Sky calls time on Sunday Supplement

Ollie Irish

5th, August 2020

After more than 20 years on air, Sky Sports have put Sunday Supplement out of its misery. As of next season, the round-table chat show will no longer exist. The person who will feel most hard done by here is host Jacqui Oatley. She only got the gig this year, a rare sign of progress in the football media.

In the early days the show was dominated by gammon-faced men in Pringle sweaters. A few of them seemed like decent blokes (Brian Woolnough springs to mind), but many came across as odious and self-important. Those in the latter camp reminded me acutely of Stewart Lee’s description of Adrian Chiles: “Like being trapped in the buffet car of a slow-moving express train with a Toby jug that somehow learned to speak – a speaking Toby jug filled to the brim with hot piss.”

And that’s the show right there: Hot piss, hot air, hot takes. Freshly squeezed orange juice. Croissants.

It started life (1999) as Jimmy Hill’s Sunday Supplement. The show was filmed on a set designed to look like Jimmy was actually in his kitchen talking passionately about Saturday’s action with a couple of golfing buddies and a bowl of fruit for company. The avuncular Hill hosted from his fake kitchen until 2007, when he was replaced by Woolnough, who was, like his predecessor, a generous and likeable presenter. Five years later, Woolnough sadly died of cancer, and Neil Ashton took over hosting duties. Gradually the show modernised, with a wider selection of journalists invited on, some of whom were under the age of 35. The old school gave way to fresh young voices. Even online journalists got a look-in.

Ultimately though, Sunday Supplement was flawed by design. If it was on in the background, you might find yourself listening to it by accident, perhaps as salve for a raging hangover, but it wasn’t something you actively watched. Talking about football works best on the radio or down the pub.

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