David Duffield Reader Submissions Part 5

Apologies for the delay in updating this part of the website but there has been so much cycling on Eurosport that I haven’t had a chance to actually do any work at all. The emails below are the cream of the crop, if yours isn’t published, sorry, there are various reasons for that or there has been an oversight on my part. Oh yeah – if for some strange reason you are going to send in a rant about Dave or point things out about him that are neither funny or complimentary then in the words of the great stay at home footballer Roy Keane “stick it up your bollocks”. Harsh, but fair 😉

From: David B
Subject: Duffers rides again . . .

Yes, summer’s on its way and Duffers is back on form. As happens on many occasions he immediately corrected himself but we won’t let that spoil the fun, will we?

Commentating on the Paris-Nice he was accompanied in the box by many-times winner of the race Sean Kelly. David was talking about the geography of the area the race was passing through. He turned to Sean for confirmation of the point he had just made and said ” now, then, Sean, you know the Paris – Nice like the back of your head . . .”

You just couldn’t write this stuff, could you?

BFN David

Thing is I bet Sean agreed that he DID know it like the back of his head!

From: bwra

Subject: Duffieldisms

came across your site when looking up the source of ‘rough end of a ragman’s trumpet’ – see also http://www.whythewhalescame.co.uk/ [expired link]

clearly a more established term than I had thought. It’s obviously a variant of ‘rough end of the pineapple’ , with that added touch of comic humiliation (though come to think of it, no rag-and-bone man of my youth ever had anything as posh as a trumpet)

Thanks very much. It must have been a shock for you to stumble on the Duffield appreciation pages completely out of the blue. Are you a disciple yet?

From: Kenneth B

Subject: Ball of Chalk

After years spent listening to David D’s mile-a-minute commentaries, I thought I’d heard it all – until the last day of the 2002 Setmana Catalana when a rider took a tumble over a traffic island and was described as having ‘went a ball of chalk’.

Is there no end to our man’s creative reserves of alternatives to standard English? Apparently not. And a good thing, too. For me, David is the true, wild, unpredictable, excitable, passionate soundtrack of cycling and we need him. Just look at what happened to Formula 1 on ITV after the retirement of Murray Walker’s equally distinctive, high-revving, two-stroke howl. F1 on TV has looked like a mayoral procession for several seasons and now it sounds like one, too.

David should be recognised as a national treasure and listed for preservation; he should also set about training an apprentice in his unique philosophy of life, cycling, wine, good food, unruly spectators, cats and everything so that things don’t go deathly quiet when he takes the occasional holiday.

All the best

Ken B
Bicester Millennium CC

I agree completely Ken. You know its probably his honest outlook on life that we switch on for. Cycling will be a poorer place when he retires.

From: Julian P

Subject: Duffield

Your world is indeed most agreeable, and re-reading the Duffieldisms had me guffawing out loud in the office, still in a good mood after an excellent Tour of Flanders yesterday, including some classic “soak up the atmosphere” commentary.

One I noticed yesterday that he’s used before that doesn’t seem to be on your list is “after you Claude, no after you Cecil” which he uses when there is a small group away in the final couple of KMs and they slow right down and start looking at each other because no-one wants to commit themselves and risk “blowing a gasket” (blimey, it’s catching).

Apart from the fact that he’s very entertaining and so passionate about what he does, what sets him apart is his sincerity, integrity and that he is so much his own man, not as an ego trip or a gesture but because that’s the way he is. These are rare qualities, especially in someone involved in the media.

Keep up the good work


You summed it up perfectly there Julian, certainly much more eloquently than I could ever do. Thanks.

From: SM

Subject: the wonderful world of duffers

Dear All,
‘Het Volk’1999.The break is climbing the Molenberg.The pictures are courtesy of Belgian T.V.Onto the screen flash the words’Kop van der Wedstrijd.’Here we see the riders tackling the Kop van der Wedstrijd’,burbles our hero.Search in vain for this cobbled brute.’Kop van der Wedstrijd means ‘front of the race’! More to come as I sort out my copius scribblings.

Stu Morrison.

P.S.Has anyone ever thought of testing Duffers for Exotic substances? He must be on something.


