Football’s boozy bonuses | The Knowledge
Plus: using a corner flag to attack an opponent, Fifa rankings high and lows, plus four divisions in one season. The Knowledge is taking a break during the off-season, but you can still send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter
"While Michael Schjonberg was playing for German team Hannover, he scored the deciding goal to bring them the DFB Cup 1992," wrote Dubravko Milicic in 2009. "In return he can drink as much beer as he wants in Hannover. Saeed Owarian scored the deciding goal against Belgium at World Cup 1994 and in return he received new Rolls Royce. Are there any similar instances when players have received unusual bonuses for scoring one goal?"
Beer (for some reason) does seem to be a popular incentive. "Last summer, an Austrian brewery took time out of its busy schedule to offer a lifetime's supply of free beer to the first Austrian to score in the [Euro 2008] tournament (they'd been shut-out by Croatia in their opening game)," wrote James Tyler. "Two days later, Ivica Vastic notched a 93rd-minute penalty to draw with Poland, their only goal. No word on whether he cashed in on the prize, although considering he retired from all forms of football, I'm wondering if the free ale is part of his retirement plan."
Though it's not a goal bonus, a similar offer encourages players to raise their game in southern Africa. "The Cosafa Castle Cup is the regional competition for national teams and is sponsored by South African Brewery giant SAB through their brand Castle lager," writes Tinashe Mutsungi Shoko. "Price for man of the match? Beer for the whole year!"
And, stretching the definition of "players who have received unusual bonuses for scoring one goal" to, well, quite frankly, miles beyond breaking point, here's Dan Gocher: "Guus Hiddink flies free on Korea Air courtesy of his guiding South Korea to the World Cup semi-finals in 2002." Indeed, as this CNN report adds:
In recognition of his efforts he has been made an honorary Korean citizen, given huge cash bonuses, a free holiday home, free first class air travel anywhere at any time on Korean Air, a luxury limousine and free insurance. On top of that he has been smothered with advertising contracts from Korean companies who believe that anything endorsed by the nation's football hero is bound to sell like hotcakes.
FIGHTING YOUR CORNER (FLAG)
"Have any players ever used a corner flag, a goalpost or an advertising hoarding to attack an opponent?" enquired Pedro Salinas in 2007.
Step forward Canada's Paul Peschisolido, who flipped a corner flag into an El Salvador player's face during a World Cup qualifier in 1997, and duly picked up a red card for his troubles. "I was kicked a few times and the referee wasn't giving anything, while every challenge we made seemed to result in a foul," he explained afterwards. "I was getting very annoyed and frustrated so I decided to elbow one of their players. It was right in the corner and in fact I elbowed the corner flag into his face."
Martin Keown managed the next best thing in January 2002, chucking a corner flag into the stands during Arsenal's 1-1 draw at Elland Road. Early in the game Keown conceded a corner; as he got up he grabbed the flag and casually lobbed it behind him into the front rows of fans. Despite uproar from the supporters, the FA eventually decided he had not intended to hit them, and did not enforce any punishment.
Sadly there were no such exciting tales regarding advertising hoardings, though Rudy Hulsman was quick to remind us of January 2007's match between Orlando Pirates and Black Leopards in South Africa's Premier Soccer League. With the game in mid-flow heavy winds suddenly sent a number of hoardings flying across the pitch, taking out a linesman and several players in a matter of seconds. "Referee on the night – Charl Theron – resumed play after the boards were removed from the field," read the Pirates' report, "but the restart was [curtailed] five minutes later by a thunderstorm. Theron blew the whistle and ordered the players to evacuate the field."
HIGHS AND LOWS
"Norway somehow reached second in the Fifa rankings in October 1993, before slipping down to 52nd by July 2006," wrote Jostein Nygård in 2007. "Is this the greatest spread between a nation's highest and lowest position in the rankings?"
Armenia comfortably eclipsed this mark, Jostein, when they nosedived from 79th in September 2000 to 159th in June 2004, but even they can't compete with Malaysia's fall from grace. Clocking in at a respectable 75th in August 1993, the Tigers have steadily tumbled down the rankings ever since. Update: At the last count, Malaysia stood 159th, but their lowest ever position is 170th in June 2008, 95 places below their zenith.
FOUR DIVISIONS IN ONE SEASON
"I remember, in 1986-87, that Tranmere keeper Eric Nixon became the first player to play in all four divisions in the same season," remembered Nick Davies in 2004. "Has anyone matched this since?"
It has indeed been done since – by Tony Cottee, who played for Leicester (Premiership), Norwich (First Division), Millwall (Second Division) and Barnet as player/manager (Third Division) in 2000-01, before giving it all up to become a fast-talking pundit.
Filed under: Euro 2012
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