Sport on TV: Fash in the pan is the sauce of much mirth with ego florentine

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The Independent Culture

Of all the social faux pas committed by our footballers in recent times, surely nothing can compare with the idea of old players trying to cook dinner for each other.

But on Come Dine With Me Footballers Special (Channel 4, Thursday) this dangerous experiment was immediately made worse when Neil Ruddock opened the door to his guests dressed in nothing but an apron to hide his sweetmeats. As John Fashanu said: "I didn't know whether to jump on his back and ride him or shake his hand." That'll be the horse d'oeuvre then. And it's probably best not to shake his hand, or anything else either.

This was too good to be true. Four former England internationals followed the efforts of four WAGs the previous night, and Fashanu was at his cringeworthy worst. As if putting red wine in the fridge wasn't bad enough, he left the Chablis out. And then he drained off the water from the mince to serve as the gravy for his shepherd's pie.

He said of the pie, "I almost delighted myself while eating," which made you wonder what else he had put in the gravy to thicken it. And he described Ruddock's eggs florentine as "succulent!", much to the amusement of Ruddock, who pointed out that the adjective was usually applied to meat. And he knows all about flesh.

Frank Worthington's first dish was avocado vinaigrette, which he pronounced "vinea grey". But in the end he just poured on vinegar instead and the occasion turned sour. Then it was jelly for pudding, whereupon the boys, like the big kids they are, just threw it at each other. No breaking the mould here. Or was there?

This was actually a WAGs special too; "Razor" had help from his fiancée and his mum, "Worthy" from his missus; and "Fash", who is in love with himself, opted for a masseuse who presumably attended to his ego as well. But Carlton Palmer took lessons from the chef at his local pub, serving up grilled fillet of line-caught sea bass with sauce vierge and balsamic vinegar.

He had never cooked before but even Fashanu was effusive in his praise. "Succulently put," as Ruddock observed. So we can expect a little bistro to open soon chez Carlton; Pro Shooter di Palmer, anyone?

Worthington and Ruddock live in terraced houses, which was emblematic of how precarious the game's riches really are. Panorama – Man Utd: Into The Red (BBC2, Tuesday) made the point as subtly as a bailiff rooting through your house. It scrutinised the finances of the club's owners, the Glazers, and the figures are staggering.

Now the American family are borrowing millions off the club as the mortgages on their shopping mall rental business in the States spiral out of control. In the tumbleweed-strewn American hinterland, the shops lie empty. It's hardly surprising that the Glazers don't get any credit for what they've done at United.