Sport

10 Fans That Won Football

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Dave Fawbert
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Every football fan grows up and dream of playing for their chosen team, ideally scoring the winner in the FA Cup final at Wembley (yes, we know fourth place is more important to clubs these days, but where's the romance in that?).

But, soon enough, we realise that we haven't quite got the skills to turn out for our beloved club, so we settle for a lifetime on the sidelines, cheering them on to certain glory.

Yet some fans manage to get more of the action that they bargained for, getting involved in the most surprising and unexpected ways. Here are 10 of the very best who totally won at being a football fan.

(Images: Rex)

  • 10 Fans That Won Football

    Jay Beatty's Special Celtic Moment

    11-year-old Celtic superfan and Down's syndrome sufferer Jay Beatty has struck up a special relationship with the club over the past few years, the highlight being the moment that manager Neil Lennon gave 'wee Jay' his title-winner's medal in May 2014, shortly followed by his favourite player George Samaras taking him round the pitch. He was even taken to the 2014 World Cup with the Greece national team, with Samaras saying, "This boy gives me so much strength, it's incredible. There are no words. I feel his love so much. This love I feel is also felt by many people in Greece."

    He's given a team-talk to Celtic and taken a half-time penalty - which he scored, with opposition team Hamilton including it in the 'final score' when they announced it on Twitter. As team mascots go, Jay is one of the best ever.

  • 10 Fans That Won Football 1

    Harry Redknapp Brings on a Fan for West Ham

    Every single football fan's childhood fantasy: being pulled from the stands onto the pitch to play for their team. The story that for many years was nothing more than legend. But it turned out that then-assistant West Ham boss Harry Redknapp did indeed actually take a fan from the terraces and put him onto the pitch alongside his heroes in a preseason match against Oxford City. 

    In Harry's words: "There's a guy next to the dug-out and he's got West Ham tattooed all over his arms and neck, he's got the earrings … After two minutes, he started on me. 'We ain't got that Lee Chapman up front do we – I ain't coming every week if he's playing...' Half-time I made five substitutions, and we only had the bare 11 out – I was running out of players. Then we got another injury, so I said to this guy in the crowd, 'Oi, can you play as good as you talk?"

    And so Steve Davies, the courier from Milton Keynes, fulfilled everyone's dream. And then, after struggling with the pace of the game, in the 71st minute, went one better, and actually scored. Does it get any better than that? No it does not.

  • 10 Fans That Won Football 2

    Wycombe Ball Boy Gets Carried Away

    We've all done it. We're meant to be maintaining an air of decorum, perhaps at a dinner party, you quickly check the football scores, your team have bagged a last-minute winner, and you shout "YESSSS" at an undignified volume.

    So we can excuse Wycombe ballboy Taylor Hunt who, upon seeing centre back Aaron Pierre power in a last-minute equaliser earlier this season, completely forgot about his job and launched into the celebrations with the jubilant Wycombe team. Good sport Pierre, upon finding a small boy clinging onto him, helped Taylor join in and the clip quickly went viral. Wonderful stuff.

  • 10 Fans That Won Football 3

    Bill & Maureen: the world's gentlest pitch invaders

    When the final whistle went at Brisbane Road in May 2014, delirious Leyton Orient fans poured onto the pitch to celebrate their team making it through to the League One play-off final at Wembley. But, amongst the usual suspects of overexcited kids and long-suffering devotees charging round the playing surface were a couple who were photographed holding hands on the pitch, with the image then going viral on Twitter.

    After a brief search, they were found to be married OAP couple Bill and Maureen Measure - surely football's oldest, and most gentle pitch invaders.

  • 10 Fans That Won Football 4

    The Lifesaving Spurs Fan

    While it's every football fan's dream to be called on to the pitch, then this certainly wasn't the situation you have in mind. However, it turned out be a lifesaving intervention when Tottenham fan and London chest hospital consultant cardiologist Dr Andrew Deaner ran onto the playing surface at White Hart Lane during a match in March 2012 to tend to the stricken Bolton player Fabrice Muamba.

    He convinced stewards to let him "run down the back of the East stand and straight onto the pitch" before treating the player alongside other medical staff. He was given numerous defibrillator shocks, both on the pitch and in the ambulance. His heart had stopped for 78 minutes - nonetheless, he has gone on to make an astonishing full recovery, in no small part thanks to the actions of one super Spurs fan.

  • 10 Fans That Won Football 5

    Karl Power Joins the Man Utd team photo

    Notorious prankster Karl Power joined the ranks of legends after managing to line up alongside the Manchester United team for the photo just before they played against Bayern Munich in a 2001 Champions League quarter-final match.

    Front magazine later revealed that he had entered the stadium pretending to be part of a TV crew, which gained him access to the pitch. He then simply walked back to the stands after he'd been snapped, to watch the game. He went on to indulge in other stunts, including walking out to bat for the England cricket team and having a knock-up at Wimbledon, before he pushed it too far: in 2003 Man Utd banned him for life after he invaded the pitch to recreate a Diego Forlan goal with his mates.

  • 10 Fans That Won Football 6

    Magdeburg fans help the team score

    There's nothing more frustrating that watching your bunch of no-hopers struggle, game after game, to even get the ball anywhere near the onion bag.

    After lower division German side FC Magdeburg had gone five games without scoring, their supporters decided they clearly needed some help, so arranged themselves behind the goal with a load of arrows, to point their team towards the target that they'd clearly forgotten about, as well as putting up a banner which read: 'Don't worry, chaps, we'll show you where the goal is!'.

    Brilliantly, it actually worked as, ten minutes before the end, striker Chris Wright netted their first goal for 558 minutes. Sadly, opposition Berliner AK '07 hit a winner with a minute left, but at least there was finally something positive to watch on the highlights for these superb fans.

  • 10 Fans That Won Football 7

    Jordan Dunn 'Bends it like Beckham'

    Naturally, we'd never condone invading the pitch during a match, but if you're going to do it, do it with the serious style of Jordan Dunn. After downing six pints, the 22-year-old ran on during a match between Spurs and West Ham and took a free kick which was dinked nicely over the wall before being saved by Hammers keeper Adrian. It was actually better than £11m midfielder Christian Eriksen's follow-up shot, which sailed over the bar.

    He was later fined £305, but the judge's summing-up comments made it all worthwhile. Gareth Branston stated: "Tottenham had lined up for a free kick, and you took it for them. To be frank you were probably a little tired by the time you got to the ball, it was a longer run than was strictly necessary. You had consumed alcohol and your stride pattern was a bit out of kilter but, to borrow a phrase, you did bend it like Beckham. Regrettably it was about 30mph slower than David Beckham and the West Ham goalkeeper did his job by easily saving it. The professional footballer who followed you did not do any better."

  • 10 Fans That Won Football 8

    Pickles the dog saves the World Cup

    Not all heroes wear capes. And in this instance, he wore a lead and a waggy tail. The original World Cup, the Jules Rimet trophy, was on display as part of a rare stamp exhibition at Westminster Central Hall, four months before the 1966 World Cup kicked off in England, when it was stolen by thieves. After sending back the cup from the top of the trophy and a £15,000 ransom, police arrested the man who had mailed it, but could not find the rest of it.

    Step forward football-loving (see photo) Pickles the dog, who found the trophy wrapped in newspaper at the bottom of a suburban garden hedge in Beulah Hill, South Norwood, South London, while out walking with his owner David Corbett. Pickles was awarded the silver medal by the National Canine Defence League and was invited to the celebration banquet when England won the final while Corbett collected a reward. A true football hero.

  • 10 Fans That Won Football 9

    Russian Fan Scores Penalty

    Jordan Dunn may have had a go, but an unnamed Spartak Moscow fan went one better in a 2009 Russian league match against Saturn when he grew impatient with midfielder Alex waiting to take a penalty, ran on with a mate and took it himself, belting it past the keeper into the goal. It's not big, it's not clever, but it is funny, and it must have been brilliant for him. Striker!

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Dave Fawbert

ShortList.com staff writer Dave’s primary passions are pop, prose, punning and power ballads (and alliteration). A lower division football enthusiast and long-suffering cricket fan, he is one of only 110 people followed on Twitter by Chas Hodges from Chas ‘n’ Dave. Follow Dave on Twitter like Chas: @davefawbert

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