added.
"Well I would play him (and my Daddy's car is bigger than yours)," said Jimmy. "You have to look at him as a sweeper or a central mid-field player and as we're not picking a sweeper you can't have him (and no it's not, my Daddy's is much huger)," answered an angry Jack. "I, think you're demeaning his character by saying he's a centre back - HE WAS NOT A CENTRE BACK."
"Okay, maybe we should play a sweeper, said Richard who, by now, was sorry he hadn't taken the Leeds season ticket. "Who would you play with him - name a centre back Jack," he added.
"Franco Baresi - he was one of the great centre backs for a long long period of time," said Jack. "He, finished up as a sweeper though," insisted Jimmy. "Yeah, at the end he played more as a sweeper but he started as a centre back," answered, Jack. "Yes but at the end he was a sweeper." "Yes but for years and years and years....
Midfielders? "You couldn't play Bobby Charlton and Pele cos neither of the two of them bothered to defend," said Bobby's brother. Ray, surprisingly, spoke. "Pele has to be there," he said. Silence. "Hasn't he?," added Ray.
"Well, we heard more about Pele than we should have done during the time he was a great player cos it all came from Brazil," said Jack. Ray looked puzzled. So did the viewers.
"Duncan Edwards has to be there," said Jimmy. "Yeah but he died in the Munich air crash so we didn't see enough of him," added Jack, in his own sensitive way.
"Okay, name some of the great midfielders then," said Richard. "Joanne Cruyff," offered Jack. "Yes, Johan Cruyff," Richard agreed. "Michael Platini - great player," added Jack. "Yes, Michel Platini", said Ray. "What about Maradona," asked Ray. "No, we only want the nice lads in," replied Jack. "Anyway, I'm not picking this, team - we all are," he added. Mmm.
Finally, after hours and hours and hours, Jack and Jimmy (and Ray) settled on Banks, Carlos Alberto, Charles, Beckenbauer, Maldini, Matthews, Di Stefano, Cruyff, Charlton ("Is that me?" asked Jack. "No chance, it's your brother," replied Jimmy) Pele and Van Basten. "Oooh, I'd love to be able to sell that lot next week," said Jimmy.
Next to occupy the seats in the Best of All Time series were Bily Bingham, Tommy Docherty and Peter Nicholas who had to pick a Four Nations XI on Wednesday night, made up of players from the Republic of Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
"Pat Jennings had absolutely everything and you can't have more than that... Neville Southall is a great goal keeper but he gets plenty of practice playing for Wale .. . there are a few leaks in hat Welsh defence," said a giggling Tommy so it was time to switch off, it was going to be one of those nights.
Paul Dempsey chaired the Best Heavyweight Boxer of All Time debate with a panel that included Barry McGuigan and commentator Reg Gutteridge on Thursday. Well, debate isn't quite the word for it. "Ali." "Ali." "Ali," said each member of the panel within the first 10 seconds of the show leaving Paul with 59 minutes and 50 seconds of air time to fill. He should have called Jack and Jimmy, they would have helped him out.
None of the three Irish players who made an appearance on Kenny Live on Saturday night made Jack and Jimmy's all-time teams but give them time. Gary Breen (Birmingham City), Keith O'Neill (Norwich City) and Ian Harte (Leeds), who were all given their senior international debuts by Mick McCarthy this year, turned up to have a chat with Pat but it was Keith, who's a bit of a lad, who won the audience's affections.
"Are the women throwing themselves at you," asked Pat. "No chance, I wish there were," said Ian. "Ah no," said Gary. "Yeah, it's great, loads of them, I love it. I can take it all... I'm still a virgin though," Keith reassured us all. "Are ye loaded," asked Pat. "Yeah. Got bundles," said Keith. ("Judging by that jumper he hasn't spent much of it," replied Gary).
"What would you have done if you hadn't become a footballer," asked Pat. "I'd like to have done Law at University," said Gary. "I'd be down the pub I'd say," said Ian. "I'd probably have been a waffler. . . another Eamon Dunphy," said Keith.