When the 90’s football podcast Quickly Kevin, Will He Score launched in February of 2017, I was in danger of falling out of love with the beautiful game all together. England had just utterly embarrassed themselves at Euro 2016 having been dumped out by Iceland, the premier league felt more like a closed shop than ever and Doncaster Rovers, my own team, were about to begin a punishing and inexorable slide down the football league. The launch and subsequent success of Quickly Kevin reminded me of why I fell in love with football in the first place. Sure, it’s the community spirit and the feeling of togetherness and all that stuff, but more than that, it’s just how bizarre the world of football can be.
As the game has become more sanitised and money-orientated, it’s impossible to imagine Mickey Quinn gliding across the Etihard turf or Jurgen Klopp signing a player based solely off one grainy video barely glimpsed one day after training. The game has changed. But for many of us, like a spoilt toddler throwing a tantrum in Netto, we simply don’t want it to change. And over six and a half years and two hundred plus episodes, Quickly Kevin allowed us to pretend that nothing had changed. For 70 or so wonderful minutes every week we were transported back to the time of Andrea Silenzi and Phil Stamp, of Steve Guppy and Vegard Heggem, a time when shorts were baggy and music was baggy. And t-shirts were baggy. A strange time, yes. But a time that elicits more than just the pang of Faustian nostalgia… for many of us, 90’s football feels like going home.
Together, the trio of Josh Widdicombe, Chris Scull and Michael Marden crafted the perfect podcast. Josh, obviously the most naturally funny of the three, combined an almost intimidating knowledge of ’90s football with quick wit and self-deprecating humour, Scull provided the wide-eyed enthusiasm and passion whilst Marden, to my mind the most accomplished orator of the trio was the glue that held it all together.
There were big moments. Big name guests. Their England coverage was sensational. The Steve Barnes novels. Anything related to David Batty (still my dream guest). But it was the quieter moments that I will miss the most. The seemingly trivial conversations and inane running jokes. Scull’s bad takes (yes, I’m referring to Baggio-gate). The feeling of a real community out there in the ether – cemented by the live shows and the Patreon/Another Slice subscription only episodes.
The thing I will miss most of all though is that feeling of a group of mates getting together in the pub and everyone discussing the latest episode. Laughing at the jokes. Reminiscing about the memories unlocked. QK became a water-cooler moment every week in my friend group in a way that reminded me of rushing into school in the ’90s to discuss last night’s episode of The X-Files. This may seem like mawkish sentimentality (it is). It may seem over the top (it definitely is). But this podcast outgrew the medium and became something else over its six and a half year run. So, let’s enjoy the final series. Cherish it while we still can. And remember to always hit Les, over the top.
For one final time… Robbie Slater, see you later.