Scotland Wales Northern Ireland
BBC Homepage feedback | low graphics version
BBC Sport Online
You are in: Sports Talk  
Front Page 
Rugby Union 
Rugby League 
Other Sports 
Sports Talk 
Football Talk 
In Depth 
Photo Galleries 
TV & Radio 
BBC Pundits 
Question of Sport 
Funny Old Game 

Around The Uk

BBC News

BBC Weather

Monday, 29 January, 2001, 15:29 GMT
Great sporting excuses
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson blamed the bad pitch for his side's FA Cup defeat against West Ham

Manchester United were knocked out of the FA Cup after a goalkeeping error - but United manager Alex Ferguson blamed everyone except his goalkeeper.

Ferguson focused instead on the amount of rugby played at Old Trafford, claiming it had spoiled the pitch.

Can you think of any other great sporting excuses?


The Man Utd boss lamented the lack of a penalty award as well as insufficient injury time at the end of the match for his team's defeat.

It is not the first time the Man Utd boss has offered a bizarre reason for defeat.

Remember Fergie stating a grey United kit meant his team couldn't recognise each other and so lost against Southampton?

In rugby union the all-conquering New Zealand team blamed food poisoning for their failure to beat South Africa in the 1995 World Cup.

What reasons for abject sporting failure do you know of?


When Newcastle United drew at Stevenage in the FA cup in 1998, A furious Kenny Dalglish said that the "balls were too bouncy!"
Harry, Newcastle, England

Once, when refereeing a local amateur game, a goalkeeper let in a goal because a dog ran on to the park and bit his upper leg! If you had not seen it happen you would not believe the goalie and think it was the worst excuse ever.
Bill Baxter, Scotland

Arsenal travelled to Anfield having to win by two clear goals to win the league on Friday 26 May 1989... Alan Hansen said the only reason Arsenal managed to "achieve the impossible" was because the game was played on a Friday night.

We can't appoint Terry Venables as England Manager because he does not fit the requirements
  Carl, UK
If it had been played on a Saturday, Liverpool would have won. Yeah right.
Paul J Bennett, England

Sammy Baugh, an old time NFL quarterback once said, "I never lost a game in my life, I just ran out of time."
Jack Hollis, USA

Bill Shankly said after Liverpool lost to Tottenham 7-2 we would have won if Jimmy Greaves had not scored four goals
James, England

"We can't appoint Terry Venables as England manager because he does not fit the requirements".
Carl, UK

It happened when I was in school playing for our cricket 1st XI. A lusty-hitting team mate of mine, RJ Lewis III came into bat and we needed 24 runs to win off the last two overs. Naturally, RJ's beefy blows took us to within 1 run needed of the last ball. Big RJ seemed to have the game won, the opposition bowlers were struck with fear. The bowler delivered the last ball, a short slow long hop, and RJ suddenly pulled away from the crease, the ball broke the stumps and victory was thrown away.

We once lost a game of football when our goalkeeper went off the field without telling anyone to go to the toilet.
  Nick, Wales
His excuse - his thigh pad had rubbed against an in-growing hair (he was in his formative years)and caused him so much pain that he suddenly jumped away from the crease. Our coach was 'old school' and RJ never played again, he took up drama!
Irvine Fletcher, UK

There was that occasion when Nigel Mansell said that his McLaren was the wrong size! Ted Dexter once complained about the alignment of the stars. It was meant as a joke, but English cricket was also a joke, so it rebounded on him.

I also recall Jelena Dokic, after losing in the Australian Open in 2000, talking at great length about what a useless player had just beaten her!
Colin, England

Blackpool missed out on promotion a few seasons ago after letting a two goal lead slip in the playoffs at home to Bradford. It was then announced the Blackpool boardroom was haunted by the ghost of Lord Nelson because its oak panelling was salvaged from his flagship!

Shortly after they sacked the manager as well!
Andy Day, England

We once lost a game of football when our goalkeeper went off the field without telling anyone to go to the toilet. He was gone for 10 minutes before anyone realised. Meanwhile he was reading the paper without a care in the world!
Nic, Wales, Wales

Best excuse I remember was "our goalkeeper let in an easy equalizer as he was on his mobile phone with to his girlfriend. He could not do it on the side of the field as his wife was there!"
John Murray, Canada

Gianluca Vialli
Gianluca Vialli - "Weather was too hot"
"The weather was too hot and my team are not used to this hot weather".

