Saturday’s tilt between Everton and Wolves was briefly halted when a black cat darted around the pitch to the enjoyment of those in attendance at Goodison Park. While the fleet feline may represent a bad omen for embattled Toffees tactician Marco Silva, it marked the latest example of animals interacting with footballers.
Poultry in motion at Ewood Park
Two years after Indian poultry group Venky’s bought Blackburn Rovers in 2010, with top-flight status hanging in the balance versus Wigan, a chicken sporting a scarf emblazoned with the club’s crest was released onto the pitch. Blackburn would go on to lose 1-0 to secure relegation. Cluck cluck, you suck.
Bugging out with James Rodriguez
With Colombia trailing Brazil 2-0 at the quarterfinal stage of the 2014 World Cup, Los Cafeteros star James Rodriguez stepped up to the penalty spot with a gargantuan grasshopper clinging to his shirt. None the wiser, James slotted home the spot-kick before celebrating with jumbo aphid in tow.
Horsing around in Newcastle
Newcastle supporter Barry Rogerson failed to rein it in following a 2013 derby loss to Sunderland, punching a police horse in a drunken spur-of-the-moment decision. Rogerson was then saddled with a 12-month prison sentence, only to earn an early release. Say neigh to assaulting our equine brethren.
Fowl play at Selhurst Park
On the topic of fans hitting animals, Charlton supporter Daniel Boylett was found guilty of trying to punch Crystal Palace’s eagle mascot Kayla during a 2015 derby at Selhurst Park. Bird brain Boylett rationalized the incident, saying, “We just got battered.” A haddock’s famous last words.
Ruff day at the office
Brentford’s Chic Brodie had his professional career ended when a terrier collided with the shot-stopper during a November 1970 clash with Colchester. The referee did not blow his whistle to “paws” the match as Broadie writhed in pain with torn knee ligaments, though there were “canine” minutes of injury time.
‘Urine’ for a far-fetched ‘tail’ of misfortune
More dog disasters. Barnsley midfielder Darren Barnard missed five months with torn knee ligaments when he slipped in a puddle of puppy pee pooled on the kitchen floor. Somewhere, Sepp Bladder is having a laugh at this first iteration of Football Leaks.
Pop goes the weasel
Zurich defender Loris Benito learned a swift lesson when he tried to intercept a wayward critter in a 2013 Swiss league match against FC Thun. “In hindsight, I was probably a little foolish,” Benito offered post-match. Luis Suarez would be proud. Once bitten, twice shy.
Fast and moose in Norway
Former Norwegian international footballer Svein Grondalen missed a 1970 World Cup qualifier after coming up on the wrong side of a 50-50 with a moose. Out for a jog, Grondalen crossed paths with the hulking animal and was subsequently placed on the shelf for the critical international match.
Birds of a feather dine together
Manchester United full-back Ashley Young saved a few quid on groceries when a bird hit the target during an opening day defeat to Swansea City at Old Trafford in August 2014. Young has denied snacking on the pigeon projectile, claiming that the footage was doctored. I’ll have what he’s having.
Bark Andre ter Stegen
A stray dog rushed to the rescue in a third-tier Argentinian league fixture between Juventud Unida and Defensores de Belgrano, making a last-ditch save to cement the latter’s clean sheet in a 3-0 victory. Football and dogs in Argentina have been bedfellows since Gonzalo Higuain said, “I’m not fat, just a little husky.” Try the veal.