We may have already done one article on this topic, but there’s way too many stories in football to confine them to just one small article. In fact, you could probably write a whole book on the topic – but 500 words is our standard here, so we’ll have to stick to that. In this edition we have goalkeeper knockouts, 15-man teams, ten-minute managers and the biggest victory ever recorded in football. So, let’s kick off with…
Players in the Mist
Nowadays, strict conditions on player welfare and fan safety mean that matches will quickly get called off in increment weather. 80 years ago though, health and safety standards were not so high – as demonstrated by the 1945 friendly match between Arsenal and Dynamo Kiev at White Hart Lane, London. Despite a horrendously thick fog descending on the pitch, which Londoners used to call a ‘pea souper’ due to it’s yellowish tint, the referee allowed the game to continue on in practically zero visibility.
This led to a series of bizarre incidents, including several Kiev players not leaving the pitch despite being substituted off and an Arsenal player returning to the game a few minutes after being sent off. The Arsenal keeper even had to be stretchered off after colliding with his own post, which was basically invisible in the fog. The game miraculously lasted the full 90 minutes, with Arsenal running out 4-3 victors.
A Flash in the Pan
Some football managers, like Arsene Wenger, stay in the job for 27 years. Others, not so long. Next time your team hires or fires a manager, spare a thought for Leroy Rosenior of Torquay United. Appointed manager of the team, for the second time, on 18th of May 2017, the club was promptly sold less than 10 minutes later. The first act of the new owners? Sack Leroy, after less than an hour in the job. That made his managerial reign shorter than the previous record holder, Dave Basset, who was in charge of South London side Crystal Palace for just four days back in 1984.
Man in the Hole
A personal favourite of this writer, although probably not of the player, is one of the strangest injury stories in modern football. Scotland and Everton left-back Gary Naysmith was on international duty captaining the Scotland Under-21s in Bosnia, when to stepped off the side of the pitch to take a long throw. It would prove a costly mistake, as he swiftly fell into an open manhole that had been left uncovered at the side of the pitch. Naysmith was out for several months with a sprained ankle after the incident, and we can only be thankful it wasn’t any worse.
SO l’Emyrne of the Madagascan top flight became the biggest losers in professional football history, when they scored 149 own goals in their playoff match against AS Adema. It was in fact a protest against past refereeing decisions in the top-four tournament in 2002. Four of SO’s players received three years or longer bans, and massive fines, after the game. However, they’ll always be in the record books as the biggest loser in a professional game – handily beating the 36 goals scored by Arbroath against Bon Accord in Scotland in 1885.