This was said by Vialli after his team, Chelsea, lost!
Wadud Miah, UK

I few years ago I read of an American footballer who missed a field goal. His excuse was that he was too busy reading his stats off the scoreboard.
Steve, Scotland

Ronnie O'Sullivan claimed the reason he missed an easy red was......he was put off by a telly tubby in the crowd!
James Waters, UK

Emlyn Hughes: "we lost the FA Cup final because our kits were too heavy for such a hot day".
Rob Russell, UK

In my amateur footballing days, the reasons I received for being left out of the team included, "the grass is too long for your style of play", "it's too muddy for your style of play", "it's too windy for your style of play", the referee doesn't like you", and best of all "the pitch isn't the right shape for you."

....and we think professional footballers can be temperamental !!!
Iain Donaldson, Scotland

Hilbert van der Duim, a Dutch speed skating world champion in the 1980s, once explained a fall during the world championships by pointing at some bird droppings on the ice........
Luc Brugman, Netherlands

When he serves he farts, and that made me lose my concentration
  Lighton Ndefway

In a South African cup final game a defender failed to mark a deadly striker from the opposition in the dying seconds of the game who went on to score.

His manager said "One international player, one mistake, one minute left, one million gone, he's nothing but a criminal. And you're asking me why we lost? Why don't you ask him why he's such a thief?
Lebo, South Africa

One of the Martin brothers playing squash, lost to Janghir Khan in the British Open once said, "I just fell into a great big bloody hole and couldn't get out of it".
Erik Mardiste, Australia

I copied this down from a newspaper cutting I spotted pinned to a notice-board in a tennis club in Malawi.

Now we wouldn't want to accuse Zambian tennis player Lighton Ndefwayl of being a sore loser, but this is what he said when he lost a match to his rival Musumba Bwayla:

"Musumba Bwayla is a stupid man and a hopeless player. He has a huge nose and is cross-eyed. Girls hate him. He beat me because my jockstrap was too tight and because when he serves he farts, and that made me lose my concentration, for which I am famous throughout Zambia".
Ross Gerring, Australia

Rotherham keeper Chris Mooney once said that the reason he let a simple shot go through his legs was that his bald centre half's head (Nick Smith) was creating such a shine that it blinded his vision.
Stuart Smith, UK

Remember when Newcastle thrashed Man Utd 5-0? Ferguson didn't blame the pitch, nor the colour of shirts...he blamed it on the team being tired from the plane journey back from Europe!!!
Oli Keating, England

I played golf with an Anglicised American at Wentworth once, who attributed his poor putting to my garish striped trousers. he then stormed back to the clubhouse after the 13th, claiming an earthworm had surfaced beneath his ball, thus leaving it nine feet short!
Dan Dzenitis, USA

Nigel Mansell
Nigel Mansell: blamed car

I recall Nigel Mansell grinding to a halt on the final lap of the Canadian GP when comfortably in the lead. He blamed the car. What actually happened was that, while waving to the crowd he hit the cut off switch, thus halting the vehicle!

PS: the All Blacks almost certainly suffered food poisoning in RWC '95. The same thing happened to England while over there recently. Johnny Wilkinson was, if you recall, unable to take to the field!
Nick, England

A Sutton United player (Adrian Bradnam) once said he missed a sitter because the fans were making too much noise
Alistair Bull, UK

Walter Smith and his injury woes. How do so many of his players get injured in the first place? Bad training methodology or his habit of signing known crocks?
Mark B, UK

Lee Chapman once had a similar excuse to our Alex. He blamed missing a sitter in front of goal on Hunslet rugby club having churned up the pitch at Elland Road. However Hunslet hadn't started playing there at that point.
Bob, UK

Alex Ferguson...the "bad pitch" excuse, Alex Ferguson...the "odd-colour kit" excuse, Alex Ferguson...the "inadequate injury time" excuse, Alex Ferguson...the "fixture congestion" excuse, Alex Ferguson...the "unfairness of international call-ups" excuse. Spotting a pattern??
Steve, UK

Search BBC Sport Online
Advanced search options
See also:

29 Jan 01 |  Football
Excuses, excuses
Links to top Sports Talk stories are at the foot of the page.

Links to other Sports Talk stories

^^ Back to top