Top Ten: Embarrassing Football Virals

You should by now have seen this Venky’s advert, in which Blackburn Rovers duo Jason Roberts and Morten Gamst Pedersen cunningly relieve David Dunn of his nosh amidst the highly unlikely scenario of the players gorging themselves on chicken in the dressing room before a game.

All in all, it’s been a good summer for cringe-worthy football virals, what with Owen Hargreaves’  strikingly shorts-less attempts to prove his fitness, and the plight of this Malaysian Manchester United fan who for some reason thought it would be a splendid idea to make his allegiance glaringly apparent in a stand full of Liverpool supporters.

To celebrate a terrific off-season’s worth of facepalm, Football Burp brings you ten mortifying football-based virals from recent times…(well, obviously they’d have to be recent times)…

Ferdinand...whatyousayinbruv? (Image credit: Spencer Jarvis)

1. Dear Mr Hicks – Ten months on and still no-one involved in this staggeringly ill-conceived message from Liverpool fans to former co-owner Tom Hicks has come forward to admit that it was all a big joke after all. Set to the haunting strains of “Walkaway” by Cast, this master class in how to lack self-awareness goes straight for the jugular with “We gave you The Beatles and this is how you repay us”. Of course, Liverpoolfootballclub (as in “…not good enough for Liverpoolfootballclub”) did not give The Beatles to America, nor indeed anyone at all.

What’s more, it’s highly unlikely that Mr Hicks ever knowingly demanded that the Fab Four be handed over to him. But then, in the whacky world of Liverpool fans, Ricky Tomlinson saying “Mr Hicks? My arse!” constitutes a powerful message and – as is proffered here by Echo & the Bunnymen front man Ian McCulloch – that what was happening to Liverpoolfootballclub could be compared to all of your family getting raped over a long period of a time. “Professionally, I’m a comedian,” says John Bishop, “but I’ve never seen anything as funny as what you’ve created in this city.” He’s not wrong, you know.

2. Anton Ferdinand and Nigel Reo-Coker do the “Soulja Boy Crank” – Does exactly what it says on the tin. Brother of Rio and occasional Sunderland defender Anton Ferdinand gets proceedings underway with an opening gambit every bit as classy as that of Dear Mr Hicks – “Yo Soulja boy, what’s happening? It’s your boy Anton Ferdinand, in the UK giving you some of my vibes up in ‘ere, yanno. Cranking it out ‘ere” – before he and Bolton Wanderers new boy Reo-Coker treat us to camera phone recordings of them dancing spliced with footage from the original Soulja Boy video. The words ‘stick to the day job’ have rarely leapt so prominently to mind.

3. Shteve McClaren – A classic of the genre. The former Middlesbrough and England manager had been at Eredivisie club FC Twente for just two weeks when he gave this interview on the eve of his club’s Champions League qualifier against Arsenal. Enough time though, apparently, for him to have developed not only a Dutch accent but also some of the idiomatic idiosyncrasies (“I thought maybe one of them we would draw”) thereof. He had the last laugh, guiding Twente to unexpected title success, but his utterance of “massive underdogs” can still raise a titter or two.

4. “Did you smash it?” – …in which former Sky Sports mainstay Richard Keys rivals David Brent in terms of room-silencing cringe-worthiness. The vicarious thrill-seeking by attempting to instigate laddish banter with a man who’s much better with women than he is, the faux authoritative use of crass terminology such as “hanging out the back of it”, the putting his feet up while all around him are plunged into varying levels of very evident unease with the situation…it’s all there! It may have in part spelled the end of Mr Keys’ long reign as Sky Sports’ chief anchorman but the eminent catchphrases within became nationwide phenomena.

5. Arsenal Away Boyz – “Live + Breathe” – Of all the horrific Gunners-based numbers that the Away Boyz have seen fit to inflict upon YouTube, this is quite possibly the most jaw-droppingly risible. Set to the most plastic of ska backing tracks, “Live + Breathe” – a title which is disappointingly not sung as if it were a sum – follows a chap who looks a bit like a cross between Paul Whitehouse and David Pleat on his way to the Emirates to watch the team that represents, as he himself testifies, his only culture. Sample lyric: “Walking through my manor to the gate / A sea of red / The sun is shining / See Arsenal girls drinking champagne / They’re all so fit / They all are smiling”. Another verse is dedicated to portraying Chelsea as a bunch of “mugs”. Watch and grimace…

6. “Bib-otelli” – Yes, we all had a good laugh at Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli repeatedly trying and failing to put on a training bib. However, what make this clip truly excruciating are Robbie Savage’s attempts at cracking wise back in the studio. First up is the eerily Chuckle Brothers-evoking “tell you what, I’m going to change his name to…(pause for comic effect)…Mario Bib-otelli!”, the ‘bib’ in ‘Bib-otelli’ heavily accented just in case the high-brow nature of his humour was too much for us to comprehend. Soon afterwards, he tees himself up with the kind of stand-up-esque “so, last week…” that suggests he’d been mulling over his next gag, resolving his keenly-sought grasp of everyone’s attention thusly: “…he come (sic) off because he had an allergic reaction to grass. This week he’s got bib-itis!” Ray Stubbs chuckles, presumably out of politeness, but verily is the concept of wordplay lost on Mr Savage.

7. Rafael Benitez’s Fact Hunt – Yes: Fact Hunt. Anyway, legend has it that this barmy capitulation to Sir Alex Ferguson’s notorious mind games precipitating a dreadful tail-off in form for the Spaniard’s Liverpool side – but, in fact, they went on to win ten and draw one of their last eleven Premier League games, only narrowly losing out on the title to Manchester United. Still, let’s relive the Fact Hunt all over again!

8. Linesman gets knocked over, loses wig – Other than the fact that this took place during a stateside college match, that really is all the explanation you need for this glowing endorsement for filming absolutely everything, all the time, just in case something as funny as this happens.

9. Riquelme advertises Pepsi and Lay’s – Argentine midfield genius Juan Román Riquelme is neither an actor nor a seventies disco dancer. How unfortunate, then, that he should have to try his hand at both in what appears to be an advert for two products simultaneously. Chased through the streets by hordes of people demanding to know if he’s happy (¿Estás feliz?), Riquelme is only able to crack a smile (of sorts) once he’s got his mitts on a bag of crisps and a bottle of cola. In fact, his smile during the closing dance floor scene could scarcely look more forced, hinting at the presence behind his back of a multinational executive with some form of weaponry on his person. And that, rather than being out of implication that he does not care, could be the reason why he puts his hands in the air.

10. Delia Smith tries to gee up Norwich City fans at half-time – “Let’s be having you! Come on!” Guess who’d been at the cooking sherry…

Honourable Mentions

David Beckham resigns as England captain – Makes rather a fuss about it…

Manchester United players feature in Turkish Airlines safety demonstration – Resulting in an extremely poor and tacky imitation of those old instructional cartoons featuring Goofy

And, of course…