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 By Chris Wright

Anfield cat, Highbury squirrel and career-ending dog our best invaders

Inspired by the squirrel that proved to be the main highlight of Manchester City's largely barren win over Wolves in the Carabao Cup, we here at Toe Poke thought we'd compile a selection of the greatest animal encroachers to sneak their way on to a football pitch.

Anfield cat

Perhaps the first true superstar to emerge from the animal pitch invader scene, the Anfield Cat became a viral sensation after it came creeping on to the pitch during Liverpool's game against Tottenham in 2012.

The cat soon acquired it's own Twitter account which amassed over 25,000 followers in a matter of hours after the final whistle.

Highbury squirrel

The Highbury Squirrel came along three years before Anfield Cat but sadly just too early to capitalise on a postmatch social media boom. 

The rodent encroached on to the pitch during the opening minutes of Arsenal's Champions League semifinal first leg against Villarreal in 2009.

Bird on crossbar in England-Algeria

Quite literally the only point of interest during England's interminable 0-0 draw against Algeria at the 2010 World Cup was a little bird that perched on the crossbar.

So utterly tedious was the match itself that the camera routinely cut back to check on the bird's progress.

Greaves and his dog

England's quarterfinal against the great Brazil at the 1962 World Cup momentarily descended into farce when a little black dog came bounding out to say hello to everybody.

Garrincha tried and failed to round up the pooch only for Jimmy Greaves to get down on his hands and knees to scoop the little fella up (the dog, not Garrincha) and remove him from the pitch.

Sadly, England's impact sub couldn't prevent them falling to a 3-1 defeat.

Chic Brodie's career-ending nemesis

Brentford keeper Chic Brodie had his career ended by a black-and-white terrier that entered the field of play during a match against Colchester in 1970.

Chasing the ball, the canine went hurtling into Brodie and shattered his kneecap, an injury so severe that eventually led the keeper to call time on his career.

If only Jimmy Greaves had been around.

Dog and cat at same time

In what surely must be unprecedented scenes, the Liga MX game between Pachuca and Chiapas back in January was interrupted by not one, but two animal invaders.

With an hour gone, the match had to be stopped when a dog came running onto the pitch, only to be removed by stewards.

Then, five minutes from the end, the dog's feline accomplice took up a position near the corner flag to watch the rest of the match.

Skip to 1:01 for the dog and 3:47 for the cat.

Pine marten

Without doubt the most aggressive creature in this line up is the pine marten that ran amok during the Swiss Super League game between FC Thun and FC Zurich in 2013.

Zurich defender Loris Benito attempted to wrangle the interloper, only for it to take a significant bite out of his finger.


Earlier this year, the Welsh lower-league tie between CPD Llanberis and Llandudno Junction FC was momentarily interrupted by a pair of pitch-invading hooligans.

Play was brought to a halt when two sheep came cantering onto the pitch midway through the Alliance League Division One fixture...

Now there's something you don't see every day.


Not a pitch invasion per se, but non-league Ashington FC semi-regularly have their attendance bolstered by a remarkably well-behaved horse that trots over from a nearby field to watch his favourite team in action.

Reports that it was simply Jurgen Klopp's younger brother, Klippety, on a scouting mission are said to be wide of the mark.

Chris covers the funny side of the game for ESPN FC in the Toe Poke blog.


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