A brief history of footballers who’ve been on Question Time

Joey Barton was as eloquent as you’d expect

Where did all the public intellectuals go? Where are the great polemicists, the witty human fireworks, the thought leaders who could ignite debate with a few casual utterances on the page or on the television? Who will take up Christopher Hitchens’ mantle?

Could Jermaine Jenas be that soldier of the intellect, the provocateur, the enlightener we so desperately need?

Well, he’s on Question Time tonight. Now I don’t know about you, but all I ask from a Question Time panellist is that they’ve said at least one interesting thing in their life. That they generally say more interesting and insightful things than you or I do.  I’m not asking for Oscar Wilde declaring nothing but his genius at New York customs. I’m not asking for Trotsky putting his feet on the desk and opening up a fat French novel during Politburo meetings because he couldn’t be bothered to hear Stalin drone on about tractor factories anymore. I’m not asking for anything that interesting, but at the same time, has Jermaine Jenas ever said anything interesting?

I mean, yeah, sure, when he said he was retiring from football he trended on Twitter. But that wasn’t because what he said was interesting. It was because nobody knew he was still playing football, such was his appalling injury record.

Hang on though. Maybe he will surprise us. He can’t be worse than the last two footballers on Question Time can he?

Joey Barton

Yeah Barton is right. He is right. But he might have expressed it in a less Topman clearance bin misogyny way. Jenas can do better than this and he can almost certainly do better than the bog standard polo Barton is rocking here.

Clarke Carlisle

I quiet like Clark’s suit here. He looks hard. He looks like he’d know how to kill an elephant with a toothpick, an elastic band and a small vodka lime and soda. But that really distracts from the main point here: fuck me you’re boring Clark. 

All in all, Jermaine Jenas has an opportunity tonight. An opportunity to be better than what’s gone before, an opportunity to surprise us, to save political punditry forever.