Paul Pogba in a bathtub

Whenever I watched A Question of Sport in the 1980s – with the mighty triumvirate of David Coleman, Emlyn Hughes and Bill Beaumont – my favourite bit was always the ‘mystery guest’ round. It was usually someone like Neville Southall disguised as James Herriot, where the sequence would include:

  • occasional flashes of an out-of-focus moustache
  • footage of arm length veterinary gloves being rolled on
  • a long-shot of Southall/Herriot plunging his arm, elbow deep, into a cow’s anus
  • close-up of the cow’s face; its default expression of masticating nonchalance replaced with wide-eyed alarm, as it’s left in no doubt as to how Southall’s paddle-sized hands were able to deflect Mark Falco’s close-range header when Everton played Spurs at White Hart Lane in 1985.

Who would’ve thought that this ‘tease and reveal’ approach would become the blueprint for how every modern day football transfer would play out. (In fact, Arsenal’s social media tease video for Alexandre Lacazette was lifted straight from the QS ‘mystery guest’ playbook.)

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