Whenever you see players on the pitch, we see seriousness in them as they are about to deliver their memorable performances day in, day out but what happens outside the pitch can somewhat be funny and some of them even produce the weirdest possible events.
Football can be beautiful and ugly at the same time. The gracefulness of the players on the pitch makes the beautiful sport glow while disgraceful acts such as fighting, betrayal and other stuff makes the sport loose some of its shine. Football can also be a really funny sport especially off the pitch, where all the magic happens.
From crazy transfer fees to hiring coaches you’ve never thought existed, we’ve gathered five of the weirdest happenings in football off the pitch. Buckle up and prepare to laugh, scratch your head, and be bothered with the list.
5) Ian Wright’s “Humble” Beginnings
Every successful player in football today once came from a beginning that is tough, inspiring and promising. For instance, Lionel Messi started playing football at a very young age and showed a lot of promise despite his height. His career took off through a napkin used as a contract to sign for FC Barcelona and the rest was history.
This day 1985 Ian Wright is spotted by scouts plying his trade for non-league Greenwich Borough. Crystal Palace snap-up the 22-year-old
— Steven Gerrard (@Gerrard8FanPage) September 25, 2012
Ian Wright was a legend in Arsenal having scored 128 goals in a total of 221 appearances for the club. Not many knew how his career started to take off. He started playing club football for Greenwich Borough, an Eltham-based club playing in the Kent League. After six or seven matches, Wright captured the eyes of Crystal Palace’s former manager Steve Coppell who then took Wright to Selhurst Park.
What’s weird and a bit about his transfer to Crystal Palace was the fact that Wright’s transfer fee were six kits and a set of weights. To this day, that might be one of the lowest transfer fees of them all. Who knew, an Arsenal legend would once cost a pair of kits and a set of weights?
4) Ali Dia’s Greatest Fraud
Playing in a club really is the main target of a player before setting his sights to a much bigger national team cap as one won’t be called up for the national team without a stellar performance with his club. Desperate to kick-start his career, Senegalese player Ali Dia made some “tweaks” to his resume with a help from a friend who made a phone call to Southampton former manager Graeme Souness.
In that phone call, Dia’s friend pretended to be Liberian international striker and former FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah. “Weah” told Souness that Dia was his all-star cousin from Senegal who played for Paris Saint-Germain and been capped 13 times for his country.
Weird part of this story is that Souness bought the story and signed Dia on a one-month contract. Dia’s luck got a little better when he played for Southampton against Leeds United. Originally, Dia had been scheduled to play for the reserves team against Arsenal but the match was cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch.
The man. The Myth. The legend. pic.twitter.com/1CdyJg0SiK
— Former Footballers (@FinishedPlayers) August 28, 2018
The moment of truth came for Dia on the 32nd minute when Matthew Le Tessier got injured and needed to be subbed out. Dia came on for Le Tessier but was subbed out as well on the 85th minute. As expected, it was a very poor performance for the Senegalese and Le Tessier said, “He ran around like Bambi on ice. It was very embarrassing to watch. Dia was then released from Southampton two weeks after one of the weirdest and worst fraud committed in the history of football. Because of this, not only did he made Souness a fool of himself but he made fool of us all.
3) Walcott’s Inclusion to the 2006 World Cup England Squad
He might be a fixture now in the English football system but he was once a talk of the town in the 2006 World Cup. Theo Walcott, then 17, just transferred to Arsenal and has yet to feature in the Premier League however, he was still selected by then England manager Sven-Goran Erikson despite the number of far more established strikers at that time like Darrent Bent, Jermain Defoe, and Andrew Johnson.
#OnThisDay in 2006…
Sven decided to take Theo Walcott for a holiday 🇩🇪 pic.twitter.com/Ppm314VeW0
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) May 8, 2018
Although Walcott was added to the squad, he did not have a chanceto deliver as he was not brought on to the pitch. Yes, he was a rising star that time, a buzzy teenager perhaps, but that doesn’t seem to be enough to win a direct spot in the line-up considering that it’s for the World Cup. Had he not been selected, sky must’ve been the limit for the Three Lions.
2) Liverpool signs a “Throw-In” Coach
In this modern era of the sport, everything currently revolves around statistics, scientific application to one’s boots, gloves, kits or wherever it can be applied. However, in almost a weirdest ways possible, tactics get some modern touch to it courtesy of the Liverpool gaffer Jurgen Klopp. In the weirdest way possible, Klopp appointed a throw-in coach for his side.
“I know it is totally the weirdest job in the world.”
It may be weird, but it’s working.
We spoke to Thomas Gronnemark, Liverpool’s new throw-in coach.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) September 5, 2018
Dane Thomas Gronnemark, the man Klopp directly approached for the role, started working on a part-time basis during Liverpool’s pre-season training camp, seeking to minimise the number of errors from the set-play. He’s been helping the first team full-backs, Andy Robertson, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno. He also included James Milner and Sadio Mane in the sessions.
Gronnemark previously worked with Mitdtjylland, Schalke and Hertha Berlin before Klopp tapped him to bring the secrets of his “Long Throw Academy” to Anfield. As weird as it may seem, Klopp did this without any justifications. The gaffer estimated Liverpool take or defend around 50 throw-ins per match. Klopp felt his players squandered possession too often from throw-ins which made Gronnemark’s appointment worthwhile.
1) Patrice Evra’s Monday Motivations
Did ever come across to you why a lot of people hates Monday? First day of work and stress? A feeling of entering to a week of doom? Don’t ask Patrice Evra as he don’t recognize all of these. If you’ve been following the Frenchman’s instagram account, you might have seen a number of his videos already, which he constantly upload every Monday.
😂 Starting to get seriously worried about Patrice Evra…
— The Sportsman (@TheSportsman) September 3, 2018
Why is it on the list? Well, despite the fact that it brings motivation to someone watching it, all he does in a video is sing through a song and laugh for as hard as possible. Yes, laughter is contagious but considering that this is being released on a Monday, one might actually get annoyed by the fact that he/she, who’s watching the video will be on their way to work while Evra showcases his “phenomenal” singing talent and sharing laughter knowing that he’s a player getting a fat paycheck.
But don’t worry Patrice, as weird as it may seem for us, we reserved the weirdest #1 spot for you and your Monday Motivations. Don’t stop Patrice, and don’t ever change. Anything we might’ve missed out on the list? Let us know about your thoughts!