Gary Lineker invited to Wales after 'farmers' league' joke

Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker made the comments after the Newport County-Manchester United FA Cup clash

Gary Lineker has been to many of the world's biggest grounds in his roles as a top footballer and BBC presenter.

But his joke about Welsh football's top tier being a "farmers' league" has led to an invitation to visit a new one - the home of Cymru Premier's Bala Town.

His comment followed the Newport County v Manchester United FA Cup tie because a home team striker was a dairy farmer.

Now the Gwynedd club have said their league deserves more respect and asked him to watch a game at their ground.

Responding on X, formerly known as Twitter, Lineker said that his comment was a reference to Evans' background as a farmer.

Bala Town FC secretary, Ruth Crump, called the comments "unfortunate" and said the Cymru Premier should have more attention.

Lineker, the former Everton, Tottenham, Barcelona and England forward, was presenting live BBC One coverage of the clash when he spoke about Newport striker Will Evans.

While working on his father's farm in Powys, Evans played in the JD Cymru Premier for Cardiff Met and Bala Town.

Since signing for Newport in League Two he has adapted well to the rigours of professional football, and he even scored against Manchester United, although his side ended up losing 4-2.

After Sunday's match at Rodney Parade, Lineker told viewers: "He was working on a farm 18 months ago and played for Bala Town.

"He's gone from farmers' league to the big time in the FA Cup."

But that met criticism from Welsh football fans and clubs.

The Bala secretary said: "I don't think that's what he meant, I believe he was trying to say that he was a farmer and played in the Welsh league and that it had come out wrong.

"Our league is one of high quality and deserves better, it should receive more attention."