From calling a goalkeeper a clown to having to present national TV in your pants, these five pundits were well off the money.
‘It’s only Ray Parlour’
This is the kind of thing you just hate love to see.
Tim Lovejoy was at the height of his Soccer AM fame at the time of the 2002 FA Cup final.
As an outspoken Chelsea fan, he was the perfect choice to front half of Sky Sports’ celebrity FanZone commentary for the game, flanked by Arsenal-supporting Bradley Walsh.
He had made his name swaggering about football fans’ TV screens every Saturday morning with a mildly smug and occasionally controversial persona.
So when Ray Parlour collected the ball in the 70th minute and around 25 yards out at the Millennium Stadium, his dismissive commentary line – “Oh it’s alright, it’s only Ray Parlour” – wasn’t out of character.
The Romford Pele thumped the ball into the top corner and Arsenal went on to win the game 2-0. Mirth.
‘You can’t win anything with kids’
The date was 19 August 1995.
Take That were top of the charts with Never Forget and a youthful Manchester United side had just been beaten 3-1 by Aston Villa on the opening day of the season.
The defeat came after a summer where Sir Alex Ferguson had sold key players Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis following United’s failure to win the 1994/95 title and defeat to Everton in the FA Cup final.
But instead of buying replacements, Ferguson had put faith in the Class of ’92.
Twenty-year-olds Gary Neville, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes all started alongside 18-year-old Phil Neville at Villa Park, with the latter hooked off at half-time of his professional debut.
They were unable to avoid a humbling result, prompting Alan Hansen to brand United a team with ‘problems’ before claiming that ‘you can’t win anything with kids’ on Match of the Day that evening.
Unfortunately for Hansen, the kids turned out to be alright. Manchester United went on to win the league and FA Cup and a footballing dynasty was born.
Kevin Keegan’s penalty misery
Kevin Keegan’s inclusion in this list is probably a little harsh.
Co-commentating on England’s last-16 match against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup, Keegan was put in an impossible position by Brian Moore.
With England trailing 4-3 in the shoot-out and David Batty on the approach to take the final penalty, Moore said: “Now you know him better than anybody, do you back him to score? Quickly, yes or no?”
Keegan, to his credit, replied with a ‘yes’ confident enough to convince you to this day that Batty might still dispatch his spot-kick.
Moments later, the midfielder sent his penalty down the middle and it was beaten away by goalkeeper Carlos Roa.
Keegan’s crackled ‘oh, no’ echoed the feeling of every English football fan at that moment.
Gary Lineker getting excited
It’s all fun and games until the team you support pulls off the most remarkable sporting achievement of a generation and you have to appear on national TV in your boxers.
We’ve all been there. You get excited and say something stupid that you will regret in the future.
But fortunately for most of us, we don’t broadcast it to over 7.5m people. Unfortunately for Gary Lineker, he did.
YES! If Leicester win the @premierleague I’ll do the first MOTD of next season in just my undies.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 14, 2015
Lineker’s beloved Leicester had just gone two points clear at the top of the table, following a 2-1 victory over defending champions Chelsea in their 16th game.
In refusing to get overexcited at the Foxes’ prospects, Lineker promised that he would present the first episode of the following season’s Match of the Day in his underwear should they win the title.
When P-Day rolled around the following August, the striker-turned-presenter introduced the programme in a pair of white shorts with a Leicester badge emblazoned on them. Hopefully it was warm enough.
Brian Clough’s circus clown
He is widely regarded as the greatest manager England never had, but even that doesn’t preclude Brian Clough from making the odd gaffe.
Clough was appearing as a pundit for England’s win-or-bust qualifier against Poland for the 1974 World Cup.
The Three Lions had beaten Austria 7-0 just a month earlier and clearly confidence was high in the studio, with the then-Brighton manager writing off Polish goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski as ‘a circus clown in gloves’.
In fairness, Tomaszewski has since admitted that he ‘wasn’t just afraid of England, he was terrified.’
But he channelled that energy into his performance, almost single-handedly keeping the Three Lions at bay.
Despite his unorthodox style and a collision with England striker Allan Clarke after two minutes that left him with five broken bones in his hand, the Polish stopper carried his side to a 1-1 draw at Wembley.
England failed to qualify for the World Cup and Sir Alf Ramsey was sacked the following June.
This time, the clown had the last laugh.
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