Football can bring up all sorts of weird and wonderful things. There is of course the drama of a last minute or a goal which should not have counted. On the other hand, fans across the globe undergo all sorts of torment when it comes to overtime equalisers as well as unjust red It's a special bet in which the player predicts if the sum of red/yellow cards in a match are greater or less than the limit set by the Bookmaker. and even career threatening injuries.
However, when both teams take to the hallowed turf, there are certain aspects which are unfortunately beyond their control. Tales of the unexpected can also take place on a football pitch which have no meaning and are certainly an unexpected force. This in turn can lead to plenty of hilarity as groundsmen not to mention stadium crew attempt to restart the game.
Take for example an old favourite which is in the form of floodlight failure. Considered to be one of soccer’s biggest foes, there is no better comic appeal when a ground is suddenly plunged into darkness. Often, this brings about lots of cheering and shouts of wahey as the light suddenly fail. With games being halted from just a few minutes to more than half an hour is a constant footballing pain for many.
In addition to this, the weather can play an integral part as far as stopping a game is concerned. One recent example of the elements getting the better of match featured lower league sides Bury and Southend United. The latters fans were travelling all the way up from Southend to the north of England for a 3PM kick off. This involved a six hour round trip for those gutsy Southend fans. However, once they were in the stadium and the game got underway it was soon abandoned. This was largely in part down to a waterlogged pitch and as a result the game was called off at just six minutes of play.
For the purposes of this list though, we’re going to keep it light, and might even get a chuckle out of you readers with some of the funnier things that have stopped a football match. While the football fan in you might be irritated at the prospect of these things stopping a game, your human nature has to find some humour in it.
So with that we now get to the entries: what are some of the funniest things to have stopped a game?
Foul play is definitely not at play on the list but chickens have been prominent in putting a stop to a game. In England, there was the case of disgruntled Blackburn Rovers supporters who released a chicken on to the field of play. This was in protest of the owners Venkys who made the majority of their wealth in selling poultry. Rovers fans even went to the extent of dressing up the animal which was emblazoned with the club crest. Meanwhile, over in Portugal, Benfica’s match with Porto had to be stopped due to a bird. Benfica were hammered by five goals to nil against their bitter rivals but this did not stop a fan unleashing a live chicken which gave security guards the runaround. Kudos to whoever was able to grab that chicken.
In October of last year, a EURO 2016 Qualifying match between Serbia and Albania had to be stopped just before half time. In the 41st minute, something from the sky came down to greet both sets of players. It was not a bird nor a plane but a drone which was carrying the Albanian flag on it. This sparked plenty of on pitch battles as both countries had a tense relationship. This so called “political provocation” led to both teams being investigated by UEFA.
8. BLACK CAT
Whereas some believe they are sources of bad luck, in the footballing spectrum black cats can provide wonderful sources of comic timing. This is exactly what happened in the Eredivisie game in 2013 which took place between Heracles and FC Groningen. It was the purrfect crime as the feline trundled on to the surface and halted the game. At the time, the game was a dull scoreless affair so the timing was excellent. The man in the middle had no choice but to stop the game as both teams waited for the cat to depart. It was eventually caught but the match was just the sideshow in this case.
One of the most hilarious stoppages to a game took place at White Hart Lane which is home to Tottenham Hotspur. This particular incident occurred during a UEFA Europa League match between Spurs and Partizan Belgrade. The game was suspended after less than 42 minutes when not one but three invading fans ran on to the pitch in separate incidents. They were kitted out with ‘BassBuds’ shirts which is a well known headphone manufacturer. All three individuals then ran around the field before posing for selfies with three of the Tottenham players before being escorted off. The delay lasted a total of ten minutes with Ukrainian referee Yevgen Aranovsky having no alternative but to take everyone to the safety of the dressing room.
6. YOUNG BOY
Before the days of streakers who were soon to become de rigour, young kids were trying their luck. One of the most funniest incidents happened in the 1970s at Old Trafford which involved a game with Manchester United. As a cross came in from the right hand side of the field and was soon nodded down from nowhere, a young boy appears on the pitch. Not overawed by the occasion or the players, he steps up to the ball and gives it an almighty whack. In spite of the fact that he does not score, it has provided one of the all time great sporting clips.
5. PENALTY SPOT PAINT
Another blast from the past but nevertheless an entertaining one involved the unsuspecting penalty spot. This famous incident took place in 1977 between Derby County and Manchester City. In an era where soccer pitches were far from the manicured bowling green lawns of today, the dried mud and soil was so great the spot had disappeared from sight. When Derby were awarded a penalty they had no idea where to place the ball. Consequently, queue flailing stewards not to mention other individuals who went to call someone on to paint the spot back in again. After some delay, it was finally left to Gerry Daly to put the spot kick past City’s goalkeeper Joe Corrigan.
4. FREE KICK FIASCO
It is to the World Cup of 1974 for the next incident as Brazil took on Zaire (now DR Congo). Despite Zaire being the first Sub-Saharan African nation to qualify for this tournament, it delivered one of the funniest moments of all time. After the Brazilians were awarded a free kick close to the 18-yard area, hilarity soon followed. Clearly, Zairian defender Mwepu Ilunga was unaware of the rules of association football as when the referee blew his whistle, he burst from the wall and proceeded to kick it upfield.
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Even pooches can get in on the footballing act. Just ask one plucky dog who stopped a game taking place at the 1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile. The teams this time included England who were playing the holders Brazil. Featuring the likes of Pele and Garrincha, the game was progressing as normal until a dog intervened. After coming on to the pitch in order to chase the ball, many individuals tried to trap it; the dog and not the ball. After some time, it was left to Jimmy Greaves to apprehend man’s best friend as he went down on all fours to grab the dog’s attention.
The weather can play a role in proceedings so much so that is can become beyond a farce. Just last month in a scene more akin to a field scene from Braveheart, a game in the South West Peninsula League tie between Bodmin Town and St Austell was called off. This was as a result of heavy fog which left many unable to see clearly. What is even more bizarre is the fact that the match was stopped just after 58 seconds of play.
1. PINE MARTEN
As they say, some creatures are great and some are small. Over in the Swiss League, a game between FC Thun and Zurich was interrupted due to a furry pine marten which had made a dash for it onto the field. This weasel like creature managed to avoid capture for more than five minutes and proved to quite the speed merchant. It was almost stopped by a Zurich player was also bitten by the wily animal. Some of the martens’ main characteristics include sharp teeth and one defender was unable to weasel out of this scenario. In the end, the goalkeeper proved his worth by capturing the culprit with his gloves.