Anorak | Ten Odd Things Banned From Football Grounds

Ten Odd Things Banned From Football Grounds

by | 22nd, January 2009
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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 The chants of old have been replaced by the steward’s shrill command “Sit down”.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.

To the semi-final of the Hertfordshire Senior Centenary Trophy, and all eyes on the woman who has brought the parrot to the match in a cage.

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.

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Posted: 22nd, January 2009 | In: Key Posts, Sports Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink