Football fans are all too aware of Jermaine Jenas and his impressive ability to get where water doesn’t. And while it’s not very LinkedIn of us to resent that reality, we cannot help ourselves from getting angry.
There are only so many bland footballing opinions and beige Jacamo sweaters we can stomach before wanting to gauge our eyes out or – perhaps more fittingly – flooding our bodies with Huel until we’re free of a Jenas-dominated world.
In an era of high performance, world-class basics and other David Bent-inspired Jake Humphrey-isms, Jenas exists within that school of thought without outwardly endorsing such insufferable principles.
What he has done, though, is carve out his own philosophy within a school that champions exceptionally divorced men and being a complete sociopath.
Jenas, while ordinary at football during his playing days, has been fuelled forward by a relentlessness in his post-playing media career.
Relentlessness and resilience in managing to constantly sneak into circles where he does not belong.
Decked out in his finest Next three-piece, supplemented with a dollop of VO5, the world stood still when Jenas bagged himself the lead presenter role at the 2023 FIFA The Best awards, having already somehow managed to blag a place at the 2022 World Cup draw the year before.
What has long been infuriating about Jenas has been his takes on football – a sport he should be an expert on considering his extensive playing career.
Instead, he’s criticised near enough weekly for a continually inaccurate vision of the game. That, and the crushing inevitability that is him taking over from Gary Lineker when he decides to call time on his Match of the Day presenting duties, makes Jenas tough to stomach.
Formula E has faced an uphill battle since the lights went out and those weird little motors started whirring for the first time in 2014, with traditional motorsport fans incredibly offended at the thought of electric cars and those not interested in motorsport struggling to buy into it also.
The classification has come on leaps and bounds in its 10-year existence thus far. But for how forward-thinking and modern Formula E has proven, it is brain-melting to know that a top decision-maker genuinely believes that making Jenas the face of the weekends is the way forward for the sport.
Jenas’ career in motorsport journalism kicked off at the season opener in Mexico City over the weekend, giving out favourite High-Performance headache a chance to show off his half-sleeve tattoo and Jacamo spring range, and his knowledge of the sport.
Or lack of.
— Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) January 13, 2024
Stood alongside ex-Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok, Jenas attempted to break down the race, with Chandhok leading the analysis of world champion Jake Dennis’ costly error heading into a corner.
What immediately stands out, though – beyond the tight-fitting t-shirt – is Jenas’ crunched-up expression as he desperately tries to conjure up some analysis for viewers, pretending like he knows what’s going on.
You know when you’re in a conversation with friends and there’s that one who tries to appear well-informed on a subject you’re all aware they know absolutely nothing about? Yeah, Jenas’ approach to his first weekend of analysis was exactly that.
No amount of Huel or LinkedIn sh*t-posting from a certain High-Performance God can salvage such painfully Alan Partridge-esque presenting.
What is most laughable is the gimmick Jenas has created for himself as an exceptionally in-the-know presenting guru, who in reality appears to be ‘in-the-know’ about nothing at all.
Thankfully, the season is long and the sport is still new to a lot of people, thus we’re backing him to at least learn on the job and go on a sort of journey with new viewers along the way.
The irony in all this is that Jenas could benefit from some world-class basics, here. Racing lines, locking brakes and understeering are all the bread and butter of any motorsport – he’s done his best to try and make it look a more complex matter.
If we could offer one piece of advice to our favourite FIFA shill, though, it would be to drop the ‘pretending to be inquisitive and probing when in reality being clueless’ gimmick, swallowing the ego for a few weeks and genuinely getting onside with new viewers.
This is a new market for you, Jermaine. Escape the football world and the parody of yourself that exists within it, ditch the ‘fake it ’till you make it’ approach to presenting and let that newfound humility shine through every weekend.
If he can nail that, we might just see a babyface turn and redemption arc that even CM Punk couldn’t conjure up.
By Mitch Wilks