Reports have emerged that iconic footballing genius and talisman of Melchester Rovers, Roy Race, has been shunned by his teammates and indeed the wider game after coming out in an interview earlier today.

Race whose world famous ‘sleeves’ and ‘neck ink’ have made it mandatory for practically every footballer on the planet to emulate his body art, has now revealed that his tattoos are not real but are in fact state-of-the-art slipover facsimile lookalikes costing many tens of thousands of pounds each.

Speaking to Gary Lineker, a clearly emotional Race said: ‘I just could no longer live this lie. The pressure to come out has been increasing daily and something had to give in the end.’

‘I know it’s the duty for all players to cover every inch of their body in ink, but you see the truth is that I’m needle-phobic and could never go through the pain of it. I feel sick that I have let the lads down… But what else could I do?’

Melchester’s fiery manager, Tony Storme, has put Race on temporary suspension with full pay until the Board meets to decide what to do with their star, but the word is Race’s career is all but over and that he’ll now find it hard even to get a game with any side in his local Sunday League.

Meanwhile speaking to Radio 5 Live’s Adrian Chiles, David Beckham said: ‘I wish I had known about Roy’s deception sooner, because if I had then I would never have had myself covered in all this bloody stupid crap.’