11 times footballers ‘starred’ on reality TV: Seaman, Fashanu, Ruddock..

Quick Reads

Footballers spend most of their playing careers on the television – but some of them can’t keep away from the spotlight even after they’ve retired. 

Ian Wright is the latest ex-player who couldn’t turn down the lure of reality TV, having been announced as one of the contestants for this year’s I’m A Celebrity.

Here’s a reminder of some of the other highlights/lowlights from footballers’ dalliances with the world of reality TV.

‘Come Dine With Me’ Footballers Special

Genuinely one of the great pieces of TV, if you haven’t already seen it – in fact, even if you have – you really need to watch this special episode of Come Dine With Me, featuring Neil Ruddock, John Fashanu, Carlton Palmer and Frank Worthington.

Fashanu, in particular, is comedy gold, but Raymond Blanc’s job is safe, with Worthington forgetting the vinaigrette for his avocado so simply drowned it in Sarson’s instead.

The other part of this two-parter for charity features the WAGs of Stephen Ireland, Djibril Cisse, Emile Heskey and Simon Walton, which is also very funny, just for very different reasons.

Neil Ruddock on ‘A League Of Their Own’

Razor began his evening of hosting on Come Dine With Me by welcoming his guests while wearing just an apron. He was always something of a showman, but now he seems insistent on showing us everything – at least, everything that he is allowed without breaking the OFCOM code.

After an apron spared his blushes – in the metaphorical sense, Razor clearly has no shame – on Come Dine With Me, the highlight, or lowlight depending on whether you’re Ruddock himself or simply someone else with eyes, came on A League Of Their Own, when it received a soapy sponge bath from Jamie Redknapp and his mates.

You can’t unsee this…

Lee Sharpe on ‘Love Island’

The new iteration of Love Island has captured the public’s imagination, but for many, it wasn’t a patch on the original, 14 years ago.

Then titled Celebrity Love Island – to be fair, three-quarters of the cast were recognisable to most, however dubious the reasons – ex-Man Utd star Sharpe made himself the tip of a tasty love triangle.

Geordie TV presenter Jayne Middlemiss fell pretty hard for Sharpey, but the former winger had eyes for someone else – Abi Titmuss. Middlemiss eventually ‘won’ the show, while Sharpe and Titmuss reportedly had a two-year relationship after returning from Fiji, so everyone’s a winner.

Stan Collymore on ‘The Farm’

Also on Love Island was Rebecca Loos, who is best remembered for two things: an alleged fling with David Beckham, and pleasuring a pig on Channel 5’s The Farm.

Another competitor for the title of ‘top farmer’ was Stanley Victor Collymore. The ex-England striker, though, walked off the show following a series of rows with Vanilla Ice, who Collymore felt spent too long on the toilet.

We’re not making this up, honest…

Danny Mills on ‘Celebrity Masterchef’

Putting his hands to better use, certainly than Loos, in 2012 was Danny Mills, with the ex-England full-back appearing on Celebrity Masterchef.

And it turns out the former defender is a dab hand in the kitchen. He was beaten only in the final by writer and actress Emma Kennedy. ‘Seabass with fennel and chilli risotto’ is supposedly his best dish, which certainly beats the usual footballers’ food of choice: a cheeky Nando’s.

David Seaman on ‘Dancing on Ice’

Safehands failed to live up to his name in 2006 when, during rehearsals for the first series of Dancing on Ice, the ex-Arsenal and England goalkeeper dropped his partner while attempting something apparently called the headbanger move.

It didn’t deter Spunky, though, who was eventually eliminated just before the final. Still, he kept skating during the show’s live tours, where he met the future Mrs Seaman.

John Fashanu on ‘I’m A Celebrity…’

Blazing a trail which was followed by Ruddock, Rodney Marsh, Kieron Dyer, Jimmy Bullard, Wayne Bridge and Dennis Wise, Fash appeared on the second series of I’m A Celebrity back in 2003.

The former Crazy Gang member did pretty well too. Despite being singled out to do six bushtucker trials, he finished as runner-up to Phil Tuffnell. We did learn that Fash is terrified of heights, which somewhat flies in the face of Wimbledon’s route one style of play.

His stint in the jungle was just one of a series of ventures designed to enhance his fame, which included being host of Gladiators, a spokesman for Unicef, sport ambassador for Nigeria, chairman of the Nigerian Premier League and chairman of Barry Town, while also playing a role in Nigeria’s abortive attempt to host Miss World.

‘Harry’s Heroes’

Many top-level footballers tend to put on a bit of weight after retiring and that was certainly true for this lot.

Therefore, a group of 13 former England heroes, including Robbie Fowler and Neil Ruddock, were faced with a daunting diet and fitness regime plus they were tasked with shedding a combined 40 stone.

Ruddock had viewers in stitches after ripping his shorts, getting stuck in a turnstile and walking off from the bleep test during level 1. After weeks of hard work, the players eventually managed to roll back the years and beat a team of German legends in a hilarious game.

Erik Pieters on ‘The Real Housewives of Cheshire’

If Erik Pieters thought dealing with wingers in the Premier League was tough, it was nothing compared to his first experience on The Real Housewives of Cheshire.

While Stoke City were battling relegation in 2017-18, Erik and wife Nermina Pieters-Mekic made an explosive appearance on the show. The pair were involved in a huge row with co-star Ester Dee, who then had a drink thrown all over her.

We bet his team-mates didn’t give him any stick about that one. Definitely not.

David James

James’ hands helped him carve out a 26-year career in football, but they were less useful in the kitchen and Paul Hollywood was less than impressed with his baking skills on Great Sport Relief Bake off.

“His sculpting technique on a certain cake, I have never seen anything like it. In fact I broke down and not because I was sad but because I was crying with laughter,” Hollywood told Newsbeat.

The former goalkeeper also followed in the footsteps of Peter Shilton, John Barnes and Peter Schmeichel by swapping the football boots for dancing shoes on Strictly Come Dancing,

During his time on the show, James dressed up as batman and also did the foxtrot to “Three Lions.” However, it wasn’t enough to save him, and he was the fourth celebrity to be voted off.

Jermaine Pennant

Pennant has played for some of the biggest clubs in the country, but he failed to live up to his potential and instead became known as a playboy footballer.

He caused controversy in the Celebrity Big Brother house by kissing and flirting with Chloe Ayling while his wife was watching the show at home.

After leaving the house, Pennant was determined to put things right with his wife and the pair then appeared on the Jeremy Kyle show.

However, he refused to do a lie detector on the show to prove that he hadn’t cheated. Naughty Jermaine.


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