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Wild things

After a pine marten made an unwelcome on-field appearance in a Swiss Super League game, we pick out a selection of other memorable animal invasions.

World Cup willy (1962)

In perhaps the most famous instance of an animal entering the field, a dog made its way onto the field during the opening minutes of England's 1962 World Cup quarter-final defeat to eventual champions Brazil in Chile.

England striker Jimmy Greaves managed to snare the pooch after getting down on all fours, but not before the animal took its revenge. "The worst thing there - as you can see, I was wringing my hands - was the dog had pissed all down the front of me," Greaves told the TV show Fantasy Football League.

Brazil star Garrincha, whose own effort to catch the dog ended in failure, described himself as a "lover of animals" and ended up adopting it.

"The English player Jimmy Greaves (they tell me that is his name, for to me every opponent is called 'John') finally caught him," Garrincha said in a 1962 column for the Daily Express. "I wanted Bob, and the Brazilian embassy in Chile tracked him down and found he was a stray, so some people in Rio brought him to Brazil and presented Bob to me."

Or, as Greaves put it, Garrincha "thought it was so hilarious that the dog had pissed on me, he kept it as a pet".

Dangerous dogs and languid lions (1969)

Emotions ran high at a 1969 derby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke at the former's Rote Erde stadium.

When Schalke took the lead through Hansi Pirkner in the 39th minute, the excitement among the packed crowd boiled over, and some began to charge onto the field. The sudden activity alarmed the police dogs, resulting in a bite to Schalke defender Friedel Rausch's bottom and team-mate Gerd Neuser's thigh. "My pants were suddenly soaked with blood," Rausch said in Die Welt. "The shock and the pain were intense."

Neuser had to be substituted with a quarter of an hour to go as he had signs of paralysis in his leg, but Rausch played the entire game, although he did have to be helped from the field for a tetanus shot at one stage.

The match ultimately ended in a 1-1 draw, much to Schalke's chagrin. "We have lodged a protest with the DFB over the validity of the game," the understandably frustrated club president Gunter Siebert said. Dortmund, for their part, provided floral bouquets and 500 DM to compensate the two players, while it was decreed that dogs would thereafter have to muzzled.

In response to all this, Siebert arranged for four lions - described as "tame" on the BVB website - from the Westerholt Lionpark to 'guard' the halfway line during the coin toss when the teams met again at Schalke later in the season.

Gull kick (1970)

Feyenoord goalkeeper Eddy Treijtel earned his place in Dutch football folklore when, in a derby match at Sparta Rotterdam in November 1970, he kicked the ball high into the air and struck, and killed, a passing seagull.

A few months after the incident, a taxidermist from Dordrecht apparently showed up to offer the stuffed corpse to Treijtel, but the goalkeeper felt he did not require a permanent reminder of his quarry on the mantelpiece. His club felt differently, and the gull now resides at Feyenoord museum at De Kuip.

Dogged determination (1985)

Knave of Clubs were losing 2-0 to Newcastle Town in the Staffordshire Sunday Cup in November 1985 when one of their players miscued a shot from 15 yards out. "It was going well wide," David Hall, the club secretary, said in Football's Strangest Matches. "A dog ran onto the field, jumped up at the ball and headed it. The ball flew into the net.

"There was quite a crowd at Monks Neil Park. Most were laughing at it, but a lot didn't know what the rules would say. The Newcastle players argued that the referee couldn't allow a goal, but the referee did."

Newcastle Town ultimately won the game 3-2.

Le coq sportif (1986)

The 1986 European Cup Winners' Cup final between Dynamo Kiev and Atletico Madrid in Lyon ended in a comfortable 3-0 win for the Soviet side, but the match was brought to life when a stray chicken entered the pitch and proceeded to evade capture for some time .

The birds were back in the headlines in 2012, when Blackburn fans - unhappy with the club's owners, poultry company Venky's - protested by releasing a hen bearing a 'Kean out' banner onto the field .

Dog spares Gulls (1987)

As Torquay United approached the final round of fixtures in Division Four at the end of the 1986-87 season, they were second bottom and in serious danger of dropping out of the Football League. At half-time on the final day, they were 2-0 down at home to Crewe and their prospects of survival looked bleak.

They were given hope when right-back Jim McNichol pulled a goal back but, as the game entered its final moments, the Gulls looked set to finish at the foot of the table as they searched in vain for the equaliser that would lift them above Lincoln on goal difference.

"There had been a little bit of hassle in one of the corners and so the police had the dogs out," McNichol explained in The Guardian in 2009. "With a couple of minutes to go I was chasing the ball up the touchline, trying to keep it in play. The handler was watching the crowd but the dog saw me running towards it and probably thought I was attacking his handler, and he went straight for me."

