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BBC Radio Suffolk football commentator Brenner Woolley apologises after branding Ipswich Town fans ‘great unwashed’ in off-air gaffe

19:53 05 November 2014

Brenner Woolley has commentated on Ipswich Town games for BBC Radio Suffolk for more than 10 years.

Brenner Woolley has commentated on Ipswich Town games for BBC Radio Suffolk for more than 10 years.

A BBC Radio Suffolk football commentator has apologised after describing Ipswich Town fans as the “great unwashed” during a live broadcast.

Brenner Woolley, who has commentated on Town games for more than 10 years at the station, made the remarks during the half-time break in the Blues’ 2-1 win over Wolves at Portman Road on Tuesday night.

His comments, made when he was under the impression he was off-air, could only be heard by people listening to the online worldwide live match commentary service provided by Ipswich Town’s ‘Player’ service on the club’s website.

They were not broadcast over the normal airwaves.

Town fan Nick Gibbs, editor of The Ibiza Sun newspaper, who was listening to the worldwide online service, said the comments were made when Mr Woolley and co-commentator Mick Mills were discussing the upcoming post-match telephone call-in show.

Mr Gibbs said Mr Woolley said: “I’ll give you these headphones at full-time so you can hear the great unwashed.”

Mr Gibbs said their conversation could be heard for around 10 minutes during the half-time interval.

Officials at BBC Radio Suffolk have confirmed Mr Woolley used the term “great unwashed”.

A BBC Radio Suffolk spokesman said: “We have spoken to Brenner and made clear to him that these comments are unacceptable. Brenner accepts this and has apologised.”

Mr Woolley joined BBC Radio Suffolk from Hallam FM in Sheffield in 2001. It is understood BBC Radio Suffolk has launched an investigation to establish how the comments were broadcast.

Mr Gibbs said he did not take Mr Woolley’s comments “too seriously”.

In an email, Mr Gibbs said: “It was good half-time entertainment and, aside from hearing Norwich were losing, was better than the usual half-time round-ups.

“I was hoping Mick Mills would start singing along to the Tannoy music but alas he must have been eating his sandwiches.

“Football call-in shows are renowned for attracting some pretty odd characters and if that’s the worst name they get called ‘off-air’ they’ve got off pretty lightly.

“That said, if you make a gaffe in the media you deserve a bit of banter back.

“The Ipswich Town Player is a great service enabling those of us around the world to listen to Radio Suffolk’s live match commentaries. Perhaps in the next broadcast Brenner will say hello to the ITFC supporters branch in Ibiza, all eight of us, and the rest of Ipswich’s ‘great unwashed’ around the world.”

39 comments

  • Thanks, Saxon! Darkey, maybe you should try a bar yourself & blow us a few bubbles...!

    Report this comment

    The Main Man

    Saturday, November 8, 2014

  • Iff thats what he thinks of us town fans,whats he doing working for suffolk radio.stick a bar of soap in his mouth and do us all a faver send him back to sheffield.

    Report this comment

    darkey

    Saturday, November 8, 2014

  • Mainman Perfect, u could not put it better

    Report this comment

    saxon

    Friday, November 7, 2014

  • Seriously? People are offended by this? This term is used so often to refer to the general public but it seems like some people have taken it personally - maybe they resemble the remark....

    Report this comment

    be36

    Friday, November 7, 2014

  • No apology was necessary, what a load of complete twaddle over nothing. And as for those who claim to be offended - poppycock! Keep up the good work, Brenner, & ignore this trivia.

    Report this comment

    The Main Man

    Friday, November 7, 2014

  • Big deal,why do people get so easily offended nowadays Move on no story here COYB

    Report this comment

    mike blunt

    Friday, November 7, 2014

  • He is paid by the people that he jokes about! Says more as to the attitude of some that are happy to take from the public purse and yet seem to have such a low opinion of the very same people. He is not the first or last at radio Suffolk with a grand opinion of themselves and perhaps these inflated egos are one of the reasons their audience listening figures have been dropping in recent years?

    Report this comment

    Gina Frost

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • No NB, I restated the same thing....you just didn't read the first one, but instead snapped off a retort by calling it pathetic. Try trolling somone who will actually argue with you next time!!!

    Report this comment

    Sentinel Red

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • So what? Like he is the first. It's not offensive, it's actually really funny. I believe the only ones that would be offended are those that don't wash.

    Report this comment

    Waddaloada

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • Sentinel Red. That's better, you seem to have learnt to be more precise with your comment.

    Report this comment

    NB

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • In my opinion the commentator looks a scruffy unwashed prat. His patronizing attitude towards the people who pay his wages is disgraceful. He should resign and find a job where he has some respect for his patrons.

    Report this comment

    sandy bottom

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • He's not wrong.

    Report this comment

    Jim C

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • I have a shower before going to a game. I use an anti-perspirant, and sometimes put on clean pants.

    Report this comment

    Mike Derruki

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • That's exactly the point Mike- he used a phrase that has long been used in reference to the working classes, but is being expected to apologise for it just because he used it in reference to the crowd at a match. There is no reason for people to be insulted by it unless they are genuinely unwashed and touchy about it, or labouring under the illusion that Ipswich Town is actually a country club painted to look like a run down football ground in which there are somewhat too many fights between rival teams

    Report this comment

    Sentinel Red

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • Sentinel Red and beerlover. What you seem to be describing there is society generally. Not sure why it should be used to insult football fans in particular.

