18 Bizarre Football Facts

bizarre football facts

Football, a game watched by millions, loved by millions. It truly is ‘the beautiful game’. Any footie fan will tell you that there’s nothing like seeing your team score a last-gasp winner on the 90th minute of derby day, and there’s nothing like the pain of coming back from certain defeat only to lose on penalties. It’s a game of many emotions. But sometimes, through the anger, sadness and elation, things in football are just, well, funny. So here are some of the funniest, weird football facts in the history of the game, from the games unexpected origins to bizarre incidents and coincidences on and off the pitch. Things are about to get weird…

1. Football was born in England! Right?

Wrong! Football actually originated in China dating all the way back to the 3rd century. In a game called “Cuju” there were six goal posts at each end, and in some variants players didn’t even need to score goals to win matches as points were instead deducted QI style based on how many fouls a team committed and how many bad passes were made. Something tells us modern footballers might’ve struggled with this…

2. The American word ‘soccer’ is actually English!

Well actually you might be surprised to learn that the name of ‘soccer’ is actually an English term. It’s a shortened version of ‘Association Football’ that ended up being shortened to ‘Assoc Football’ that was shortened again to ‘soccer’ in 19th century England.

3. ‘A small pass for man, a huge cross for mankind’…

Forget being the first man on the moon and all that rubbish. Neil Armstrong originally wanted to be the first man to kick off on the moon but NASA deemed it too ‘unamerican’. Meaning that our hopes for a ball to reach outer space still lie with Becks coming out of retirement and banging one last epic free kick into the upper atmosphere.

4. It’s cancelled? Again? Oh well, 30th time lucky…

That’s right. In 1979 a Scottish cup tie between Falkirk and Inverness Caledonian Thistle was postponed a total of 29 times due to bad weather. And that’s why we never plan our annual office BBQ in Aviemore.

5. Can we now have a minutes silence for… Oh, never mind!

In football it’s commonplace to take a minutes silence before kickoff to pay respects to individuals associated to a particular team or the sport in general. But in 1993, HFS Loans League side Congleton were forced to cancel a silence for the clubs oldest fan when he suddenly strolled into the ground!

6. Ever been unhappy with your Sunday side?

When he first joined Tottenham, Jurgen Klinsmann refused to sign until he was granted a ‘happy clause’ which meant that if he suddenly felt sad for any reason, he could leave White Hart Lane. In his second outing with Spurs he also managed to negotiate a guaranteed place in the squad if he was fit. There are pearls of wisdom in there for Sunday league supersubs for sure!

7. The Beatles named 27 professional football clubs worldwide…

When world-famous pop band The Beatles released their hit song Yellow Submarine in 1966, they wouldn’t have expected to have also provided the nickname for no fewer than 27 clubs around the world, the most famous of which being La Liga side Villarrael. We’re still holding out for ‘The Helter-Skelters’.

8. Taking fashion tips from the most unexpected of places…

We’re all familiar with Italy’s footballing elite Juventus by now, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that they had worn their iconic black and white striped shirt since the beginning. However, you’d be wrong. ‘The Old Lady’ only started sporting the colour scheme when the clubs owner took a fancy to the shirts worn by none other than Notts County. Trend setters indeed!

9. Ever had some rowdy crowd members at a match?

We’re all used to the occasional bit of bad language and the odd rude hand gesture being thrown in the opposition’s direction. However, in 1998 the Macclesfield mascot ‘Roary the Lion’ was ordered off the pitch for using obscene gestures as the players brawled with Lincoln City. New football lesson: don’t wind up the mascot!

10. Lucky Pup

After the Jules Rimet trophy was stolen in 1966, many fans thought the iconic trophy would be lost forever. However the trophy was saved by none other than Pickles the dog. His reward? He was allowed to lick the platers after the England player’s victory dinner. We reckon Pickles has been mugged off a bit, don’t you?

11. £100,000? No way mate, that’s way too much…

When Tottenham Hotspur signed Jimmy Greaves from AC Milan in 1961 they deliberately set the fee at £99,999 so he wouldn’t feel under pressure of being the first ever £100,000 player. Oh what a difference a quid makes, eh?

12. From the north-east with love…

When the new Wembley Stadium was completed back in 2007, the entire country marvelled at its now iconic arch. Little did anybody know that the metalworkers who built the symbolic arch were Middlesbrough fans who left their teams shirts in the metal structure as they built it!

13. From German international to Disney character…

In 2013 Disney/Pixar released hit film Monsters University to the world. However there was an unexpected cast member in the German version of the film as none other than FC Bayern’s top shot-stopper Manuel Neuer voiced the character Frank McCay.

14. You’d never believe it…

Despite being one of the world’s best players, if not the best, former Brazilian international Ronaldo never won the Champions League despite playing for five teams who did. Now that’s just bad luck!

15. That’s one way to make the pundits say your performance stunk…

In the 1990 World Cup, England became unexpected heroes by blowing away all expectations and reaching the semi-final. However it was in their televised match against Ireland when things blew off as MOTD’s Gary Lineker, then England’s number 10, had to sprint off the pitch for a number 2.

16. Football itself responsible for world peace?

In 2001 there was an extra name on the list of nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize; Football. Swedish politician Lars Gustafsson decided that the capacity for world football to bring normally hostile nations together was a good enough reason to give it up for the sport. Right on, Lars!

18. Medical Mayhem!

During the World Cup semi-final in 1930 between USA and Argentina, the States’ trainer ran onto the pitch to treat an injured player but dropped his supplies smashing his bottle of chloroform. As he bent down to pick it up he was overwhelmed by the fumes and had to be stretchered off himself! Meanwhile the previously injured player was now up and running again! The ref was ‘fuming’.

17. More mascot madness…

It seems ‘Roary the Lion’ is not alone in being sent off the pitch, in fact by comparison he got off easy. In a 1999 match Cyril the Swan, the official mascot of Swansea City was banned from the pitch and fined £1,000 when he invaded the pitch to celebrate a goal. Isn’t that you know, his job?

Come and have a go…

At ToT we love a weird footballing fact so if you think you’ve got something you think we should know, then you can get it off your chest and share your weird footballing knowledge with us. In fact the weirder the better!

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