Thursday, April 12, 2012

Controversial and amusing messages on t-shirts worn by footballers

Without by any means wanting to take any of the spotlight away from a couple of very sad and high profile incidents within football recently, I would like to say that there have been many wonderful goodwill gestures by players and fans alike, many in the form of messages on t-shirts, in support of both Fabrice Muamba and Stiliyan Petrov, and in addition an extremely touching gesture by Southampton striker Billy Sharp. I would like to take this opportunity to say to all of them good luck, stay strong and my thoughts are with you. I sincerely hope that they will all make a full recovery or at least are able to come to terms with their own personal torment and anguish, sorrow and sadness.

Professional footballers in the major leagues in Europe and during major tournaments like the World Cup are regularly under immense pressure both in terms of their performance and in how they act personally on and off the pitch. This means that when they score a goal, they understandably tend to go a 'bit over the top.’

Some footballers however, who are confident enough before the game that they will score, prepare often poignant, controversial or funny t-shirts to wear underneath their strip, with a message to be revealed when the cameras are squarely on them just after they’ve stuck the ball in the back of the net.
Here are some of the more famous examples of this and what message each football star chose to convey…

1. Lee Trundle.

After Swansea beat Carlisle in the 2006 final of the Football League Trophy at the Millennium Stadium, Trundle removed his shirt to reveal a T-shirt showing a cartoon of a man in a Swansea kit peeing on a Cardiff shirt. The tricky scouser made sure he'd never be welcome in any Cardiff boozer for the rest of his life as he continued to celebrate his team's 2-1 success that day by parading a Wales flag around the Millennium Stadium with the words "F*ck off, Cardiff" emblazoned on it.
Both Trundle and team-mate Alan Tate were arrested by police three days later for taunting Cardiff City FC and their fans following the victory.
A South Wales Police statement read: "South Wales Police have arrested a 23-year-old man and a 29-year-old man on suspicion of section four public order offences, and that both men had been bailed as a result."

2. El Hadji Diouf.

Controversy folows Diouf wherever he goes! At the 2002 World Cup, the Blackburn player celebrated scoring for Senegal by lifting up his shirt to reveal a T-shirt bearing a face that looked a lot like Osama bin Laden. Actually, it was Cheikh Amadou Bamba, a Senegalese mystic who Diouf follows.

3. Artur Boruc.

In April 2008, the controversial Celtic goalkeeper caused a religion-related ruckus when he revealed a T-shirt bearing bearing a picture of the late Pope John Paul II and saying "God Bless the Pope" in a game against Rangers.
Then-Celtic manager Gordon Strachan made light of the antics of his 'Holy Goalie,' a name given to him due to his custom of blessing himself before games. "If it was ‘God bless Myra Hindley,’ I might have a problem," joked Strachan.
Politicians didn’t see the funny side. Gregory Campbell, a Democratic Unionist Party MP, tabled a House of Commons motion 'deeply regretting' the Pole’s behaviour during the Old Firm match.

4. Mohamed Aboutrika.

At the 2008 African Cup of Nations, the Egyptian midfielder lifted his shirt after scoring against Sudan to reveal a T-shirt bearing the message "Sympathy with Gaza." He was given a yellow card for breaking FIFA’s rule against displaying political slogans during play, but received no further punishment for his political statement.
Some Arab commentators described this yellow card as a 'honourable punishment' for any athlete. In Gaza, Palestinian people went out, raising Aboutrika's photos thanking him and appreciating his act.

5. Paul Tait.

Tait played for Birmingham City for eleven year, without distinction. His most famous moment came in the 1995 Auto Windscreens Shield final, when, after scoring the 103rd-minute ‘golden goal’ winner against Carlisle United, he revealed a T-shirt that read: "Shit on the Villa". That's Aston Villa, Birmingham’s rivals, in case there was any doubt about which Villa he meant. He was fined two weeks' wages for the incident.

6. James Beattie.

An optimistic James Beattie went for the rather obscure phrase "Obvious" which was written on a t-shirt which he displayed after scoring for Southampton against Middlesbrough in 2003, as a 'nudge' to then-England boss Sven Goran Eriksson that he wanted to wear the Three Lions on his chest. That year Beattie did go on to earn the first of his five England caps under the ever experimental Sven Goran-Eriksson. It was in a 3-1 loss to Australia at Upton Park, which incidentally was the same game that Wayne Rooney made his debut. Unfortunately for Beattie though his career did not follow a similar path to Rooney’s.
He played his last ever game for England in November 2003 and was not selected for the Euro 2004 squad. Beattie, now 34 currently plys his trade in the third tier of English football with League One side Sheffield United.

7. Mario Balotelli.

Manchester City went about making a collective statement of intent with their 6-1 hammering of Manchester United at Old Trafford in October 2011, but it was a personal message from Mario Balotelli that got the ball rolling for Roberto Mancini's men at the Theatre of Dreams.

As a footballer with an almost innate ability to attract headlines on both the front and back pages of the press, it was fitting for the Italian to question his critics in the printed word. After his wonderfully taken 22nd minute strike to break the deadlock, the former Inter Milan player turned and lifted his jersey to reveal a sky blue shirt reading "Why always me?" - no doubt a nod to the brewing media storm prior to the match, after it was revealed that he had set fire to his house, by setting off fireworks in his bathroom in the early hours of Saturday morning.
He was the coolest man inside Old Trafford that day, after stroking home the first of his two goals in the Manchester demolition derby.

8. Robbie Fowler.

There was little more Robbie Fowler, otherwise known as God in Liverpool could do to increase his popularity in the red half of Merseyside during the 1990's, but his showing of solidarity with striking dockworkers in the city, in a European Cup Winners’ Cup tie against Brann in March 1997 only served to cement the striker as a Kop hero.
Originally from Toxteth, an area synonymous with the city’s docking community, Fowler unveiled a T-shirt with a fake Calvin Klein logo that read: "Support the 500 Sacked Dockers". The forward received a fine of £1,400 for his actions.

9. Marco Materazzi.

If Balotelli is Manchester City's provocateur-in-chief, then it's possible that the Italian learnt a few tricks in infuriating his opponents from former Inter team-mate Marco Materazzi.

As the Italian side secured a historic treble under Jose Mourinho, with a Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich in Madrid in May 2010, the defender, who came on as a substitute in on the 92nd minute substitute, felt compelled to rub his side's success in the faces of their derby d'Italia rivals Juventus.

Wearing a T-shirt with a picture of the defender holding the Champions League trophy and the words "Do you want this too?" in reference to Juventus' request for Inter to be stripped of their 2005-06 Serie A title as a result of match-fixing allegations that formed part of the Italian football's 'Calciopoli Scandal.'

...................and for those well endowed football supporting ladies out there, who may want to let guys with ' wandering eye trouble' know how you feel, this t-shirt is especially for you!

Thank you God for............Beer, Footy and Birds!

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