‘They wanted to bash each other’s brains out’ says Gladiators’ John Fashanu as he reveals Wolf and celeb hardman feud


FORMER Gladiators host John Fashanu has been reflecting on his time on the show in the nineties.

The footballer-turned-presenter was snubbed for the show reboot, which kicked off earlier this year.

GettyJohn Fashanu said the show that Vinnie Jones starred in was ‘one of the most successful’[/caption]

ITVVinnie told Ulrika that he wasn’t going to play by the rules[/caption]

He worked on the show during its heyday and became known for famously yelling catchphrase “awooga” into the arena.

Looking back over fond memories from the show, he said that one of the biggest moments was when Vinnie Jones made an appearance.

The Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels star slipped into lycra to take on Wolf on The Gladiators Celebrity Special in 1993.

Speaking to the Sun on behalf of luckyblock.com, John said: “What really made it special is we had the celebrities on. Vinnie Jones and one of the other footballers and a few other television presenters, and they were all participating in the Gladiators. 

“Now, Vinnie Jones and Wolfman is a recipe for disaster. Seeing Vinnie Jones on the show going through, bumping people with elbows… then you have Wolfman the other side.

“That really was one of the most successful shows of our time,” he added.

“And that’s because you had two people that didn’t know each other that wanted to go on there and bash each other’s brains out, which, at that stage, was quite fun.”

The duo was accused of “argy-bargy” in their challenges, with Ulrika Jonsson calling Vinnie the “naughty boy of football”.

Vinnie, who was playing for Wimbledon at that point in his career said he “wasn’t going to play by the rules” in the hit ITV show.

When he was asked by Ulrika which Gladiator he was most looking forward to meeting, Vinnie said: “I heard there’s a little lad here called the Wolf Man?”

“I haven’t seen him yet, I think he’s hiding in the toilets.”

When it was Vinnie’s time to take to the podium, the commentator said that his and Wolf’s duel was the “moment everyone had been waiting for”.

In his pre-match chat, Vinnie was asked what he was thinking about.

“I’m not going to be thinking a lot, I’m just going to be thinking about how to do my victory salute,” he said.

“He’s going to start staring me out, I’m going to look into his eyes because that’s when you can really tell a lot about somebody.

“It’s alright when they are getting these muppets off the street down here and taking them on, but they’re taking us on and we’re a little bit fit and my game’s running all over the place on a football pitch so I got plenty of stamina and I hope he’s got some as well.”

This comes after John revealed he was hoping to be picked to return as the host of the show’s reboot.

But the call never came and instead bosses decided the programme would be fronted by Bradley Walsh and his son Barney.

Speaking to the Sun on behalf of luckyblock.com, John, 61, said that while he doesn’t think nepotism is at play, he feels the pair need to work on bringing the ‘showbiz’ factor back as well as improving their chemistry with the Gladiators.

He said: “I noticed there’s no kidology. A little bit more laughing, a little bit more getting involved. I always used to have a fight with one of the Gladiators because it just jazzed the place up a little bit. It was great when Wolf gets you in a head lock, you believed you’re going to die in five minutes anyway.

“It’s important there’s a good response with the Gladiators, which I’m not seeing. I’m not saying it’s a complaint, I’m just saying it’s very different.”

Fash is currently based in Nigeria where he’s working as a football coach.

He said he’d love to return for series two in some capacity, even if it’s a cameo role – but he says he’s “not pushing it”.

Gladiators made a come back on BBC in January this year, and is the second revival of the original 1992 series on ITV.

Wolf Man went head to head with Vinnie Jones on the 1993 Christmas specialRex

Vinnie called him a ‘little man’ and said he was ‘hiding in the toilets’

The show was fronted by John and UlrikaRex