The journalist who first reported Roy Hodgson’s ‘space monkey’ joke made at half-time during England’s World Cup qualification win over Poland has confirmed that the story came from an England international, ESPN
Gordon Smart, recently appointed editor of the Scottish Sun, said in a radio interview that his source for the story was a member of the England team, but would not elaborate on their identity any further – not even if they had played against Poland on Tuesday. Smart added that he was told Townsend was offended by Hodgson’s comments, despite what he wrote on Twitter.
“He [the source] was angry about Andros Townsend tweeting the following day [to say he was not offended] because he assures me Andros was upset by it,” Smart told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme. “The following morning [after the Poland game] I got a call from an England player who wasn’t very happy at all about what had gone on in the dressing room,” Smart continued.
“I said to the player, ‘Do you think this is a good idea to go public? Is there not another way for you to go through with this? Should you not go to the FA about this? Have you spoken to Roy? He said no, he wanted to go public and that he wasn’t the only player who was upset. They had agreed they wanted to go public with it.”
Smart went on to say that he believes Hodgson was guilty only of a poor choice of words rather than anything more sinister. “I don’t for one second think Roy Hodgson is racist. I just think he chose his words really unwisely and misjudged the room,” Smart said.
The furore threatened to overshadow England’s successful qualification for the 2014 World Cup, sealed with a 2-0 win over Poland. Townsend was winning his second cap for the national team, having made his debut in the previous game, scoring in a 4-1 win over Montenegro.
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