FOOTBALLER Lee Steele did not play for Oxford City on Saturday after the Oxford Mail reported a controversial remark he made on website Twitter.

A remark about openly gay former Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas appeared on the 38-year-old’s account on Thursday night.

It said: “I wouldn’t fancy the bed next to Gareth Thomas #padlockeda**ehole”. The tweet, which was criticised by a city gay rights group, had been deleted by 1pm on Friday.

Our Saturday story prompted debate online and at City’s Court Place Farm ground, where Mike Ford’s team beat Chippenham 2-1 without Steele.

One fan, who did not want to be named said: “It was stupid of him to say something on the internet but I don’t think it means he hates gay people.”

On the Oxford Mail website, one reader said: “Isn’t the crime here [that some are] gay and unable to take a joke?”

Oxford City secretary John Shepperd said the club had no comment.