Gary Lineker apologises for mocking former Man Utd player
Match of the Day host Gary Lineker has apologised to former Manchester United player Luke Chadwick for mocking his appearance.
Ex-England international Lineker was a panelist on game show They Think It’s All Over, which relentlessly poked fun at Chadwick when he was breaking into United’s first team between 2000 and 2002.
Chadwick, aged 39, recently spoke out on the impact the television programme had on his mental health.
Speaking for Mental Health Awareness Week, Chadwick told the BBC: “I became a picture of fun, and that was probably the hardest thing,” the 39-year-old says.
“A popular TV show – [the attention] was magnified, so that’s what I was seen as by everyone off the back of that.
“I used to dread it coming on the telly. I wouldn’t watch it but then I’d get a text off someone saying ‘oh you’ve been on that show again’ as if it was a joke.
“Obviously people were finding it funny, but it was eating away at me a bit inside while that was happening.”
His comments prompted an apology from They Think It’s All Over host Nick Hancock.
He said: “Listening to Luke is incredibly humbling, he’s shown so much more generosity and understanding and good judgement than we did at the time.
“I’m appalled for him and at myself. When I hear him speaking, I’m full of admiration for the present Luke Chadwick and full of sympathy for the young Luke Chadwick.
“The terrible thing about comedians and comedy shows is that if you’re getting laughs, you think you’re doing a good job.
“Of course the worst thing for Luke was that it became a bit of a running joke. To us it was a photograph. That’s not good obviously, we should have been thinking about the person, but that’s what can happen.”
Hancock’s apology prompted Lineker to have his say.
He wrote on Twitter: “I was part of that show, therefore, I too would like to apologise to Luke Chadwick for any hurt caused.”
The show, and particularly host Hancock’s script, took aim at Chadwick with jibes such as:
“Iron Maiden’s biggest hit is Number of the Beast – and if you want to know the number of the beast, Luke Chadwick wears number 36.”
“This photo of Luke Chadwick was ruined… when Luke Chadwick turned up.”