Speaking on the Barmy Army’s The Shackles Are Off podcast, former England seamer Matthew Hoggard discussed in detail the wild celebrations which followed the 2005 Ashes win, including him calling Tony Blair, then the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, a “knobhead”.

Hoggard played all five Tests as England won 2-1, taking 16 wickets at 29.56. Though the series became known as one of the greatest of all time, the right-armer said he was surprised at the reception the team got, with thousands packing the streets of London to welcome the team on a triumphant bus tour. By that time, however, the party had already been in full swing for a while.

“Two men and a dog, we thought would turn up to watch a cricket team go round London,” he said. “We got that a little bit wrong. But what we got right was that we didn’t get back to the hotel until about quarter past… The ECB had put on the open top bus, so we had to go back and get changed into our number ones, come back downstairs, and the breakfast in there, they’d put on a champagne breakfast. We’d just come back in, started drinking champagne at breakfast, and it carried on from there. We were absolutely blottoed from the night before, to breakfast, all the way through the day. It was absolutely unbelievable the number of people, thousands and thousands of people to line the streets watching us.

“In Mansion House, Freddie [Andrew Flintoff] abused the High Sherrif who’d dressed up very nicely, we then went to Trafalgar Square, sung Jerusalem with 10,000 people, Freddie gave the most incoherent interview I’ve ever heard, live on TV.”

The team then visited 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the Prime Minister, but that didn’t put a stop to the shenanigans; if anything, it encouraged them.

“Obviously we then went to 10 Downing Street,” he said. “Simon Jones will deny it, but there was a lovely bank of rhododendrons on the left-hand side which he might have used to water the garden. I spent an hour speaking to Tessa Jowell, sports minister at the time. Freddie went into the war minister’s room, or the long room where they have all the meetings, with his feet on the table.”

Hoggard was then asked about the picture which leads this piece. Still presumably in full ‘sledging’ mode, he explained how he let the Labour leader have it.

“That’s where I called Tony Blair a knob! We got to 10 Downing Street, I was walking behind Vaughany [Michael Vaughan], in front of Tony Blair, and Tony Blair asked what all the f***ing cameras wanted. He asked a stupid question so he got an answer appropriate to the stupidity of the question. I said, ‘They want a photo, you knobhead’.

“We were ushered back onto the bus fairly quickly. ‘It’s about time you all left’. So we did. And it was on the bus back to the hotel that Freddie fell asleep. Steve Harmison says, ‘Right, he’s having it, because he’s been at me all season’. Went to the front of the bus, pulled out a permanent maker, put ‘See You En Tee’ on his forehead, ‘Ashes 05’ on the cheek, ‘t***’ on the other cheek, he had to get off the bus at the other end with his jacket over his head. It was a mad 24, 48 hours afterwards, because we went out that night as well! We had about 48 hours on the piss. I’m surprised we got away with it, because we looked really bad, we acted inappropriately as well, but nobody cared. If a team did that now, they’d be absolutely crucified.”