Sports, eh? At times we are treated to exhilarating comebacks and emotional triumphs, or we witness comedy gold as players commit catastrophic errors. All sports have the potential to produce the laughable , and here our writers try to dispel the exam season gloom by casting their minds back to some of the daftest sporting moments of 2018-19.
Mike Dean vs Forest Green: Rebecca Johnson
The sporting world has seen many marvels this season, from Manchester City winning the treble to Liverpool and Spurs rescuing victory from the jaws of defeat . However, none are quite as spectacular as Premier League referee and football personality Mike Dean’s celebrations when Tranmere Rovers reached the League Two Play-Off Final.
Tranmere won 2-1 on aggregate against a Forest Green Rovers side reduced to ten men. As the full-time cameras panned across the jubilant Tranmere Rovers fans, they focused in on one fan in particular. Upon first glance, he looked like anyone’s da celebrating a Wembley trip, but upon closer inspection- it was none other than Mike Dean amongst the masses, pumping and shaking his fists into the air as Tranmere secured their place in the final.
The biggest surprise out of this moment came not from actually seeing Dean in the stands, but instead discovering that he is a Tranmere Rovers fan. The majority of the football community were under the impression that the referee was in fact a Spurs fan, after that infamous clip of Dean seemingly celebrating a goal from Tottenham’s Mousa Dembele against Aston Villa- whilst he was refereeing the game.
Mike Dean is everything wonderful and wrong about the beautiful game. His egotistical refereeing style has seen him become almost a pantomime villain amongst fans. However, seeing him actually as a fan himself and cheering on his team as they reach a play-off final was a delight to see. Never change Mike, never change.
Eric Choupo-Moting's miracle miss: Jack Smillie
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting raised a fair few eyebrows when he made the unexpected switch from Stoke City to Paris Saint Germain at the start of the season. Choupo-Moting caught all our attentions back in April with his more-than-suspicious footwork.
With the score at 1-1, Choupo-Moting's teammate Christopher Nkunku had produced a wonderful piece of skill to chip Strasbourg goalkeeper Matz Sels. The ball was destined to roll over the line and came within an inch of doing so. Choupo-Moting, however, managed to touch the ball, stop it on the line and stumble awkwardly into the netting, in what only can be described is the most suspicious act of football I've ever seen. As a result, PSG had to wait for their Ligue 1 winners party and someone somewhere might have made a lot of money. Nonetheless, it was a daft idea to hijack Nkunku's certain goal, and so it goes down as one of The Courier's daftest sporting moments of 2018/19.
Putin hits the ice: Rebecca Johnson
One of the daftest sporting moments of 2018-19 happened just the other week, and involved everyone’s favourite Russian President. After playing in a charity ice hockey match – and scoring either 8, 9 or 10 goals (Russian and Western newspapers unsurprisingly can’t agree on which) – Vladimir Putin took to the ice for the victory lap, smiling and waving at the crowd. Totally absorbed in the atmosphere, he seemingly forgets about the red carpet set up to present the winning team with their award, and skates right into it, promptly falling flat on his face.
Having first watched the video in the pub that Friday night, and immediately passing my phone around to show everyone, I can truly say it’s worth a watch.
Vladimir Putin founded the Night Hockey League for amateur players in 2011 alongside several former hockey players. This year’s 40+ winning team, Skon-Ural from Yekaterinburg, received a certificate for the construction of an indoor skating rink for their home city as their grand prize. After the final, the winning team then played a charity game against a team of Hockey Legends, made up of former players and prominent societal figures, for which Putin plays annually wearing number 11. The Hockey Legends beat Skon-Ural 14 goals to 7 at the Bolshoi Ice Arena, Sochi, with the Kremlin reporting that 9 of them were scored by Mr Putin himself. Not bad for a 66-year-old.