Former England captain Sol Campbell has confirmed he will stand for election to replace Boris Johnson as London’s mayor next year.
Campbell, who officially retired from football in 2012 having been released by Newcastle, will appear at a hustings with the rest of the Conservative party’s candidates on 4 July after revealing his intention to stand over the weekend.
“I’m going in with my eyes wide open. I know I’m not going to be a frontrunner,” Campbell, who won 73 England caps and played in three World Cups, told Sun Nation.
“But I look at people who have been in politics for five, 10, 15 years, and muck up, you see them muck up and think, ‘you guys are supposed to be pro!’
“People that have gone to Oxbridge, had thousands spent on their education, and I mean they are royally mucking up.”
He added: “I bring something new to the table. This is a whole new road for me, something I can get my teeth into but I just felt it was something I had to do.
“I come from a working class background, I wasn’t easy for me at all, but I worked hard. And now it’s about giving something back.”
Campbell joined the Conservative Party last year after criticising Labour’s proposed introduction of mansion tax. The former Tottenham and Arsenal defender had been in the frame to stand in the General Election to replace the retiring Sir Malcolm Rifkind in Kensington before deputy mayor Lady Victoria Borwick was chosen instead.
Campbell will face competition from Zac Goldsmith and Stephen Greenhalgh for the nomination, with Labour’s Sadiq Khan and Tessa Jowell the early favourites to replace Johnson. But asked whether his decision to leave boyhood club Spurs to join bitter rivals Arsenal on a free transfer in 2001 could affect his popularity in north London, the 40-year-old said: “If we keep thinking about football, we’re not going to do anything. We are dealing with people’s lives here.
“I want to change London for everybody.”