On Wednesday afternoon the Manx Missile, Mark Cavendish, was briefly transformed into a Pissile, when a disgruntled supporter threw urine at him during a Tour de France time-trial. Cavendish was targeted for having been part of a crash during a sprint finish the previous day. Urine might be one of the most disgusting things to have been thrown at a sporting pro but, sadly, it’s far from the weirdest:
What: A hot-dog
Who: Referee Paul Durkin
Where: FA Cup third round, Oldham v Chelsea, January, 1999
A match notable not only for being John Terry’s full debut for Chelsea, but also for ref Paul Durkin being splattered with one of Boundary Park’s finest hotdogs. Durkin was pelted after not spotting a handball by Chelsea before a goal. The attack actually changed his mind. As The Independent reported at the time, “the texture of the bun helped knock some sense into him” – Durkin then disallowed the goal.
What: Disco records
Who: Two baseball teams (and others)
Where: Chicago White Sox v Detroit Tigers, Comiskey Park, Chicago, 1979
The backlash against disco by rock fans inspired a few notorious incidents, topped by the Disco Demolition Night, when a local Chicago DJ cajoled people to bring disco records to the White Sox’s stadium to be burned between two matches. During the first game, records (and other items) were lobbed at the players. At the break the DJ, Steve Dahl, took to the field to explode the box of disco records. Which tore a hole in the field, sparking a riot.
What: A suckling pig’s head
Who: Luís Figo
Where: Barcelona v Madrid, November 2002
Figo was the pride of Catalonia during his five years at the Nou Camp. But a transfer to bitter rivals Real Madrid left a bad taste in the mouth of Barca fans for years. A grassy, porky taste. Having been told not to take corners the first time he returned to his old ground, Figo braved it for his second return. The result? A small suckling pig’s head being flung in his direction.
Who: Argentinian tennis player Mariano Zabaleta
Where: Davis Cup tie vs Chile, Santiago, April 2000
Centre Court can look meek compared to spicy Davis Cup affairs. Zabaleta was up two sets to one against Chile’s Nicolás Massú when local fans – aggrieved by a penalty point awarded for their own unruly behaviour – upped the ante by throwing not just the usual unruly fans’ armoury (coins, bottles) but also plastic chairs and fruit. Argentina’s Hernán Gumy remarked: “Today they toss bottles on us. Tomorrow they can shoot us.”