European club football (or soccer) is back in full effect and, thankfully, so is the web show, I’m on Setanta Sports.
Hosted on the website of Irish sports broadcaster Setanta, the series parodies sports chat shows popular in the States and abroad. It stars a puppetized version of Inter Milan‘s eccentric Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho (formerly the manager of London’s Chelsea0, along with his puppet co-hosts, former England and current Mexico manager Sven Goran-Eriksson and pugnacious Manchester United and England forward Wayne Rooney.
And it’s hilarious. Well, if you get Roy Keane references.
At the heart of the weekly series is Mourinho and his everlasting adoration of Mourinho:
His tagline is “I’m fantastic,” he ends shows saying “be champions,” and he’s known in the European press as “the Special One,” after he said as much during a press conference several years ago. The guy is a walking self-love quote machine.
Sven, known as a very serious Swede, plays the bumbling foil to Mourinho and has taken to wearing a sombrero since he recently accepted the Mexico coaching job. Rooney comes off as a wide-eyed innocent English lad, which belies his famous fiery temper that has seen him stomp his cleat into an opposing player’s crotch.
The show touches on all the top soccer news of the day and also gets to viewer emails. But it really excels when surprise “callers” phone in. Regulars include Arsenal’s feisty French manager Arsene Wenger, Manchester United’s holier-than-thou Scottish manager Sir Alex Ferguson and David from L.A. I’ll let you connect the dots on that last one.
Amazingly, the series is voiced completely by Irish comedian Mario Rosenstock. It comes off seamlessly and seems like it’s one big party to produce. But it’s obvious that Rosenstock and his team (I hope he has a big one) spend countless hours in some little dark room recording, editing and perfecting the series.
Perhaps what’s more amazing is the fact that this show exists at all on a big-time network like Setanta. The American sports equivalent would be a show about the NFL on CBSSports.com hosted by puppet versions of Bill Parcells, Tom Coughlin and LaDainian Tomlinson, with calls from Bill Belichick, Brian Urlacher and Tony Dungy.
With the reverence America pays its professional athletes, that could make many uneasy, to say the least.
Luckily, IOSS remains alive and well. If you’re a serious football fan, it’s a must-watch. If you’re not, it’s as good a reason as any to get into the beautiful game.
Update (2010): Hey soccer/football fans. It’s World Cup time again. Don’t miss a single World Cup game this month by tuning in to watch FIFA 2010 live online.