As the football season returned this weekend, albeit we’ll have to wait another week for premier-league football, I decided to pick out six of the best things to take the mick out of from the first official weekend of football. There were plenty of candidates, but I think I have picked out some of the funnier moments from a variety of games spanning across England and Scotland.
In traditional fashion, I will be counting down to what I believe to be the thing most ridiculous or laughable about the past couple of days of football, starting with a trip to Wigan, who took on recently relegated Cardiff City.
#6 Cardiff fan’s terrible day
Following the Bluebirds relegation from the top flight, most Cardiff fans will have been hoping for a quick return, under the stewardship of legendary manager Neil Warnock; who recently announced that this season would be his last in management. We will miss Warnock’s undoubted passion and unique style of coaching I’m sure. So, when Cardiff were drawn away to traditional championship strugglers Wigan Athletic for their first game of the new season, I imagine the majority of Cardiff supporters would have been confident of a win. One supporter, however, took this too far, tweeting “easy game, let’s go” in response to the official fixture release. After the match, which finished 3-2 to the Lancashire side, this tweet was quickly and humorously picked upon by the Wigan media team, who no doubt ruined the Cardiff fan’s day for the second time.
#5 Brentford’s dangerous free-kick
My second choice for another laughable moment from this weekend came from another Championship match, in which Brentford took on Birmingham. Despite the home side’s dominance, it was Birmingham who took the lead, and Brentford, without much-sought-after striker Neal Maupay, were desperate for an equaliser in the second half. So desperate in fact, that young midfielder decided to shoot from a 40-yard free-kick, and his effort managed to clear the stand by some distance, potentially knocking a low-flying plane out of the air. If you haven’t seen it, I would go and check it out, as it goes far and beyond the description of ‘high, wide and not very handsome’.
#4 Wigan’s interesting new mascot
Back to the Championship and back to Wigan for my third suggestion, this time in mascot form. Wigan’s new mascot was announced this week, and Crusty the pie made his first appearance at their first game of the season on Saturday. Crusty, who was designed and named by some local school-kids, perhaps even rivals West Brom’s boiler mascot from last year in terms of ridiculousness, but he certainly wins out on cheesiness.
#3 United’s transfer window (again)
For non-Manchester United fans, the transfer window is always an amusing time. United are constantly linked with a plethora of players, ranging from Gareth Bale to Sean Longstaff, but this week it looked as if finally, one of the big names in Paulo Dybala was set to join from Juventus, even more strangely, due to a swap deal with Juventus for much-maligned striker Romelu Lukaku. However, it was announced on Sunday that, following a breakdown in talks, United had ended their interest in Dybala, leaving Lukaku to sit on the bench for another few weeks at least, and perhaps demonstrating once and for all that United simply don’t have the pull that they used to do in the transfer market.
#2 Charlton goalkeeper’s headache
It was an easy toss-up between two for my personal funniest moment of the footballing weekend, and in the end, I decided that Blackburn’s goal would just lose out. Blackburn played host to recently promoted Charlton Athletic for their first game of the season on Saturday. The away side took the lead but were pegged back through a rather unfortunate own goal. After a corner, the Charlton defender on the line was left with a rather simple goal-line clearance, but could only head against his own goalkeeper Dillon Phillips to level the match. Phillips looked just as confused, and perhaps concussed, as the Blackburn fans, but it didn’t prevent his team from going on to win the game 2-1.
#1 The return of competitive Scottish football
My favourite moment of this footballing weekend came in Scotland, and it’s a relatively simple one. St Johnstone knew they were in for a tough afternoon when they were forced to play Celtic in their first game of the new season, but I’m sure they hoped for better than this. Manager Tommy Wright managed to see the funny side after his team were steamrolled 7-0 by the title-favourites, suggesting that his team might need more than just a new striker following the result. Scottish football never fails to amuse me.