Andy Townsend: Ask A Silly Question

The player-turned-commentator answers silly questions for FourFourTwo.

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Hello Andy. How’s it going? It’s pretty noisy there.
Hi mate. Sorry, my brain’s a bit scrambled. We’ve got some building going on – I’m renovating an old property. It’s one stress after another. I’ve got to monitor the builders so they don’t accidentally build a wall straight through my fucking front room.

Are you handy, Andy?
I’ll have a go, but that makes me dangerous. I try things and halfway through I’ll think, “What have I got myself into here?” I built a wall once. It was pathetic. Proper builders had to rescue it. I blamed it on someone else!

A classic escape. You used to work as a computer operator for Greenwich Council. Was it like The IT Crowd?
It was OK. My main duty was printing cheques. I’d stop the machine so I could see how much everybody else was earning. I was glad to go and play football. Every now and then I have the odd nightmare that I still work there.

How’s your computer knowledge now? Could you come round and sort out my dodgy internet connection?
I’m not bad. I can send e-mail and ?use the net. But I’m afraid fixing your internet would be a bit beyond me.

Ah, worth a pop. Now, do you think tangerines are essentially a waste ?of time? I just spent five minutes peeling one, and it was full of pips.
It’s a good point. I like clementines, but you’ve got to catch them right. They can be dry and horrible. The best solution is to cut them into quarters, like you’d get at half-time as a kid. But it’s much easier to peel a banana.

What’s the best roast dinner?
I like beef, but lamb is my number one meat, with a bit of rosemary. I think if I had to have a final meal, it would be lamb chops. I’m not a turkey fan: it’s dry and boring. It spoils Christmas for me.

Do you watch the Antiques Roadshow after a roast-up?
I get annoyed with it. I want them to crack on to the bit where the old lady gets told what her antique is worth. She just wants the expert to cut the crap and show her the money.

True, that. Andy Townsend is ?an anagram of Andy Downs Ten. When did you last sink 10 pints?
Oh, a long time ago. After five or six now, I’ll switch to wine. In my prime I could see off 10 – I was in the Ireland squad.

Who was your biggest boozebag?
We had some of the finest exponents ?of pint-drinking known to the profession. It would be out of order to name names.

Ah, go on.
All of them! We were right ?up there with the very best, putting away the Guinness. We could’ve taken on anyone.

Jim Rosenthal reckons you could easily outdrink Martin Brundle. Agree?
I’m quietly confident. Racing drivers sip little champagnes in Monaco, not like us rough-arses in an Irish boozer.

You share a birthday with Graham Gooch, Harry Potter, Monica Lewinsky and Slash. Which would you most like to go on a barge holiday with?
Slash. I’d love to hear his tales of rock ‘n’ roll, and he could teach me some riffs. I play a bit of guitar. With all due respect, Slash would be more interesting than hearing about Goochy’s forward defensives.

Where’s the Tactics Truck these days?
Someone bought it, but it definitely wasn’t me. Neither Des Lynam nor I liked the idea, but we had to go along with the bloody thing. Des said to me: “In 20 years, Andy, everyone will have forgotten about that truck.” I hope so!

Give it another 10! Cheers for chatting.
A pleasure.

Interview: Nick Moore. From the December 2009 issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe!