It’s your favourite footballing countdown’s 13th edition, and so to celebrate we’re giving you five of the unluckiest injuries to have befallen footballers…
Injury: Fractured cheekbone
Possibly the most exotic talent ever to grace the Grimsby Town pitch, the former Genoa, Juventus, and Sampdoria player secured his place in Grimsby folklore in an incident in 1996, that led to his departure from Blundell Park. Angered by his side’s 3-2 defeat, and a perceived lack of effort from Bonetti, manager Brian 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.
Injury: Split Eye
Not well-known outside of Croatia, despite spells at Perugia, Fenerbahce, Standard Liege, the 49-times capped midfielder should be. He once missed the start of Hajduk Split’s season after he split his eye open by somehow jabbing his boarding pass into it.
Injury: Infected Toe
The thoroughly mediocre striker who somehow managed to find himself starring for England at Euro 2004, where he missed a crucial penalty in the quarter-final against Portugal, the former Aston Villa striker showed himself a few sandwiches short of a picnic in 2003. Noticing that he had a blood blister on his big toe, he attempted to drain it with a cordless power drill. The toe soon became infected, and he had to have a segment of the nail removed.
Injury: Dislocated Jaw
Stepney should be far more widely know than he is. Matt Busby’s trusted goalkeeper for Manchester United, he was between the posts when United became the first English side to win the European Cup, and made a total of 433 appearances for the Red Devils. He makes this list, however, for a less dignified moment. During a 1975 match against Birmingham, Stepney managed to shout at his defenders in such a vigorous manner that he dislocated his jaw.
Injury: Torn Knee Ligament
Barnard was a Welsh international full-back who made 29 appearances for Chelsea in the Premier League (as well as turning out for Grimsby – what is it they put in the water there?). In 1999 he found himself playing for Barnsley, and decided to buy himself a new puppy. Unfortunately for Barnard, it wasn’t yet fully house-trained, and the Welshman slipped in the puppy’s urine, tearing a knee ligament and keeping him out for five months.
PHOTOS // www.prompt-communications.com www.kotusozluk.com www.football-league.co.uk
The Merseyside Derby takes place this weekend, and in honour of our Scouse brethren OxStu Sport is counting down five of our favourite unintelligible figures from the beautiful game. From deepest Africa to exotic Maidstone, this list shows that football is truly a global game, even if sometimes that makes it a bit more difficult to understand…
The former Liverpool defended has achieved the seemingly unachievable in his role as a pundit on Sky: making Gary Neville’s voice sound bearable.
Facebook group: “Subtitles for Sky Sports ‘cos you can’t understand Jamie Carragher”.
Inexplicably appointed as a pundit by the BBC for the 2010 World Cup, Adebayor’s recruitment was described as “a surprise.”
Facebook group: The awkward moment when Adebayor speaks and the pundits don’t understand
Perhaps trying to rid himself of the Scouse accent, Barton amused millions worldwide when he adopted an ‘Allo ‘Allo accent for a press conference when playing for Marseille.
Facebook group: Putting on a French accent thinking that you’re Joey Barton
Having infamously taken three yellow cards to send off Croatian Simunic, Poll claimed in his autobiography that the centre-back’s Australian accent (he was born in Australia) led him to mark down the first yellow card as going to the Australian number three.
Facebook group: N/A. Sort it out, Facebook
The much-maligned accompaniment to Clyve Tyldesley on ITV serenades a nation every England match with his dulcet cockney tones. Imagine the surprise, therefore, when it turns out that the former Middlesbrough player actually captained the Republic of Ireland. Townsend, born in Maidstone, qualified through his grandmother.
Facebook group: What the fuck does Andy Townsend know about football?
PHOTOS // scottlaudati.com www.youtube.com espnfc.com
With the European World Cup playoffs taking place this weekend, OxStu Sport takes a look at five of the worst teams to grace football’s greatest stage.
South Korea 1954
Results: Hungary 9-0 South Korea
Turkey 7-0 South Korea
Coach: Kim Yung Sik
Captain: Min Byung Dae
Memorable Moment: Setting the World Cup record for most goals conceded, lowest aggregate goal difference, the most goals conceded per game, and the lowest average goal difference per game
Saudi Arabia 2002
Results: Germany 8-0 Saudi Arabia
Cameroon 1-0 Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia 0-3 Ireland
Coach: Nasser Al-Johar
Captain: Sami Al-Jaber
Memorable Moment: Conceding the most goals in the group stages for 25 years
El Salvador 1982
Results: Hungary 10-1 El Salvador
Belgium 1-0 El Salvador
Argentina 2-0 El Salvador
Coach: Mauricio Rodriguez
Captain: Jose Huezo
Memorable Moment: Managing to qualify for the tournament despite scoring only two goals in five games in qualifying
Results: Zaire 0-2 Scotland
Yugoslavia 9-0 Zaire
Zaire 3-0 Brazil
Coach: Blagoje Vidinic
Captain: Kidumu Mantantu
Memorable Moment: Mwepu Ilunga charging from a defensive wall to boot the ball clear before Brazil had even taken the free kick
United Arab Emirates 1990
Results: United Arab Emirates 0-2 Colombia
West Germany 5-0 United Arab Emirates
Yugoslavia 4-1 United Arab Emirates
Coach: Carlos Alberto Parreira
Captain: Abdulrahman Mohamed
Memorable Moment: Playing West Germany in a monsoon in Milan
PHOTOS // www.bbc.co.uk www.soccermond.com www.fifa.com
With fifth week coming on, OxStu Sport introduces you to some players who would never shy away from the fifth-week blues. These men were proper hardmen when such things really existed.
Keane was a leader and an inspiration to the best team Sir Alex Ferguson created while he was at United, but he was also a maniac. Now a TV pundit, even jovial Adrian Chiles is still occasionally on the receiving end of one of Keane’s steely glares. Famous Keane spats included the Irishman (5ft 10in) telling Patrick Viera (6ft 4in) to “pick on someone your own size” after the Frenchman confronted Gary Neville in the Highbury tunnel, and the rant on MUTV which eventually led to his United exit, in which he slated a number of his fellow teammates, including Rio Ferdinand: “Just because you are paid £120,000-a-week and play well for 20 minutes against Tottenham, you think you are a superstar.”
Maddest Moment: Ending Alfie Haaland’s career with a bone-crunching challenge. Describing the moment in his autobiography, Keane said:”I’d waited long enough. I f****** hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you c***. And don’t ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries.”
The player Sir Alex Ferguson decided not to sign because of his aggressive reputation, Hartson was suspended from the Luton youth team aged 16 for stealing a bank card from the son of a couple with whom he was lodging. The Welshman averaged a red card every 26 Premier League games in appearances for Arsenal, West Ham, Wimbledon, Coventry, and West Brom, and also racked up the cards for Celtic. In 1998 he was red carded for striking another player, and was sent off again 7 matches later. In 1999 he was red carded for elbowing another player, while Hartson was sent off twice between 1999 and 2000 for using foul and abusive language towards referees.
Maddest Moment: “If my head had been a ball, it would have been in the top corner of the net” – so said West Ham’s Eyal Berkovic after Hartson had kicked him in the face in a training ground incident in September 1998.
While most players on this list managed to keep their hardmen credentials on the pitch, Ferguson was a formidable figure in his everyday life as well, as two burglars found out when they tried to rob the Scotsman’s house in 2001. Ferguson confronted the pair and was able to detain one of them who subsequently spent three days in hospital. In addition to that, the former Dundee, Rangers, Everton, and Newcastle striker has four convictions for assault, including a £200 fine for punching and kicking a supporter on crutches.
Maddest Moment: Ferguson received a three-month prison sentence in 1994 for an on–field headbutt on Raith Rovers defender John McStay while playing for Rangers.
In another life, the actor and Celebrity Big Brother contestant was a feared central-midfielder, and pivotal member of Wimbledon’s “Crazy Gang”. He was sent off 12 times in his career, as well as holding the record for the quickest ever booking in a football match, being booked after just three seconds in a Premier League tie between Chelsea and Sheffield United in 1992. Jones reveled in his hard-man image, claiming that “I’ve taken violence off the terracing and onto the pitch.”
Maddest Moment: In a 1987 match between Wimbledon and Newcaslte, Jones was caught on camera grabbing Paul Gascoigne by his testicles. It did not create lasting animosity between the two, though, as Jones helped fund Gascoigne’s rehab stint in America alongside the likes of Chris Evans, Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan.
The recently sacked manager of England Under-21s was a much respected professional, establishing a reputation as an uncompromising left back who played hard but fair. Throughout his career, he was given the nickname of “Psycho” for his unforgiving style of play. This was initially a tag afforded to him only by Forest fans, though later it was adopted by England supporters too, while former England Team mate Matthew Le Tissier has since described him as his scariest opponent in his book Taking Le Tiss.
Maddest Moment: In a 1999 match against Watford, Pearce injured his leg in an on-field collision. Undaunted, he continued to play the match. Afterwards, it was revealed that Pearce’s leg had been broken – he was 37. For good measure, he broke the same limb later on in the same season, refused to be stretchered off, hobbled off the pitch, and still recovered.
PHOTOS // ataleoftwomes.blogspot.com www.dailymail.co.uk www.bbc.co.uk
With the Welsh derby taking place this weekend, OxStu Sport takes a look at some of the greatest players from the land of the red dragon to have graced a football pitch – and there’s no room for Robbie Savage…
Clubs: Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid
Welsh Caps: 42
Individual Honours: Football League Young Player of the Year 2007, Wales Player of the Year Award 2010, FWA Footballer of the Year 2012–13, PFA Players’ Player of the Year 2010–11 & 2012–13, PFA Young Player of the Year 2012–13
They say: “I always believed in my ability but I think in any sport you need that little bit of luck.”
Others say: “This is a player who has incredible potential, which he has demonstrated over the past three years and he is certainly among the top three players” – Zinedine Zidane
Clubs: Leeds United, Juventus, Roma, Cardiff City, Hereford United, Merthyr Tydfil
Welsh Caps: 38
Individual Honours: Italian Player of the Year 1958, CBE for services to football 2001, English Football Hall of Fame Inductee 2002
Trophies: 3 Serie A titles, 2 Coppa Italia, 2 Welsh Cups
They say: “It was the wonderful game of football which gave me the chances to lead such a full and wonderful life. Without it I’d have been nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary.”
Others say: “Even now he is still considered a god in Turin” – former team-mate Bruno Garzena
Clubs: Manchester United
Welsh Caps: 64
Individual Honours: PFA Young Player of the Year 1991–92 & 1992–93, PFA Players’ Player of the Year 2008–09, BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2009, Wales Player of the Year Award 1996 & 2006, English Football Hall of Fame Inductee 2005
Trophies: 13 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 4 league Cups, 9 Community Shields, 2 Champions Leagues, 1 Super Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup, 1 Club World Cup
They say: “”I’ve been lucky enough to win many things in my career. I’ve played with some great players, the greatest manager who’s ever lived, and the greatest club in the world”
Others say: ‘I think the superlatives have all been used up, I don’t think he needs any himself. His legacy lives on – he is just a fantastic human being” – Sir Alex Ferguson
Born: St Asaph
Clubs: Chester City, Liverpool, Juventus, Leeds United, Sheffield United, Newcastle United, Wrexham, Sydney Olympic
Welsh Caps: 73
Individual Honours: PFA Young Player of the Year 1983, PFA Players’ Player of the Year 1984, FWA Footballer of the Year 1984, European Golden Boot 1984, First Division Golden Boot 1984
Trophies: 5 First Division titles. 3 FA Cups, 5 League Cups, 3 Charity Shields, 2 European Cups,
They say: “When I was a kid I set my sights on playing for Chester. If I play there until 34-35 then I’ll go on and get a normal job. I was happy playing at Chester and didn’t set my sights a lot higher.”
Others say: “Ian Rush was a big hero of mine. I looked up to him for a long time and used to watch a lot of the videos of him scoring, but let’s not be stupid. He scored over 300 goals and I’m not comparing myself to Ian Rush. He was a different breed” – Steven Gerrard
Clubs: Bury, Everton, Port Vale, Southend United, Stoke City, Doncaster Rovers, Torquay United, Huddersfield Town, Bradford City, York City, Rhyl, Shrewsbury Town, Dover Athletic, Dagenham and Redbridge
Welsh Caps: 92
Individual Honours: FWA Footballer of the Year: 1985
Trophies: 2 First Division titles, 2 FA Cups, 4 Charity Shields, 1 European Cup Winners’ Cup,
They say: “I was seen as different. Some thought that, others thought I was just stupid. I wasn’t.”
Others say: “At the time I just thought he was the best in the world – it was just a shame Wales didn’t get to the World Cup or European Championships. People likened Peter Schmeichel to him, but I thought Nev was better” – Graeme Sharp
PHOTOS // www.leftfootforward.org iltifosi.tumblr.com www.thetimes.co.uk
It is the final stage of the 2013 edition of the Tour de France. As the cyclists come around the Champs-Élysées for the seventh time there is a lone figure at the front, a model of concentration as he rhythmically pedals along with a time trial stance. David Millar has been in the breakaway since the second circuit and now stands as the lone leader, twenty-three seconds in front of the ever approaching pack. It is a fruitless task to hold off the modern peloton in this grand finish, and Millar knows it as he lets out one more defiant burst of speed before being swept up by the speeding peloton.
I was reminded of this moment last week when Millar announced his retirement from professional cycling. There was something wonderful to watch in Millar’s attack around the streets of Paris, a reminder of the beautiful nature of a sport where a competitor can stand out simply by pushing harder than the others, and where tragic failure is more exciting than overwhelming victory.
No doubt it was useful for his Garmin-Sharp team to have the world’s cameras focussed on their rider for much of the sport’s flagship event, and this must have been going through Millar’s mind as he relentlessly pushed harder to stand alone at the front. Yet it was also a display of the individualism, and talent, which make Millar such a joy to watch and support.
When he was caught doping by French police in 2004 many wrote him off. In one telling interview of the time Lance Armstrong berated Millar for ‘getting his hand caught in the cookie jar’, revealing the sense of omertà that dominated the professional scene – Millar’s sin was not the doping, but getting caught doing so. He was merely part of the European cycling game that corrupted even the most optimistic of riders, and valued winning above anything else. The losers were those who got eaten up by the system.
His fantastic autobiography Racing Through The Dark explains the darkness of those years of exclusion, the impossibility of feeling good when the world knows you are a cheat. In the book he describes a sense of emptiness after winning a race having doped, as his sport became a profession rather than a passion. While others revelled in winning, Millar could not sit comfortably knowing he had cheated.
Yet Millar fought on. It is a cliché to say so, but the bravest and most important step he took was to admit he was a cheat. A lesser rider would have thrown about wild conspiracy theories whilst proclaiming their innocence, but Millar did not attempt to fight the charges.
Since his return from a two year suspension there has been no more charismatic sportsperson than Millar. You need only watch one interview with him to see that he is intelligent, eloquent and thoughtful. He never holds back from criticising those in power, but unlike most ‘outspoken’ athletes he qualifies everything with a convincing alternative. He speaks perceptively and eloquently about modern sport and its complexities, more so than most commentators can manage.
Too many ex-dopers are simply exorcised from the sport, as though by erasing them from history their mistakes can also be erased. Yet to combat these problems cycling needs to face up to dopers and bring them back into the fold to explain why they doped. Millar is one of the key voices in initiating a change not just in cycling, but in the wider sporting world, that does not portray people simply as heroes or villains but looks at the culture that makes people cheat.
Next year’s Tour de France could hardly be a more apt finale for such an impressive and important sportsman – the thought of Millar leading the peloton into London on the third stage in Britain sends shivers down the spine. Yet I think it would be wrong to say it will be his goodbye to sport. Such an outspoken and intelligent man surely has a future behind the scenes, and the cycling world will be better for it.
