Football is quite a straightforward game but there are some stories from the history of the beautiful game that baffle all. We have no association with that Ripley’s TV show but here are ten weird, funny and dramatically bizarre but true football stories:
Bomb under the pitch
Thousands of amateur football players played on turf covering an unexploded German bomb from the Second World War. The bomb was discovered in April 1995 which meant that the 4,000 people who lived in Portland, Dorset had to be evacuated while technicians spent several hours disabling the weapon.
Actors become football hooligans
In 2009 a police mix up saw photographs of actors issued to media sources following a riot in London. The photos were issued in relation to an incident involving West Ham and Millwall fans but six of the 66 pictures included stills of the actors filming the scenes for a hit film.
Police attack players
Police stormed onto the pitch and pepper sprayed a number of players following a red card in a game in Brazil, 2010. The player sent off in the match between Genus and Moto Cube refused to leave the pitch which caused police in riot gear to storm the pitch attacking him and other protesting players.
The actual game of three halves
An English League game played in 1894 will forever go down in the history of football for having three halves. The match was between Sunderland and Derby County. It started with someone standing in as a deputy referee as the original referee was late. The match was played for 45 minutes, the original referee turned up and ordered a full 90 minutes to be played. Sunderland won 11-0.
Sent off for tripping streaker
Adrian Bastia was sent off in for apprehending a streaker in 2008. During an Astreas Tripolis match against Panathinaikos, Bastia tripped the streaker so he could be escorted off of the pitch by the authorities. The referee subsequently showed him a straight red card for violent conduct.
Dropped for Oktoberfest
Well known German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was dropped from the VfB Stuttgart first team after going along to the Munich beer festival without permission. Lehmann was involved in a 2-0 defeat against Cologne and was then spotted downing beers with fans just a couple of hours after the match had ended.
During the Taliban rule of Afghanistan throughout the 1990s, executions took place before matches at Kabul’s main stadium. Men and women were often tortured, shot, had their throats cut or limbs amputated before teams took to the field for league matches.
Sold for sausage meat
Marius Cioara was sold in Romanian football from UT Arad to Regal Hornia in 2006 for 15 kilograms of sausage meat. However, Cioara left his new side after just one day at the club because he was relentlessly abused by teammates in relation to the circumstances surrounding his move.
Two people once broke into Rotherham’s main stadium before digging up and stealing the penalty spots at either end as a Christmas prank. The pair used small shovels to quickly dig up the spot marks before making a hasty exit. The pair pleaded guilty and were charged with robbery by the authorities.
Wanted criminal on the pitch
A known and wanted drug dealer was arrested in the middle of the pitch during a Sunday League game by the police. The match took place in Leeds in 2009 with 20 officers storming the pitch and preventing the man from running away. However, the team he was playing for did go onto secure a 6-3 win.
Read part two of the series: Football’s Believe it or not 2: 10 funny and strange football stories.