Sport on TV: Terry feels cruelty of betrayal as we pull the plug on Palmer

There's a World Cup around the corner so it must be time for a slurry of cringeworthy and ill-informed programmes about football. England's Worst Ever Football Team (BBC3, Wednesday) kicked off the silly season with a customary cast of has-beens and who-are-yas sharing their utterly unwanted views. Danielle Ward, Jason Lewis, Nico Tatrowicz; these people are comedians, apparently. Here's some more: Joe Wilkinson, Alex Riley, David James... Oh sorry, the last one isn't a comedian. But he is a national joke.

To show how much trouble they were having finding funny men, there was even a German comedian called Henning Wehn. He seemed curiously at home here; after all, a German joke is not a laughing matter.

Amazingly, James couldn't get into England's worst-ever team. The No 1 shirt went to Peter Bonetti. As is the way with these list programmes, he was the only player chosen from before the mid-Eighties, because that's as far back as the puerile programme-makers can remember.

Then came one of the most ludicrous selections ever to disgrace such a straw poll: John Terry. He was included for his off-field shenanigans, while Ashley Cole got away with it because he's such a good player. And Terry can't play? As Neil Ruddock opined: "When I played, the best shagger and the best drinker in the dressing room was the captain." And the best at demolishing phone boxes or stealing jewellery.

One selection you simply could not argue with, even down the years, was Carlton Palmer. The sight of Palmer running headlessly around the pitch – well, he did have a very small head – for England an incredible 18 times is indelibly seared in the memory.

As for that advert when he emerged out of a bloke's bath plugging Paddy Power, you can see why some people say they'll never wash again after meeting one of their heroes.

* John Fashanu was chosen as one of the strikers, and he appeared again in the sombre Inside Sport: The Last Taboo (BBC1, Monday), which looked at homosexuality in sport and particularly football. His brother Justin was the only openly gay footballer, who killed himself in 1998. And there was big John, worrying that 'Sun' readers might think it was him, and saying: "I wouldn't get changed in the same vicinity, so what would others do?" With an attitude like that, coming from your own brother, is it really any wonder no one else has come out?

There is surely too high a price to pay in the modern game, where the rewards are so plentiful and the alternative a trial by tabloid as well as by team-mates and fans. And given the fuss made about the private lives of Terry and Cole, it might be wiser to know as little as possible about our players' sexual inclinations.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
science
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
News
Comedian Ted Robbins collapsed on stage during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live at Manchester Arena (Rex)
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Recruitment Genius: External Relations Executive

£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An External Relations Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This established Digital Agency based in East ...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links