With Torquay having already used their one permitted sub, McNichol - who needed 17 stitches - held up the game for around five minutes receiving treatment. The referee had to add on extensive injury time, and as McNichol explains: "It was in the time added on for my injury that Paul Dobson scored the goal that meant Lincoln got relegated instead of us on goal difference. Of course it was so late by then that we knew the results of all the other games, so we knew exactly what we needed."

The club gave the dog, Bryn, a season ticket for life and, when he died, apparently had him stuffed and placed in the boardroom.

"Ever since that day, too many people remember me only as the guy who the dog bit," McNichol told the Herald Express last year.

Lapwing leaves Botafogo without a prayer (2002)

Everything seemed to be going wrong for Botafogo in 2002. Off-field strife involving unpaid wages, poor management and low attendances at games culminated in relegation as they finished at the foot of the table, and they might have felt even fate was against them during one particularly unfortunate moment in October.

Botafogo were drawing 1-1 at Gremio when, three minutes from time, striker Fabio fired off a goal-bound shot. At that moment, a lapwing intervened, deflecting the shot, preventing the goal and ensuring Gremio would take a share of the spoils. "Had the damn bird not crossed the line of the shot I would have scored the winner," Fabio said.

When asked if the bird had been injured, team-mate Ademilson replied: "Unfortunately not. It rolled on the grass and then flew away again."

Cup buzz gets to Kahn (2007)

En route to their 2007 Ligapokal triumph, Bayern Munich had recorded a straightforward 4-1 victory at Werder Bremen, but the game was most memorable for a moment in the 77th minute when goalkeeper Oliver Kahn was stung by a wasp.

"To mess with Oliver Kahn is a brave thing to do for a wasp," Kai Dittmann, commentating for Sat1, said. "Don't claim there is nothing worth seeing in the Ligapokal."

Anthill mob (2008)

In a Serie A3 match in the Campeonato Paulista, Oeste Paulista and Santacruzense played out a draw at a sodden Estadio Eduardo Jose Farah. The game became rather more interesting, though, when Santacruzense left-back Marcos Paulo tripped over one of the many anthills on the pitch.

"I fell forwards and was on the ground for about three seconds," he told O Globo. "Suddenly I had a tingling sensation in my chest, back and legs. I thought I was ill and was worried. Then I saw that my shirt was black, full of ants. When I looked in my shorts, they were full of ants too. I thought I could get rid of them, but they were also in my underwear."

Searching for relief, Paulo ran into a puddle and had to hose himself down. He received little sympathy during his ordeal, though. "The referee didn't understand what was going on and was going to give me a yellow card," he said.

His fellow players, meanwhile, fell about laughing. "It was really funny," Oeste Paulista midfielder Tiago Lobo said. "We train here every day so we know where the anthills are."

Paulo argued that using "a field in that condition endangers the welfare of the players", and poison was belatedly applied to the anthills to avert a recurrence.

Quack attack (2010)

Zulte-Waregem striker Habib Habibou was booed by the fans when, in a Belgian top-flight game with Lokeren, he picked up a duck that had wandered onto the field and rather violently tossed it over the advertising boards.

After receiving death threats as the video went viral in the days that followed, Habibou looked to make clear that he hadn't actually sought to injure the animal.

"The duck surprised everyone when it walked onto the field," he told SportWereld. "We were 1-0 down, so I just wanted to get on with the game. I agree that my reaction was too much, but I never meant to hurt the duck, and there are much worse things that happen in the world. Look at how animals are fattened up and slaughtered to make foie gras - I find that appalling. I didn't kill the duck."

By way of redressing the balance on behalf of the duck community, the website decided to send a man dressed in a duck suit to training to fight the player.

Owls of pain (2011)

Deportivo Pereira defender Luis Moreno perpetrated what Atletico Junior's website described as a "vile and vulgar" act when he kicked an owl that had landed on the field at the latter club's Estadio Metropolitano, breaking its leg.

Several factors exacerbated the feelings of anger towards Moreno. The owl was described as "an emblem of the club", having lived at the stadium for 12 years, and was lying injured at the time of the attack after being struck by the ball. Two days after the incident, it died of shock.

Moreno made several public apologies, always insisting he had not meant to harm the bird, and revealed he had received threats and was worried for his family's safety back in Panama.

DIMAYOR, the Colombian football authority, ultimately suspended Moreno for two games and fined him over one million pesos for his "cruel act", adding in a statement: "This animal was a symbol for the fans from Barranquilla. Given that the aggressive act took place in their home stadium and in the clear view of all the fans, this act can be legitimately interpreted as provocative."

The species would not be cowed, however, and an owl made a prominent return to Colombian football later in the year when one flew onto the crossbar during a World Cup qualifier with Venezuela and tucked into a rodent .


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