Less than a year after losing his ITV commentary gig for calling Marcel Desailly “a fucking lazy nigger” over an open microphone, former WBA/Aston Villa/Sheffield Wednesday/Nottingham Forest/Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson has put his foot in it again while speaking at a Wednesday fundraiser. From the Mirror’s Andy Lines.

Atkinson, 65, says he “can’t believe” the latest storm and claimed he cracked the joke in connection with a story about a visit to China in the late 1970s by his then club West Bromwich Albion.

On the trip, an Albion player was asked about what he thought about the Great Wall of China. He is said to have replied: “Once you’ve seen one wall, you’ve seen them all.”

Atkinson (above) followed the story with this “joke”: “I can’t understand why there is such a population problem in China as they have the best contraception going – Chinese women are the ugliest in the world.”

Sheffield Wednesday club historian Keith Howard was among 264 guests at the dinner.

He confirmed Atkinson had made the remark, but said nobody had taken offence or raised it as issue.

Mr Howard said: “Ron gave a speech almost an hour long. The vast majority was about his managerial career. He made very very few jokes.

“But I did hear the one about the Chinese. Certainly no one took offence and he actually got a laugh.

“There was a comedian on afterwards and he was far worse, taking the mickey out of the Irish, Jews and coloureds.

“I don’t think anyone was offended by what Ron had to say and he got a very good reception. Supporters appreciated him turning up.”