Gary Lineker has sparked fresh controversy by stating that all premiership footballers, with the possible exception of Manchester United's Paul Scholes, were egocentric philistines who had no understanding or appreciation of the finer things in life.
The football presenter 47, made the comment whilst analysing the Chelsea vs Sunderland game with Alan Hansen on last night's 'Match of the Day'.
Turning to his co presenter the normally mild mannered Mr Lineker said: "Does it really matter that Joe Cole dominated the midfield today. The guy is a self serving pleb who once asked me who Martin Luther King was. I told him it was the Watford striker who was on loan at Hull City this season and he bought it. Cole is so typical of the sort of jumped up vulgarians who dominate football nowadays".
He continued: "In my day we had players like Pat Nevin and John Barnes who could talk about a wide range of subjects ranging from Middle Eastern politics to Art Nouveau Architecture. Even Paul Gascoigne had his moments. I remember travelling to the semi final in the 1990 World Cup and he turned to me and said that he had just finished reading Max Weber's essay 'Die protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus' [*] and that he concurred with the author that the Protestant ethic had greatly influenced the development of capitalism. It is a side to Gazza that not many people have seen. I must admit it was difficult to take him seriously as he was wearing those fake tits that he had on throughout the whole of Italia 90. But nowadays all footballers seem to be interested in is the latest Aston Martin or BMW. It is so soul destroying. What a mindless bunch of fuckwits they all are".
Talking to our Sports correspondent, ex Scottish international and one time white supremacist Alan Hansen said: "I must say on record that Lineker does not speak for all the Match of the Day team. Alan Shearer, Mark Lawrenson and myself would all like to distance ourselves from his comments. Of course when we played football there was less of a materialistic attitude but we were not paid as much as the stars of today. It is difficult to be interested in wider issues when you earn in excess of £100,000 per week. I once asked Wayne Rooney if he supported Amnesty International and he replied that he didn't really follow African football. I knew then to keep the conversation simple".
A BBC spokeswoman said: "The vast majority of Match of the Day viewers have clear expectations of what they want to see when they tune in at 10:30 on a Saturday evening. What they don't want is any kind of political statement. We will be speaking to Mr Lineker in the not too distant future and seeking some kind of public apology"
What with Russell Brand's resignation, Jonathan Ross' suspension and possible action being taken against Jeremy Clarkson for his recent gaff on 'Top Gear' the BBC appears to be running out of credible presenters for its primetime shows.
The former BBC chairman Michael Grade said there was a pattern in the prevalence of bad language and use of the "f-word" was "a little unrestrained".
He stopped short of pushing for a ban, but said: "Clearly not enough consideration is given to a very large section of the audience who perhaps don't want to hear that word or such words. Many children under 16 are allowed to watch Match of the Day. Perhaps if Mr Lineker is to continue as a presenter we should have a warning beforehand that the show may contain strong language. David Coleman will be turning in his grave [**]. However shit we all thought old school performers such as Timmy Mallett were we could always rely on them not to let the BBC down with potty language" [***].
[*] The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Weber's response to Friedrich Nietzsche's "10 ways to avoid trapped wind".
[**] The Spoof does not believe the retired football commentator to be dead and urge Michael Grade to make an immediate apology to Mr Coleman and his family.
[***] Timmy Mallett returns to our screens next month hosting the topical prime-time quiz show, 'Where's my carrot Arthur?' on UKTV's brand new digital channel, Watch.