From Ball Boys To Medics - Meet The Fans Who Stole The Show

Many spectators have upstaged their teams over the years
07:00, 28 Nov 2019

Ever fancied being the star of the show on Champions League night? Of course you have.

And the good news is that you don’t have to have the innate ability of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to be able to do so, as we discovered on Tuesday night.

With Tottenham 2-1 down at home to Olympiacos at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, a quick-thinking ball boy fed the ball to Serge Aurier, who was able to take a speedy throw-in which saw Lucas Moura set up Kane for the equaliser.

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho was complimentary of the youngster afterwards, while also boasting his own pitchside skills as a kid.

“I love intelligent ball boys like I was. I was a brilliant ball boy as a kid,” the manager told BT Sport. "And this kid today was brilliant. He reads the game, understands the game and made an important assist.

"He's not there just to look to the stands, lights or scarves. He's living the game and playing it very well."

On the back of this unexpected piece of individual brilliance, we have taken a look at other times somebody other than the players or officials managed to steal the show.

The Original Champions League Ball Boy

Let’s stick with the influence of ball boys for a minute and appreciate the brilliance of the sharp ball boy who helped Liverpool win their sixth Champions League title. In that crazy night at Anfield which saw Barcelona’s three-goal semi-final lead disappear over the course of 90 minutes, there was one fella who was instrumental in the build-up to their winner.

Oakley Cannonier, a ball boy stationed near one of the corners at the Kop end, quickly threw a new ball to Trent Alexander-Arnold, who was able to feint taking the corner before crossing to Divock Origi for the winner. It was a piece of brilliance by the Liverpool academy player, who is now featuring for the club’s under 18s.

The Accidental Assist

From the sublime straight to the ridiculous with the same club. Callum Campbell was only 16 when he was in the away end at Sunderland watching his beloved Reds when a beach ball came his way from a fellow Liverpudlian. Being the innocent teen that he was at the time, he punted the ball onto the pitch and watched on as it rolled into the goalmouth with Sunderland attacking.

When Darren Bent took a shot at goal seconds later, the inevitable happened, with the football hitting the beach ball and flying beyond a baffled Pepe Reina into the back of the net. Callum was vilified by his fellow fans as Liverpool had their worst ever start to a Premier League season, but the goal simply shouldn’t have stood.

Referee Mike Jones was demoted to the Championship after failing to rule out the strike, with laws dictating that any outside interference during play must bring an immediate halt to the game. 

The Have-A-Go Hero

We’ve all been there. Berating your club’s donkey of a striker, claiming you could do a better job with a beer in one hand and a hot dog in the other. But what happens when the gaffer calls you out on your wild claim and sticks you on the pitch?

Amazingly, Harry Redknapp gave one big-mouthed West Ham fan the chance to show the English manager what he had. Against Oxford City, one fan was giving striker Lee Chapman a lot of stick and an injury meant that Harry needed an extra sub. He sent the loudmouth fan, named Steve Davies down the tunnel to get his kit and then he came on!

"When he came on, the guy came down from the public address system and said 'Harry, who is the sub?', I said 'who is the sub, haven't you been watching the World Cup, Chichi Shiev, he's the Bulgarian striker?"

The striker made quite the impact and reportedly even scored a goal that was disallowed for offside. Perhaps he was better than Chapman after all.

The Last Minute Lino

There's plenty of stories of fans being called out of the crowd to help officiate a game in non-league but for it to happen at Championship level is almost unheard of. After a succession of unlikely events, Millwall fan Steve Perry ended up becoming asked to run the line for Bolton Wanderers’ visit to the Den.

This came about as initial referee Tony Harrington pulled out due to illness, and the fourth official Lee Swabey became the referee as is standard practice. Perry was drafted out of the crowd to step into the fourth-official role, but when Swabey pulled his calf Perry was promoted to referee’s assistant! He did the job for over an hour but couldn’t bring his side any luck, as they lost 2-0.

The Life Saver

We’ve seen some of the fun sides of football, but one spectator will never be forgotten for the day he saved a player’s life on the pitch.

When Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest at White Hart Lane in 2012, the club doctors of both Tottenham and Bolton were treating him on the pitch when one spectator knew he had to help.

Spurs fan Dr Andrew Deaner was in the right place at the right time, with the consultant cardiologist at London Chest Hospital persuading stewards in the Upper East Stand to let him onto the pitch. Once there, he assisted with the CPR that was taking place and then stayed with Muamba to continue treating him in hospital. 

After 78 minutes, Muamba’s heart began beating again thanks to the fabulous work of the medical professionals around him, including Dr Deaner. It was one of the most life-affirming chapters you could ever wish to witness in a football stadium or anywhere.

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