Renford Rejects: A Footballing Masterclass On The Box

Daniel Blazer
Daniel Blazer
Managing Editor

Say the word ‘Nickelodeon’ to any 90s kid, and you’ll see the exact moment they drift off, back to their childhood, in a world of Pokemon cards, winders and Saved By The Bell; an iconic trio.

Television for children in the late 90s/early 00s was a fine era, with shows like Disney Channel’s ‘Smart Guy’ to ITV’s ‘Grizzly Tales For Gruesome Kids’ making it a market that it was hard to standout in – and when it comes to Renford Rejects, it’s a shame the football-based show never reached the television summit of popularity, meaning those nostalgic trips down memory lane aren’t often reserved for the show that once had Gianfranco Zola appear in a cameo role.

Yes, *that* Zola.

Cameos

The Chelsea icon wasn’t the only footballer to make an appearance during the show’s four series, with the eagle-eyed of you having spotted Arsenal’s former hardman, Martin Keown, in the same clip as Gianfranco Zola.

The list of footballers who couldn’t turn down the overtures of Jason Summerbee & co is remarkably impressive – including World Cup winner, Sir Geoff Hurst, and a few of the other ’66 heroes, who helped demolish local rivals, Razors.

The greatest appearance, though, is QPR hero, Stan Bowles – a footballer from a past generation that is often forgotten – the QPR legend, who is now sadly suffering from Alzheimer’s, gave the show a level of footballing credibility.

Theme Tune

Not many ‘alternative rock bands’ can claim to be the theme tune to a children’s television programme, but Manic Street Preachers certainly can.

Although ‘Australia’ is an absolute tune, it still doesn’t make any sense why it was used – not that we are complaining.

In fact, SpongeBob SquarePants would’ve worked better with an Iron Maiden or Metallica song.

Paul Parris (Bruno di Gradi/Barry Grade)

It’s hard to choose *the* character, with Jason Summerbee the ultimate playground footballer, whilst you couldn’t help but enjoy the role of goalkeeper, Ben Philipps, played by actor, Charlie Rolland (the only one of the starting side to not have his own Wikipedia page – something that needs to be fixed ASAP).

Ultimately, though, it was Bruno di Gradi who stole the show, with character Paul Parris pretending – like we all did down the park – to be a cultured Italian footballer, with a fake accent to boot.

Renford Rejects was all of us.

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