We've all been there. You've made a mistake at work and really want to shift the blame elsewhere, so you come up with an excuse which sounds brilliant in your heard but considerably less brilliant when you say it out loud. Football players and managers aren't exempt either, as this slideshow proves...
Brolin's flying visit
On his way to catch a Yorkshire-bound flight for the start of Leeds’ pre-season in June 1997, Tomas Brolin’s car hit a bird, breaking his windscreen and leaving him too distraught to go any further.
Pictures of the damage – thought to be the work of an elk – surfaced in the Swedish press, while a fuming George Graham left Brolin out of the official team photo as punishment. “My guardian angels helped me," the playmaker said. "I am very lucky not to have been injured.”
King Kenny’s over-inflated balls
After labouring to a 1-1 draw at Stevenage in the FA Cup third round in 1998, Newcastle manager Kenny Dalglish was forced to explain why Alan Shearer & Co. had failed to beat a non-league side whose on-loan striker Giuliano Grazioli was allegedly recruited for three packets of crisps and a Mars bar.
“The balls were too bouncy” remains a triumphant moment for self-denial. The Scot later insisted he was misquoted, but that didn’t stop Stevenage fans singing “your balls don’t bounce enough” in the replay.
Fergie’s squeaky bum time
Acquitted of driving illegally down the hard shoulder in 1999, Alex Ferguson claimed his actions were an “emergency” because he was suffering from acute diarrhoea.
“When I got on the M602 I started to feel the cramps again,” wailed the Manchester United boss in court (that’s cramps, with an ‘m’). “That was very much the case,” he then replied when asked whether he needed to go to the toilet. In fairness to Fergie, it’s a more passable excuse than ‘invisible’ grey kits.
Casper the overfriendly ghost
If you’re going to lie about cheating on your wife, try and make a better fist of it than Peruvian top-flight pair Carlos Flores and Jose Carranza. The latter, a midfielder for Universitario, claimed he was abducted while his spouse Carmen was seven months pregnant, but he’d actually been with cheerleader Shirley Cherres.
Six years later, CNI midfielder Flores was found tired, emotional, bleeding and naked in the street, claiming he was being chased by a ghost. Nice try, pal.
“The thread of the socks is too rough”
There’s no denying feet are pretty important in football, but Italy’s unhappy players took things a bit too far following an insipid Euro 2004 goalless draw with Denmark in 34-degree heat. “It was like having your feet on boiling sand… nothing like that has ever happened to me before,” wailed Francesco Totti, while Christian Panucci complained: “The thread of the socks is too rough.”
Trust Alessandro Nesta to be sensible: “They’re going to take us for being ridiculous,” he said. “Totti is so good he could play barefoot.”
"You wouldn’t tackle a man in glasses..."
Scoring the winner in the 1970 Intercontinental Cup Final was bespectacled Feyenoord defender Joop van Daele’s (back row, second from left) finest moment, but it came at a cost: Estudiantes’ Oscar Malbernat stamped Van Daele’s glasses to bits.
Malbernat’s excuse for this show of petulance? “You shouldn’t play football in glasses – not in South America.” We weren’t aware vision problems were automatically rectified on the other side of the Atlantic.
Driving Villa mad
As if Aston Villa being thrashed 6-0 by Liverpool in February 2016 wasn't bad enough, defender Joleon Lescott managed to make it worse by tweeting a picture of a flash Mercedes after being criticised by fans on social media after the game.
After apologising to Villa fans for the team's latest dire performance, Lescott added an apology for his ill-advised motor posting. "I would like to add that the tweet sent out from my account involving a picture of a car was totally accidental it happened whilst I was driving and my phone was in my pocket."
Rupert’s Lowe blow
When you’re the chairman of a football club, hiring and firing employees is your responsibility, right? Not if you’re former Southampton chief Rupert Lowe, who blamed “a constant stream of negative and unfair media coverage” for his own decision to sack manager Paul Sturrock two games into the 2004-05 season.
“Those people responsible for perpetrating this unsatisfactory situation, often in return for financial reward, should take a long hard look at themselves,” harrumphed Lowe.
Too famous to be banned
In February 2015, Robbie Savage was clocked doing 99mph in his Bentley driving home from an Alan Shearer charity bash.
Savage claimed he just wanted to get home to see his two sons, but the former Leicester midfielder managed to avoid a ban by scarpering with six points and a £600 fine after his lawyer claimed he was "regularly accosted in public" so couldn't use alternative transport. Lucky boy, Sav.
Shh! Genius at work
The closest Sutton has got to a commotion, apart from the odd episode of The Bill, was that famous 1989 FA Cup victory over top-flight Coventry, which remains one of the greatest upsets in the history of English football’s most storied competition.
The fans made a racket that day – yet when Sutton United striker Adrian Bradnam missed a sitter in a different match, he blamed the fans for being too noisy. Perhaps he was just angling for a move to Arsenal…
Vashchuk goes hopping mad
There was only one logical explanation for Ukraine’s 4-0 loss to Spain at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. “Because of the frogs’ croaking,” whined defender Vladislav Vashchuk after a restless night at the Seminaris Seehotel in Potsdam. “We hardly got a wink of sleep. We all agreed that we would take some sticks and go and hunt them.”
“There are also birds near our lake,” blasted a hotel spokeswoman, returning sarcastic fire in the wildlife milieu. “In the morning they wake up and start cheeping. Should we go and catch all the birds?”