By Thomas Godfrey
Football and pranks are two pastimes which go hand in hand. From training ground, to their houses, footballers are never safe from being made a fool of by their teammates.
Over the years there have been some weird, crazy and downright bonkers stories to come out of the world of football.
Here are our top five pranks of all time.
Kenwyne Jones gets a pig’s head left in his locker
This one caused a few issues…
When Stoke City and Ireland midfielder Glenn Whelan thought it would be hilarious to leave an actual pig’s head in the locker of his teammate Kenwyne Jones’ locker, he didn’t anticipate it would anger the striker immensely. However Jones, who is deeply religious, didn’t see the funny side.
A club insider told the press: “It was chaos, we could hear shouting and yelling coming from the dressing room area but we had no idea what had happened. But Kenwyne stormed out in a rage.”
Jones, enraged by the prank, went straight out into the car park and threw a brick through the windscreen of Whelan’s brand new Porsche. And that was before the police got involved.
Chelsea Youth goes bombs away
Chelsea’s history of pranks isn’t particularly rich, with Ashley Cole shooting an intern with an air rifle being the only moment of note.
However, the incident we want to talk about refers to an even greater threat: a grenade.
Youth team midfielder Jacob Mellis decided to prank the Chelsea staff and players by setting off a smoke grenade, causing a full-scale evacuation of the training facilities and surrounding area.
The joke didn’t leave Mellis laughing too much. Chelsea sacked him (for obvious reasons) and he now plays for Mansfield where, unsurprisingly, he hasn’t tried any of the same antics.
David Bentley answers the roar of the lion
Imagine getting the call to play for your country, and the feeling that comes with it.
Well, that’s the feeling David Bentley got when he was ‘called up’ to the England squad in this hilarious prank call, which was actually orchestrated entirely by Robbie Savage.
Bentley did play for England seven times, before retiring at 30 in 2014.
Pique and Evra go right for the feet
This one is gruesome: The story of Gerard Pique taking Patrice Evra’s personalised Nike boots and setting them on fire.
Telling the story, the Spaniard said: “One day Patrice Evra came in with shoes that he’d been asking Nike for months to make. They had the name of his children on them and all these crazy details.
“He went into the shower and we created a small bonfire and burned them.”
Evra was not impressed, and hit back in the most disgusting way possible.
The former France international said: “They burn my trainers. It wasn’t funny, it was actually Gerard Pique – and what I have done to him… I took his shoes and went into the toilet, and I sh*t inside them.”
The legendary left-back left Old Trafford having won five Premier League titles and a Champions League with Sir Alex Ferguson’s team. Let’s hope he’s remembered for his football, not his antics.
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Ian Holloway the… boxer?
Ian Holloway always seems like the sort of figure to get into a fight. Danny Maddix, one of Holloway’s assistants, told this story: “I remember when we played at Burnley and… I can’t remember the name, but we had a big striker from France.
“At full time ‘Ollie’ was raving at everyone and he said to him, ‘You’re a big boy but you don’t push your weight,’ and stuff like that. And he said, ‘On Monday, me and you are going to have a fight’.
“I came into training on Monday, it was pouring with rain, and he’d got the apprentices to make a ring on the pitch. And he’s got a pair of shorts, some boxing gloves and no T-shirt on.
“He was in the ring going mad, sparring on his own, it was hilarious. It broke the ice and they made up from there. He was just mad.”
Preston must have been waiting for Blackpool’s retaliation after the Deepdale side hung a ‘forever in our shadow’ banner over the M55 at the end of the 2009/10 season, before the Tangerines’ successful Championship play-off final.
The following season, during a match that saw North End relegated to League One, Blackpool fans returned serve with a ‘We are Superior. Love Blackpool FC’ banner over their ground.
Compounding their misery, the plane returned later in the match with a new sign: ‘Poor little Preston, enjoy League One’.
But even then, that wasn’t the end.
One of the producers on Channel 4’s Countdown is a life-long Blackpool fan and used his power to rig the programme’s final conundrum to say ‘PNECRISIS’.
PNECRISIS of course, is an anagram of priciness, which is the quality of being expensive – just like some of these pranks, then.