Football.co.uk's Joe Strange speaks to everyone's favourite football commentator Chris Kamara, to find out what he really thinks about working on Soccer Saturday, his funny-man persona and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
You've described the work you do for Sky as 'the best job in the world' more than once before, but how does it compare to being a player and a manager?
Well it's a lot different obviously. I can't play anymore but I could probably still manage, but wanting to manage and being able to are two completely different things. When I first started at Sky I still wanted to get back into football to try and get the day-to-day buzz of being involved in the game. But as time has gone on and I've got to try lots of different things, I wanted to get better at those rather than going back into management. I loved my playing days and I loved being a manager but now this is what I do and I want to do it for the rest of my career.
Do you ever wish you had stayed in management for longer than three years?
Because I'm doing what I do now I wouldn't change things, but at the time it was quite hard. Watching what was basically my Bradford team go up to the Premier League was hard as you think 'that could've been me'. But I don't have any regrets like that anymore. It wasn't to be and I've moved on. Now I'm doing something that every football fan would love to be doing, and probably most ex-players would too!
How much fun is it working on programmes like Soccer Saturday?
It's just brilliant. My relationship with Jeff Stelling is incredible and it's turned into a wonderful programme. At first we weren't sure if it would work but now it's great to be involved in it. I do 'Goals on Sunday' as well, and have another new partner in Ben Shepherd this season. We have great guests on every week to discuss the latest incidents and it's really good to be involved in such a show. I've also done a lot of stuff with 'Soccer AM' which has been great fun. Last year we did the 'Kammy-oke' segment and now we're doing 'Kammy do it?', where I get to challenge celebrities to different events. I couldn't ask for anything more at this moment in time.
Have you been surprised by the success of Soccer Saturday and the cult following you've received because of it?
It's been amazing. You know football fans are brilliant when you're playing as they're your own supporters. When you're a manager, some people like you from afar and respect what you do, but you're aware that some people don't like you. Now with the TV work and Soccer Saturday I'm not stupid enough to think that everybody likes it but the majority of people I meet seem to which is great.
Would you say you enjoy the 'football funny man' persona that you've developed over the years?
Definitely. I can't believe there's two-and-a-half million people watching the clip of me commentating on the Anthony Van den Borre sending off on YouTube. It's just amazing. For people to take that much of an interest in me is just awesome really, long may it continue.
Do you have any ambitions for the future?
I'm a very loyal person and because of the success that Sky have afforded me, I think I owe them for that. If I was to leave then it would be a case of them getting rid of me rather than me leaving them. I don't really feel the need to go elsewhere or do anything else.
Can you tell us a little bit more about Mount Kilimanjaro climb you're doing for Marie Curie Cancer Care next June?
Marie Curie has been a charity of mine for the last nine years. We had a nurse come round and look after my mum when she had cancer and I found out that she was getting paid peanuts. But she took a real interest in my mum and would always come round to check she was alright, even on her days off. She attended my mum's funeral as if she was one of the family. It's a very humble career and the nurses don't get paid a lot of money. So from then on I decided that it was going to be my chosen charity.
I've helped them earn a couple of bob over the years but then the Football League came on board and asked me to be their ambassador. I said I'd love to and then they said how they had two climbs up Kilimanjaro planned and asked me if I'd like to do one. I couldn't say no seeing as I'm the ambassador, so hopefully I'll get a lot of football managers and fans to join me and we'll raise a lot of money. There's loads and loads of celebrities that have done this sort of thing but this is the first time it's been open to real football fans.
Have you got any managers signed up yet?
We haven't signed anyone up yet but are in the process of talking to people. My sons are coming with me that's for sure, I've already told them that. They carry me around when I've had too many beers, so they can carry me up that mountain!
For any fans that are ready this and thinking of joining you, what would you say they would get out of the experience?
Tony Pulis told me a few weeks ago that it was the hardest thing he's ever done in his life but the most satisfying as well. Tony had a decent career as a footballer, he took Stoke City to the Premier League and he has raised a family, so it's a big thing for someone like him to make a statement like that. It's not going to be easy for anyone who signs up for it, but why not come along for the ride? Let's see what happens!Chris Kamara is the football ambassador for Marie Curie Cancer Care – the Football League's Official Charity partner for the 2010/11 season. He's climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in June to raise cash for the charity, and wants footy fans to join him to help conquer Mt Kamaramanjaro! For more information, please log on to www.football-league.co.uk/mariecurie