11 times that Sol Campbell was football’s answer to David Brent

Former Arsenal and England centre-back Sol Campbell was one of the finest defenders of his generation – and he’s also an accidental comedy genius.

Campbell won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups at Arsenal following his controversial move from Tottenham in 2001. He also won 73 caps for England, representing his country at three World Cups.

But, while acknowledging his excellence at football, we’d like to draw further attention to Campbell’s uncanny ability to imitate David Brent with his various musings.

Slide tackle

Slapstick comedy of the highest order.


Campbell has never appeared as a pundit on Match of the Day. On this evidence, the BBC have made a wise decision…

‘I am Sol Campbell’

Helen Grant, then Sports Minister, arranged a summit at Whitehall to discuss the lack of black managers and Campbell demanded an explanation from Dan Ashworth, the FA’s technical director, about why Gary Neville had been fast-tracked through the system.

Fair enough, but when Ashworth spoke favourably about Neville’s work in the England setup the reply was a comedic: “But I am Sol Campbell.”

Ashworth tried to continue and, again, a hand went up. “But I am Sol Campbell,” louder this time, more indignant.

According to journalist Daniel Taylor: “There are even anti-racism campaigners who can hear those five words and laugh at the tumbleweed floating across the room that day.”

Greatest minds

“I’m intelligent enough, it’s not like I played on a fox and dog pitch all my life,” Campbell said in 2018 as he struggled to get his first job in management.

“I can’t believe some people, I’m one of the greatest minds in football and I’m being wasted because of a lack of experience or ‘maybe he talks his mind too much’.

“Go to Germany, they love people who speak their minds. They got the jobs. I’m sorry that I’ve got a mind, but don’t be scared of that. That should be something you want at your club, but obviously not.”

As Barry Glendenning noted in The Guardian “The general reaction to the former player’s modest self-evaluation suggested that if the erstwhile Saturday night quiz show Family Fortunes had surveyed 100 people to fill in the blank in the sentence: “Sol Campbell is one of the greatest [BLANKS] in football”, the word “minds” would scarcely have featured among the few broadcastable answers, let alone those all-important top ones.”

Content Creator

Classic dad pose here; gurning into the camera and admiring your reflection at the expense of being aware of your surroundings.

Greatest player in the world

“I know Macclesfield fans will probably think: ‘What’s going on here?’” Campbell said after being unveiled as the club’s manager in 2018.

“But you’ve got an international footballer who has been one of the best players in the world coming to your club. I think there’s a nice mutual balance there. There is give and take.”

Reports of a sudden infestation of crickets at the Cheshire club have sadly remained unconfirmed.

Backs himself

With this level of self-confidence, Campbell could cure cancer, feed all the world’s children and set up civilisation on Mars single-handedly.


Watch your back, Stormzy.


In his book ‘How to be a Footballer’, Peter Crouch offered an amusing insight into Campbell’s character during their time together at Portsmouth.

Campbell had gotten into the habit of having two-hour massages until two minutes before every game. The club had two masseurs and the defender would commandeer them both, one for each leg.

Sometimes, the other players would complain. “He’d raise his head briefly,” Crouch wrote, “and look expressionless. ‘When you’ve got 70 caps for England, come back and talk to me again.’”

Memory lane

Asked to contribute his memories of playing in Arsenal’s 2002 FA Cup final victory over Chelsea, Campbell offered his thoughts with the kind of delivery that should have left Steven Spielberg rushing to blow up his phone.

Honour’s List

“When it comes to honours lists, if it comes to a popularity contest, there’s a lot of unpopular people who are Sirs or have OBEs and MBEs,” Campbell said during an interview with Gbeebies GB News in January 2023.

“If you look at what I’ve done, and what I’ve gone through playing football and the consistency I’ve hit over the course of two decades, under severe pressure, I’m up there with some of the sporting greats of our country.”

Carrying on, the former England defender said: “I’ve done a hell of a lot for this country. I’ve been an icon. When I go abroad people recognise me for what I’ve done as a footballer. It would be nice if I could have something just saying hey, I’ve been recognised in my own country.”

For all of Campbell’s qualities, it would appear modesty is not among them.

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