Harris Sportsthoughts

Thoughts about Sport

Oh Do Stop It Gubba

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Anthony Gubba 1943 -

Anthony Gubba 1943 -

There is an intrinsic comedy to Tony Gubba.

Maybe it’s the fact that he looks like a baby monkey. Maybe it’s the of memory of a combover so exquisite in conception that grown men have blubbed in it’s presence. And it was ginger.

Maybe it’s just his name. Say it out loud and let it roll around your mouth like fine cigar smoke. Gubba. Slower. Gubba. GUB-BA.

Maybe it’s that he is the living embodiment of ‘low-rent’. Stuck on the end of phone from Meadow Lane. Reporting from mat-side at the European Judo Championships in Antwerp. Providing updates from the Tour de Frodsham.

I researched his official website. It boasts that Gubbalicious has worked on every World Cup since 1974. But with admirable candour, it admits that in 2006 his duties were confined to a highlights package shown on the “in-flight entertainment channels of many of the world’s leading airlines”. And some rubbish ones as well.

It continues to say that Gubba has commentated on ice-skating, hockey, table-tennis, bobsleigh, ski-jumping, speed skating, cycling, rowing, judo, golf and tennis, collecting sports like a cub scout collects badge. A Gub scout. Jack of all trades, master of the proverbial none.

Except now that is. Gubba is the master of Dancing on Ice. It seems maybe that he has grown weary of his constant travels around the world of minority sports and third-rate football and has nested in the commentary box at ITV’s celebrity skate-off.

According to the website that from the outset Torville and Dean specifically requested that little Tony was hired to lend his singular Gubban tones to the show. Seems strange. Where was Barry Davies? One wonders what dirt Gubba had on the celebrated pair that forced their hand: anabolic steroids? Backhanders to the judging panel? A Tonya Harding-style clubbing of a rival couple?

So Gubba is now the voice of celebrity ice fun. And it’s a bit odd and a bit sad and his commentary sounds like he’s reading out the bits that Sid Waddell cast aside because they didn’t make enough sense.

But last Sunday might be a watershed. No words do it justice, so here it is:

This is would be frankly hilarious if only for Todd Carty’s bizarre facial pyrotechnics. But the uncharacteristic giggles coming from the commentary box elevate it to the status of e-mail circular gold. It’s already had over a million hits on Youtube. Gubba: welcome to the big time. For a man who has spent a career specializing in the unmemorable, it’s a defining moment.

And you deserve it Tony: you are the Gubner.

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Written by harrisharrison

January 28, 2009 at 10:55 pm

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