LORD knows what Lord Sugar was thinking about when he likened millionaire footballers to blokes selling fake gear on Spanish beaches.

This week, the star of BBC’s The Apprentice sent a message on Twitter which contained a picture of the Senegal national football team at the World Cup edited to include handbags and sunglasses laid out on sheets, with the caption: “I recognise some of these guys from the beach in Marbella. Multi-tasking resourceful chaps.”

The billionaire peer, responded to criticism of the post from some of his 5.4 million followers, by saying: “I can’t see what I have to apologise for.. you are OTT .. it’s a bloody joke.”

He then tweeted: “Just been reading the reaction to my funny tweet about the guy on the beach in Marbella . Seems it has been interpreted in the wrong way as offensive by a few people. Frankly I can’t see that I think it’s funny. But I will pull it down if you insist.”

Clearly someone must have had a word with the former Tottenham chairman who eventually deleted the original message and issued an apology.

“So what?” you might say. Offensive messages ping back and forth across the internet every second of the day. 

Well, we believe that words still matter. They carry even more clout when they are written by a man who was honoured by the Queen and is held up as the kind of smart business guru that young entrepreneurs should emulate.

Sugar is a boor whose ‘jokey’ tweet played to racist stereotypes which see black faces and make assumptions about poverty, life chances, and criminal behaviour. 

He is horribly out of touch with the modern world and questions must be asked about whether BBC licence fee payers should be expected to keep him on the payroll.