Around the world in 12 sto­ries

Mu­gabe pro­test­ers turn on Wenger, Ber­ba­tov joins the mafia and bad­gers vent their anger at Sam Al­lardyce – here’s your round-up of the month’s weird­est tales

FourFourTwo - - CONTENTS -

1 KYLIE MINOGUE: ST MIR­REN FAN Eng­land Lon­don

When Kylie Minogue re­vealed her lat­est cal­en­dar pic­ture on­line, St Mir­ren’s fans were un­ex­pect­edly thrilled.

Kylie wel­comed in Novem­ber by pos­ing in a white foot­ball shirt with some black pin­stripes, a strip that ap­peared fa­mil­iar. “Great to see Kylie pay homage to our 1987 Scot­tish Cup win­ning team,” said the Bud­dies on Twit­ter. It was prob­a­bly un­in­ten­tional, al­though per­haps Kylie’s a big fan of retro Scot­tish foot­ball – next month, she de­stroys a corner flag and gets sent off three times, Win­dass-style.

2

GET OFF THE PITCH, GUYS! Egypt Cairo

Al Ahly sup­port­ers wanted to back their he­roes at a train­ing ses­sion ahead of the African Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal sec­ond leg, but what they ac­tu­ally did was stop them train­ing at all.

Thou­sands of fans crammed into the Mokhtar El-tetsh Sta­dium, but many of them spilled onto the pitch and train­ing had to be stopped. Al Ahly then lost the fi­nal to Wy­dad Casablanca – maybe just train be­hind closed doors next time?

3 DON’T MESS WITH BERBA Bul­garia Sofia

Eric Can­tona, Vin­nie Jones, now Dim­i­tar Ber­ba­tov. The ex-man United front­man has just made his movie de­but, and he ex­udes as much ef­fort­less style on the big screen as he does on the pitch.

Cur­rently at Ker­ala Blasters in In­dia, he is also star­ring in the new Bul­gar­ian film Rev X as a cigar-smok­ing mafia boss. If Dim­i­tar’s any­thing like Can­tona, ex­pect him to start ran­domly ap­pear­ing in ev­ery World Cup ad­vert for the next 20 years...

4

“MU­GABE? I THOUGHT THIS WAS AN ARSE­NAL PROTEST...” Zim­babwe Harare

In Zim­babwe, one mem­ber of the pub­lic had fi­nally had enough. Frus­trated by an age­ing, all-pow­er­ful leader who’d hung on for far too long amid ever de­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity, he went out onto the streets with a clear mes­sage: Wenger must go.

Ev­ery­one else was protest­ing against Robert Mu­gabe, but no mat­ter where you are in the world these days, you can be sure there’ll be some­one with a ‘Wenger Out’ ban­ner. Poor Arsene: he can’t even watch the news any more.

5

FACE OF A NA­TION Canada Van­cou­ver

Hav­ing scored more than 150 goals for Canada, it’s no won­der Chris­tine Sin­clair has a big head. Thank­fully that big head wasn’t her own, but a mas­sive card­board cut-out cre­ated in her hon­our.

Sin­clair posed with the cut-out ahead of Canada’s dou­ble-header against the USA, but the Canucks were thwarted yet again: they haven’t got one over the USA since 2001. No up­date yet on whether it wiped the smile off the cut-out’s face...

6

PLAY­ING THE GOAT(S) Ger­many Lev­erkusen

Bayer Lev­erkusen ain’t afraid of no goats, and they showed ex­actly that when they faced Köln. Their lo­cal ri­vals are known as the Billy Goats so Bayer fans un­veiled a gi­gan­tic ‘Goat­busters’ tifo pre-match, with the sta­dium PA play­ing goat bleats over the top of the famous Ghost­busters theme tune.

Things got a lit­tle em­bar­rass­ing when they played the Ghost­busters ditty again to cel­e­brate their third goal, only for it to be swiftly dis­al­lowed, but Lev­erkusen did hang on to win 2-1. Goats busted.

7

BIG SAM INFURIATES BAD­GERS Eng­land Dud­ley

Dud­ley Town have had some prob­lems with a dif­fer­ent kind of mam­mal: sev­eral bad­gers dug up the pitch, forc­ing them to post­pone two re­cent home matches.

The Duds claim that they’ve also been blighted by foxes and Canada geese. It’s al­most as if the en­tire an­i­mal king­dom were try­ing to wreak ter­ri­ble re­venge on the Mid­lands club. But why would they be so an­gry? Well, did you know Dud­ley are the club where Sam Al­lardyce be­gan his foot­ball ca­reer? Yeah, that’ll be it...

8

FA­THER TIME France Paris

Move over, Ney­mar: Thomas Me­u­nier is PSG’S new so­cial me­dia star. The Bel­gian pre­sented the weather on TV last year and now he’s come up with a novel way to an­nounce that his sec­ond child is on the way: lin­ing up at the Parc des Princes with his part­ner, their son and a PSG shirt say­ing ‘Baby 2’ – all while pos­ing in front of the big screen say­ing, ‘An­other goal scored, 4-0’. Let’s just hope the re­turn leg isn’t in Barcelona. 9 PIRANHA LION ON THE LOOSE! Cameroon Yaounde

Cameroon failed to qual­ify for the World Cup, but they made up for it by bring­ing out the world’s best foot­ball shirt.

They are nick­named the In­domitable Li­ons so we’re pre­sum­ing the gnash­ing crea­ture on the front of the kit is a lion, al­though frankly FFT reck­ons it looks like a piranha. It’s a scary sight, ei­ther way – imag­ine how blood-cur­dlingly ter­ri­fy­ing it will look when it’s adorned by Clin­ton N’jie and Eric Maxim Choupo-mot­ing...

Ac­tu­ally, maybe not.

10

POLDI THE WAR­RIOR Ja­pan Kobe

Lukas Podol­ski has been keep­ing him­self busy since mov­ing to Ja­pan with Vis­sel Kobe. Pre­vi­ously snapped next to monks, sumo wrestlers and Ron­ald Mcdon­ald, he’s now donned a tra­di­tional Ja­panese dress and posed as a samu­rai war­rior.

He’s not ex­actly the most con­vinc­ing of war­riors, but stick him in the Ger­man na­tional samu­rai team and no doubt he would sud­denly be­come a world-beater.

11

TALL POPPY SYN­DROME Eng­land Brighton

What’s the best way of sell­ing pop­pies? By cov­er­ing your­self from head to toe in the flow­ers, of course.

That is what a vol­un­teer did ahead of Brighton-southamp­ton. It cer­tainly gave the bloke an in­cen­tive to sell them – he couldn’t even see where he was go­ing un­til some­body bought all the pop­pies cov­er­ing up his face. Any­how, it showed to­tal ded­i­ca­tion to the cause – rais­ing cash for the Poppy Ap­peal.

12

“TIMES SQUARE OR CEN­TRAL PARK TODAY, ARJEN?” USA New York

When­ever FFT is in New York, we al­ways think to our­selves, ‘You know what would make this even bet­ter? If we pre­tended that Arjen Robben was here with us for no ap­par­ent rea­son’.

Bay­ern Mu­nich have solved the is­sue: cre­at­ing an aug­mented re­al­ity app that al­lows peo­ple to stand next to the Dutch winger in all their Big Ap­ple hol­i­day pics. You start off by pos­ing on his right but, as part of the re­al­ity ex­pe­ri­ence, Robben will con­stantly keep try­ing to move you onto his left...

13

BAD SPELL Ben­evento’s 13-match los­ing start to the Serie A sea­son set a new record. “This city has his­tor­i­cally suf­fered from witches – the blame lies there,” said the club pres­i­dent

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