    Report this comment

    Mike Rotch

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • Ok, he dropped a clanger. Haven't we all at sometime? NOT put me off listening to the next match on there though. (Whatever happened to "Rich" ? He often rang in with some interesting comments, home and away matches. Not heard him on there lately).

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • So Brenner made a mistake. If Radio Suffolk read out on air every time the Ipswich Star made a mistake, there would only be one subject on there news to listen to every day - yes you've guessed - The Ipswich Star!

    Report this comment

    Bruce Wade

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • NB...learn to read comments before you comment...I said a large number not all. I had the displeasure of living by the ground for 5 years and saw everything from the genuinely unwashed, the polite middle class, families, thugs those who needed a few hours in a drunk tank, people who spit in the street and lots of the type of people who once bought a blue Itfc managers jacket, never washed it and around the pockets and sleeves was a shiny crust of unwashed grime. That is pathetic, not the comments of people who have had to see it week in week out

    Report this comment

    Sentinel Red

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • Brenner has a point really, looking at some of the posters on this site! BBC need to look more closely at Mick Mills though, he has ruined the fans' phone in, which used to be great entertainment on the way home from a match. Why would anyone call now to have their call taken over by a boring monotone repeating what he has already said six times before?!Great player and a legend but not suited to the media.

    Report this comment

    blueinblue

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • What a waste of time, a general staying used by many people everyday about the general population of this country & the world.

    Report this comment

    dockboy

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • My what a sensitive lot we have become,we all know its just a cheap throwaway line,we have all said much worse about our fellow man i am sure.Brenner has done a great job the last 10 years look foward to his next match.

    Report this comment

    saxon

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • More Brenner Wally then Woolley. It is a gaff and not a very professional one, however the comments below are slightly over the top. I think beer lover has had one too many beers as not all football fans are like that. It is true that the call in shows are some what entertaining whereas when things are going well its the best football seen since the 80's and if things aren't going so well its the worst football I've ever seen and sack the board. I think Mr Wally will learn from this and we should all get on with it.

    Report this comment

    fence sitter

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • A persnickety comment. Considering the level of intelligence involved here, I wonder just how many Town fans would have put themselves in the position that Brenner Woolley now finds himself in? It may not have been his fault that someone failed to switch broadcasting off, but to say he has displayed a lack of nous is an under statement.

    Report this comment

    NB

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • Having for many years worked shifts at a site near the football ground I had the opportunity to observe the crowds going to and from it. While I know may very nice and decent people who are Ipswich fans, on the evidence of what I saw the vast majority of those to whom football in general and Ipswich town in particular appeals are definitely not the sort of people I'd want to have more to do with than necessary. The disgusting behaviour of a large number of Ipswich fans after they got beaten by Norwich at home a couple of years ago (I was unfortunate enough to get caught up in them at the station) reinforced my prejudice.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • royg, well said. Sentinel Red, pathetic comment. How can you possibly know the hygiene habits of all Town fans.

    Report this comment

    NB

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • You work for BBC Radio Suffolk Brenner you are not really at the top of your profession and you are not a celebrity so really you are one of the great unwashed yourself strictly speaking. You come across on the radio as a decent working class bloke but obviously you value yourself highly. Stupid thing to say and you have probaly lost a lot of respect from listeners.

    Report this comment

    royg

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • Apologising is a really stupid thing to do. Not only is the 'great unwashed' long been used as a term for the common man, but in the case of quite a large number of the people that seem to frequent ITFC, it's a fairly accurate term. Apologising makes it sound wrong. Its not wrong, its fairly true!

    Report this comment

    Sentinel Red

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • What is wrong with quoting Shakespeare?

    Report this comment

    Alan Hynard

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • I can totally understand his point of view. I've been a town fan for 30 years. Hearing the call-in show after games is like listening to 20 Worzel Gummidge's in a row. I miss my Suffolk accent, it was unfortunately beaten out of my at my school, but I can understand his comments, albeit stupid. As a veteran broadcaster, he should know. NEVER EVER EVER say ANYTHING you would never say on-air when you're in the studio, on or off air. This is how countless idiots have had their career's destroyed (Hi Andy Gray)

    Report this comment

    Alex Finbow

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • Clearly nobody at Suffolk was listening to the off air feed on FM at half time otherwise they would have known that someone had suffered finger trouble and been able to fix things. Not too late to listen to the tapes now and then they can issue a wider apology rather than single out Brenner, who generally does a good job and should generally be able to rely on his colleagues to be competent.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • PC Plod, I quite often agree with your comments but not this time. I don't know if you are either a serving or retired officer but this sort of blanket discrimination illustrates exactly why a large proportion of the public have lost respect for the profession.

    Report this comment

    El Hueso

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • There was also a problem with an open microphone during half time break on the FM broadcast. I was just waiting for someone to say something "unfortunate ".

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • What does great unwashed even mean? That perhaps Town fans are a bit unknowlegable concerning football matters?

    Sari

    Report this comment

    Sari Thackner

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

  • Tactless, maybe. Accurate, definitely.

    Report this comment

    PC Plod

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

  • Do we care? No. Another non story!

    Report this comment

    MrDiddle

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

  • OMG what a d-head. Proud to call myself one of the great unwashed Town fans!!!!!!!!

    Report this comment

    Richard Gardiner

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

  • how about at the match on Saturday in the centre circle at half time, save him making any more off-air gaffes

    Report this comment

    beerbaron

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

  • Oh dear! Oh dear, dear, dear, dear, dear, dear.

    Report this comment

    GAJ

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

  • Perhaps Brenner Woolley could be asked to explain to the fans as to why he said this?

    Report this comment

    NB

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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