Following on from the news that Subbuteo is to be relaunched we are pleased to be able to tick a second category in the checklists at the back of ‘Got, Not Got’…
The Anfield Cat which invaded the pitch during the Liverpool v Spurs game alerted us to the fact that ‘Animals on the Pitch’ might be making a comeback – The Ewood Chicken last night confirmed it…
Like a feathered harbinger of doom the protest chicken, clad in Blackburn Rovers flag and Keen Out! message strutted about the pitch on the night when Rovers took the drop.
Animals on the Pitch
Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch /
It generates a warmth around the ground that augurs well for mankind /
And that’s what life’s about /
Trouble is these days you never see a dog on the pitch…
Half Man Half Biscuit
And HMHB are right, as they so often are.
Nothing used to bring a smile to the face so easily as a dog cavorting around the field, evading your goalkeeper’s best efforts to capture him.
“Hurrah!” goes the crowd, every time he body swerves out of his grasp.
“Sign him up!” shouts the wag.
“BOOOOO!” we thunder, as he’s eventually tethered.
But you don’t see dogs on the pitch anymore, and I think I know why. Those modern turnstiles where the bars go from head to toe…you can’t jump over them, and dogs can’t nip in under them.
Possibly the greatest four-legged turf encroacher was Bi, who invaded the pitch during the 1962 World Cup quarter-final betweenBrazilandEnglandinChile. After the usual ‘Hurrah/Sign him on/BOOO!’ scenario (but in Spanish, obviously), Bi was scooped up into the arms ofEnglandgoal-machine Jimmy Greaves, who was rewarded with a stream of canine urine down his shirt.
The Brazilian coach took charge of the incontinent mutt and when no owner could be traced he was raffled off among theBrazilside. Garrincha won, named the stray and gave him a home for the rest of his life.
Less heartwarming, if you’re aLincoln City fan, is the story of Bryn the Alsatian, who got the Imps relegated out of the Football League in 1987. The old ’Applying for Re-election’ system (see below) had been abandoned in favour of automatic promotion and relegation, and on the last day of the season it was either Lincoln or Torquay who were going to take a catastrophic and historic drop into the icy waters of non-League football.
Two-nil down at home to Crewe, it was Torquay who were hammering on the trapdoor when Jim Nicholl pulled a goal back for the Gulls. He then charged toward the corner flag to retrieve a pass and was given a nasty bite by Bryn who had assumed Nicholl was attacking his handler. Nicholl’s treatment last five minutes…and Torquay equalised in the injury time that had been added on, thus relegating Lincoln instead.