Byline: LINA DAS
Life for Gabby Logan really couldn't be better. Not only is she blissfully in love with her new husband, rugby international Kenny Logan, but she has also been tipped as the favourite to replace Des Lynam on ITV's flagship football highlights programme, The Premiership.
She already presents the live version of the show on Mondays, but her rumoured promotion has caused a flurry of headlines - after all, it is quite something that Lynam, the dashing, silver-haired housewives' favourite, is set to be replaced by the much younger, blonder and - shock, horror! - female Logan. Lynam's camp has claimed he has no plans to quit yet, but should the rumours turn out to be true, it's a sensational prospect for a woman to be fronting what is traditionally a programme dominated by men.
Logan obviously has something special because soccer pundits, never renowned for their praise of female colleagues, have been quick to applaud her talent. Jimmy Hill, who worked with Lynam on BBC's Match of the Day, says: 'I've known Gabby for many years and am pleased to see how well she is doing. She's very intelligent and pretty and, like Des, has the right sort of personality for a successful presenter.
'Des is as wonderful as he always was and though The Premiership's viewing figures weren't great, that had nothing to do with him. Before it was moved from 7pm to 10.30pm on a Saturday, it was a sports programme in a variety slot. Pretty as Gabby is, she can't change the viewing habits of a nation.
Des doesn't feel as if he's being ousted. He enjoys being on the show because he doesn't have to work as hard as he used to.' Ian St John, who used to present ITV's Saint and Greavsie with Jimmy Greaves, says: 'Well, all good things come to an end and of course everyone admires the professionalism of Des, but Gabby is also wonderful? and better looking! To be honest, I don't think it makes much difference who says the "hellos" and "goodbyes" during the programme. Viewing figures depend on whether the games being shown are any good or not.' Logan, 28, remains tight-lipped on the subject. She is a great deal more forthcoming on the topic of her 29-year-old spouse. The couple were married in July, despite Logan, daughter of former Leeds United star and Wales manager Terry Yorath, saying she would never date a footballer - and rugby is the next best thing, after all.
Logan is quick to point out now that there's nothing wrong with marrying a sportsman. It was merely a matter of professionalism. 'I never meant that comment about footballers to sound nasty,' she says. 'I just think it would be awful if I'd gone out with a footballer, broken up with him, and was then told he'd be turning up at the studios for an interview. ' The newspapers began marrying the couple off long before they ever talked about it. 'Kenny and I attended the Cowes Week ball,' recalls Logan. 'Someone obviously decided we looked too happy, and invented the story that we were about to marry. People even asked one of my aunties if we were engaged and she's so batty, she said yes. She just thought I'd forgotten to tell her.' But the batty aunt turned out to be right.
She first met?enny, a former beau of newsreader Kirsty Young, at a party 'through people we both knew', and admits: 'There was obviously a certain amount of instant attraction. He's a really nice man.
'The good thing about Kenny being in sport is that we both understand one another's jobs. I tried going out with men who weren't interested in sport and it didn't work. I ended up thinking, "I can't believe you don't know such and such about Ruud Gullit". And if a boyfriend didn't know a lot about sport, they wouldn't be able to have a good conversation with my dad.' Her father is a strong presence in Logan's life, and thoroughly approves of her choice of husband. Apparently, he has nicknamed his new son-in-law 'Topper', because, when he tells an anecdote, Kenny 'tops' it with a better story. …