Balls Etc

Matt Forde: Which Footballer Are You?

Matt Forde

What a fortnight for former Labour advisor and lifelong Nottingham Forest fan Matt Forde. First, Forest finally get promoted to the Premier League after 23 years, then 148 Tory MPs stick the boot into Boris Johnson. Absolute scenes.

Forde usually keeps his sport and politics stuff fairly separate, from hosting Absolute Radio's Rock & Roll Football and the Comedians Playing FPL podcast, to his Political Party shows. But those worlds combine on June 13th, as he interviews Manchester United legend turned political animal Gary Neville, during an ongoing residency at London's Duchess Theatre. Then the day after it's onto the Soho Theatre, and a run for his own show, Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right. Busy times.

But now it's our turn to ask the big questions...

Matt Forde, which footballer are you?

Oh God. I really admire Stuart Pearce. I find him a huge inspiration, but I'm not sure people would watch me and go 'Oh yeah, that feels like Psycho'. Maybe I'm not like that...

I remember you saying that you're not confrontational onstage. Surely your spirit footballer must be a Forest player though?

Yeah, I guess, but it's hard to answer that without sounding egotistical isn't it? Because footballers are Gods. I idolise footballers in a way that I don't idolise any other icon or hero, so to liken myself to one would feel mad.

Matt Forde

When Ian Smith did this, he was going with [Mediterranean maestro] Juan Mata, but eventually went for the more workmanlike Nicky Butt.

Ha! Well then I'll stick with Stuart Pearce, because that's the only obvious one. I think the parallels are that he takes the job really seriously and is very passionate about it. I take it - and I guess this would be Stuart Pearce's mindset - that people have paid to come and see me, so I need to make this the best night out they could possibly have. Give them real value for money.

That's a big pressure I put on myself, that it's all about the audience and what they get out of it, and I want this show to be really, really good for them. And I guess that's the sort of thing Pearce would think, that he's putting on a show. He's all about dedication.

Your Rock & Roll Football show - music, plus the football scores - is perfect for those of us who sometimes share Saturdays with non-footy lovers.

That show was Chris Evans' idea. He started it back when it was Virgin Radio - Absolute took over Virgin - and it's really interesting the way you describe it, because he described it as a 'compromise listen.' Which is exactly how it is.

His whole idea for the show was, of a weekend - it's probably quite an old fashioned view, to frame it like this - but basically, the fella wants to know what's going on in the football, and the female doesn't. And is there a show that they both could listen to, where you still get to know what's going on in the football, but it's not overkill? And you'll still get music that you like.

Obviously that works beyond traditional male/female relationships, like in workplaces, where some people want football, some don't, it's 'oh well, we can all sort of live with that.'

I didn't realise it was another Evans format.

He thought of it in the tub apparently - it was a brainwave in the bath.

Matt Forde. Copyright: Avalon Television

In your book Politically Homeless, you mention that you look at politics almost the same way you enjoy football - like a sport.

Yeah, I enjoy watching it, even if my team isn't winning. Now, obviously I'm tribally Forest in a way that I'm less tribally political, in terms of a party. But I still enjoy watching a really good game of football, no matter who's playing. And politics, I enjoy watching a really good speech or even a really good argument. Even if I disagree with it.

For all of Matt Forde's varied dates, head to

Share this page

See also