Rude scoreboards, wrong flags, Rivaldo's numbers & football's biggest balls-ups

Tim Ellis picks out nine embarrassing episodes that prove that major gaffes don't just happen on the pitch

1. No title medal for the Player of the Season

The former Manchester City man uncharacteristically threw a strop and refused to lift the trophy when it was passed around, instead celebrating with an inflatable version sourced from the terraces

When Burnley celebrated clinching the Championship title in front of thousands of their own supporters in May, midfielder Joey Barton didn't receive a winners’ medal. He wasn't best pleased.

Barton, who was voted the club’s player of the season, was due to be the penultimate recipient, but the club had already put 27 players forward despite being told they only had 25 medals to hand out. To rub salt in the wound, Barton was then stopped by a security guard as he walked up to the podium.

The former Manchester City man uncharacteristically threw a strop and refused to lift the trophy when it was passed around, instead celebrating with an inflatable version sourced from the crowd.

"No medal? What's going on? :-)," Barton later tweeted. He got one in the end.

2) Don't mention the war... oh

Swiss TXT, the company who provided said subtitles, apologised and blamed the error on "a lack of knowledge" on the part of the 25-year-old who had been tasked with finding out the words

Following the Euro 2008 game between Germany and Austria, officials in Switzerland were forced to apologise after they mistakenly subtitled the German national anthem with banned war-time lyrics.

Swiss TXT, the company who provided said subtitles, apologised and blamed the error on "a lack of knowledge" on the part of the 25-year-old who had been tasked with finding out the words. Germany proved it was above Austria – in matters of football at least – by winning the match in Vienna 1-0 and knocking their Teutonic neighbours out of the tournament.

Michael Ballack puts Austria to the sword

3) North goes nuts at Southern flag

The players only returned to the pitch after organisers had apologised to North Korean officials; suitably riled, they ran out 2-0 winners against the South Americans

London 2012 was a major success overall, but that's not to say everything ran smoothly. Perhaps the most embarrassing gaffe came in the women's football event: ahead of a clash with Colombia at Hampden Park, the North Korean side walked off the pitch in protest when their faces were shown alongside the South Korean flag on the stadium's big screen.

"Our players cannot be shown with other flags, especially the South Korean one," raged coach Sin Ui-gun. "If this matter hadn't been solved, continuing [the match] would have been nonsense." 

The players only returned to the pitch after organisers had apologised to North Korean officials; suitably riled, they ran out 2-0 winners against the South Americans.

North Korea

North Korea's players leave the bench after Hampden Park's pre-match mix-up

4) Go home, Rome

Gerard Houllier found himself grilled about the incident in his post-match press conference

Roma officials and Italian journalists were incensed when the veteran "Voice of Anfield" stadium announcer George Sephton played the old '50s crooner Arrivederci Roma over the tannoy after Liverpool squeezed through to the quarter-finals of the 2000/01 UEFA Cup at the Serie A side's expense.

Gerard Houllier found himself grilled about the incident in his post-match press conference and was rather blunt in his appraisal, telling the press pack: "I don't pick the music." You tell 'em, Gerard.

5) Rivaldo duplicate sees red

To add to their statistical pain, Mogi lost the match - and a point - in the 93rd minute

Brazilian outfit Mogi Mirim, owned by former Selecao star Rivaldo, were left rueing their number-crunching after a 3-2 home defeat by Bragantino in the Brazilian Serie B.

Paulão, who started the match wearing No.4, was booked in the first half and recieved a second yellow card six minutes after the break when the fourth official noticed he was wearing the same No.3 shirt as his team-mate Fábio Sanches. To add to their statistical pain, Mogi lost the match - and a point - in the 93rd minute.

Rivaldo

It's not clear what Rivaldo, Mogi Mirim's president, made of the incident

6) Home and away keeper clocks up mileage

Brechin City keeper Graeme Smith rocks up to Ochilview Park today but they're the home team. Haha classic

- William Hoggan

On the face of it, there was nothing unusual about Brechin goalkeeper Graeme Smith making an 83-mile journey for his team’s Scottish League One clash with Stenhousemuir in November. Except that the game was being played at Glebe Park, a two-hour drive away.

Smith's error was spotted by William Hoggan, Stenhousemuir's head of community football, who tweeted: "Brechin City keeper Graeme Smith rocks up to Ochilview Park today but they're the home team. Haha classic."  

Despite clocking up unnecessary mileage, Smith still managed to make it on time for the 3pm kick off. Perhaps he shouldn't have bothered: his side lost 2-1 to remain bottom of the division.

Glebe Park

Smith still managed to make it to Glebe Park in time for kick-off

7) East Anglian banter goes public

We are most embarrassed and upset having worked so hard in recent years to foster good relations with Ipswich, including such initiatives as “Shake Hands on Derby Day”

- Neil Doncaster

During Norwich's 2-1 triumph over Burnley in 2001, the Canaries' electronic scoreboard momentarily flashed up the scoreline for their East Anglian rivals Ipswich's game as "Manchester United 1-0 Scum".  A Norwich club statement read: "The club is extremely sorry for any offence caused to our friends and colleagues at Ipswich Town FC and their supporters."

Chief executive Neil Doncaster added: "We are most embarrassed and upset having worked so hard in recent years to foster good relations with Ipswich, including such initiatives as “Shake Hands on Derby Day”. 

Norwich

A similarly offensive scoreboard for Ipswich fans a few years later

8) Erm, the old boy's still alive actually...

Unfortunately, though, the Addicks erroneously screened an image of ex-player Alan Campbell instead

Fittingly, Charlton Athletic held a minute's applause before a league game with Cardiff for the recently deceased Graham Moore, the midfielder who had played for both clubs during his career, earlier this year.

Unfortunately, though, the Addicks erroneously screened an image of ex-player Alan Campbell instead, forcing them to issue a personal apology to Moore's family at half-time.

9) Mistaken identity at PFA Awards

The PFA Awards is supposed to be a celebration of the season gone by, but this year's event was undermined by a series of printing errors in the official programme.

Northampton midfielder Ricky Holmes, a member of the England C semi-professional team, was confused with Walsall's Romaine Sawyers, who represents St Kitts and Nevis, prompting Holmes to tweet: “I don’t even know who I am!”

Meanwhile, Middlesbrough midfielder Adam Clayton found a biography of Arsenal Ladies star Danielle Carter below his name, and the Championship team of the year included 12 players. 

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