10 of football's weirdest unveilings (ft. Becks, Brazilians and Best)
1. Napoli’s lion-hearted arrival
Napoli chairman Aurelio De Lauretiis invited a man wearing a lion’s mask to reveal himself
On a cruise ship circling the Mediterranean port in July 2011, Napoli chairman Aurelio De Lauretiis invited a man wearing a lion’s mask to reveal himself to show off his club’s funky new home shirt. It was none other than Swiss star Gohkan Inler, who’d just signed on the dotted line from Udinese. “How do you like that?” roared the rock-jawed midfielder. Er, a lot?
2. “No, I want it orange…”
Just hours after seeing his beloved Montpellier win the French title in 2012, colourful owner Louis Nicollin made good on a bet he’d made with supporters if his team was successful in its pursuit of Ligue 1 glory.
A local barber morphed his grey hair into an orange-and-blue Mohican - the team colours of La Paillade. “I look like a fool,” squealed ‘Lulu’ upon revealing his new barnet at the title celebrations, “but not as stupid as our rivals do today.”
3. “Do you know what that looks like?!”
The statue looked like a cross between Wee Jimmy Krankie and Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric with out-of-proportion arms
“I’m a perfectionist and I want it to be just right,” insisted Southampton chairman Leon Crouch in 2007 after announcing the club’s brand new £120,000 statue of Saints legend Ted Bates would be torn down.
The reason? It looked like a cross between Wee Jimmy Krankie and Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric with out-of-proportion arms. A new statue, that actually resembled Bates, was erected within the year, much to Southampton fans’ pleasure. This kind of thing didn't stop future statues from going to plan, mind – just see Cristiano Ronaldo's lump of bronze in Madeira unveiled earlier this year.
4. Forest’s jigsaw identification
In July 2014, Nottingham Forest revealed their new strip with a giant 10-piece jigsaw treasure hunt around the city. Firms tweeted clues as frantic fans returned the pieces to the City Ground to form a giant Chris Cohen, and win a shiny new shirt.
“We’re hoping our season comes together as smoothly as that,” panted the club, far too happy with their jigsaw pun. It didn't really – Forest finished 14th, with no hope of promotion.
5. Brazilian stadiums not finished? Who knew?
The stadium was part-unfinished, and Yugoslav striker Rajko Mitic knocked himself out on some rogue metalwork
The construction of the Maracana for the 1950 World Cup was compared to the building of the pyramids by many Brazilians. There were probably fewer precariously hanging iron girders in Egypt, though. With the stadium still part-unfinished, Yugoslav striker Rajko Mitic knocked himself out on some rogue metalwork, his team beginning the group stage game against the hosts with only 10 men.
A patched-up Mitic returned to the dressing room at half-time groggy but happy with the goalless scoreline. Then he was informed of Ademir’s third-minute opener for Brazil, while he was passed out. Ah.