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'Unbelievable!'

If you live in the UK and turn on your television at the weekend it's more than likely that you'll see the smiling face of moustachioed pundit Chris 'Kammy' Kamara staring back at you.

Since his retirement from the game in 1995, Kamara has been a regular fixture on Sky Sports' 'Soccer Saturday' programme, shouting the odds in the studio, or reporting live from a gantry somewhere in the country. He has established himself as one of the most recognisable faces in football.

'I love all aspects of my job,' he says. 'I'm the only person at Sky who's a presenter, co-commentator and reporter. The scope and variety is exhilarating.'

Thrust into the spotlight on 'Soccer Saturday', Kamara is an irrepressible character who is often seen getting over-excited and shouting 'Unbelievable!' to host Jeff Stelling.

'I'm doing a job I absolutely love and I just hope that enthusiasm comes across,' he adds.

And it certainly does. His comical, effervescent style is one of the most loved aspects of the programme, alongside the likes of other ex-players including Frank McLintock, Charlie Nicholas and Matt Le Tissier; but it is the silver-tongued Jeff Stelling that is the glue which holds the show together.

'He works very hard at his job,' says Kamara. 'He is just unbelievable and has the ability to store information like no-one else I have ever known.'

Making the transition to broadcasting after a successful career in the game, Kamara started his footballing career with Portsmouth in 1975. A combative midfielder, he played for nine clubs in his career, notching up over 600 league appearances with teams including Brentford, Luton Town, Leeds United and his home-town Middlesbrough.

'My heroes growing up were Pele, of course, and Eric McMordie from Middlesbrough,' he says. 'I also have a lot of time for Leeds player Johnny Giles, and later on Graeme Souness.' As a fellow midfielder, Kamara has a great deal of respect for the ex-Newcastle manager and says he was 'the hardest player I ever played against.'

A lot has changed since Kamara first laced up his boots at Portsmouth, and he is pleased to see his former club doing so well in the Premiership, despite having nearly been relegated last season.

'Their biggest change this year is that Harry Redknapp has been allowed to bring in the players he wanted at the start of the season,' Kamara says. 'He's brought on board some great players like David James, Sol Campbell, and Kanu - they're all class'.

And class is important if they are to avoid heading down a slippery slope like another of Kamara's old teams, Leeds United. New boss Dennis Wise, however, gets the backing of the former Elland Road icon.

'Dennis has landed himself a great job', says Kamara. 'It was obvious what Leeds' problems were, they have no pace in the midfield or at the back, and Dennis identified that straight away and it's getting sorted.'

Kamara earned himself a reputation as a hardman during his career, something that Wise will be looking to instil in his current crop of players.

'When I was at Leeds, Howard Wilkinson, the manager, would fine me for any reckless tackles', he remembers. 'Let's just say it made me think twice before diving in. Dennis will look to toughen the players up; but I do think I would have to adapt my game if I was playing today, with the way things are now,' he adds.

Kamara ended his career at rivals Bradford City and later went on manage the club as well, steering the Batams to the Premiership in the 1995/96 season through the playoffs. Now in his capacity as pundit, commentator and presenter, he is considered something of an expert on the second-tier of English football, the Championship.

'It is hard to guess how the season will end at this time', he says diplomatically on his tips for the campaign.

'But it will be tight at the top that's for sure and I can see it going down to the last day.'

'I think Cardiff, Birmingham, West Bromwich Albion and Preston will be the ones fighting it out at the death for the two automatic spots this year.'

Promotion to the Premiership brings with it at least a £30million windfall and having played with Sheffield United and Middlesbrough in the top flight, Kamara knows what a difference it can make.

'The quality and level of the game has been raised because of the money and presentation brought about by Sky', he says. 'This money has been used to bring in top quality players from abroad.

But the Championship also has a lot to offer and Kammy loves the competition that it brings.

'I reckon we are looking at the Championship play-off final being worth more than £50million at the end of the season,' he says.

'The teams are all pretty much the same ability. There is some good talent in the league and it's exciting because it is impossible to pick a winning side at this time.'

With such a fine line between winning and losing, a top quality player can make all the difference and Kammy thinks there are a few youngsters in the league who can make the step up.

'There are three players I think will do really well,' he says. 'Giles Barnes of Derby, Nicholas Bendtner of Birmingham City, and Gareth Bale of Southampton. They are all 18-years-old and have promising futures.'

As for his own future, Kamara is quick to dismiss the possibility of returning to management.

'I'm finished with management and have no plans to go back,' he says. 'I really enjoy what I'm doing at the moment and am staying with Sky.'

And will he ever get bored of hearing his catchphrase?

'No, definitely not,' he laughs. ''Unbelievable' can be used for absolutely anything, like; Giles just scored an unbelievable goal, or I just ate the most unbelievable curry, or I just got this unbelievable TV refrigerator. It's such a versatile word!'

It's obvious we'll be hearing him say it a lot more in the future.

Chris is currently working with LG Electronics in their current campaign for the high-end LG TV Side-by-Side refrigerator, featuring the most up-to-date technology - 15 inch LCD TV, LCD touch control panel, unique Bio-shield and Bio-silver which work against bacteria to keep your food fresher for longer and an automatic ice-maker.

For more information visit www.lge.co.uk.


  • Any comments? Email Jon Carter