In a surprising turn of events, comedian Nick Hancock expressed his regret in 2020 over the emotional pain inflicted on former Manchester United footballer Luke Chadwick, thanks to jibes made on the TV show Hancock once hosted. This came following Chadwick’s candid revelation about the emotional toll the show’s jibes had on him.
The show, titled ‘They Think It’s All Over’, had become notorious for its consistent jabs at Chadwick’s appearance during his emerging years at Manchester United. Recalling the past, Chadwick admitted that he used to dread the show, a sentiment that lingered for two decades. The distress caused by the jesting had a significant impact on his self-esteem.
“In the end it lowers your self-esteem a lot,” he confessed. “That’s all I’m known for and spoken about – the way I looked. That isn’t right.”
The ex-footballer also expressed his disappointment over the show’s relentless mockery that inadvertently tarnished his image. “I became a picture of fun, and that was probably the hardest thing. A popular TV show – [the attention] was magnified, so that’s what I was seen as by everyone off the back of that.”
Upon learning of the profound effect his show had on Chadwick, Nick Hancock expressed his remorse in no uncertain terms.
“Listening to Luke is incredibly humbling – he’s shown so much more generosity and understanding and good judgment than we did at the time,” Hancock confessed. “I’m appalled for him and at myself. When I hear him speaking, I’m full of admiration for the present Luke Chadwick and full of sympathy for the young Luke Chadwick. The terrible thing about comedians and comedy shows is that if you’re getting laughs, you think you’re doing a good job.”
Hancock’s humility is reflected in his admission that the show’s producers and participants, including himself, didn’t consider the personal impact of their jokes on their targets, like Chadwick. He was mindful to point out that, “Of course the worst thing for Luke was that it became a bit of a running joke. To us it was a photograph. That’s not good obviously, we should have been thinking about the person, but that’s what can happen.”
Luke Chadwick began his career at Manchester United, making 25 Premier League appearances in four seasons. While at Old Trafford, he had loan spells at Reading and Burnley before moving to West Ham United in 2004. Subsequently, Chadwick had stints at Stoke City, Norwich City, and Milton Keynes Dons before joining Cambridge United, his childhood club, in 2014. Despite suffering various injuries that restricted his time on the pitch, Chadwick continued to contribute notably to his teams.
Now, Luke Chadwick seems to have found his footing in the coaching scene, last seen nurturing young talent at Cambridge United’s academy. He has also set up the Fun Football Factory, a place for kids to play fun football games – and it looks amazing! So despite the hurdles and the unwarranted mocking, he emerged as a successful, strong and resilient figure, embodying the spirit of the beautiful game both on and off the pitch.
His courage in confronting the past has highlighted the importance of empathy and sensitivity in public commentary, leading to a timely and well-received mea culpa from Nick Hancock. This story is important to remind us all that people, in the limelight or not, are more than just an image on a screen, a lesson hopefully not lost on contemporary TV personalities.