During his spell at Leeds
United Rio Ferdinand suffered a tendon strain in his knee...watching
television! As his manager at the time, David O'Leary, explained: "He
was watching television and had his foot up on the coffee table. He had it
there in a certain position for a number of hours - and strained a tendon
behind his knee."
Another player who found a
television set to be more than a match was David 'Calamity' James who once
pulled a muscle in his back when reaching for a television remote control.
James also missed a match at Liverpool suffering from a RSI injury to his
thumb which he blamed on his excessive computer-game habit.
not trivial was the injury suffered by Bert Trautmann when
playing in goal for Manchester City against Birmingham City in the 1956 FA
Cup Final. With Manchester City 3-1 up and 17 minutes remaining Trautmann
dived at the feet of opposing forward Peter Murphy to prevent a goal
scoring opportunity, the collision seeing him needing treatment for
several minutes. With no subs in those days the former German
prisoner-of-war played on although clearly in distress and made several
more saves in helping Manchester City to their first FA Cup success in
over 20 years. The pain continued and three days later he discovered that
he had five broken vertebrae - he had broken his neck! His surgeon was
blunt in his assessment of the injury - 'You should be dead' he
told the player. But Trautmann always denied that it was a brave act, 'If
I had known I had broken my neck, I would have been off like a shot.'
It was seven months before he played
again and in total he made 545 league and cup appearances for Manchester
City before retiring in 1964. Forty years later he met the Queen and she
asked him 'Have you still got that pain in your neck?' Yes,
probably the most famous footballing injury of them all.
the second League match of the 1975/76 season at Birmingham City, Manchester United's goalkeeper
Alex Stepney became so animated in shouting
at his own defenders that he dislocated his jaw and had to be taken to
While at Southampton goalkeeper Dave Beasant missed 8 weeks of a season
after a confrontation with a bottle of salad cream. He knocked it over and
attempted to control the falling bottle with his foot but only succeeded
in rupturing his ankle ligaments.
When Manchester United were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal at Old
Trafford on Saturday 15th February 2003 in an FA Cup Third Round tie
United manager Alex Ferguson was not a happy man. Famous for his
'hair-dryer' treatment of players this time he kicked a boot in a moment
of anger. Not much news-worthiness in that except that the boot hit
'Golden Balls' David Beckham in the face causing a cut over his left eye
which needed stitches. It may have been a trivial injury but it was one
that then made the headlines the world over.
Ok, some injuries sound amusing but
in reality they all have their consequences for the people who suffer
them. They can be career - and life - changing and sadly, rarely, they can
have even more tragic consequences.
One such tragic injury
struck Woolwich Arsenal in their fourth season in the Football League
(Woolwich Arsenal dropped Woolwich from its name in 1914). One of their
players, full-back Joe Powell, suffered a horrific broken arm in a
United League match at Kettering Town's North Park ground on November 23rd
1896. Dirt entered the open wound which caused blood poisoning and
tetanus. His arm had to be amputated but sadly on November 29th the
26-year-old died at his Plumstead home. Joe Powell had joined Woolwich
Arsenal in 1892 when the Londoners bought him out of the army. He
captained the Woolwich Arsenal side in their first match in the Football
League, against Newcastle United in September 1893, and had played in 86
of the 98 Football League matches Woolwich Arsenal had played prior to the
Goalkeeper Chic Brodie made over 400 Football
League appearances but is probably the player best remembered for the
things that went wrong in his life. In 1972 the Sun described him
as 'a walking mishap, a one-man casualty station, a multiple accident
statistic' and after another mishap the newspaper headline was 'Unlucky
Chic, The One-Man Natural Disaster'. Playing for Brentford against
Millwall in November 1965 a hand grenade was thrown into his penalty area
which he inspected and threw it into the net (it was later found to be a
fake). In August 1970, again playing for Brentford, he brought a match at
Lincoln to a halt when an acrobatic save brought down the goalposts. He
was the Margate goalkeeper on the receiving end of a 11-0 FA Cup defeat by
Bournemouth in November 1971 (Ted MacDougall scored nine of them). After
he retired he became a taxi driver and once had a collision with a
Jaguar...driven by Geoff Hurst! But perhaps he is best remembered for the
injury he received when playing for Brentford at Colchester in November
1970. A dog ran onto the pitch and collided with Brodie, breaking his
kneecap. He said 'the dog may have been small - but it just happened to
be solid.' Although it is perhaps seen as a comical injury it did
effectively end his Football League career and I certainly said 'ouch'
when I first saw it........
The 1993 Coca-Cola (League Cup)
final saw Arsenal beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 at Wembley with the winning
goal coming from Steve Morrow, the first of only a very few goals he
scored for the Gunners. After the final whistle Arsenal captain Tony Adams
tried to lift Morrow on to his shoulders in celebration of his part in the
victory - but dropped him! While his team-mates were collecting their
winners' medals the unfortunate Morrow was on his way to hospital with a
broken arm. He did get a Wembley presentation of his medals though a month
later before Arsenal's FA Cup final against - ironically - Sheffield
Wednesday which they won after a replay.
Perhaps Arsenal have more to
celebrate than most but another serious injury to an Arsenal player while
celebrating was suffered in January 2007.
Shortly after coming on as a sub for
Arsenal against Manchester United at the Emirates Robin van Persie scored
and in the celebrations that followed he broke a bone in his foot. He was
Arsenal’s leading scorer in the Premier League at the time and despite not
making another League appearance that season because of the injury he
still finished as the Gunners top League scorer. Deprived of his goals
Arsenal finished a distant fourth in the Premier League that season.
OK this may not be an injury but it did cause a player to fail a medical.
In 1972 Frank Worthington was about to move from Huddersfield Town to
Liverpool but failed a medical at Anfield because of high blood pressure -
caused by 'excessive sexual activity'. Liverpool manager Bill Shankly sent
Worthington to Majorca for a week to relax - but that wasn't the place to
expect him to relax! So on his return he once again failed the medical and
his move to Liverpool was called off. He later moved to Leicester City and
in his playing career he played for 11 League clubs and made 8 appearances
********* In May 2008 Rochdale striker Lee Thorpe could only watch his team-mates
from the sidelines when they played their League 2 play-off final against
Stockport at Wembley, Rochdale's first-ever match at Wembley. He had broken his arm in three places a couple
of weeks earlier. He did it in an arm-wrestling contest with team-mate
Rene Howe on the coach to the semi-final against Darlington! Striker Chris
Dagnall was seemingly full of sympathy when he later described the
incident. 'Everybody on the bus heard the snap, it was that loud.'
Partick Thistle manager John Lambie knew exactly what to say to his trainer when his striker Colin McGlashan was dazed and didn't know who he was - "That's great. Tell him
and get him back on."
An Italian playing for Grimsby Town is always likely to be a fans'
favourite, especially when the player himself contributed out of his own
pocket a large part of the fee than allowed him to move from Serie
A to Lincolnshire. But as popular as IvanoBonetti was with the fans that
earned no brownie points with manager Brian Laws when he considered the
Italian had not tried hard enough. After a 3-2 defeat away to Luton Town
on Saturday 10th February 1996 (just a month after they had beaten Luton
7-1 in an FA Cup tie) Laws confronted the former Juventus player about his
lack of effort and the confrontation ended when Laws threw a plate of
chicken wings at Bonetti, breaking his cheekbone. From then on the legacy
of that amazing signing by Grimsby was forgotten and just those chicken
wings got the headlines.
The 'Special One' lost something of his
magic in 2015/16, starting on the opening day of the Premier League season
on 8th August 2015. With minutes remaining of their match against Swansea
City an injury to Eden Hazard saw the Chelsea medical staff rush onto the
Stamford Bridge pitch to treat him. Nothing unusual in that you might say
Mourinho saw things differently. The reigning champions were holding on to
a 2-2 scoreline, were down to 10 men because of a red card and with only
minutes remaining would be temporarily down to 9 players as the rules
meant that Hazard would have to leave the pitch after receiving treatment.
He was unhappy with his medics saying 'I
was unhappy with my medical staff. They were impulsive and naive. Whether
you are a kit man, doctor or secretary on the bench you have to understand
the game. You have to know you have one player less and to assist a player
you must be sure he has a serious problem. I was sure Eden did not have a
serious problem. He had a knock. He was tired.'
A clash of personalities followed resulting in the first team doctor
leaving the club, an FA inquiry and threatened legal proceedings with
every move being followed with great interest by the press. I don't want
to be sexist but perhaps part of the reason was that Dr Carneiro, Dr Eva
Carneiro that is, was a not a too unattractive woman which saw the press
print plenty of pictures of the doctor with every story-line. I don't
think it would have happened if it was my GP and it perhaps cheapens a
serious story and it's something of course that I totally disapprove of!
********* When Aldershot visited Chester for a
Division 4 fixture on New Years Day 1966 given they were visiting the
Welsh borders it was not much of a coincidence that they faced two Chester
full-backs with the surname Jones. What did turn out to be a very strange
coincidence though was by the time the final whistle was blown the two
full-backs - Ray Jones and Bryn Jones (not related) - had both ended up in
hospital after separate incidents, both with broken legs! Despite going
down to 10 men (only one substitute in those days) Chester won the match
In a League 1 match at Glanford Park on 17th January 2015 Scunthorpe
United had the misfortune of losing two goalkeepers with broken arms in
their 2-0 defeat against Bristol City. First choice goalkeeper Sam
Slocombe and substitute keeper Jamie Severn both suffered their injuries
in the first half leaving outfielder Andy Boyce to take over between the
The joys of married life! In December 2004 when playing for Servette
against Schaffhausen in a Swiss League match Paulo Diogo jumped on one of
the boundary fences to celebrate a Servette goal. Not being aware that his
wedding ring was caught on the fence he jumped down leaving behind the
ring and much of his finger, the rest having to be amputated in hospital.
And he was booked by ref Florian Etter for excessive celebration of the
the days before substitutes injured players were often expected to stay on
the pitch and do their duty. In one instance, on Saturday 16th February 1952
at Villa Park, Stoke goalkeeper Dennis Herod suffered a first half injury
in a First Division match.
He was patched up and sent out for the second half and asked 'to make a nuisance of
himself' on the left wing. He did - and scored the winning goal in Stoke's
3-2 victory over Aston Villa. His injury - a broken arm!
In March 2009 three-times FIFA World Player of the Year Ronaldo made his
competitive debut for Brazilian side Corinthians as a sub after thirteen
months out of the game following surgery for a career-threatening knee
injury. He survived the 20 minutes he spent on the pitch without a problem
only to end up with a badly bruised and
swollen right eye after being hit by a microphone when a post-match media
scrum surrounded him while attempting to get an interview.
Felix Magath was appointed manager of
Premier League bottom club Fulham in February 2014 and was sacked in
September 2014 when the Cottagers were bottom of the Championship. You
would have thought that dismal record – just 3 wins in 19 League outings –
or the fact that he was the first German to manage in the Premier League
would be what most of us would remember him for. But not so – it was an
injury on which his fame is guaranteed. Fulham captain Brede Hangeland
suffered a thigh injury but Magath overruled the medical team and the
traditional recovery programme they suggested. Instead the kit-man was
sent to the local Tesco store to buy some some cheese which, after being
soaked in alcohol, was placed on the injured thigh! Magath might have
managed three Bundesliga title winning teams in Germany but those 19
matches would prove the only League matches he took charge of in England!
An unfortunate misprint in a
report about an injury in the Hartlepool Mail... "Paul Walker is doubtful with a toe injury while John Foster will
have a late fitness test on his thing injury."
When Uruguay's Juan Hohberg scored an equaliser just
three minutes before the end of normal time of the 1954 World Cup
semi-final against Hungary he was knocked unconscious as his team-mates
celebrated the goal.
In October 2010 it was announced that French footballer Yoan Gouffran
had an allergy which was a bit of a problem for a footballer - grass. His
manager at Bordeaux, former Fulham boss Jean Tigana, said 'For a
footballer, it's embarrassing'. Perhaps so, but thankfully there is
now one footballer who won't be making intentional dives!
not just the players who suffer the injuries. In November 2011 Manchester City manager Roberto
Mancini stood up quickly in a tense moment in a Champions League match
at Villarreal and discovered that the dugouts at the
El Madrigal ground were not for standing up in - low
roofs!. He spent the rest of the match with an ice-pack on his head.
There wasn't much to celebrate in
England's start in the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil, in fact just the
Daniel Sturridge goal in the 2-1 defeat against Italy. The England bench
went wild and in the celebration physio Gary Lewin slipped and dislocated
his ankle and had to be stretchered away. Still, he didn't have to watch
the second half!
When 11-year-old Charlie
Silverwood attended a friendly at Dean Court in July 2013 he knew it
was going to be a memorable match - Bournemouth v Real Madrid no less -
but he didn't realise just how memorable it would be. An early free-kick
from Cristiano Ronaldo missed the target but hit the youngster full on the
arm and although in pain - in true Bert Trautmann fashion - he watched the
match to the end. He then found out in hospital that he had broken his
wrist and needed an op to reset the bone. I guess most of us have
broken-bone stories but one which includes a capacity attendance, Real
Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo, a singed Real shirt as an apology and
nationwide media attention has surely got to be a tad more interesting
than tripping over a kerb!
Wasn't the world sympathetic when it
was announced that because of a leg injury Spanish international Marco
Asensio would miss the opening match of Real Madrid's 2017/18 Champions
League campaign against Apoel of Nicosia! His injury? Well it seems he
shaved his legs. Sadly the razor was dirty infecting a hair follicle on
his leg which resulted in a pimple which prevented him from pulling one of
his socks up. Bless!