Adrian Chiles, it seems, has made his last appearance as presenter of Match of the Day 2. The BBC have today announced that Chiles will be moving to ITV to co-present GMTV and, of more significance to us, anchor the commercial channel’s World Cup coverage this year.
This is likely to bring about one of two distinctly different reactions in you: apathy bordering on abject relief, or contentment based on a secret admiration for the West Midlander.
Personally, I fall into the latter category. Chiles has an easy-going manner, very much that of the ordinary man on the street, approachable but knowledgeable and as comfortable discussing football as he is talking about knife crime or shopping habits on The One Show.
Some might say he’s a bit too ordinary and down-to-earth. Last week a feature in The Guardian suggested Chiles “never fails to give the impression of a Black Country labourer who has wandered into a television studio and doesn’t realise the camera is on.” Actually, is that such a bad thing? Sooner that than the clinical GQ magazine looks of Gary Lineker or the turgid shallowness of Richard Keys.
Speaking of looks, Adrian Chiles always seems to attract a little too much criticism where that’s concerned. Admittedly he’s no oil painting, but then again not many of us are, and those people that are oil paintings are probably having the piss taken out of them by the non-oil paintings anyway.
What can’t be disputed is the one thing that really sets Chiles apart from the vast majority of his peers – a genuine sense of humour. It’s this one aspect to his personality that particularly excites me about his move to ITV as he’s being installed as main anchor for their World Cup coverage ahead of Steve Rider, front man for the channel's Champions League coverage.
Rider, who turns 60 later this month, has never really exuded dynamism or a sparkling wit, and that’s just me using understated politeness. As professional as he undoubtedly must be, there’s something to be said for giving the viewer an appealing reason to watch its programmes and I think ITV will benefit for having Chiles on board. Unlike Rider, Chiles comes across as a genuine football fan who understands the game and can lighten the mood by dropping in the odd jocular aside here and there – just the sort of thing most footy fans will appreciate.
Quite who will replace Chiles on Match of the Day 2 remains to be seen, but our guess is that it'll be someone young with a two-dimensional personality and an awkward presenting style. Needless to say his absence will be all too noticeable for regular viewers of the programme.
So all that's left is to say 'well done ITV'. It seems you’ve finally made a wise choice for the job of presenting your World Cup coverage, and not before time. You’ve probably also ended up with someone who can bring some credibility to GMTV, but that was never going to be very difficult, was it?