It’s a Funny Old Game
Bill Shankly famously said, “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that,”. But there is a lighter side to the game and below we take a look at some of the funnier things that have happened in football. (added a full stop after the quote)
Taste of your own medicine
During the 1930 World Cup semi-final encounter between Argentina and the USA, the U.S. trainer ran onto the field to treat an injured player, but in the process he dropped his medical kit and broke a bottle of chloroform. When he tried to clean up the mess he inadvertently took in some fumes and was knocked unconscious. Incidentally, the injured player recovered without any treatment.
End the silence
In 1993, Congleton Town, a small English team that play in the lower echelons of English soccer, was conducting a minute’s silence to mourn the death of their oldest fan, 84-year-old Fred Cope.
However, the minute’s silence was soon abandoned when a supporter disrupted the proceedings. Under normal circumstances you might expect everyone to be outraged, but on this occasion the guilty party was welcomed with open arms as he was gatecrashing his own minute’s silence.
Enough is enough
Paolo Di Canio was quite a controversial character during his playing career, and if something out of the ordinary ever happened you could be sure that it involved the Italian in someway or another. Some of Di Canio’s most famous incidents involve pushing over a referee in 1998, scoring the EPL goal of the season in 2000, and being awarded FIFA’s Fair Play Award in 2001 for refusing to score into an empty net after the opposition’s keeper went down injured.
However, one of Di Canio’s greatest moments came during the 1999-2000 EPL game between West Ham and Bradford. West Ham were down 2-4 and had already been denied what looked like two clear-cut penalties for fouls on Di Canio. But when Di Canio was denied a penalty after a third foul, the striker decided enough was enough and demanded to be substituted.
The forlorn Di Canio lay prostrate in front on the bench with his head in hands, begging to be subbed, while the then West Ham coach Harry Rednapp tried to encourage the striker back onto his feet and to continue playing.
The home crowd seeing their talisman in a sullen state began to sing, and like a wrestler hearing his name chanted in a sleeper hold, Di Canio jumped back onto his feet and sprang into life once again. He scored a penalty and set up the winner as West Ham went on to complete an amazing comeback eventually winning the game 5-4, which just goes to show you can’t keep a good striker down.
Soccer is no laughing matter
In 2002 the entire Chile under-20 men’s team was fined for laughing. The Chilean FA took the extraordinary decision after the team’s coach complained he struggled to regain authority and control after a joke had been told during a junior football tournament.
Midfielder Luis Jara told Las Ultimas Noticias newspaper: "We were eating and someone told a joke.
"We all laughed really hard, but the coach was not happy and told us off.
"Then they decided to charge us. I think they want us to behave as if we were at a funeral."
I guess in Chile players are never told to “just go out and enjoy yourselves”
Stop hitting yourself
Here is another extraordinary story again involving the Chile U-20 men’s team. Nobody likes to see cheating in any sport, but sometimes a person will come up with something so shameless that you cannot help but laugh.
Down 1-0 to Ecuador in the 76th minute of a match to decide fourth place in the Campeonato Sudamericano and the final South American qualifier for the U-20 World Cup, Chile’s Bryan Carrasco decided that drastic measures were needed to give his side a chance of getting back in the game—like winning a free kick—now in most cases where a player dives they feign contact, but on this occasion Carrasco actually initiated contact by grabbing his opponents arm and striking himself in face.
The ref gave a free kick, and the commentators were in hysterics once they watched the replays of the incident. However, Carrasco's effrontery didn't matter much in the end as Ecuador won 1-0 to take their spot in the U-20 World Cup
Transfer Fee Pressure
In today’s game where players swap clubs for astronomical amounts of money it is easy to see how players can feel the pressure of living up to their transfer fees. However, it seems the thought of 15kgs of sausage hanging over his head was too much for Romanian soccer player Marius Cioara.
Cioara, who played for second division team UT Arad, was sold to fourth division Regal Hornia for sausage meat. Talking of the transfer a spokesman for Regal Hornia confirmed,”We gave up the team's sausage allowance for a week to secure him, but we are confident it will be worth it.”
However, a day later Cioara retired citing relentless sausage related taunts, 'The sausage taunts all got too much. They were joking but I would have got more from the Germans and making sausage jokes was a huge insult. I have decided to go to Spain where I have got a job on a farm,” he said.
Naturally, Regal Hornia demanded their sausages be returned.
I never forget a face
In 1982 Paolo Rossi scored a hat trick for Italy in the semi-finals to end Brazil’s dreams of lifting the World Cup. 20 years on, the now retired striker decided to take a vacation in Brazil.
He arrived in Brazil, passed through immigration without any problems, and was on his way to the hotel when he noticed the taxi driver checking him out in the rear-view mirror.
"Is it you," the taxi driver said. "Paolo Rossi, right?" "Yes," replied Rossi, radiantly. The car came to an abrupt halt and the door flew open. “GET OUT!” Leaving Rossi stranded alone at the side of the road briefly wishing he had never scored a World Cup hat trick against Brazil.
Ball Boy scores a goal
It has been suggested that maybe it is time that soccer got rid of ball boys after a series of controversial incidents involving the little fellows. However, most of the ball boys out there are well-behaved kids who learn about responsibility and the value of work in the role. The few others that do make the headlines are usually just doing things that kids do, which are funny and perhaps a tad mischievous rather than sinister.
Take the ball boy in Brazil for example; who instead of returning the ball to a keeper after a shot had been taken, thought it would be funnier to slide a shot into the goal instead. But the incident was no laughing matter for Atletico Sorocaba—who had been leading 0-1 away to Santacruzense—as the 89th minute goal was awarded by referee Silvia Regina de Oliveira, allowing Sanracruzense to snatch a 1-1 draw. Oliveira, who was suspended for awarding the goal, said, “I should have trusted my own vision," stating she only awarded the goal after talks with her lineman.