It's rough out there.

9 of the worst football takes ever uttered by UK politicians: Johnson, Sunak, Starmer…

Politicians trying to talk about football is the verbal equivalent of a port-a-loo bonfire—they’re full of sh*t and you can spot them a mile away.

That doesn’t stop them trying, though, bless them. Part of us thinks they enjoy the show jovial, thinly veiled disdain to the common person. The ‘Here I am using your language, look, but in a way that clearly shows I am above lowering myself to such boorish folly’.

Therefore, we thought we’d compile a bunch of times UK politicians have attempted to delve into politics. Be warned: Your blood is about to get awfully itchy.

Jonathan Van Tam

England’s deputy chief medical officer during the COVID pandemic adored a football analogy and, to be fair to JVT, he was actually pretty good at it.

When infection rates evened out a little in 2020, Van Tam explained on the BBC News channel:

“It’s clear in the first half, the away team gave us an absolute battering, and what we’ve done now is it’s the 70th minute, they got a goal, and in the 70th minute we’ve now got an equaliser.

“Okay, we’ve got to hold our nerve now, see if we can get another goal and nick it.

“But the key thing is not to lose it, not to throw it away at this point because we’ve got a point on the board, and we’ve got the draw.”

Turns out the bloke is a genuinely keen Boston United fan. Checks out. He explained the encouraging results of vaccine testing thusly:

“So this is like… getting to the end of the play-off final, it’s gone to penalties, the first player goes up and scores a goal… You haven’t won the cup yet, but what it does isit tells you that the goalkeeper can be beaten.”

You know what? That analogy works. Fair play *handshake emoji*.

Milano, Italia. 15th Feb, 2024. Foto Spada/LaPresse 15 Febbraio 2024 - Milano, Italia - sport, calcio - Ac Milan Vs Rennes - Europa League 2023/2024 - play off- Stadio San Siro Nella foto: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (AC Milan);esultanza dopo gol 2-0 February 15, 2024 Milan, Italy

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every British and Irish player to play in Serie A since 1990?

Penny Mordaunt

It’s a bloody stinker, this one. Strap in.

The former Leader of the House of Commons and Tory MP attempted to use football to lay into the Labour Party. Just… Just have a look:

“They’ve borrowed from Lineker’s playbook. Labour are a party of goal-hangers and left-wing strikers. But that only works if the ball is in the right half.

“This country doesn’t need goal-hangers, it needs centre-forwards—people who are prepared to put the hard work in and create opportunities. And it needs a team captain with a plan.”

Jesus H. Christ. Let’s start at the top, shall we? So, Mordaunt actually starts credibly. Gary Lineker often self-deprecatingly refers to himself as a goal-hangar, a tap-in merchant.

It’s not a brilliant analogy in that it was clearly meant to be a diss on her political opponents, only Lineker won a World Cup Golden Boot and scored loads of goals.

Moving on, the idea of a “left-wing striker” is confusing, unless she’s referring to the time Rafa Benitez stuck Peter Crouch out on the left wing to win some big diagonals.

Doubt it. Can only assume it’s a general dig at left-wing politics. Weird. We’re also intrigued as to what Mordaunt thinks a centre-forward is.

In FIFA languageas in the video game, not the organisation—a CF (centre-forward) is a sort of second-striker or false ‘9’ type player, as opposed to the real-world definition, which is essentially a synonym for striker…

Is Penny Mordaunt hammering the Pro Clubs in her spare time? Maybe. 

Rishi Sunak

This one is less an analogy and more a moment of outstanding ignorance.

If you think that’s going to stop us from highlighting the time Rishi Sunak went on the campaign trail in Wales and asked a bunch of Welsh brewery workers: “Looking forward to all the football?” 

Shortly before Euro 2024—which Wales did not qualify for—was due to begin, then you’d be very mistaken. Am idiot ffycin.

READ NEXT: Picking a PM & Cabinet of footballers to replace Rishi Sunak & his government

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name the top 30 Irish goalscorers in Premier League history?

David Cameron

First, ex-PM David Cameron told an interviewer that he had no interest in football. Fair enough—life would be dull if we all liked the same things.

Then, in a later interview, Cameron claimed to have been an Aston Villa fan since 1979. Later still he told a reporter that he’d been supporting the Villains since watching them beat Bayern Munich in the 1982 European Cup Final…

In 2015, he suggested, in a speech about diversity, that he was a West Ham fan. The former Prime Minister made a point that concluded with the sentiment that the UK was a place where:

“You can support Man Utd, the Windies and Team GB at the same time. Of course, I’d rather you supported West Ham.”

At least he got the colours right.

Liz Truss

Another former Conservative Prime Minister (and now former MP), Truss was addressing an audience in Leeds when she claimed that the UK “needs to channel the spirit of Don Revie.”

She’s literally been told the name of a successful Leeds manager and just chucked it into her speech there. Revie was brilliant for Leeds, absolutely, but he had a pretty smelly reign as England manager, and was an ardent Labour supporter.

Truss once again had channelled the spirit of a lettuce.

Zac Goldsmith

When campaigning to be Mayor of London, Goldsmith claimed that he was ‘hoping to do a Leicester City and zoom in from behind and win on May 5.’

Leicester led the title race from January to May.

Doesn’t work, does it? Also, you’re a billionaire politician, son. You’re not exactly Jamie Vardy going from Stockbridge Park Steels FC to the PL title with The Foxes. Not an underdog. Not even a dog. A f*cking overdog.

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri with the Premier League trophy at the King Power Stadium, Leicester, May 2016.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every player to appear for Leicester in their title-winning season?

Keir Starmer

Now, to be fair, the new Prime Minister is a genuine football fan from what we can see. Still plays regularly and gets down The Emirates. Starmer couldn’t help himself when the then PM Rishi Sunak boasted that the UK had the ‘fastest-growing economy in the G7’.

“He wants a pat on the back”, replied Starmer. “It’s like a football manager bottom of the league at Christmas, celebrating an away draw three months ago.”

Slightly convoluted but it does kind of work. Not a terrible effort.

Boris Johnson

Speaking on climate change, the ex-PM turned to a football analogy. We wish he hadn’t.

“If this was a football match, the current score would be 5-1 down in the match between humanity and climate change.

“What I think you can say today, after two days of talks with around 120 world leaders, is that we’ve pulled back a goal, or perhaps even two, and I think we’re going to be able to take this thing to extra time.”

The only example we can see of such a deficit being overturned was Charlton Athletic coming from 5-1 down to beat Huddersfield Town 7-6 way back in 1957. Five of those goals were scored by striker Johnny Summers, who tragically died of cancer at the age of 34.

We’re all f*cked, is what we’re taking from this analogy.

Michael Tomlinson

In early 2024, the then-UK Immigration Minister told an interviewer that he watched very little TV, but that he loved sport, so maybe ask him about that.

Oh dear, dear, dear.

The reporter asked which football team Tomlinson supported:

“I’ve been to Bournemouth, I’ve been to various other grounds but I don’t have a specific football team… Wimborne Town Football Club! I couldn’t tell you their last result. But the last result that I was there was very exciting, there were lots of goals—and it was a 1-1 draw.”

The man forgot who he supported and claimed a 1-1 draw was a match with ‘lots of goals’. Get the f*ck out of here.