Our daily dose of pre-Christmas nonsense returns
with a round-up of unexpected bodies on the pitch while matches were in
progress (NB: Fumaca doesn't actually come into that category).
We begin on the final day of the domestic season
in May 1969 (although we continued with Fairs Cup fixtures for almost another
month). The visit of Liverpool to SJP included the usual bombardment of toilet
rolls from the Leazes End into the adjacent goal occupied by the opposing
'keeper (Tommy Lawrence).
What was rather less expected was the appearance
of a dog on the field during the second half, although play continued as it
attempted to join in, before visiting trainer Bob Paisley intervened to scoop
1-0 ahead through Wyn Davies at the break, United were forced to settle for a
1-1 draw, Roger Hunt levelling not before the invader appeared.
Back to SJP in December 1979
and a fantastic
Second Division game against QPR. 1-0 ahead through Alan Shoulder, United
trailed at half time to goals from future Magpie duo Paul Goddard and Glenn
Early in the second half, United won a free kick on the right but before Terry
Hibbitt could take it, a black and white dog made its way on to the pitch from
the almost deserted North Eastern corner of the Leazes End.
Catching up with play, the dog resisted attempts at capture - including a
rugby tackle from Peter Withe - before eventually being apprehended by a local
bobby. The game restarted with the free kick that Hibbitt knocked to the far
post for Peter Withe to head an equaliser into the Gallowgate End net.
QPR folded, United flourished and goals from Tommy Cassidy and Withe again
sealed a memorable victory.
Match action is online
here sadly without what The Journal described as "the
On to December 2006 and wildlife of a different kind occupied the
attentions of United's number 9.
The Magpies took an early lead against Reading at Gallowgate but trailed 1-2
at the interval. However this particular incident
took place early in the first half at 0-0. Keen-eyed fans and viewers saw a
brown blur on the pitch, having flown into the ground across the East Stand
then apparently losing its way.
Our resident season-ticket holding twitcher initially identified it as a
sparrowhawk, prompting mention of former flop Diego Gavilan making an
unexpected return to Gallowgate. However as the creature dropped to the turf
and the match was halted, a second opinion appeared via Sky that it was
actually a curlew.
This didn't go down at all well with the East
Stand Billy Oddie, who quickly supplied an alternative view that it was a
woodcock (later confirmed) - whether related to Tony or not we never found out
Obafemi Martins gallantly snared our
feathered friend and handed it a groundsman, prompting ribald comments
regarding the ease with which footballers can pick up birds round these
And like Peter Withe, Oba subsequently found the net, levelling from the
penalty spot before Emre won it.
Here's another bit of December
daftness involving Newcastle, this time on a Monday night away at the Boro in
1998. Paul Gascoigne was playing for the hosts when two lasses clad in Santa
costumes ran on to the pitch in what was a stunt devised by a tabloid
newspaper. However the Toon old boy still possessed enough pace at the time to
get away from them and their employers were deprived of the desired
Bizarrely, at least one journalist at the game representing a
"proper" newspaper blamed Newcastle fans. Talk about making a tit of
sign off today with two shots from Kevin Keegan's debut against QPR in August
1982, a momentous day in many ways. Before the game kicked off, KK was lifted
into the air by one fan in a strange welcome gesture, to the evident amusement
of the match officials. Nowadays they'd probably taser him.
And before the second half began, another gentleman detached himself from the
crowd - and his clothes (save for some luminous socks) making for the halfway
line to present Keegan with a scarf. Returning to the Leazes End, the streaker
was led away by two cops, one of whom placed his helmet strategically.
PS: We're deliberately overlooking mass pitch invasions at home such as
Forest in 1974, Darlington in 2011 and the more recent spate of
attention-seeking solo dafties.
The absence of any photographic evidence means that you'll have to take our
word for it that the FA Cup tie against Spurs at White Hart Lane in 1987
really did include Warren Mitchell aka Alf Garnett coming on the pitch and
loudly abusing the away support. It was acceptable in the 80's, as Calvin
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