Ah, so it has come to this. A list of the most ridiculous, hilarious, and downright odd football injuries ever known to man. From salad cream to wedding rings, dog piss to power drills, get ready. It might get a little freaky.
1. Dave Beasant & Santiago Canizares
Ok so I am starting out by cheating. Not ideal I will give you that. But these two were so similar I would have felt even more guilty by using them separately. First things first, two goalkeepers. Remember that, that is important when I tell you how they injured themselves, right? Two goalkeepers.
The first one, Dave Beasant, was the first man to save a penalty at Wembley in an FA Cup final. He was also absent for the start of Chelsea’s 1993/94 campaign, after dropping a jar of salad cream. However, he wasn’t completely soft, as he attempted to prevent the jar from smashing on his kitchen floor, by sticking his bare foot out and taking the full force. Clever boy.
Canizares had a slightly more distinguished career with Valencia & Spain. His peroxide locks earned him 46 caps for Spain between 1993 & 2006. However, he is perhaps best remembered by non-Spanish fans for an incident in 2002.
Celebrating his call up, and the fact that he was a shoe-in to be first choice keeper, for Spain’s World Cup squad for Japan & Korea, Canizares decided an evening on the pull was in order. Glad rags on, clean pants included, all that was needed was a splash of Brut. Disaster. Butterfingers lost his grip, his foot instinctively saved the day, a severed tendon in his foot meant that Iker Casillas got the gig in the Far East instead. Clever boy.
2. John Durnin
John Durnin is a Scouser. A former Liverpool trainee. I’ve played Saturday league football against him would you believe. He’s a good laugh with good banter. But if I’d have known this before the game, he wouldn’t have stood a chance. In 1991, Durnin was playing a round of golf with his Portsmouth team-mate Alan McLoughlin, and was making his way in his golf buggy (how lazy are the modern players!) down the fairway. Durnin was delighted to see his partner’s struggle to find his ball after a shanked tee-shot, and didn’t notice the danger approaching. His buggy drove straight into a fairway hollow, leaving Durnin with a dislocated elbow, and sidelined for six weeks. McLoughlin took a drop and still made par.
3. Ivano Bonetti.
Ah Ivano Bonetti. Perhaps the most flamboyant, exotic player ever to grace Grimsby Town. Certainly the most flamboyantly, exotically, named anyway. Bonetti only played 19 times for the Mariners, he only scored 3 goals. But he is ensured a place in the club’s history after a game against Luton Town in February 1996. Town’s manager at the time was former Nottingham Forest full back, and current Sheffield Wednesday boss, Brian Laws. Angered by his side’s 3-2 defeat, and a perceived lack of effort from Bonetti, Laws snapped, hurling the nearest thing to him straight at the Italian striker. Unfortunately, the nearest thing to him happened to be a plate of chicken wings, which left Bonetti with a fractured cheekbone. Still, it could have been worse, next to the chicken wings was an anvil.
4. Richard Wright
Richard Wright was supposed to be David Seaman’s heir for both club and country. Arsene Wenger was so impressed with Wright’s performances for Ipswich Town that he paid £6m to bring him to Arsenal (in one crazy summer where he also shelled out £8m for Francis Jeffers). However, Wright never made it at Highbury, lasting just one season before moving to Everton. It was with Everton, in a Cup tie at Chelsea in 2006, that Wright made his entry onto our list. He was warming up in front of the home supporters, when he landed awkwardly and twisted his ankle. Nothing unusual there, except for the fact that what he landed on was a sign forbidding players to warm up in the goal area. There were also rumours that he sustained a head injury after bumping into a “mind your head” sign in a cinema, although Wright defended himself by claiming he had seen the sign, he just couldn’t make out what it said.
5. Milan Rapaic
Milan Rapaic was a fine player in his day. Capped 49 times by Croatia, he enjoyed spells at Perugia, Ancona, Fenerbahce, Standard Liege & two stints at Hadjuk Split. But that all pales into insignificance when I tell you that he once missed the start of Hajduk Split’s season after sticking his boarding-pass in his eye at the airport.
6. Steve Morrow
Name ring a bell? It will for Arsenal fans. Morrow was just 22 when he scored the goal which gave Arsenal a League Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley in 1993. If captain Tony Adams had got his way though, the Ulsterman would never have seen 23. Adams hoisted the match winner high onto his shoulders, but the current Portsmouth manager was never the most sure-footed of defenders, and lost his footing, Morrow crashed awkwardly to the ground, breaking his collarbone. Still, despite missing being presented with his League Cup final medal, Morrow did get some consolation, as he was presented with it belatedly before the FA Cup final two months later. The FA Cup final that Morrow was forced to sit out due to his injury, that will be.
7. Darius Vassell
Footballers and DIY eh? When will they learn? In fact, make that MEN and DIY eh? When will we learn? We all like to think we can sort a multitude of little problems out around our own home, it’s natural. But not all of us go to the extreme lengths that Aston Villa’s Darius Vassell went to upon encountering such problems. Vassell, spotting a blood blister beneath the nail on his big toe, took the only sensible course of action. Reaching for his Black & Decker, Vassell drilled straight through the nail, in order to drain the blister. It worked as well, until he picked up a blood infection and had to have the whole nail removed.
8. Paolo Diogo
Paolo Diogo sounds like he should be a good player. Famous for stepovers, silky dribbling, long range piledrivers, and intuitive passing. Unfortunately, he isn’t. He is a journeyman midfielder, who in December 2004, upon scoring a rare goal decided to hurdle the advertising hoardings and celebrate with his adoring fans. It would have been touching, had his wedding ring not caught in the perimeter fence and torn off the top half of his finger. Still, could have been worse, he could have been booked for leaving the field of play. Oh he was. Shit.
9. Svein Grondalen
Hardly a household name I grant you, but once upon a time, a somewhat shifty looking Grondalen was forced to withdraw from a Norwegian international squad with a mysterious injury. The injury, it was said, was caused when Grondalen was involved in a collision whilst out jogging near his home. A hit and run? Hardly, the big defender ran straight into a moose. Former Bolton frontman Dean Holdsworth was once reported to have been involved in a collision with a moose, but further inspection revealed it to be Linsey Dawn McKenzie, with whom Deano was indulging in one or two “extra-marital affairs” with.
10. Roy Carroll
There has always been something comedic to me about Roy Carroll. Maybe it was the fact that he looked sort of like a deranged version of Alan Shearer. Maybe it was the fact that he managed to con Sir Alex Ferguson into believing he was ever good enough to be first choice at Old Trafford. Maybe even the fact that he adamantly claimed that his fumbled attempt to catch Pedro Mendes’ high effort had not crossed the line (to be fair, it was close). Or maybe it was just the fact that he once picked up a knee injury at West Ham when he caught his foot in a goal net as he retrieved a number of footballs, which presumably had all been leathered past him as he looked around for someone else, anyone else, to blame.
11. Alan Wright
Ah yes, I remember Alan Wright. He was like a smaller version of Mark Draper. Left back. Not a bad little player in fact. Not a bad VERY little player. Yes, at 5ft 4in, Wright was the epitome of diminutive. It probably wasn’t his wisest decision then, to splash out on a flashy Ferrari sports car, with an accelerator too far away for his pint-sized legs to reach. A knee strain later, Wright was back in the market for a new motor, this time settling for a Rover 416 and a booster seat.
12. Lee Hodges
Lee Hodges started his career at Tottenham, where he was once considered “The Next Big Thing”. He never really reached his potential, despite a moderately successful lower league career. Maybe incidents like this one in 1996, when he slipped on a bar of soap in the shower and tore his groin, can explain the reasons for this. I thought bars of soap in the shower were only present in stereotypical showers in stereotypical prisons on stereotypical films/tv shows. Maybe I’m wrong.
13. Alex Stepney
Manchester United goalkeepers have always had a habit of giving their defenders a hard time haven’t they. Look at Roy Carroll, he was always moaning, or Massimo Taibi, he gave his defenders kittens every time he came off his line. Or stayed on it. But the undoubted king of the shouting goalies has to Peter Schmeichel. Right? Wrong! In a match against Birmingham in 1975, United’s legendary keeper Alex Stepney managed to shout at his defenders in such a vigorous manner that he, erm, dislocated his jaw.
14. Chic Brodie
It’s amazing how many goalkeepers tend to pick up strange injuries, isn’t it? Well, maybe not considering they dive round like madmen whilst the sensible ones are doing their flicks and tricks upfield. But in Chic Brodie’s case, the injury was both freakish, and tragic. Brodie was in goal for Brentford in a game against Colchester in November 1970 when he was confronted by a pitch invader. The uninvited guest chased the ball for a good thirty seconds, before ploughing into Brodie’s knee as he collected a backpass. Brodie was left with a shattered kneecap which eventually caused his retirement. The dog was given a yellow card and was substituted for it’s own protection.
15. Leroy Lita
It may come as no surprise to anyone who witnessed Lita’s insipid displays as Reading were relegated from the Premier League last season, that the former Bristol City striker’s injury is bed related. Upon waking one fine spring morning, Lita did what comes naturally to everyone. He stretched and yawned. Only he did it in a weird way apparently and damaged a leg muscle. I can’t believe he didn’t lie and say something less embarrassing like he had done it celebrating a goal….oh, right.
There’s nothing more relaxing for an international manager than seeing your captain in fine form in training ahead of a World Cup. And for Luiz Felipe Scolari, everyone’s favourite Brazilian except Jordan’s, that is exactly what he was seeing. Emerson was keeping out everything Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and co could fire at him in a routine shooting session. The only trouble is, Emerson is not a goalkeeper and when he damaged his shoulder soon after, he was forced to miss out as Brazil clinched their fourth World Crown.
17. Bryan Robson
Staying on the theme of “International Captains” and “Larking About”, brings us to Bryan Robson. Captain Marvel to his friends. He suffered some pretty rotten luck with World Cups, Kevin Keegan’s sponge-head sent him home from Espana 82, and a dislocated shoulder forced him home from Mexico 86 early. But he could have no one to blame but himself for the injury which saw him sent home from Italia 90. After an evening’s japery with the likes of Chris Waddle, his mullet, and Paul Gascoigne, Robson decided that Gascoigne had been sat on his bed for way too long. Lifting the bed up (some feat considering Gazza was on it), Robson lost his grip and the leg of the bed landed nicely on his toe. Despite Gazza’s medical nous “Wash it in the bidet”, Robson was forced to go home before the tournament started, and David Platt and Gazza established themselves as the lynchpins of the England midfield.
18. Andy Dibble
Andy Dibble has never been blessed with good fortune. Not only is he the unfortunate possessor of the surname Dibble, he is also the goalkeeper to whom this happened (tip for keepers- never hold a ball as if it is a tray of drinks). But surely even those titbits of terrible fortune cannot compare to his injury sustained for Welsh league side Barry Town against Camarthen in 1998. There, Dibble was hospitalized after suffering chemical burns from the turf at his side’s Richmond Park ground. He never waited on again.
19. Darren Barnard
Simple really. Welsh international left back, brand new puppy. Puppy soils kitchen floor. Welsh international left back slips over on said soil. The result- five months out with a knee ligament injury.
20. Paddy Kenny
And finally, what better way to end this trawl through mania than with a bout of mindless violence. Yes, Paddy Kenny, the Sheffield United & Ireland goalkeeper. The fat one yes. Kenny hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in November 2006 when he required twelve stitches in a wound after a brawl outside, predictably, a curry house in Halifax. Hit over the head with a Biryani? Alas no, he had actually had most of his eyebrow bitten off. Jeesh.
So there you have it, and before you get on at me, I know that Rio Ferdinand bashed his knee in watching telly, I know that Richard Wright once fell out of his loft, and that Wycombe keeper Frank Talia ran over his own foot with a lawnmower, leaving him one toe short of a full foot, I also know that Kasey Keller removed his own front teeth attempting to get his golf clubs out of the boot of his car. But these are for another list, on another day!