BBC Radio Suffolk football commentator Brenner Woolley apologises after branding Ipswich Town fans ‘great unwashed’ in off-air gaffe
19:53 05 November 2014
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.”