Thanks SM, Im sure despite his mix up you still enjoyed the race and the exotic comentary all the same! Is there a UCI limit for wine, mussels and frites?

From: Agreeable Keith H

Subject: Duffieldisms


A while back (Annual Dinner, I think) you asked me to forward you some Duffieldisms. Well, it’s taken me several months, but here are a few that I don’t think you’ve yet posted on your site:

“Book of words”: a term used for any pamphlet, magazine or book.

The great man often likes to extend his favourite phrase “fizzy brown liquid” (i.e. beer) thus, “fizzy brown liquid with the white foam on top” – an excellent example of time wasting – or ‘broadcast filler’ – if ever there was one!!)

“Turn your Granny to the wall”: A term used on any steep, windy descent. The idea being that, the inherent danger of the descent could, at any time, cause one’s grandmother to peg out.

Hope these are of use.


Time Wasting? How can you even conceive such an idea!?!

From: John C (Ireland)

Subject: duffield


just joining in and saying how much i love your duffield site. plenty read, and plenty more to read. nice one. unforunately none to contribute…

over here in ireland ntl took eurosport off the network back at the start of the year. and now we have almost zero cycling coverage, along with no duffield. it doesn’t bear thinking about. there is a petition to get it back: http://www.petitiononline.com/bbe/petition.html but it doesn’t appear to be helping. it makes me so angry!!

anyway, keep up the site, and appreciate eurosport while you have it!!

all the best,

john, dublin

Sorry to hear your predicament John. In all honesty the best thing you can do it is to find an old secondhand analogue dish and receiver (approx cost GBP 30) and set it up yourself. It would seem that Eurosport is staying free to air for the foreseeable future. Off topic somewhat were you in Dublin when the Tour came to Ireland? I went over for the weekend and had a great time soaking up the Irish hospitality. I particularly enjoyed watching the 2nd stage in a pub until Chris Boardman went out of control on a flat straight bit of road and smashed into the floor very badly whilst wearing the maillot jaune. I don’t know who your terrestrial commentators were but they were class. After Boardman had been lying unconcious on the floor for quite a while there was a deathly silence in the commentry box as the gravity of it set in. One of the commentators then announced he had said a prayer for Chris Board-Man which was a very touching thing at the time when we didn’t even know if he was alive or not (Chris, not the commentator). We need more of his and David’s kind.

From: John (Australia)

Subject: David in Australia


If this is the same David Duffield I know then he spent some time in Australia. Please give him my regards

John Nicholson World Pro Sprint Champion 1975 1976
President Blackburn Cycling Club (Melbourne Australia)

Check that out – World Pro Sprint Champion! David does tend to keep esteemed company. I’d hazard that it is indeed Mr Duffield – tall, likes bikes, trikes, food and fine wine? That’ll be him then!

From: Ben A

Subject: Duffieldisms

Absolutely love your site!

I’m having to live without David for a while since ITV Digital died a thousand deaths when the Football League deal got a bit conky towards the back end with Carlton and Granada saying “after you Cecil”, “no, after you Claude”. Must see about getting Eurosport another way, otherwise I’ll be stuck with Phil and Paul for the Tour.

What many people don’t seem to realise is that there is absolutely no comparison between DD and P&P. The two of them have spent years in cycling, as journos, race organisers and pro riders, but neither seem to have developed any insight into or passion for the sport. If football commentators were as dead pan as them, no one would ever watch it!

I also agree with your suspicions about their half hour broadcast being commentated after the event, mentioning riders names 2 seconds before they attack, calling the winner from a photo finish from their vantage point 30 yards from the line etc etc.

We need more bumbling, passionate ones like DD, long may he continue!

Ben A (Brighton Mitre CC)

Thanks Ben. It will be interesting to see how Phil AND Paul compare whilst doing 7 hour live commentaries from a windy gantry on top of an Alpine col with monitors that keep going on the blink and Radio Tour giving out crackly info. Notice how it is always Phil AND Paul, with Gary often traveling round discovering the local cuisine? We know ONE man who manages to do all of their jobs and especially Gary’s

Alternatively, Check out the whole collection of Duffield pages here and enjoy one of the all time great commentators.

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