12 Global Sto­ries

Mank­ini-wear­ing pitch in­vaders, JT be­comes the Honey Mon­ster and Robin van Per­sie gets ready to gate­crash the kabaddi – the last few weeks have been plain odd

Australian Four Four Two - - CONTENTS -

1 “WHAT DO YOU MEAN, I’M BANNED FROM THE STA­DIUM?” Tur­key Deni­zli

One Deni­zlispor sup­porter knew ex­actly what to do when he was slapped with a one-year sta­dium ban: hire a mas­sive crane and park it out­side the ground for the next home match. He was soon tow­er­ing over his fel­low fans at the Ataturk Sta­dium – at­tach­ing a gi­ant green and black flag to the end of the crane, the scarf-twirling fa­natic even con­ducted chants as Deni­zlispor beat Gaziantep­spor 5-0. He’ll be sell­ing tick­ets up there next.

2 BORAT’S A PLZEN FAN Czech Repub­lic Plzen

Vik­to­ria Plzen have made it back to the Cham­pi­ons League group stage for the first time in five years: the ex­cite­ment has clearly got the bet­ter of some fans. Dur­ing a win over Karv­ina, one chap stripped down to a Borat-style green mank­ini and darted onto the pitch. He was only halted when a stew­ard opted against a rugby tackle, in­stead go­ing feet first with a cyn­i­cal challenge from be­hind. He clearly had no in­ten­tion of play­ing the ball – ei­ther of them.

3 BRAZIL­IANS WOR­SHIP JE­SUS Brazil Sao Paulo

You know those sto­ries where peo­ple are con­vinced they can see Je­sus on a piece of toast, or a ran­dom shroud in Turin? It’s only hap­pened again: this time on houses in Sao Paulo. Ac­tu­ally, it’s a mu­ral in hon­our of the Brazil striker Gabriel Je­sus, who’s from the area. FFT wants every World Cup star to get hon­oured in this way – an anonymous-look­ing Me­sut Ozil hav­ing a dis­ap­point­ing im­pact on a wall in Gelsenkirchen, or the be­mused face of Phil Jones on a Pre­ston chip shop.

4 FLAME-GRILLED HAMBURGERS Ger­many Ham­burg

It all kicked off when Ham­burg were fi­nally rel­e­gated for the first time in the Bun­desliga’s his­tory. They’d pre­vi­ously had a clock cel­e­brat­ing their 55-year run in the top flight – so fans of vis­it­ing team Monchenglad­bach brought their own clock, tick­ing down to zero. Things turned ugly when some home sup­port­ers, fu­ri­ous at rel­e­ga­tion, threw flares onto the pitch and riot po­lice had to step in. At least you can visit loads of new grounds next sea­son, eh lads?

5 GONZO JOUR­NAL­ISM Eng­land London

Paul Mer­son has al­ways been a pun­dit renowned for con­sid­ered thought, but his rea­soned anal­y­sis went awry after Hud­der­s­field re­mained in the top flight. He had in­ex­pli­ca­bly in­sisted that he’d dress up as Gonzo if they stayed up. As a re­sult, Merse ended up look­ing like a right Mup­pet, live on Sky. Not for the first time, some might sug­gest…

6 AERIAL PRES­ENCE Saudi Ara­bia Jeddah

Be­hold, the finest pitch­side mar­ket­ing in the his­tory of foot­ball. To mark the King’s Cup fi­nal, Sau­dia air­line de­cided to plonk a 25-foot aero­plane on one touch­line, com­plete with four pilots. It gets bet­ter: through­out the match, the plane fol­lowed the ball by mov­ing up and down the touch­line on a rail. The four pilots ini­tially looked a lit­tle un­com­fort­able to be the fo­cus of the TV cam­eras, but re­laxed once they’d hit the cruis­ing al­ti­tude of zero feet.

7 JOHN TERRY: CAP­TAIN, LEADER, HONEY MON­STER Eng­land London

All the stars were out for David Luiz’s birth­day party, with many turn­ing up in fancy dress. Ex-Chelsea team-mate As­mir Be­govic dressed as NFL star Tom Brady, while fel­low for­mer Blue John Terry ar­rived as the Honey Mon­ster. Terry’s attire might have seemed sur­pris­ing, but it made sense: back in the day, the Honey Mon­ster starred in a TV ad­vert where he leapt out of the stand in full cos­tume and promptly lifted an im­por­tant tro­phy. So that’s where JT got his inspiration in Mu­nich...

8 “WHO’S THIS AN­NOY­ING BLOKE WITH THE TRAF­FIC CONE?” Eng­land London

Don’t you just hate it when you’re at a big event, but you can’t see a thing be­cause you’re stuck be­hind some guy with a hat shaped like a traf­fic cone? At the darts, that guy was Robin van Per­sie, who ar­rived sport­ing the wacky head­gear to cheer Michael van Ger­wen. RVP had a great time, so watch out for him at more ran­dom sports soon: with a vu­vuzela at the snooker, and start­ing Mex­i­can waves at the kabaddi.

9 DANI ARE YOU OK? ARE YOU OK, DANI? France Paris

Dani Alves may be out of the World Cup be­cause of in­jury, but he’s keep­ing his spir­its up. The full-back cel­e­brated his birth­day the only way he knew how: by dress­ing up as an in­flat­able bal­le­rina, flanked by five masked hench­men. Alves even posted a video of him­self danc­ing in his bizarre cos­tume. If that’s what makes you happy on your spe­cial day, Dani, then you go for it.

10 WHAT A DICK… Nether­lands Em­men

When a play-off match pit­ted Sparta Rot­ter­dam against Em­men, the fans sim­ply couldn’t re­sist. With man­agers Dick Ad­vo­caat and Dick Lukkien go­ing head to head, Em­men fans un­veiled a ban­ner say­ing, ‘Our Dick Is Big­ger’. They were right of course, Ad­vo­caat is only 5ft 7in tall, and was de­feated in the play-off as Sparta were rel­e­gated. Em­men’s head hon­cho could now be in de­mand, but ru­mour has it he only ne­go­ti­ates in the small hours: clubs will have to be up all night to get Lukkien.

11 IS THAT YOU, JEFF STELLING? Eng­land Hartle­pool

Ri­val fans might say Hartle­pool have re­sem­bled a bunch of clowns for some time now, lurch­ing from cri­sis to cri­sis. Fans did dress up as clowns for their last game of the sea­son – an an­nual tra­di­tion that has pre­vi­ously seen them turn up as Stormtroop­ers, Smurfs and Oompa Loom­pas. Things have got so bad for Pools that they were prob­a­bly just glad to avoid the em­bar­rass­ment of wear­ing Hartle­pool shirts for the day...

12 THE WORLD’S OLDEST TABLETHROWING FOOT­BALLER Chile Santiago

Se­bas­tian Abreu set a new world record re­cently after join­ing his 26th pro club at 41, so pre­sum­ably he’s feel­ing pretty mel­low in his old age? Er, no. The for­mer Uruguay World Cup star is nick­named ‘El Loco’, and he showed ex­actly why dur­ing a game for Chilean side Au­dax Ital­iano – throw­ing a ta­ble at his club’s own sup­port­ers in re­sponse to crit­i­cism at the fi­nal whis­tle. Maybe he’ll have calmed down by club No.27?

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