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.

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Rishi Sunak

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

Dominic Raab

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

Priti Patel

Patel confirmed that she was an Arsenal fan when endorsing a charity initiative at the club, and managed to annoy half the supporters in the process.

It's fair to say they weren't overjoyed when Patel revealed her fondness for the north London club, with one describing it as "the lowest moment in the club's history".

There’s evidence to back it up too, after she previously tweeted her thanks to the club’s manager Arsene Wenger in 2018 and posted pictures appearing to suggest she was at the FA Cup final in 2017.

Verdict: A fan, but clearly not one popular among her fellow Arsenal supporters

Nadine Dorries

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.

Liz Truss

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.

The fact she switched clubs is contentious enough, and her announcement didn’t go down well with Norwich fans on social media either.

“The last thing this lovely city needs is sodding Liz Truss announcing she's a Norwich City supporter. Think I'll move,” one wrote.

“Liz Truss, stop saying that you like @NorwichCityFC. No you don’t. I forbid you to like them,” another disgruntled fan said.

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.

David Cameron

Did David Cameron Get His Football Team Wrong?www.youtube.com

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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