Ten Odd Things Banned From Football Grounds
FEW things are not banned from football grounds these days. The chants of old have been replaced by the steward’s shrill command “Sit down”. Anorak looks at ten things banned from our grounds, where passion is policed:
A PARROT was banned from Hatfield Town for imitating the referee’s whistle during a crunch match between local rivals Hatfield Town and Hertford Heath.
Ten minutes into the second-half it began mimicking the referee’s whistle, causing confusion on and off the pitch.
Says Referee Gary Bailey:
“I’ve never known anything like it in my football career. It was a big game and there were quite a lot of people there. This woman was standing right by the touchline and suddenly unveiled a big cage with this big green parrot in it.
“I didn’t mind at first. But then every time I blew my whistle the bird made exactly the same sound. The players all stopped so I had to ask her to move the parrot. It was bizarre. The crowd were all laughing. Looking back I should have made far more of it and got out my red card to show to the parrot.”
The game ended in a 5-2 result in favour of The Hertford Heath.
The craze for taking inflatable objects to football grounds is said to have been trigged by one Frank Newton, a Manchester City fan who attended a match against Plymouth Argyle in 1987 with a single inflatable banana…
Frank decided to remove his regulation City shirt and for the want of anywhere else to put it, put it on the banana. Within a few minutes a face had been drawn and a bobble hat completed the effect…
Just like Frank, the banana followed City all over the country and became a well-known figure on the terraces. At West Brom in November, City fans called for the appearance of substitute Imre Varadi. The chant mutated and he was henceforth known affectionately as “Imre Banana”…
It was the 1988/89 football season that saw the inflatables craze really take off…. Frank had moved up to a six-foot crocodile but the rest of the fans had caught up with him. At a pub outside Hull he was joined by fans carrying a toucan, a seven foot golf club, a spitfire, a Red Baron and two bananas. At the ground there were still more: parrots, gorillas, panthers and literally hundreds of bananas…
The movements reached it apogee in 1987 when four fans appeared at West Bromwich Albion’s ground carrying an inflatable paddling pool. Sharks and penguins were both represented. (Arsenal fans favoured the inflatable fried egg.)
At one end of the terrace stood Godzilla. Six foot tall, green and mean, this dinosaur was a match for anybody. At the other end of the terrace stood Frankenstein’s Monster. Slowly they bagan to converge towards the centre of the terrace. The crowd roared.
THE HOKEY COKEY
It is thought the dance ridicules the gestures used during services and that the words are a parody of the Latin “hoc est enim corpus meum”, which means “This is my body”.
It is understood that some football fans’ websites have been discussing reviving the song and adopting it in a sectarian manner.
Michael Mathieson MSP urged football clubs and authorities to take action if it is performed in the stands.
Mr Mathieson agreed that to most people it was an innocent song and dance. However, he added: “Its origins are more sinister and are essentially anti-Catholic. It is important that the police and clubs are aware of the sinister background and take appropriate action against individuals and groups who may use it at matches.”
Fans can see the hideous lyrics on the Tweenies website, and take care not to their wholeselves in lest their wholeselves be thrown out.
In 1996, James Williams was barred from Manchester City’s match at Wimbledon until he took off his John Major mask.
The member of the Parachute Regiment’s Red Devils – named only as Ben by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service – watched as six colleagues successfully landed on the pitch to present the match ball at Burnley FC’s Turf Moor ground.
Ben caused a 45-minute delay at a football stadium by accidentally landing on the roof.
Parachuting is now banned in football stadia.
(In the US, men parachuted into wrong football stadium:
Duke officials were a bit surprised when, at 6 p.m. EDT on Saturday, about an hour before the scheduled kickoff of their game against James Madison, two men parachuted into Wallace Wade Stadium and landed at the 35-yard line with a game ball.
“In about five years, maybe this will be funny,” Steinbacher said. “Right now, I’m just glad no one was hurt.”)