‘Embarrassing’ Soccer Aid scenes as Stephen Mulhern is unmasked
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Soccer Aid viewers watched as Stephen Mulhern was unmasked as The Masked Winger during the charity football game.
In the run-up to the star-studded match for UNICEF at the Etihad Stadium, a mystery footballer was teased dressed up as a giant whistle.
The Masked Winger, in a spin-off of the hit ITV series The Masked Singer, appeared in TV adverts and appearances to promote the game between the England and the World XI teams held at the home of Manchester City.
READ MORE: Robbie Williams ‘unrecognisable’ as he sports a new look at Soccer Aid - and fans are swooning
Tonight, the character was unmasked as TV prankster Stephen Mulhern, who hosts the game show In For A Penny and is a regular on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.
One person penned on Twitter: “The big build up, and the masked winger turns out to be…Stephen Mulhern. #SoccerAid.
“But that was so embarrassing I like Stephen Mulhern but pls stop,” said another.
Stephen played on in the costume but was eventually carried off the pitch by a laughing Mark Wright and dropped to the floor.
His outfit included a question mark on his chest, two giant footballs on each shoulder and comically oversized football boots.
A different viewer commented: “Omg they’re making Stephen Mulhern play in that costume after the most embarrassing and overhyped reveal in history. SCREAMING in tears”
But other Soccer Aid viewers showed their love for Stephen.
One said: “Mulhern is a national treasure and I won’t be told otherwise #SoccerAid.”
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Another agreed: “Stephen Mulhern is a national treasure #SoccerAid.”
Another viewer said: “Amazing Stephen Mulhern running around the pitch in that costume is brilliant #SoccerAid.”
Stephen said: “It’s the hardest secret I’ve ever had to keep…and as anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m rubbish at keeping secrets!”
“Today has been brilliant, but also a little strange! I have been walking past people I’ve known for 25 years and haven’t been able to say hello!”
“I’m not ashamed to say I was a little nervous walking onto the pitch and taking off the mask. But what an experience!”
The money raised from this year’s game will help UNICEF fight back against the Covid-19 pandemic by helping to deliver 2 billion vaccines worldwide.
Donate now at socceraid.org.uk/donate
Soccer Aid ‘masked winger’ revealed as Stephen Mulhern
STEPHEN MULHERN was unveiled as the secret masked winger during Soccer Aid 2021.
The TV host kicked off the second half at The Etihad and a minute later clattered into former Manchester United star Darren Fletcher.
1 Stephen Mulhern enjoyed a short cameo appearance just after half-time
Minutes after he was booked for that challenge he was carried off the pitch by England captain Olly Murs.
And in his short spell on the pitch he did not see the ball much, with team-mate Paul Scholes refusing to pass him the ball.
Mulhern remained dressed in his masked costume while playing and beamed to the crowd after he took off his referee whistle hat to show his face.
The outfit also bore a question mark on Mulhern’s torso and two giant footballs on each shoulder.
He also wore comically sized clown-like football boots.
Mulhern’s uncovering was met with much mockery and derision online.
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Some fans claimed his cameo turned Soccer Aid into a pantomime - even if it is a charity event.
One Twitter user wrote, tongue in cheek: “Stephen Mulhern’s appearance at Soccer Aid may not have lasted as long as the European Super League but it has arguably done more damage to the integrity of the sport.”
Another added: “If Stephen Mulhern had comic timing, he wouldn’t have turned up to Soccer Aid.”
A third said: “Imagine being in the crowd at soccer aid expecting some superstar to pop up as the mascot and it’s Stephen Mulhern.”
Soccer Aid’s Masked Winger revealed: Stephen Mulhern is Whistle
The Masked Winger was revealed at last (Picture: Hambury/UNICEF/SAP/REX/Shutterstock)
Soccer Aid fans were left guessing who the star behind the Whistle mask was after being given a series of clues about the Masked Winger.
In the second half the big reveal finally took place and it was none other than Stephen Mulhern under the mask.
Fans had been submitting their best guesses based on the clues at the start of the match, but it’s safe to say few were expecting it to be Stephen in the costume.
The suspense was finally over at the start of the second half when the mask was removed and Stephen was tasked with taking the first kick of the second half.
However, despite the cumbersome costume, Stephen was keen to get a few more minutes on the pitch and remained on there as long as he could, even being awarded a yellow card for a tackle.
After milking the ’30 seconds’ he was supposed to have on the pitch into several minutes, Stephen was eventually carried off to the sidelines by Mark Wright.
Stephen Mulhern was unmasked in the second half (Picture: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)
The confusing selection of clues included him ‘blowing the competition away’, running huge distances not being a problem and hair grease.
The latter of which alluded to Stephen appearing in the stage version of Grease, but most were left clueless it was him under the mask.
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