While the majority of sports podcasts scramble to fill the minutes within the disruption of the sporting calendar, the cult show 'Quickly Kevin: Will He Score?’ is already sufficiently stockpiled.
They’re comfortable in their bunker, complete with a fully-supplied wine fridge. The wine being deliciously drunk 90s football anecdotes and interviews.
The series, presented by comedian Josh Widdicombe, co-host Chris Scull and ‘Director of Podcast’ Michael Marden, has returned for its sixth series to once again delve into all things from that particular decade. Everything goes as long as it touches on the period between 1 January 1990 to 31 December 1999, whether that be recounting the familiar rose-tinted nostalgia of Italia 90, Merlin sticker books, or viewers' anecdotes of when Cobra from Gladiators sold them a bank account in school.
Widdicombe, with his recognisable West Country growl, is an unabashed Plymouth Argyle fan, though in the early days he followed his father’s allegiance of Liverpool and remembers crying after that memorable defeat to Arsenal at Anfield in 1989.
While everyone is worrying about the future, memory is Quickly Kevin’s life stream. Or as the presenters like to describe, it’s like when Forrest Gump goes out and scoops up all the shrimp by persevering through the storm while all other boats are destroyed.
Their specialisation, their ‘shrimp’, is nostalgic football: “essentially, we only have the past” they state.
Recognisable 90s cult figures from on and off the pitch are asked the question ‘If you could go back to 1 January 1990 would you do it?’ Names from Matt Le Tissier and Paul Merson to James Richardson and Frank Skinner have been featured, the latter of whom recalls the only veto on the ‘Fantasy Football’ programme was a viewer poll between either wanting ‘England to get to the World Cup final in 1998’ or ‘Princess Diana to still be alive’.
The sixth series kicked off with a treat for a former guest, devout Wolves fan Tom Parry. The comedian’s genuine adoration for Wolves hero Steve Bull (who he once met as a kid at a signing in a BT phone shop), is quickly and enthusiastically shared by the rest of the gathering, Bull being the only man to so far appear on the show with a football stand named after him, the man who played just one top-flight match, but the man who scored over 300 goals for Wolverhampton Wanderers, including a frankly mind-boggling 102 goals in two seasons.
Where the podcast succeeds is not just in the humorous interactions between once-widely idolised guests, operating the soothing, dulcet tones of Jim Rosenthal, who appears in Episode Six of the first season for their soundbites, nor the recital of Steve Bruce’s crime thriller books (the enigma of whether Bruce wrote the novels a better mystery than anything to appear in his novels), but by bringing once again to the fore a time when there was more transparency and relationship between players and those devouts in the stands, and the charm - and disbelief - of the discovery of commonality between the man on the street and the man on the pitch.
The podcast is now also offering bitesize episodes, sticking with the 90s theme with the title ‘Now That’s What I Call Quickly Kevin’, compiling some of the best moments of the show so far, right back to its beginning.
The original title is affectionately taken from the notorious exchange at the 1998 World Cup round of 16 match between England and Argentina, spoken by late commentator Brian Moore and the titular ‘Kevin’ Keegan, former player and Ballon d’Or winner of Liverpool, Newcastle and Hamburg fame.
With David Batty striding up to the spot, Moore hurriedly asked Keegan whether Batty would score the decisive penalty. If the spot kick didn’t go in, England were out. A goal and hope remained.
“You know him better than anybody, do you back him to score quickly - yes or no?’
‘Yes.’ replied King Kev, decisively.