Since the late noughties, there has been an increasing number of people turning to ‘pods’ as their number one destination for football discourse.
This trend came to the stage with The Football Ramble at The Lowry, Salford.
Reflecting from what could be considered a boom of podcasts in general and the ease in which downloadable content has become available, we find ourselves in an era where football content can be accessed by everyone and for everyone.
Ranging from the tactical elite to your casual supporter, it has yielded an environment whereby fans, former players, journalists and pundits are all getting in on the act to create the diverse football podcasts scene we see today.
One of the most successful is The Football Ramble which has become one of the UK’s most listened to football podcasts since its inception in 2007.
Having started out in presenter’s Luke Moore kitchen, it has gone on to become an established show alongside those produced by the BBC and the Guardian.
In line with its irreverent take on the sporting issues from both a UK and European perspective, it now hosts live theatre shows with comedy at the heart of everything they do.
MM went along to the Ramble’s final tour date at The Lowry to find out just what makes it, and football podcasts, special.
As with many football podcasts, the peripheral focus remains on people and individuals, and this was no such more the case when the lights dimmed and we were introduced to Maisie Adams.
Following in the footsteps of former successful support acts for the show such as Doc Brown, the 2017 Funny Women’s award finalist bounded onto the stage in delight as she bellowed to the crowd.
Coming from, as she put it, the wrong side of the Pennines – a nod to the city’s unanimous rivalry with Leeds United – the entertainer soon had the audience in stiches as she strung together a cohesive series of quirky tales.
From unsettling French teachers, dodgy festivals and being a northerner, the tone was set for the evening as the audience were enticed with her efforts to recollect her rather befuddled past whilst effortlessly integrating call backs of growing up in and around the “scummy” Elland Road and everything that inevitably comes with it.
With her rather refreshing take on the realties of being a tall, epileptic and northern women in comedy, she once again bounded off the stage to make way for the awesome foursome themselves – the Ramblers – who were about to crank the football comedy all the way up to a whopping 10.
Comprised of the shows on air quartet of Marcus Speller, Luke Moore, Jim Campbell and Pete Donaldson, this was, from the minute go, a show quite simply made by fans for fans that continued the evening’s comedic theme.
As such, the nuanced comedic timing and immaculate transition from anecdotes was seamless.
Whether it be comparing Neil Warnock to the spiritual warlocks in Argentina or Sven-Göran Eriksson to 50 Shades of Grey, the show covered as many comedic and fascinatingly absurd angles as possible – perhaps even putting doubt over the games recognised title as ‘the beautiful game.’
Equally the show’s interactivity element was still at the forefront as the audience were brought into the fold to get involved with a Mastermind spin off and unique football quiz game – further representing podcasts as a personalised experience.
Integrating the odd homemade video, citing natural fan reactions to goals and funny recent football moments, including a Portsmouth fan punching a horse, the craftsmanship of the show was excellent, showing just how well-oiled the production had become since its kitchen days.
Rounded off by an after show on screen sketch, this was a show that represented everything good about football podcasts and their popularity today.
Comedy, humility and the simple means of communicating with your audience.
It’s safe to say, football discourse has now got a hell of a lot bigger.