18 Old School Footballer Adverts

Times were hard.
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Times were hard.

In an age where footballers earn more money than movie stars, they're unlikely to sign up for any commercial deal that is going to make them look silly.

Today, adverts starring footballers have Hollywood production values and the stars are made to look cool. In the past, things were very different. Footballers wages weren't so high and as a consequence they could live with being made a fool with in a cheap looking commercial, as long as it earned them an extra few quid.

Here are 18 brilliant old school footballer adverts.

18. John Barnes - Lucozade

Considering that John Barnes' performances for England were normally frustrating affairs in which he shuffled up and down the touchline to no great effect, he was always on a hiding to nothing with this advert in which he appeared in the national team strip and claimed that he needed to drink Lucozade after "90 minutes of sheer hurt".

17. Kevin Keegan - Green Cross Code

A flamboyantly-dressed King Kev takes us back to a bygone age in which men could shout angrily at young boys before putting a tender arm around them and not have to worry about being arrested for either action.

16. Pele - Atari 

The world's most famous footballer Pele was signed up to sell the beautiful game to the Yanks, as Atari recruited him to get Americans addicted to video games. One of these ideas worked and the other didn't.

15. Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker - Walker’s Crisps

In other countries they give advertising campaigns to winners. In good old Blighty, we prefer to use examples of heroic failure as an opportunity to rip the p**s out of our favourite sportsmen. Here's Gazza cashing in on his Italia 90 tears with Gary Lineker.

14. Stuart Pearce, Chris Waddle and Gareth Southgate - Pizza Hut

In the same vein is this Pizza Hut advert in which England penalty failures Stuart Pearce, Chris Waddle and Gareth Southgate find that receiving large sums of money to look stupid is actually quite cathartic. Pearce's antithesis-of-RADA voice is the star of this commercial.

13. Brian Clough - East Midlands Electricity

When she was the star of 'The Manageress' a lot of football fans dreamed of taking Cherie Lunghi upstairs but few had notions of doing so in an attempt to beat her at Subbuteo, as Brian Clough does in this ad for East Midlands Electricity.

12. Terry Venables - Walkers Crisps

A world in which not all Walkers Crisps adverts starred Gary Lineker? Believe it or not there was such a time although as you’ll see this effort featuring Terry Venables, the quality was no better. 

11. Saint and Greavsie - KFC

Ian St John and Jimmy Greaves continue their comedy double act, in which Greavsie acts as a loveable rogue and Saint as a much less loveable straight man to flog KFC to the masses.

10. Brian Clough and Peter Shilton- Shredded Wheat

If ever there was a football man who looked a natural in front of the cameras, it was Brian Clough. Here he sells Shredded Wheat with the aid of his old goalkeeper Peter Shilton, who is tellingly not trusted to deliver a single line.

9. Jack Charlton - Shredded Wheat

In 1994 Shredded Wheat went for another football manager in their commercial. The concept was built around Jack Charlton's fear that he and his Republic of Ireland side might get fed some funny foreign food at the World Cup. The main problem with this idea is that the 94 World Cup was held in the USA, where cereal is freely available, albeit with the probable addition of dangerous amounts of sugar.

8. Bobby Moore - Pubs

The one thing that the British have surely never had to be convinced about is the merits of going to the pub, Yet in the sixties it was considered necessary for Bobby Moore to tell us to 'look in on your local', while Martin Peters lurks around in the background and tries to avoid getting his round in.

7. George Best - Eggs

Another thing that you wouldn't have thought needed promoting to the British are eggs. Nevertheless, George Best was signed up for the task of convincing people that there is value in those things that chickens produce. It's a good job that the boy in this advert is a good actor because we can barely understand a word that Bestie says.

6. Ian Wright - Chicken Tonight

Lineker might have pushed things with the amount of adverts he's made but let's just think ourselves lucky that we haven't had to sit through the same amount of commercials for Chicken Tonight starring Ian Wright. Few men have ever been so punchable as Wrighty as he pretends to be a toff, in an unsuccessful effort to position Chicken Tonight as a sophisticated product.

5. Pat Jennings - Unipart

Poor Pat Jennings. Has any footballer even had a more degrading advertising job than having to dress up as a goalkeeping oil filter?

4. Kevin Keegan - Brut

Gay men on television in the seventies were represented by such realistic figures as Mr Humphries from Are You Being Served, so at the time no one thought that there was anything remotely homoerotic about two butch blokes having fun together in the showers. Watch Kevin Keegan and Henry Cooper having a splashing time, in their own version of 'Brut-back' Mountain.

3. Peter Schmeichel - Danepak

As the most famous Dane in Britain, Peter Schmeichel was the natural choice to promote Danepak. His singing might be off key, but this advert is all the better for the fact that he is wearing Reusch goalkeeper gloves.

2. Jimmy Hill - Public Information Film

Rarely have we seen anything as grisly as Jimmy Hill going through a play-by-play analysis of a motorcyclist being killed in a collision with a car. As far as trying to control people’s behaviour by scaring the living daylights out them goes, this could give the Catholic church a run for it's money. 

1. Trevor Brooking - Atari

While Atari recruited the biggest name sportsmen in the US for their Stateside commercials, they went for the strange triple act of Brooking, Morecambe and Wise for their UK advert. Quite why Atari thought that the fifty-something Eric and Ernie would be the best people to turn kids on to video games is a mystery, but regardless of the success of the campaign this advert is comedy gold.

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