Rishi Sunak's voice compared to Will from The Inbetweeners
Why does the idea of politicians liking football make so many of us feel uncomfortable?
We're sure there are many MPs who have a genuine love for the beautiful game and regularly go to games, but others have tried to use it to make it part of their ‘man or women of the people’ brand in a shameless appeal to voters.
Football fans don’t stand for any nonsense though, and people quickly see through the facade.
But who are the genuine football fans in the Tory ranks, past and present? Here are the people who claim to love the sport, ranked from fans to… well, not.
Our new PM, Rishi Sunak, is a Southampton supporter. He was born in the city and previously described himself as a “massive football fan”, calling Matt Le Tissier his favourite player.
Southampton Test MP, Dr Alan Whitehead, even greeted Sunak to parliament in his first PMQs and congratulated his “fellow Saints supporter”.
He seems a genuine fan, after tweeting back in 2020 to mark the first time Southampton had (very briefly) reached the top of the table, but there was a spanner thrown in the works during his leadership hustings in Manchester.
When asked how he would improve Southampton’s form, he replied: "I'm going to be unpopular for saying it here, starting by beating [Manchester] United this weekend.”
Only, Saints weren’t playing United that weekend. They were playing Leicester.
Verdict: Fan, who doesn’t always stay on track of the fixtures list
\u201c"Dominic Raab photographed at Chelsea game without a mask"\nThe bare-faced cheek\u201d
Raab is a Chelsea supporter and, unlike most people who say they’re fans, has actually been spotted at games before.
However, one time he was pictured was in 2021 he made headlines for not wearing a mask when the club had specifically asked supporters to do so.
A spokesperson for Raab said he “followed the rules at all times”, as the government guidance states masks only need to be worn indoors at sport stadiums.
Verdict: Fan of the club, not necessarily of club guidance
\u201cHugely powerful campaign, which I applaud as Home Secretary, but also as an Arsenal fan.\n\nCommunity initiatives like these, alongside work of govt and police, will help to reduce knife crime.\n\nGreat to see that some of the charities the Home Office backs will receive the shirts.\u201d
Verdict: A fan, but clearly not one popular among her fellow Arsenal supporters
Dorries grew up not far from AnfieldGetty images
She might not understand rugby, but Dorries has a surprisingly deep background in the world of football.
Dorries previously told MPs that her great-grandfather George Bargery was actually a founding member of Everton FC and played in goal for them.
She said: "Football is central to our national life and this might be a good point to mention my own interest in football, as well as Rugby league, is that my great-grandfather's actually one of the founding members of Everton Football Club…”
So, she must be a huge Toffees fan then, given the family link, right?
Wrong, she says she’s a Liverpool fan, having grown up near Anfield on Breck Road.
Verdict: We know Dorries is loyal (just ask Boris Johnson), so we’re a little surprised she’s not honoured the family link and stuck with Everton.
\u201cLiz Truss \ud83e\udd1d Norwich City\n\nNot lasting long at the top level.\n#yellas\u201d
Truss managed to annoy an entire fanbase after saying she supported Norwich in the run-up to being appointed Prime Minister. Appearing at a Conservative hustings in Leeds, where she grew up, she said that she’d switched allegiances to Norwich – who she called a “nice family club” after becoming an MP there.
\u201cLiz Truss admits to being a \u2066@NorwichCityFC\u2069 supporter - but says the Conservatives need to channel the spirit of Don Revie to win the next election\u201d
She’s tweeted about the club before and been pictured at games, but her relationship with the club has come in for scrutiny over recent times.
It emerged that Labour had asked the government to explain what it considers to be “unusual” Foreign Office (FCDO) spending during Truss’s time as head of the department – including large payments to Norwich football club…
Verdict: You can’t switch teams, that’s not how it works.
No-one has done more to damage the image of politicians in the minds of football fans than David Cameron. Back in 2015, he gave MPs a bad name in the game by forgetting whether he supported West Ham or Aston Villa.
Cameron during his time in Number 10 liked to pretend he was a Villa fan, but slipped up during the cringe worthy moment at Tory event.
Speaking about the multicultural nature of Britain, he said: “We are a shining example of a country where multiple identities work. Where you can be Welsh and Hindu and British, Northern Irish and Jewish and British; where you can wear a kilt and a turban; where you can wear a hijab covered in poppies.
“Where you can support Man United, the Windies and Team GB at the same time. Of course, I’d rather you supported West Ham.”
He then tried to correct himself, saying: “I’m a Villa fan… I must have been overcome by something… this morning. But there we are, these things sometimes happen when you are on the stump.”
Verdict: What a plonker.
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