You can be fairly sure that if The Mail put me as a lead story online, it won’t be because they want me to appear all warm and cuddly.
As my daughter has just told me, a 54-year-old former spin doctor getting into a bit of a scrap with a boy band singer, especially one from a band as popular as The Wanted, is not exactly the most grown-up behaviour.
However, first of all let us not overstate the nature of the scrap. Tom was playing for The Wanted, and I was playing for Burnley fans, in a Soccer Six tournament at Turf Moor, Burnley. We were one nil up. It was a competitive match. Tom had tackled me hard a couple of times, and I had tackled him a couple of times, including one that was a bit clumsy and mistimed.
The actual skirmish, which the Mail is gleefully covering if twitter is anything to go by, was not as bad as it looks, and in the pictures where I appear to be angriest I am actually shouting at my son, who had stormed in amid the pushing and shoving between me and Tom. It was the kind of thing people see on football pitches all the time, resolved by team-mates without the referee even having to resort to giving a free kick. The Wanted team were perfectly friendly at the end, though they had lost.
What The Mail has managed to do in that lovely way it has is link this skirmish with a later incident when Tom was carried off on a stretcher. I would just like to point out that this happened in a subsequent match, in which I was not involved.
So to those fans of The Wanted protesting on twitter that I broke his leg – I didn’t, and I was also pleased to learn as we left the stadium that the injury was not as serious as first thought, so nobody did.
We finally went out in the quarter finals to a team from Hollyoaks, though I was given a Star Player award – so I can’t have been that bad, or that dirty. free kicks conceded – nil.
Thanks to Soccer Six for organising it, thanks to Burnley for asking me to play, and don’t believe everything you read in the Mail.