This Month in Football History – October

In this feature, we try to bring to you some past events of the month that make it special.

October 01, 1977 
Pelé bid adieu to professional football with an exhibition match played between his two former clubs, the New York Cosmos and Santos. Pelé played for both the sides on either side of half time at New Jersey’s Giants Stadium in front of a packed house of 77,000 spectators, most notable being President Jimmy Carter and Muhammad Ali. The legend did not disappoint – he scored for the Cosmos off a direct free kick, the final goal of his illustrious career. Cosmos went on to win the match 2-1.

October 03, 1973

Romania’s Dinamo Bucureşti entered the history books on their way of thrashing out Northern Ireland’s Crusaders FC by 11-0. This is the biggest margin of victory in the European Cup/ Champions League tie. Following this result, the Dinamo fans might have hoped to propel further success in the tournament, but they were eliminated in the next round by Atlético Madrid.

October 04, 2009

Gigant Belene, a Bulgarian 3rd division team had to surrender a match to Chavdar Byala Slatina after only 4 minutes due to injuries. They lined up with only 8 players due to injuries and suspensions. Within four minutes, 2 more Gigant players had to be stretchered off. As soon as the Gigant side was reduced to 6, the referee had no choice but to stop the match and award the points to visiting Chavdar as a 3-0 forfeit, under the rules. It was the shortest soccer match ever in Bulgaria then. But Gigant bettered that within 6 months. In March 2010, they travelled to Belogradchik with only 7 available players, one of whom picked up a match-ending injury in the first minute.

October 07, 2000

Kevin Keegan resigned as England manager, from the bathroom, literally. Keegan was appointed the manager of the England in February 1999 after Glenn Hoddle. The following autumn, The Three Lions opened their 2002 World Cup qualifiers with a 1-0 loss to Germany at Wembley. Disappointment apart, Keegan was furious with the British press revealing his first team before the match, and thus handing over an unfair advantage to the Germans. Keegan decided to call quits after the match. Acting FA chief David Davies took Keegan to the only private space available – a gents’ toilet stall – and tried to persuade him, but in vain. Keegan gets the wooden spoon with his 38.9% winning percentage as the national team manager, statistically.

 October 13, 2006

FIFA decided to deduct Cameroon 6 points in their qualification campaigns for the 2010 World Cup and 2008 African Cup of Nations. The reason was that the stubborn Lions wore unitards. Cameroon had a prolonged history of kit controversy as they put up sleeveless shirts at the 2002 African Cup of Nations. Afterwards, FIFA asked them not to wear them at the 2002 World Cup. So Puma, Cameroon’s kit-maker, incorporated black sleeves for that particular tournament. FIFA again questioned their one-piece kit after their first match at the 2004 Cup of Nations. Cameroon, however, requested that it was too difficult to get alternate kits on such a short notice and wore the one-piece for their quarterfinal match against Nigeria. After FIFA declared its long-awaited reprimand, it finally changed its mind and withdrew the point penalties. Meanwhile, Puma alleged FIFA to court claiming that the rules did not call for separate shirt and shorts. They lost, too.

October 17, 2009

Sunderland beat Liverpool 1-0 with a little help from a (D)evil beach ball. Striker Darren Bent’s 5th-minute strike at the Stadium of Lights, Sunderland’s home ground, hit a red beach ball on the pitch (presumably thrown in by a Reds supporter, as the ball ironically bore the Liverpool crest). As goalkeeper Pepe Reina was deceived by the beach ball to his right, the actual football flew past him on the left and into the net. Although the laws of the game suggest that referee Mike Jones could have disallowed the goal, he let it stand, and may be haunted for that till date.

October 20, 1982

A crowd of close to 10,000 gathered that day to watch Spartak Moscow play HFC Haarlem in the second round of the UEFA Cup at Spartak Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. The officials had only one exit open, seeing the relatively low number of spectators. The supporters started leaving the stadium with the home team leading 1-0. But a late goal from Spartak defender, Sergei Shvetsov deep into injury time forced many of them back towards the stands to join in the celebration. The two waves of people met at the exit, where close to 350 people (officially only 66, though) were trampled and crushed. Russia witnessed its worst sporting disaster. But the Russian authorities tried to cover up the incident. Finally, newspaper Sovetsky Sport revealed the full story seven years later. In 1992, a memorial was placed outside the stadium.

October 26, 1863

A number of football club’s representatives from the Greater London area met at the Freemasons’ Tavern on Long Acre in Covent Garden. This was the first documented meeting of The Football Association (FA). It was the world’s first official football body and hence is not preceded with the word English.

October 30, 2008

Nigerian midfielder Soo Adekwagh scored the fastest goal in FIFA women’s history. She netted after only 22 seconds of kick-off against South Korea in the Group D match of 2008 U-17 Women’s World Cup. Nigeria went on to win the match 2-1, but was eliminated in the group stage after a loss to England and a draw with Brazil.

October 31, 2002

This might have been a picture that day!

AS Adema beat the reigning champions, Stade Olympique de L’Emyrne Antananarivo (SOE) by the world record score line of 149-0 in the Madagascar’s THB Champions League tournament, one would be astonished to know that none of them were scored by Adema. SOE had already been eliminated in their previous match by a controversial last-minute penalty decision, making the match against Adema inconsequential. SOE decided to protest their elimination by putting the ball repeatedly into their own net from each successive kickoff. Subsequently, the Fédération Malagasy de Football banned SOE’s manager for three years, along with four of SOE’s players.