Colin Murray: Why I’m proud to sit and shout at the world of sport

"We’re all allowed opinions, even if we only share them with our soft furnishings"

Oh Armchair, we go back a long way… Together we have gazed upon the wire- less, the tube TV, the digital radio and the flatscreen, and not once have I felt the need to upgrade you.


I’ve stained you, burnt you, ripped you and kicked you, yet you remain semi-firm in your support of my derriere.

By sitting on you I automatically transform into an expert on everything, an oracle of opinion, a flowing volcano of vicariousness.

For in my armchair, I am always right. I know exactly who Roy Hodgson should pick, what Oprah Winfrey should ask, and I can pinpoint precisely the second that “football went wrong”. For some reason it all becomes clear when I am musing from between the confines of your tattered armrests.

When I brand Andy Murray “useless” for misdirecting a lob from the back of the court, you do not remind me that he is the first male British tennis player to win a grand slam title in three quarters of a century, nor do you glance in the direction of the cupboard that houses the tennis rackets I have bought over the years a week before, during, or a week after Wimbledon, only to cast them aside in frustration, before being welcomed back into your loving grooves to once again pontificate.

OK, I may have over-stated things slightly just last weekend when I said that Torres couldn’t finish a bowl of cornflakes and, on hindsight, I am not completely in favour of the Irish scrum-half being shot for knocking on, as previously declared. For such sins you forgive me, because we have history.

The memories, ah yes, of cups won and lost, tears shed in joy and despair. Drinks spilt onto you as a last-minute strike crashes onto a crossbar, my head in my hands as you eagerly sop up the collateral damage. Together we are one, united as we run the gauntlet of emotions.

I do not feel the need to message, text or tweet because, if truth be told, I can, at times, get a little carried away, so it’s best to keep these moments between ourselves. But we are not alone… it’s you, it’s me, it’s millions of other men

and women in armchairs up and down the land. Of the top 100 programmes broadcast in 2012 the first four were sports events, with more than 20 million watching the Olympics at a sitting, parking their behinds in armchairs, just like you and me, to bellow at the screen. Because that’s the beauty of being an armchair fan, we’re all allowed opinions, even if we only share them with our soft furnishings. Some of those opinions are level-headed and accurate, but only on the rare occasion.

To some you may just be another piece of furniture, but to me you are my seat in the dugout, a chair around the table of the highest echelons of sporting power, a pedestal from which I cannot be removed.


Colin Murray presents Kicking Off on Radio 5 Live and Match of the Day 2 on BBC2. His first weekly column is in this week’s Radio Times