Former footballer John Fashanu said he has no regrets following his exit from Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.
The 57-year-old became the fourth person to leave the Channel 4 series after failing to complete a task which required the celebrity recruits to forward abseil down a sheer, 60m cliff-face in pairs.
He was paired with Rudimental’s DJ Locksmith (real name Leon Rolle) but on reaching the top could not make it down, resulting in chief instructor Ant Middleton taking his numbered armband from him afterwards.
Fashanu told PA news agency: “I gave my all. When I left I said to myself ‘Look, if you are going to leave you leave with a bang’. I worked hard, it was hard work, I was physically but, more importantly, mentally exhausted.”
He said he had wanted to take part in the series, which sees contestants tackle gruelling challenges on the terrain of Scotland’s rugged west coast to see if they have what it takes to pass SAS selection, to see how he would fare given his age.
He explained: “You know, a self-made hard man of the world of football and somebody who was qualified to get myself four different black belts in different martial arts, somebody who has also had thirty or forty boxing tournaments, I’m somebody who likes rough and ready situations.
“This, to me, was the ultimate because there’s very few people who haven’t seen the show and the boss, Ant, as we all knew is an absolute brute, and he puts you through a lot of things. I was very interested to find out how at my age, how would I get on”.
Before signalling the end of his time on the series, Middleton tells the recruits: “You cannot refuse a task. That is the equivalent of refusing to solider. We do not choose our war zones, we do not choose the times, date and location – we have to go there and we have to act. Therefore number four, the war is over for you. You have now been officially culled from the course.”
Fashanu, who went on to host Gladiators after leaving football professionally, also addressed an earlier task in which he tackled DJ Locksmith and was pulled off him by Middleton after it became rough.
The task, called Murderball, saw the teams fight for possession of a tyre and then drive it across the opposing team’s goal line.
He explained: “The truth was you’re getting to a level where you are tired, you are trying to keep your composure, he also hit me pretty hard on one of them and I was trying to, let’s say, get my own back, in a nice way.
“He’s a great guy. But when you’ve got celebrities who are all known as strong celebrities competing in one particular game of course there’s going to be a fall-out, of course there’s going to be one or two people who get injured, one or two people who get scuffs, it’s all part of the game.”
Fashanu was part of the Wimbledon team that won the FA Cup final against Liverpool in 1988 and said footballing friends Vinnie Jones and Dennis Wise had been in touch.
“I’ve spoken to my man Vinnie already and Jonesy told me, look at me, I was like a woman, he said I was not even anywhere near strong enough, I should have gotten a lot stronger,” he said, adding: “That’s the typical thing most of my footballers would say, even speaking to Wisey (Dennis Wise), he was saying ‘Fash, are you ill?”
BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Yasmin Evans was the second recruit to leave the show in the third episode, which also saw them have to carry around 100 kilograms between them in pairs in the form of a heavy log and jerrycan.
Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins airs on Channel 4 at 9pm on Monday nights.