Did You Know? Pt. 2Posted: August 20, 2011
Here are some more random facts and stories about famous footballers that you may have or may not have heard before: Part One here.
Xabi Alonso – Gaelic Football Player?
You may not have noticed but I’m slightly obsessed with Xabi Alonso, this fact is cemented by me having his name on my 2006/08 Liverpool home shirt. But, one thing that I have only just recently found about Xabi was the fact that he use to play Gaelic football.
Aged 15, a young Xabi moved to Kells, County Meath, in Ireland on a school exchange program so he could improve his English, and while he was there he developed a love for the popular Irish sport, Gaelic football.
He is quoted to have said: “I played Gaelic football with some of the local boys. It was very different, very physical,” and “The players should wear crash helmets.”
It is said to be the reason that he wears the number 14 jersey (which he has worn at each of his clubs since Real Sociedad) and it is also rumoured that he won a Minor All-Ireland medal during his playing days. If this is true he is the only man to have won this medal along with a Champions League medal which he picked up in 2005 for Liverpool in that famous final against AC Milan in Istanbul.
Other footballers who also played gaelic football during their youth are Martin O’ Neill, Denis Irwin, Seamus Coleman, Niall Quinn, Stephen Hunt and Shane Long – All Irish surprisingly enough.
Dixie – He’s Only Got One Ball!
Dixie Dean was brilliant, I’m not even ashamed to say this. In the great words of Bill Shankly: “He belongs to the company of the supremely great, like Beethoven, Shakespeare and Rembrandt.”
In 433 appearances for Everton he scored 383 goals, including the record breaking season where he scored 60 goals, which today is still the record for the most goals scored in a single season. But I am not suppose to be writing about his extraordinary strike rate in this section, I am actually suppose to be writing about an unfortunately incident which resulted in him losing one of his “two veg”.
During his early playing days at Tranmere Rovers in a game against Altrincham, Dean was on the receiving end of a bad tackle which later resulted in him requiring in an operation to get one of his testicles removed. Legend says that following the challenge one of his team mateswent to rub the area to relieve some of the pain, but Dean screamed: “Don’t rub ’em, count ’em!”.
Stade Olympique de l’Emyrne Antananarivo – Or SOE Antananarivo as they are referred to – are a Madagascan football team who compete in the THB Champions League, Madagascar’s Premier League division.
This team actually holds a Guiness World Record despite 9.9 out of 10 people not being able to pronounce their name, let alone know who they are but it isn’t really a good thing. This is because they were on the receiving end of the biggest scoreline in football history.
On October 31st 2002, SOE met their arch rivals AS Adema in a game which was part of a four-team playoff to determine the national championship. However, in the game before this one SOE were held to a 2-2 draw by DSA, another side taking part in this play off which meant SOE were out of the running for the championship.
SOE, sour because DSA’s second goal came via a last minute and disputed penalty decision by the referee and the Championship already being decided, decided to do the least sportsman-like thing they could do and starting to protest against the referee in this game and just started scoring own goal after own goal. The game finished AS Adema 149-0 SOE with all goals coming from own goals.
Spectators all demanded refunds and Madagascar’s football authorities banned the SOE coach and four players, which included the team captain and the goalkeeper for 3 years. SOE were also banned from visiting stadiums for the same period of time and the rest of the team, as well as AS Adema’s team, were all warned and were threatened with similar punishments if it happened again.
Old McLucas Has A Farm?!
After spending the entire season dominating in the Liverpool midfield you would expect the average football star to splash his well earnt wonga on a luxury holiday in the middle of the Med, or the Caribbean, but not Lucas Leiva.
A photo has been released of the holding midfielder, Lucas riding on the back of a horse, surrounded by a large number of cattle, wearing a rather fetching hat:
According to Brazilian sources, unless they are lost in translation, Lucas bought the farm because he dreamt of owning his own farm after playing in his grandfather’s farm as a child. But, his farm is not just recreational, Lucas has helped turn the farm into a thriving business with his brother, William who works as a vet.