West Ham played NK Domžale – don’t worry, we asked ourselves the same question: ‘Who?’. But with the Europa League qualifier being a real story of David versus Goliath, there is no surprise in finding out that the Slovenian minnows watch the Hollywood film ‘300’ as a pre-match ritual in order to fill themselves with testosterone before kick-off. In light of this, we thought we’d bring nine other wonderfully weird bizarre facts that have happened in the beautiful game.
1) Football Manager
Probably the most addictive game to grace planet Earth. However, who thought that finely tweaking those tactics by making Shrewsbury Town champions of Europe would actually come to any use? Well, Vugar Huseynzade did just that and managed to land himself a job at Azerbaijain side, FC Baki – making the then 22-year-old the youngest manager ever in the history of the game. There’s still hope for us all…
2) No banter please
Few boys, few beers and a bit of banter – the perfect ingredients for any football team, no? Not in the case with the Chilean U20’s side in 2002. The boys were all in hysterical laughter at a joke cracked by one of the players, only for the manager to complain to the Chilean FA that he had lost control and authority at the incident. The reaction of the Chile FA… fine every single player for ‘laughing’. What a joke… sorry, had to be done.
3) Fart gate
Whoever you are, what ever your age – you must at some stage have had a chuckle to someone breaking wind. Not a certain Swedish referee, though, as, just this year, Adam Lindin was sent off in a Swedish club game for letting one go… imagine what Gary Lineker ‘s punishment would have been back in 1990!
4) Warning: lethal weapon
Stamford Bridge, bit of a library. Why? As of 2007, the club introduced a lifetime ban for any fans carrying a lethal vegetable. Celery. Yes, the Blues have banned the deadly green vegetable after decades of what the FA branded as ‘salad tossing’ in the stadium with reference to the famous chant, ‘Celery’. Thank god it was just ‘salad tossing’, and nothing more…
5) Bacon sarnie anyone?
To transfers, and Romania. Rewind to 1998 where footballer, Ion Radu, was not bought by club side Valcea with the usual cash-in-exchange for player, but instead sold for 500KG of pork. We all love a bacon or sausage sarnie before match day.
Back to the rogue Slovenian side, NK Domzale, who signed a player called Aluar Brachi over LinkedIn!!! Rather than the traditional boring methods of using scouts and watching players compete – the coach simply put an advert on LinkedIn saying ‘offensive right back needed, must have EU passport’ – sorry British right backs, back to the job centre.
7) Jens Beersmann
Everyone’s partial to a couple of beers now and then, and perhaps a few more on the weekend. Ex-German international Jens Lehmann is no exception on this matter. The old school goalkeeper couldn’t keep away from the famous German Oktoberfest when playing for VFB Stuttgart, inadvertently getting totally plastered at the event leading to him being dropped by the German club for a couple of weeks… come on Jens, not on a school night.
8) MIND THE SNOW
We’ve all seen football matches being rudely interrupted, be it by a streaker, a feral animal or Michael Owen’s commentary. Yet, a Sunday League match in Leeds back in 2009 trumps those by 20 Police Officers all for one man, Peter Cooling.
Pete was imprisoned for drug dealing, yet escaped for eight months and could not avoid being away from the beautiful game. He still played every weekend for his local team on his escape, and when word spread, Pete was rudely arrested at half time… stick him back in the ‘cooler’.
9) Valley of Love
The Valley, home to Charlton Athletic, has not seen much passion and success in the last few years since relegation from the Premier League nine seasons ago. However, on a cold night in 2015 – a couple tried to reignite the good old days of emotion, desire and drive… but perhaps too much drive. Yes, the poor couple were caught red handed on the middle of the pitch… at least the pitch finally saw some action.