With the Bundesliga back in full swing and other league’s to follow suit, we’ve already paid witness to some pretty strange footballing scenes including a winning Dortmund side clapping their ultra fans aka an empty stand. Borussia Monchengladbach fans breaking social distancing rules to attend matches. What? They were cardboard cutouts? Who would’ve known… Not to mention the eerie silences during the initial games. For some reason watching them brought up an oddly familiar sensation. And then I recalled playing a game of Fifa on mute at 3am after finally getting my possessed 18 month old baby to sleep in his carrycot…
Although we know it’ll never be as good as the football we know and love, playing matches behind closed doors will be the new normal for a while yet. So might as well stick on the telly & sit back, enjoy a cold one, up the ante by putting on a cheeky bet at Betcompare.com. And if you’re really looking for an added layer of jeopardy, place your sleeping child in the room during the match. If you don’t have one an angry sleep deprived partner works too. In fact the stakes become significantly higher.
And with this new strange way of enjoying a game, what better way to see it in than run through some of our favourite bonkers football moments…
Managers go crazy.
We’re sure to see some managers go absolutely mad after Project Restart. But this is nothing new. Kevin Keegan’s famous ‘I’d love it if we beat them’ rant in the 95/96 season comes to mind. And Jose Mourinho always has something up his sleeve. Literally in 2011, when the then Real Madrid manager poked Barcelona’s Tito Vilanova in the eye during the thrilling second leg of their Spanish Super Cup tie.
But one of our personal favourites that doesn’t get much limelight is Sam Allardyce laughing at Spain’s Chico Flores during Swansea City 0-0 West Ham (Oct 27, 2013.) Flores went down after receiving a heavy tackle but Big Sam wasn’t convinced and saw the funny side of it. He laughed. And laughed. And laughed. Right in front of Flores’ face. Later it came out Allardyce was hoping Chico would punch him so Swansea would have to play with 10 men.
FIGHT. Wait isn’t that guy on your team?
We all know emotions ride high on the football pitch. Ask Mario Balotelli & Roberto Mancini who had several encounters. Mancini always maintained it came from a place of love and that Mario was like a son to him. Not sure if that could be said for Keiran Dyer and Lee Bowyer during their 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa in 2005. Shortly after conceding the third goal Bowyer took his frustration out on Dyer asking him why he wasn’t playing the ball to him. Dyer reportedly replied “because you’re s**t, basically.” Cue a fight and both players being sent off. The strangest thing about watching it back now is Gareth Barry having a key role in breaking it up. This is to say that the record holder for most cards in the premier league played peacemaker for two opposing players.
That was great. But let’s not try that again. At least for a long time.
It remains to be seen whether playing out leagues behind closed doors will work. What we can say with some certainty is that the World Cup and the United States don’t mix well. OK I may be a bit biased since England wasn’t there… But rather than any magical footballing moment defining the tournament, it’s Dianna Ross’s performance during the opening ceremony that is etched in everyone’s memories. We all know it. Whilst singing her classic ‘I’m coming out’, she’s given the task of kicking a football into the back of the net. The goal housing said net was rigged with a contraption that would split it in half, demonstrating Ross’s powerhouse of a kick and thus America’s natural dominance in the world. Instead Ross kicked it wide and ran towards the ceremony’s finale as if all had gone to plan. We wouldn’t like to lay blame wholly at her door though. We can’t forget Diego Maradonna testing positive for performance enhancing drugs after celebrating his goal against Greece. Eyes wide, and his veins seemingly having their own veins, someone somewhere quite rightly asked the question ‘Hmmm, have we tested that guy for steroids yet?’
Last but not least… Who needs VAR when you’ve got a Prince?
Yes you heard it right. If you’re not familiar with the 1982 World Cup in Spain, Kuwait played France. They had just conceded a 4th goal to the French after all the Kuwaiti players seemingly stopped after hearing what they thought was the ref’s whistle. Such moment’s have been replicated many times whilst gaming on Fifa, predominantly by parents whose sleeping child has just awoke in a rage. A very unjust way to concede a goal and something Kuwait’s Prince thought during his side’s match against the French. After witnessing the goal he came down from the stands to protest and threatened to call the game off. The ref eventually struck the goal from the scoreboard and everyone was happy. Well apart from Kuwait who still lost the game 4-1.