Swanage Royal British Legion club has cancelled an event featuring Matt Le Tissier following the media controversy over comments the former Southampton and England footballer made on social media.
The club’s action follows a similar move by a football club in Jersey after Le Tissier posted on Twitter questioning whether the media’s reporting of the war in Ukraine could be trusted. Le Tissier was also forced to quit his role as an ambassador for Southampton Football Club.
Matt Le Tissier will not now be appearing in Swanage in July
“Didn’t want to take the risk”
David ‘Elmo’ Elm, Swanage British Legion steward, said:
“There were some negative remarks on our Facebook page with people taking offence at his comments on the war in Ukraine and things he said about the media.
“As it’s the first one of these events we’ve put on, we decided we didn’t want to take the risk.”
The club only released the tickets the day before Le Tissier made his comments. The event, which was scheduled for Thursday July 28th 2022, cost £20 a head and £40 for VIP tickets, giving people an extra hour with the guest, a buffet and a free drink and the chance to get photographs.
About 40 VIP tickets had already been sold. Tickets have now been refunded.
Footballer Paul Merson will replace Matt Le Tissier
The club will instead host an evening with former England and Arsenal player Paul Merson. The self-confessed gambler, alcoholic and drug addict has spoken about his struggles with mental health.
A documentary presented by him called A Walk Through My Life was recently broadcast on BBC and is available to watch on BBC iPlayer
The new event at the Swanage Legion will take place on Thursday September 22nd 2022.
David Elm said:
“He’s had an interesting life, so he will be good value and in some people’s eyes it’s an upgrade.
“Naturally, there were a few Southampton fans who were disappointed because Matt Le Tissier is a bit of a legend, but we felt it was the right decision at the moment.”
There’s seating for up to 150 at the Swanage legion
Le Tissier, who played for Southampton for 16 years, scoring 209 goals in 540 games, does not shy away from controversy with his tweets and has gained a reputation over the last couple of years for his alternative views on Covid-19.
The footballer turned TV sports pundit has called himself a ‘conspiracy realist’ and accused governments of overreaction in the way they handled the Covid crisis.
A concert in the Legion club at the Swanage Blues Festival
“Great scope for these sort of events”
The Swanage Legion venue has capacity for 150 people and has previously staged music events like the Swanage Blues Festival.
There’s also a comedy night planned for Saturday 18th June 2022 with headline act, Gareth Richards. But this was to have been the first high profile sports celebrity evening.
David Elm said:
“There’s a great scope for these sort of events in our venue because we have the space. We are hoping the Paul Merson evening will be the first of many with different sports people.”
Tickets for the Paul Merson event can be purchased at the club bar.
Forthcoming comedy event at the Swanage Royal British Legion