Last weekend’s clash between Everton and Wolves saw the home side take something of a mauling. But while Wolves were impressive, it was another creature altogether that caught the eye… A cat.
The game had to be stopped for a few minutes after a local cat decided to stroll onto the pitch and have a leisurely mooch about the place. Eventually, the moggy sauntered off, seemingly confirming that black cats aren’t all that lucky, what with the Goodison Park side losing the game 3-1.
This pitch-prancing puss isn’t the first non-human to stage a one-animal pitch invasion. There’s actually quite a proud history of beasts and pests taking to the football field. Starting with our new feline friend, let’s run down the 10 most memorable animal pitch invasions ever…
The Goodison Cat
This nerveless local feline was happy to take centre stage on Saturday with twenty minutes left on the clock. Such was this local tomcat’s relaxed attitude to mincing about the pitch, a full SEVEN minutes of added time had to be played. Was he trying to put off Wolves and see his local side come back into the game? Or was this a Liverpool-supporting mog reveling in his Stanley Park neighbour’s misfortune? Our guess is neither – he’s a black cat, so he’d got lost on the way to the Stadium of Light.
The Anfield Cat
Everton and Liverpool, as you know, have a real rivalry between them. So it’s no surprise that Everton wanted their own invading cat after seeing how much everyone was into The Anfield Cat some seven years ago. This tabby and white lad, thought to be a local chap named ‘Sam’, decided to butt in on a game against Spurs back in 2012. Why? Well, because he felt like it. He is a cat, after all.
We wonder if Sam and The Goodison Cat ever clash while carving up Stanley Park territory? Things could get pretty tasty there, we reckon.
The Eithad Squirrel
Another Wolves match and another pitch invasion. This time from a pretty excitable squirrel. This little fella decided to crash the Carabao Cup Fourth Round match between Manchester City and Wolves in October 2017. He didn’t interrupt the game though, opting instead for a pre-match warm-up with the players. The bushy-tailed rodent eventually left after some encouragement from a kindly groundsman.
The Vicarage Road Bird
These animals-storming-the-pitch affairs seem to involve the same old teams. Man City possibly knew how to deal with Mother Nature getting involved in their business when that squirrel came calling because they’d witnessed Watford handle a similar situation earlier that year. It was May 2017 and Walter Mazzarri’s last game in change of The Hornets when a wee little birdy decided to stop play. Watford’s Senegalese striker M’Baye Niang knew just what to do in a moment of Doctor Doolittle-inspired beauty that almost made up for Watford getting absolutely walloped by City 5-0.
The Stade de France Moths
The final of Euro 2016 took place in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of the French Capital. It was a fairly dreary game if you remember, with an injury time ‘eader by Eder finally drawing things to a close. The game was terrible, but at least we all had the moths to keep us entertained, eh? Ground staff had made the mistake of leaving the floodlights on the evening before and millions of ‘Silver Y’ moths made the Stade de France their home, getting themselves a pretty up close and personal view of the big game.
The Castelão Grasshopper
Two years before the Euros were invaded by moths, The World’s Biggest Ever Grasshopper™ crashed the World Cup. It decided to land on Colombian superstar James Rodriuguez’s arm, much to the utter amazement, disgust and surprise of the watching world. James, though? He’d just converted an important peno, so couldn’t care less.
The Stockhorn Pine Marten
This is our personal favourite. We’ll admit it, we’ve not watch a lot of the Swiss Super League in our time. So we’re not asahmed to admit that this match between FC Thun and FC Zurich would have passed us by were it not for the fact that a pine marten (they’re weasel-like things) decided to steal the limelight.
Its guile and pace had it dominate the game until a well-timed tackle by Zurich defender Loris Benito stopped it in its tracks. Benito, for his troubles, got a rather nasty bite. The pine marten then return to causing havoc on the pitch until the gloved figure of Zurich goalkeeper David Da Costa came to sort it out.
The Ewood Park Chicken
Play had to be briefly suspended during a Premier League fixture between Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic in May 2012 when a chicken made its way on to the pitch. Was it a coincedence that Blackburn were being run by poultry magnates at the time? Or had the executive boardroom’s lunch escaped? Well, neither. The bird was smuggled in (God alone knows how) and released onto the pitch as way of a fans’ protest.
The Sad Tale of the Colombian Owl
We’ve seen a nice story about a bird stopping play at a football match. Now time for a less nice one…
Atlético Junior were hosting Deportivo Pereira in a Colombian league match when Atlético’s mascot, an owl, found itself on the pitch. It was hit accidentally by the ball and went into a form of shock, lying still with outstretched wings. Before anyone sensible could rescue the bird, Deportivo Pereira defender Luis Moreno decided to boot the poor thing onto the sidelines. It later died.
Moreno was forced to apologise ‘to the whole Colombian nation’ after the game and actually had to go an ‘owl appreciation day’ at a local zoo run by ornithologists. He still faces chants of ‘Murderer!’ from opposition fans to this day.
The Dog Goalkeeper of the Argentinian Lower Leagues
Paws down a better ‘keeper than Simon Mignolet.
Fancy getting out and watching a bit of live sport this weekend? Why not head on down to your local Rileys and enjoy some with us…? While you’re down, enjoy a bite to eat and a few drinks. And, of course, a few games of something fun…