ITV co-commentator Andy Townsend has revealed he came close to taking a pasting during his midweek Champions League duties after Real Madrid fans confused him with match referee Wolfgang Stark.
Madridistas infuriated by the German official’s decisions during their defeat to Barcelona thought they had come face-to-face with their nemesis at a restaurant.
Townsend told the Daily Mail:
“I went into a restaurant and was eating when I noticed people looking at me.
“Some of them started taking pictures and then someone came and gave me a pot plant, saying, ‘This is for you’ with a funny look on his face.
“There were 10 of us around the table thinking, ‘’What is going on here?’ When I stood up I got booed and when I went to the loo I got followed there and back. A waiter escorted me to my seat. I didn’t know why.
“Then people came up to me, talking aggressively in Spanish and there was a man shouting at me from the other side of the restaurant. It was all getting out of control.
“Then it dawned on me. Because I still had my UEFA accreditation around my neck they thought I was the referee. To them I was Wolfgang Stark, so I had to turn around and tell them I was from English television.
Big-headed Townsend totally overlooked the fact that they might just have heard his punditry at some point, and laid the blame squarely with Jose Mourinho.
He said: ““[Adrian Chiles] has started calling me Wolfie, but actually there’s a sinister edge to it. The crowd were baying for the referee’s blood. They totally saw the referee as the villain of the piece.
“As ITV were going off air there was actually a fight going on in front of me in the stadium — two men were exchanging blows. And these were the decent seats.
“I witnessed first-hand the effect Mourinho has on fans. I wouldn’t want to see him back in England.”
A little insight into the Stark reality from Townsend.