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12 hilarious times outfielders went in goal (including the chairman's son)

Kyle Walker in goal, Man City
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Alain Giresse (Bordeaux vs Nantes, 1982)

Alain Giresse

In 1982, Bordeaux club president Claude Bez took umbrage at the French Football Association’s one-year ban on goalkeeper Dragan Pantelic for kicking a linesman. Having already qualified for the UEFA Cup, Bez refused to name a goalkeeper in Bordeaux’s starting XI for the final league match against Nantes.

Giresse, who played in midfield for the national team 47 times, remembers: “He (Pez) told me, 'You’re the captain, you go in goal'.” 

As no keeper was named, Giresse wasn’t allowed to use his hands in accordance with the rules. “I constantly wanted to run out and catch every ball,” he said. After conceding five goals in an hour without so much as a stung finger, he was relieved of his duties.

Phil Jagielka (Sheffield United vs Arsenal, 2006) 

Phil Jagielka goalkeeper

“Neil Warnock used to occasionally put on these crazy sessions when he let the keepers play outfield. One day I went in and I did so well the manager decided he didn’t need to have a keeper on the bench.”

And so Phil Jagielka’s part-time keeping shift was born. He played between the sticks four times for the Blades when Paddy Kenny was either sent off or injured. Memorably, one of those games included a spectacular fingertip save from Robin van Persie in 2006, a picture of which proudly hangs in his home. 

Peter Beardsley (West Ham vs Newcastle, 1986)

West Ham inflicted an 8-1 defeat on Newcastle in a First Division game that saw Peter Beardsley reduced to an inferior version of Iker Casillas circa 2014. “I said to Willie McFaul at half-time, 'I'll go in goal' but he said no as I was too little,” Beardsley recalled. 

Instead centre-half Chris Hedworth replaced Martin Thomas, who was becoming more unfit with each Hammers goal. When Hedworth collided with a post and dislocated his shoulder, Beardsley filled the goal with pride rather than size. “I only let in three goals – one from Frank McAvennie, one from Paul Goddard and then, most famously, a penalty from Alvin Martin.”

Martin went into the record books as the only top-flight player to score a hat-trick against three different keepers.

Diogo Acosta (Palmeiras B vs Juventus, 2010)

A game in the Brazilian third division wouldn’t normally raise an eyebrow but striker Acosta’s heroics were worth mention. Palmeiras needed a win to secure promotion in May 2010, as did rivals Juventus, who took a two-goal lead into the break. 

Acosta, however, ensured the scores were levelled with 20 minutes to go. But when Palmeiras keeper Rafael Borges was sent off for throwing a haymaker, two-goal hero Acosta was forced to man the sticks. He recalls what happened next: "I saw their goalkeeper running back to goal, after trying to get his head on the corner. I know the pitch at the Rua Javari is small, so I decided to try a shot."

His punt went over the retreating keeper, bounced a few times and into the corner of the net to seal victory. 

Bobby Moore (West Ham vs Stoke, 1972)

Wearily called the best League Cup semi-final cup ever, West Ham and Stoke tussled for seven hours and four games stretched over a mammoth 49-day period. 

Two narrow away wins for each team in respective legs with no away goal rule in place was followed by one goalless replay, and then the decisive and dramatic five-goal glut played at Old Trafford. As West Ham keeper Bobby Ferguson was taken off temporarily for treatment in Manchester, Hammers legend Bobby Moore went in goal for 20 minutes – in which time he saved Mike Bernard’s penalty with his bare hands only to see the rebound knocked in by the same player.

Stoke prevailed 3-2 but Daily Mail correspondent Jeff Powell remembered it best. “This last act of a seven-hour semi-final was so full of flashpoint drama and raw courage that even Moore saving a spot-kick seemed scarcely out of the ordinary,” he wrote. It should have come out as a box set.


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David Burrows (Spartak Moscow vs Liverpool, 1992)

Bruce Grobbelaar had several of his walkabout moments in this Cup Winners’ Cup tie in Moscow. “Grobbelaar's 69th-minue slip had already gifted Spartak a second goal and several more ill-judged sorties off his line added up to a nightmare evening for the goalkeeper,” wrote the Guardian

He was then sent off after conceding a penalty, leaving left-back David Burrows to take Brucie’s shirt for the resultant spot-kick. “Bugsy” Burrows had none of the presence of Warren Beatty as Spartak converted to take a 3-2 lead, which they added to in a frantic finish as the redhead was put under siege. 

Graeme Souness’s observation was that Moscow were “there for the taking”. That didn’t quite ring true in the return match either, and the Reds lost 6-2 on aggregate.

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