The BBC has apologised to viewers after the headline “Manchester United are rubbish” appeared on its ticker during a television news broadcast on Tuesday.
The headline appeared on the bottom of the screen during a report on the French Open tennis championship.
TV critic and broadcaster Scott Bryan, who works for the BBC, noticed the gaffe and posted a clip on Twitter which immediately went viral.
BBC presenter Annita McVeigh later issued the apology on air and explained that the headline was written when someone was learning how to use the ticker.
“Some of you may have noticed something pretty unusual on the ticker that runs along the bottom of the screen with news making a comment about Manchester United. I hope that Manchester United fans weren’t offended by it,” she said.
“Let me just explain what was happening: behind the scenes someone was training to learn how to use the ticker and to put text on the ticker. So they were just writing random things, not in earnest, and that comment appeared.
“So apologies if you saw that and you were offended and you’re a fan of Manchester United. But certainly that was a mistake and it wasn’t meant to appear on the screen.”
United have endured a torrid campaign, finishing sixth in the table with 58 points — their lowest in the Premier League era.