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Paul Galvin: Jim White is a man of bombastic ability

Kerry's finest talks cryogenics, totalisers and why Jim White doesn't do dogging

by Paul Galvin | January 28, 2014

Jim White wasn’t born – he was transferred from his mother’s womb on transfer deadline day.

He considered asking her for comment as he passed her through but she wasn’t doing interviews at that stage as the transfer was still subject to medical.

I guess you could say Jim was born for his job.

The Silver Fox with the glint in his eye. Consummate professional. Banter merchant. More wit than your average anchorman.

What’s not to love?

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Sky Sports News has become a cultural phenomenon. From the UK to Ireland and mainland Europe reporters and presenters are hired on two basic criteria; bombastic ability and looks.

That’s not to say they must be good looking (although this helps if you want to be front of house) but they must possess something that people will remember, something that makes them recognisable, something that sticks out; teeth and ears, for example.

Round-the-clock news requires a certain type of presenter, one with a skill for making the most mundane information seem dramatic and interesting. Effectively, Sky Sports presenters are actors. On screen there’s no end to their enthusiasm and nose for the suspenseful statement. Off screen they’re hooked up to adrenaline drips praying for a twist in a tale somewhere so that they don’t have to spend the WHOLE day repeating themselves.

Let’s face it, anyone would need adrenaline to present four hours of a program called FIRST FAST NOW.

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God knows what goes on behind the scenes. James Cooper challenges Gary Cotterill to a game of FIRST FAST NOW in the SSN cafeteria? The lads stand face to face with their fingers cocked. First to draw wins, draw too late and you’re off to Southend’s Boots ‘N Laces training ground to watch Phil Brown try shift himself on what once was an actual nightclub dancefloor now serving as the club’s actual gym. The victor reverses away middle finger in the air mouthing ‘PE-TER OD-OM-WING-IE TO STOKE CITY FOR FREEEEEEE.’

Sky Sports News plays a role in the hiring and firing of managers. The leading questions to gormless pundits, the false concern for supporters, the endless, mindless stats that serve as a prelude to the end game. News.

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In reality, they need regular news to prevent the likes of Gary Cotterill from going yahtzee in the cafeteria and pulling a real gun on James Cooper during a game of FIRSTFASTNOW. (The name is so gratuitous it can’t actually be said as three separate words but as one breathless utterance like the “PEEEOUN” noise you made when firing a pretend gun as a boy). They need sagas. A summer transfer saga like Cesc Fabregas‘ is beautiful music to the ears of a SSN reporter. They can have a winter transfer sagas too although with the weather they’re not nearly as popular as the summer ones. They considered kidnapping Juan Mata for a few days to draw out his transfer to United but, as Jamie Redknapp might put it, they couldn’t catch the little genius.

Which brings me to Transfer Deadline Day, the latest machination of the SSN creative director. Transfers ultimately are the lifeblood of men like Bryan Swimmy Swammy Swanson.

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Everyone has a role at SSN, but not everyone can man the “totaliser.” At least not Jim White anyway. Jim White is on the after-dinner circuit and he’s f**ked if he’s going to be fielding questions about the ‘totaliser’ on a rainy night down the social in Stoke-on-Trent.

Jim White is different. His teeth don’t look like a garden fence for a start. His sparkly whites and cheeky smile mean Jim was always destined for front of house, flirting easily with Natalie Sawyer. They make a great team. The gentle banter, the knowing looks, the understanding chemistry. Perfect.

The only time their relationship frayed a little was when Natalie walked into the unisex toilets at work one morning to find Jim up on his tiptoes, double-barrelled finger guns rolling at one with his hip-thrusts, singing Mr Boombastic.

Jim, showman that he is, didn’t break stride. Natalie left briskly and he finished his routine feeling pretty damn pleased with himself. He even purred the “RRRRRROOOOO-MANTIC” part. Fantastic professional. They recovered from that episode to blossom on air.

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On air. That’s where you’ll find Mr Boombastic Fantastic. Not up some country lane in the Manchester, rain thumping off his anorak, standing at a car window like a dogger.

You won’t find him doing sums on the ‘totaliser’ either. What’s that, Rupert? Chase a beleaguered new signing from Africa through an airport for comment though the boy speaks no English? Not a f**king hope in Ghana, Rupert, I’m off to see Uncle Dave.

That’s where you’ll find him. In Dave Whelan’s office like a boss in his own right, smoking cigars and quaffing XO, having landed the chopper on the centre circle of the DW, shouting playfully over his shoulder at the long-suffering groundsmen who’ve only just tidied up after the rugby league boys. “GET YOUR SPADES OUT BOYS!” shouts Jim as he switches his mobile back on to tell Dave he’s in town.

You see it’s men like Dave who inspire men like Jim.

Devilish, well-heeled, soundbyte merchants who love the camera. Jim’s not interested in new signings, he’s much more interested in hiring and firing like Uncle Dave. Jim likes choppers, cigars and big offices. Which is exactly why Rupert Murdoch needs to watch his back.

Someday soon, this will all be Jim White’s, JIM WHITE’S I SAY!

  • Paul Galvin is one of the more stylish footballers for Kerry. He can be found on Twitter here.

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