I beg your pardon?! Football's awkward TV moments

In the wake of what the Daily Mail will shortly be calling rape-gate (maybe), FFT's James Maw looks back on some other instances of footballers testing the censors when talking on the tellybox...

What must Alan Pardew be thinking this morning?

We've all done it – woken up and regretted at leisure something we said in haste the previous night. But most of us didn't make our verbal slip in front of a watching nation.

Making a rare appearance on the MotD2 sofa alongside Alan Hansen and lovable Brummie simpleton Adrian Chiles, the former Charlton boss was happily waxing lyrical about Michael Essien's muscular style.

All was going swimmingly until he casually said the Ghanaian "absolutely rapes" Man City’s Ched Evans – a quote that's not so much Alan Pardew as Alan Partridge.

Although a Russell Brand-style Daily Mail-led witch-hunt is unlikely, it’s doubtful that Pardew will be invited back to Television Centre anytime soon. Here are five more moments that made the broadcasting top brass sweat…Stephen Bywater

Despite conceding five at Arsenal the day before, Derby keeper Stephen Bywater seemed in good spirits as he appeared on Sky’s Goals on Sunday in October 2007.

So much so, in fact, that he overlooked the fact that it was probably not the brightest thing in the world to spell out the most obscene word imaginable on a Sunday morning television show.

What's best about the clip is that Bywater considered his options, deciding against saying the word and spelling it out letter by letter, as if the viewers were toddlers overhearing a grown-up conversation. Host Clare Tomlinson was reprimanded following the incident, presumably for not jumping across the studio and clamping her hand over Bywater’s mouth.

Bywater: "Give us a C..."

Micah Richards

Having just scored an injury time equaliser for Man City in an FA Cup tie at Villa Park, a young Richards was cornered on camera by Garth Crooks and asked the usual stupid questions (“How does it feel to score an equalising goal in the last minute? Good?”) Richards’ excitement got the better of him and he promptly dropped the F-bomb all over the Beeb’s Sunday teatime audience. You’d never have caught Hugh Scully or Nora Batty doing that.

Taken aback slightly, Crooks dismissed the slip as the result of Richards’ youth and inexperience in front of the cameras. Which is all very well and good, but doesn’t explain the rambling claptrap of Crooks.

Rodney Marsh

To be honest, this one was coming for a while. The former QPR and Fulham maverick has a habit of opening his gob before engaging his brain, although the gaffe that saw him axed by Sky Sports seemed all too carefully prepared.

Less than a month after a tsunami had devastated large parts of the Far East and left 225,000 people dead, Marsh joked that David Beckham had turned down a move to Newcastle "because of trouble with the Toon Army in Asia".

He may have made light of the death of a thousands of people but, hey, at least he didn’t swear…

Ron Atkinson

The former Manchester United jewellery model broke the ultimate taboo in 2004, by using the ‘n’ word on live television. Sadly, it wasn’t done in an edgy, intellectual, ‘make you think’ kind of way; but rather in an overtly racist, moronic, ‘makes you think he’s a massive racist’ kind of way.

Thinking the microphones were off following Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final defeat in Monaco, Atkinson was far from gushing with praise for defender Marcel Desailly (you know what he said, which saves us the effort of finding a glossy way of putting it). Sadly for the tubby chancer, the broadcast had continued in some parts of Asia that were using ITV’s coverage of the game. 

Glenn Hoddle

It’s 1987 and Spurs are marching to their third FA Cup final in seven seasons. England midfielder and chart-bothering karaokeist Glenn Hoddle is describing his quarter-final free-kick against Wimbledon to a television reporter. “I saw the keeper off his line so I thought I'd have a tw*t.” We’re not really even sure where to start with that one…

"Put your foot through it, Joey"


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