Ashley Williams: Wales skipper apologises for fan insult video

Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams has won 83 caps for Wales, making him their fourth most capped player. Only Chris Gunter, Neville Southall and Gary Speed have played more times.
International friendly: Albania v Wales
Venue: Elbasan Arena, Elbasan Date: Tue, 20 Nov Kick-off: 19:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary; also highlights on BBC One Wales from 22:40 GMT.

Ashley Williams has apologised after a video showed the Wales captain mocking Cardiff City fans.

An online video appeared to show the former Swansea skipper calling Cardiff fans "mugs" for doing the 'Ayatollah' gesture popular among Bluebirds fans.

It provoked an angry response from some on social media but Williams, 34, says the comment was in jest.

"I think it's obviously disappointing but it was not meant how it came out at all," said the Stoke player.

"There was a bit of banter with me and Sean Connelly [Wales' former Cardiff physio] and it was picked up but I didn't mean to cause offence at all.

"We have that banter all the time in the squad and it was just picked up this time.

"So apologies if it caused offence to anyone."

The brief video shows Williams walking through a corridor at Cardiff City Stadium, where Wales play their home matches.

The 34-year-old is standing next to Wales team-mate and former Swansea colleague Joe Allen as he makes the comment.

"What you can't see [in the video] is Sean's just in front and he's in the picture on the side [of the corridor], so whenever we walk past it we have a bit of banter," Williams added.

"So he [Connelly] said something before and I said that but it looks like it's me and Joe, which makes it worse.

Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams played over 300 games for Swansea City

"I have nothing against Cardiff fans. I think we have a good relationship, especially with Wales. We love the Welsh fans and what they do for us."

Williams will earn his 84th cap for Wales when he leads them in Tuesday's friendly against Albania.

It will be a historic occasion for his fellow defender Chris Gunter, who at the age of 29 will become Wales' record male cap holder as he makes his 93rd appearance, surpassing Neville Southall's mark of 92.

Reading player Gunter started his career at Cardiff and defended Williams' comments about the Ayatollah, insisting that jokes about club rivalries are a daily occurrence among Wales players.

"I think first of all to touch on the Ash situation, from joining Cardiff when I was seven and then leaving at 18, that is something that throughout the Welsh squad is day to day, jokes about Cardiff and Swansea, Reading, Everton, Stoke or whatever," said Gunter.

"Certainly there should be no questions asked of Ash, and that is something that was taken out of context."

Bale in 'good hands'

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale has travelled with the Wales squad for the friendly in Elbasan, despite reports in Spain suggesting his club would prefer him not to be playing.

However, Wales manager Ryan Giggs - who added he is not worried about Real Madrid being upset over the issue - says one of the reasons Bale wanted to play was so he could be on the pitch when his team-mate and friend Gunter breaks the national cap record.

"Gareth is in good hands. He always wants to play for his country," said Giggs.

"He wanted to be here for Gunts [Gunter] as well on what's going to be a special night.

"It's great he is here, it gives everyone a lift when Gareth is in the squad. I don't think anyone doubts his commitment and he will be in good hands."