Gary Lineker criticised for calling top flight of Welsh football a 'farmer's league'

Gary Lineker has been criticised for calling the top flight of Welsh football a "farmer's league".

Lineker's comment came after Manchester United's 4-2 win over Newport County in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

He was referring to Newport's Will Evans, who equalised against the Premier League side.

Evans previously played for Cymru Premier clubs Bala Town and Cardiff Met before joining Newport in 2022.

"He was working on a farm 18 months ago and played for Bala Town. He's gone from farmer's league to the big time in the FA Cup," Lineker said.

Bala Town issued Lineker an invitation on X to attend one of the club's upcoming matches.

"Happy to have Gary Lineker pop down to Maes Tegid one day to experience our 'farmer's league'," the club said.

The match on Sunday was much-anticipated for fans of Newport County, which had to shut its ticket office after staff received "appalling abuse".

Chairman of Haverfordwest County FC, Rob Edwards, said Lineker's comment was an "absolute disgrace".

In response to some of the criticism, Lineker posted: "It was a reference to being a farmer".

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Some of the league's clubs decided to make the most of the additional exposure, with Colwyn Bay posting a picture of the league's "biggest fan" - a cow.

But it wasn't all criticism for Lineker. Some fans praised him for opening the match coverage in Welsh with "Croeso i Rodney Parade" ("Welcome to Rodney Parade").