ITV has ditched divisive, down-to-earth Adrian Chiles and brought in bespectacled, brusque Mark Pougatch to lead the channel’s Champions League football coverage.
Regular pundits Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Lee Dixon will be joining him, but it’s the BBC Radio 5 Live broadcaster turned ITV anchor who will be the main talking point in the pre-match buildup.
So what do we need to know?
Pougatch went to Malvern College in Worcestershire (the same private school as former Newsnight interrogator Jeremy Paxman) and captained the school’s cricket team before going on to study politics at Durham University.
His first job in journalism was at London radio station BBC GLR, before he moved to BBC Essex to be sports editor. He joined 5 Live in 1998, becoming a presenter on 5 Live Sport in 2000.
As well as football, Pougatch has covered covered several Olympic and Commonwealth Games, cricket and tennis, and is a regular voice court-side at Wimbledon.
He’s worked on TV (and for ITV) before, presenting the channel’s FA Cup coverage as well as stints on Football Focus, Match of the Day, Grandstand and the Open Championship highlights on the BBC. The BBC have confirmed that Pougatch will continue to present other sports events on 5 Live.
Legitimately being allowed to swear on the radio after ex-manager Joe Kinnear’s expletive-filled outburst in a press conference.
OK, maybe not a ‘career’ highlight, but definitely our favourite from the YouTube showreel. He’s a sharp interviewer too; here he is talking to Usain Bolt.
Mark’s Champions League predictions
“Chelsea should repeat last year’s feat of beating PSG. Chelsea made heavy work of that but they’re a better team this year and I’d expect them to go through.
“Monaco have been on a very good run of late but Arsenal’s injury crisis is easing, they’re in form, their squad suddenly looks deeper and I’d pick Wenger’s men to go though.
“Even though Barcelona wouldn’t have wanted Man City you’d still have to side with Messi and his men to win.”