Bradley Walsh’s nightmare first professional football match: I had a hangover!

The Chase: Bradley Walsh takes swipe at TOWIE fans

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Bradley Walsh is now best known for hosting the hit quiz programme, The Chase, a role he has had since the show first aired in 2009. But the 62-year-old has numerous strings to his bow, including acting in Coronation Street and playing football professionally for Brentford F.C. However, he very nearly missed out on the latter — all because of a hangover.

Walsh was first approached by Brentford FC while he was working as an apprentice at Rolls Royce, after joining the factory aged 16. 

He had been playing for a local side, Leavesden Hospital, and Brentford’s talent scout had been watching him for a number of weeks. 

After agreeing to play for the team in a try-out match against Southend United, Walsh went out on the town for two nights in a row. 

Speaking to Lauren Laverne on Desert Island Discs, Walsh said: “Now this is a Saturday afternoon — I can’t believe it. 

“The game was on Monday night, against Southend United. I end up having a drink after the game on Saturday, then having a few more drinks and a few more drinks like you do on a Saturday night. 

“I get up on a Sunday morning. I play football on Sunday morning. Have a few drinks. I’m not married, no kids, I’m just a young lad. Go out Sunday night, [and] have a few more drinks. 

“Get up for work Monday morning, I go to work at Rolls Royce in the factory —bit of a hangover.”

Walsh admitted that due to being slightly worse for wear, he had completely forgotten about the match. 

He continued: “I come home from work. I’m sitting in my mum’s front room, seeing my mum [and] having a cup of tea. There’s a knock on the door. I’m watching the telly and my mum answers the door. 

“She comes back in, says Brad ‘there’s someone here for you’, and I walked to the door.

“He goes ‘right? Are you ready?’ I’m like ‘oh my God, oh wow, so sorry, so sorry.’ We go to Griffin Park. I put my kit on, I go out and play — I have the game of my life. I scored the winner.”

After Walsh’s success at Griffin Park — the home of Bradford FC — he was signed. 

But unfortunately, he suffered numerous injuries and was sacked by the new manager, Fred Callaghan, in 1982. 

Walsh is now grateful he was sacked as it meant he embarked on a glittering career on the stage and screen, later telling his ex-manager that he did him a “proper turn”. 

In 1997, Walsh got his first hosting role, taking the reins on the British version of the popular American game show, Wheel of Fortune. 

A year later, Walsh decided to pursue acting: he played Danny Baldwin in Coronation Street, and also starred in Doctor Who and Law & Order: UK. 

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It was during his time playing Ronnie Brooks in the legal TV show that he successfully auditioned for The Chase. 

During the audition, he even came up with two of the now well-known Chasers’ nicknames: The Dark Destroyer and The Beast. 

Then, in 2019, Bradley Walsh launched a TV show with his 25-year-old son, Barney, which sees the pair travel around different countries together. 

So far, ‘Bradley Walsh & Son: Breaking Dad’ has seen the duo travel across America and Europe in an RV.  

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