With El Clasico taking place this Saturday evening, OxStu Sport takes a look at some of the greatest, most memorable, and most bonkers moments from the fixture. Featuring some of football’s greatest ever players, Jose Mourinho’s finger, and a pig’s head. Enjoy!
Figo pig’s head
In the soap opera that is often the story of Real and Barca, the Presidents often have a starring role, and none have done more in recent times to keep the headline-writers interested than Florentino Perez. Running in the Real Madrid Presidential race promising marquee signings, the former civil engineer promised to refund all 70,000 season-ticket holders if Figo did not sign. After 172 La Liga games for Barcelona, 30 goals, two league titles, two Copa del Reys and a Cup Winners’ Cup triumph, a world-record bid of £37.5 million was enough to invoke Figo’s buyout clause. Barcelona’s President – Joan Gaspart – was furious: “I’ll not forget this. Whoever is responsible for this will pay for it. We’ll see how and when,” he fumed. It was a full two years’ later that the pig’s head – along with other detritus – was aimed at the Portuguese midfielder, in a match described by Marca as “the derby of shame”. Barcelona, however, were under no illusions as to who was to blame: “Figo provoked the fans,” Barca coach Louis van Gaal said. “He walked over to the corner really slowly.”
An incident that typifies the way in which recent matches between the two Spanish rivals have become parodies of football rivalries, Mourinho attracted criticism and mirth in equal measure with his bizarre stab at then-Barca coach Tito Vilanova. At the end of the second leg of a bad-tempered Supercopa tie at the Nou Camp, with Barcelona having just triumphed 3-2, an ugly Marcelo challenge on Cesc Fabregas provoked a touchline melee at the final whistle. Amongst the madness, replays showed Mourinho casually wandering up to Vilanova and thrusting his finger into the coach’s eye. After the match Mourinho seemed unconcerned: “Who is Pito Vilanova? I don’t know who Pito Vilanova is…”
Ronaldinho standing ovation
With the rivalry between Spain’s two biggest sides encompassing sporting, cultural, and political divides, it takes a rare talent to unite the two. Ronaldinho was certainly that. The reigning world player of the year produced an outstanding performance, including two superb solo goals, as Barca destroyed Madrid 3-0 at the Nou Camp. After he sealing the match with his second goal, the Brazilian received an impromptu standing ovation from the Madrid faithful, who aimed a cacophony of jeers at their own team as they trudged away. For a player whose later career has somewhat tailed off in recent years, it serves to remind what a talent Ronaldinho was that, in a match containing Zidane, Ronaldo, Beckham, Xavi, and the young Messi, it was the buck-toothed Brazilian that stole the stage.
Di Stefano’s signing
One of the greatest players to have ever graced the white of Real Madrid, it is little-known just how close Alfredo Di Stefano was to signing for their Catalan rivals. While playing for Colombian side Millonarios, the Argentine impressed the Real President in a friendly at the Bernabeu, and in July 1953 Madrid agreed a deal to sign him. However, in the same year Di Stéfano signed a deal with Barcelona. FIFA authorized the transfer, but due to issues regarding a dispute between Millonarios and River Plate over who owned the striker, the Spanish Federation did not recognize the deal. By this point, Real Madrid had signed their own transfer agreement with Millonarios: Di Stefano arrived in Spain on 22 May 1953 to conclude his contract with Barcelona, but during the discussions with the Spanish Federation Real Madrid’s president Santiago Bernabéu convinced him to sign for them instead. Eventually, an agreement between the two clubs’ Presidents stated that Di Stefano would play for two seasons with Barca and two with Real, but the deal provoked such protests amongst fans of the Catalan club that their President resigned, and Real Madrid secured the signing of arguably their greatest ever player.
Cruyff El Classico debut
In a saga not too dissimilar from the Di Stefano saga, Barcelona were stalling over the signing of Ajax’s Johan Cruyff. Madrid decided to get involved, but this time the outcome was different, with Barca quickly stumping up the cash to make sure they landed the Dutch international. Cruyff immediately enamoured himself to the Catalan faithful, telling the European press upon his arrival that he had chosen Barcelona because he could “never play for a team associated with Franco.” The key practioner of Dutch “total football: secured his place in Barcelona’s history after his first visit to the Bernabeu as a player, as he set up three goals and scored one as Barcelona recorded a 5-0 win in the 1973/74 season, one that would end with Barcelona’s first La Liga title since 1960. Cruyff was also crowned European Footballer of the Year, and would later go on to become one of Barcelona’s most popular managers, but for most Barca fans, that one statement upon his arrival had secured his cult status forever.
PHOTOS // www.caughtoffside.com www.telegraph.co.uk www.myfootballfacts.com
Name: Matthew Murrell
Team: Radcliffe Chimeras
Position: Beater, Chaser and Seeker
How did you discover Quidditch?
I was first dragged along to Quidditch by some friends in Oxford when I was up visiting last year. I was on my way home and they mentioned that they were going to Quidditch training in conversation, and I was instantly intrigued.
What convinced you to stay?
Mostly the people. I really love playing Quidditch, but it’d be nowhere near as fun if it weren’t for all of the amazing friends that I’ve made playing Quidditch.
Summarise your playing style in three words.
Versatile, aggressive, determined.
What makes a good player in your position?
Since I play three out of four positions, this is a pretty tricky question. I’d say that overall, the most important element for any position is awareness. As a Beater, you often have to make difficult decisions about which players to beat/mark, and as a Chaser you always have to be on the lookout for passing opportunities, places to cut through the oppositions defence and, of course, for Bludgers. As a Seeker, it is important to be aware of the score and the opposing Seeker’s tactics, in order to adjust your playing style to catch the Snitch.
You recently took part in a snitch academy. Why did you do it, and what did it involve?
The Snitch Academy is basically a day full of different exercises that help prepare a player to play as the role of snitch. You are graded on each one, from a fail – Gold grade, and if you pass, you become an officially certified IQA Snitch, and are then eligible to Snitch in IQA official tournaments and matches. I decided to become a snitch because it seems like a really fun role to play. There were a lot of exercises to get through, but my favourite one was the endurance arena. In this exercise the Snitch is confined to a 6x6m box, and has to survive as long as they can without being caught by the Seekers, who enter the arena at regular intervals. It was a really good exercise for practicing holding off or outmanoeuvring Seekers, whilst also staying aware of potential attacks from other Seekers. Having been a seeker against Nicole, a Snitch from Reading, a few times, and seeing all of the tricks that she played, such as hiding, wearing decoy snitch balls, or even bringing extra snitches onto the pitch to work as buffers, I began to appreciate how fun and imaginative you can be with the role, and just really wanted the chance to be a part of it.
What’s your favourite match that you’ve played in?
I think that my favourite match was during the Whiteknights tournament, in which the Quidlings (Oxford’s second team) had a few players who couldn’t make the second day matches, so I was allowed to play on their team to make up the numbers. I really enjoy a challenging match and playing as an underdog, so when The Quidlings played against Southampton, it was pretty amazing. They’re a really strong team, and it was so much fun.
What’s your must-see match at the BQC?:
Keele vs Bangor (of course). They’re both really strong teams, and although Keele beat Bangor the last time they played, that was over 6 months ago, and both teams have improved massively. It’s a match that could really easily go either way.
What tactical advice do you have for new players in your position?
I think that you really just need to get stuck into game situations, and try and find your own unique style of playing. Practice makes perfect.
Who is your Quidditch idol?
Umm, if I had to pick somebody it’d either be Ashley Cooper (the current Oxford Captain) or Robert Dugald (Southampton Star Player). They can both play pretty much all of the positions, the same as I do, though they’ve both been playing a lot longer than I have, and have a lot of experience in the game.
Why should people play Quidditch?
Because it’s awesome. The game is awesome, the community is awesome, the tournaments are awesome. I think that everybody should at least give it a try, it really is just so much fun.