When Chris Kamara entered the FootballFancast offices he took a quick glance over to our World Cup Panini and raised a wry smile. He knows exactly what football means to the supporters.
The 6ft 1in TV presenter has a commanding presence on screen but he is fully aware that he is always under pressure to deliver, when his greatest strength is thinking on his feet.
This doesn’t mean he ever holds back. Within 20 minutes of speaking to Kamara, affectionately known as Kammy, he had told us about how he once shared the sofa with George Best, his brief managerial stint at Stoke City and why a 34 year old Argentinian cult hero playing at Crystal Palace should be considered in the player of the season votes.
Kamara said: “A player nobody mentions but should is Julian Speroni. He probably won’t get anywhere near the radar, but look at what his contribution has been to Tony Pulis. He has sorted out his defence in front of him. When he has been called upon, he’s been absolutely fantastic and outstanding.”
The Palace shot-stopper may not be a footballing personality every fan immediately discuss on a Saturday afternoon, but David Moyes is. The former Everton boss went from being the Chosen One to The Sacked One in the space of 10 months. Did Kammy feel that Moyes ever was the right fit at Old Trafford?
“I know from my own experience at Stoke City that it started bad and failed to recover, not on the same level of Manchester United of course but David Moyes knew the circumstances,” he said.
“He wouldn’t be afforded time like Sir Alex Ferguson. What you have to remember is Sir Alex was building a football club. The football club is there it’s built. What you have got to do when you come in as a manager is stop it falling apart. Unfortunately that didn’t work out.”
There has been intense media speculation that Louis Van Gaal is set to be appointed as the new manager of Manchester United in the near future but Kamara was not so sure.
He added: “The problem you have got with Louis Van Gaal is that he is going to the World Cup. Unless he’s got a trusted assistant who’s going to come along and do all the work in terms of transfers and players and everything like that.
“It’s a crucial time for Manchester United in May and June and he’s out preparing the Dutch team for the World Cup. I am not convinced that he will definitely be the one because of the fact that he has got other commitments.”
Chris Kamara will be at the World Cup this summer and he acknowledged that Roy Hodgson and his England charges in Brazil will be under intense scrutiny. There are low expectations of the Three Lions and Kamara believes this is down to the style of play on offer.
He insisted: “The thing I would like to see from Roy is him to see that all the clubs that are successful are playing more or less 4-3-3 or a 4-5-1 system. Liverpool play it fantastically.
“Trying to play 4-4-2 against the best teams in the world, really makes us battle and scrap, we need to be fluid enough to win.”
When the World Cup is finished, Kamara is aware that all eyes will be back on the work he does for Sky Sports and he is beaming with pride at how his visual links with Sky have been so influential.
“I used to be in the studio in the mid-week and occasional Saturdays with Rodney Marsh, George Best, and Clive Allen. They were the big ones on the sofa at that time,” Kammy recalled.
“When the producer said to me at the end of that first season that we are going to send you out to a game and film it when people are still coming to terms with people watching radio on TV as it is.
“He said to me do you want to do it? I said yeah of course I will do it but I am not sure it will work. The first couple didn’t actually work, well not as we’d have like them to have.
“From then on it has just been fantastic, it’s actually called Kamara Cam. Even when I am no longer here if it is still continuing my name will live on which is great.”
Kammy knows that football and the Premier League is about so much more than TV presenters and broadcasting live games. He finished on insisting that clubs should lower ticket prices so they don’t alienate the fans.
He concluded: “I agree that the money the football clubs are getting right now is astronomical, obscene amounts.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to see the decision makers lower the season ticket prices? If you have just a family of four and you all want to go to the football match, it’s so expensive, really expensive. If the clubs could somehow find a way to do something then they should.”