At the age of 34, Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn went all trendy with different range of clothes and a sudden appreciation for techno-music. The reason for the Bayern Munich custodian’s changes was his high-profile relationship with a barmaid 13 years his junior, which hit the German media in 2003. His response to question about why he walked out on his eight-months-pregnant wife Simone for the 21-year-old was: “I am not the Pope.” Encouraged by his young new love, Kahn was seen in trendy nightclubs in clothes deemed, by the media especially, inappropriate for his age.
1920s Newcastle star Hughie Gallacher was a no-nonsense player and one to take his chances off the field as well as on. After a run-in with a referee that led to a booking in 1927 league match, the 5-foot 5-inch winger kicked the ref into a bath, neat footwork that cost him a two-month suspension. During the booking altercation, Gallacher had demanded the ref’s name. On being told “Fogg”, Gallacher retorted: “You’ve been in one all afternoon.” Gallacher had actually gone to the referee’s dressing room to apologize but when he saw the official bending over the bath, revenge took precedence.
The referee accused of ending Italy’s 2002 World Cup dream has a toilet block named after him. Ecuadorian Byron Moreno’s name is on public loos at Sicily’s Santa Teresa Riva resort after he disallowed a golden goal, turned down a penalty claim and sent off Francesco Totti. Italy lost 2-1 to South Korea.
Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough’s crusade against unruly fans came to a head in 1989 when millions of TV viewers watched him grab and punch fans who were invading the pitch at the end of a 5-2 cup win.
Irish international turned Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn bailed out 80 club fans who had been grounded by an airline for singing on an aircraft, The rousing songs were not appreciated at Bristol Airport and they were thrown off more than 300 miles from home. Quinn, of whom they had been singing, organized a fleet of 18 taxis to get the loyal bunch back home to Wearside. He footed the bill, which came to £8,000. Quinn had, years before, donated the whole £1m proceeds of his testimonial match to a children’s hospital.
Things got in a flap when Carlos Tevez flapped his arms like a chicken in celebration of a goal in 2004. The Boca Juniors’ striker could not have been more inflammatory because the opposition River Plate had been dubbed ‘hens’ some years before for several times snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Tevez, who has been surrounded by controversies throughout his career, was sent-off for inflaming the River plate fans and in explaining why he was red-carding him, the ref seemed to make things worse by flapping his own arms on three occasions.
A freak injury sustained on the pitch landed Newcastle United’s Shay Given in hospital in 2006. The goalkeeper’s collision with West Ham’s Marlon Harewood perforated his bowels and experts believed it was the first time that the injury, common in car crashes, had occurred in football.
A fan who dozed off in a Middlesbrough game in 2004 was ejected by stewards, fined £150 and had his season ticket revoked. He was accused of being drunk, but this was overturned in an appeal and preserved the right of any fan to nod off in a boring draw.
Three players – Vince Kenny, Norman Curtis and Eddie Gannon – scored own goals as Sheffield Wednesday lost 5-4 to West Bromwich in an English First Division match in 1960s.
Danish footballer Jonathan Richter was left in a coma after being struck by lightning during a 2009 match in Copenhagen. He did recover soon but lost part of a leg which ended his professional football career.
Read some of the other stories from the series here: