11 times animals invaded the pitch ft. Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City…

Quick Reads

Animals can be seen running around football fields across the country on a Sunday morning, but you wouldn’t expect it at the home grounds of Premier League clubs such as Arsenal and Liverpool.

However, over the years there have been some famous cases of animals getting involved with football games, often resulting in an amusing chase situation.

We’ve taken a look back at some of the times the creatures took centre stage, with everything from your bog standard dog right to a giant grasshopper.

Champions League squirrel

The first leg of the Champions League semi-final between Arsenal and Villarreal was briefly interrupted as a squirrel raced across the Highbury turf, and got a nice picture with Diego Forlan for the scrapbook.

That’s ducking annoying

This all looks quite tame, with former Leeds striker Habib Habibou chasing a duck during a Belgian league match between Zulte Waregem and Lokoren.

Then, out of nowhere, the duck just gets hurled over the advertising board. Thankfully, it waddled away seemingly unphased. Sergio Ramos would have been rolling around for hours.

Venky’s chicken

In protest at the club’s owners – who famously run a chicken fast-food chain in India – a chicken has been released onto the pitch by angry supporters at a number of home games in recent years.

To add to the ridiculousness, the chicken is usually draped in the club’s colours.

READ: A forensic analysis of Blackburn Rovers’ infamous Venky’s chicken advert

Feisty one you are

Back in 2013, a Swiss match between FC Thun and Zurich was disrupted early on as a pine marten ran onto the pitch.

The players thought they’d chased it off, but it came back and was eventually caught (though certainly by a move which was “for the cameras”.

Just like a moody footballer who gets substituted, the animal wasn’t happy with his removal and bit defender Loris Benito, who had managed to capture the slippery bugger.

Ouch

Oliver Kahn wasn’t one to give away pain, but in a bizarre moment in a 2007 DFB Pokal match, he stopped suddenly clutching the back of his neck.

The first thought was that something came from the home supporters, but as it transpired, the fiery German had in fact been stung by a wasp.

Get some vinegar on it and you’ll be right.

A really giant grasshopper

The World Cup in Brazil caused some unfamiliar scenes, none moreso than a massive insect landing on Colombia’s James Rodriguez after he netted a penalty.

This gives us the heebie jeebies.

Helping animals gets you nothing

Watford’s M’Baye Niang rescued a tiny bird which had found its way onto the pitch in a match against Manchester City in 2017.

But all his good deed got him was a brief applause from supporters, as his side got thumped 5-0.

The Anfield cat

A cat ran on the pitch in a match between Liverpool and Tottenham back in 2012.

Supporters quickly saw the funny side, and a Twitter account for the cat was instantly created, amassing over 30,000 followers in just a few hours.

The club said the cat bore a striking resemblance to unofficial 80’s mascot Moglet, a cat adopted by ground staff after it was found outside.

“With King Kenny’s men back at Wembley in the Carling Cup final this year, is this new cat a long-lost relative of Moglet?” said a club spokesman.

Ekstraklasa

This dog got very excited when it found its way onto the field in a Polish league match between Polonia Bytom and Wisla Krakow.

All he wanted was a bit of loving, bless him.

Howson’s pigeon

What is it with former Leeds players? Jonny Howson removed an injured pigeon from the Upton Park pitch during his time at Norwich, much to the delight of everyone.

What a hoot

This eagle owl seems totally unfazed by the fact that an important Euro 2008 qualifier between Finland and Belgium was going on.

The home fans enjoyed it, though, and can be heard chanting “bubo, bubo” which just means “owl, owl”. Simple but effective.


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