Twenty Crazy Football Facts

First black football player

The first black professional football player was Arthur Wharton. He was born in the Gold Coast, now Ghana. He was Rotherham United’s goalkeeper way back in 1889.

Most common scores

In the football World Cup, the most common score is 1–0, whereas in the English top division (Premier league and its predecessors) it is 1:1!

The Unlawful Games Act 1541

The Unlawful Games Act 1541, was an Act of the Parliament of England, designed to prohibit ‘Several new devised Games’ such as football and tennis that caused as the government said, ‘the Decay of Archery’.


Football is often called Soccer around the world. This was coined by Charles Wreford Brown way back in 1863. At the time in Oxford University, students made names for lots of things such as ‘Rugger’ for Rugby and ‘Soccer’ for Association Football.


The word ‘referee’ originated in association football. In the old days the sport of football was played by gentlemen, any disputes would be resolved by the two captains on the pitch. As the sport evolved, the captains had to concentrate on playing and they were replaced by umpires. Each team would bring their own. Sometimes these two partisan umpires couldn’t agree on a decision and so (later) a third neutral official was introduced. This official would be ‘referred to’ if the umpires could not resolve a dispute, and so the referee was born. The referee did not take his place on the pitch until 1891, and the two club supplied umpires became linesmen, now assistant referees.

Lionel Messi

Barcelona were so impressed with Lionel Messi when they say him play for Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina that they knew they had to act fast and get him to pen to paper. His first contract signed with was signed on a napkin! Also when he tried to activate his release clause in 2020 he sent it his request by fax!

No fouls

In the early days of football there were no fouls, it was a game played by gentlemen and so all that was needed was an apology if there was any ungentlemanly behaviour.


England is often credited for Hooligans in the football game. Indeed, English clubs were banned from European competitions for a while because of it. However, in 1 AD, the crowd was fighting each other in Pompeii’s amphitheatre. The locals and visitors from Nuceria started with verbal abuse of each other, then stone throwing started and eventually they were fighting each other with weapons. As a result of the violence, Emperor Nero banned sports gatherings for 10 years.

Zaire took the bus (literally)

In the 1974 Football World Cup hosted by Germany, Zaire somewhat abused the privilege when they were caught using the official transport bus to take them all the way back to Zaire!

Smallest international attendance

The smallest attendance at a Football World Cup finals match was just 300. The infamous match was between Romania and Peru during the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay.


Edson Arantes do Nascimento’s nickname is Pelé. Some say he got this from the skill he had at Pelada. Which is a street game of football played in Brazil.

The first ever Football Club

Founded in 1857, Sheffield FC is officially recognised by FIFA as being the oldest association football club in the world.

23 goals in a game!

Ronaldinho at the age of 13, scored all 23 goals in a 23–0 victory against a local team.

Scoring ratio of 1.77 goals per game

Fernando Peyroteo’s goal scoring record is nothing short of ridiculous. In his career for Sporting Lisbon, the Portuguese managed a staggering 331 goals in just 187 games.

Biggest winning score

AS Adema 149–0 SO l’Emyrne was a football match played on 31 October 2002 between two teams in Antananarivo, Madagascar. SO l’Emyrne intentionally lost the game against their arch-rivals AS Adema in protest over refereeing decisions that had gone against them during a four-team playoff tournament. They scored 149 own goals!

It was just too hot

Five times winner of the Football World Cup, Brazil played their first international game in Rio De Janeiro against another powerhouse of the game, Exeter United! Brazil won the game 2–0 but there is a rumour that the Exeter team left the pitch early because it was too hot to play.

Square football pitch

It is possible to have a square football pitch. IF you have the maximum regulation width and the minimum regulation length then your pitch measurement would be 100 yards square!

Twenty-eight minutes you will never get back

A regulation football match games is 90 minutes, but the ball is in play on average for 62 minutes. The clock runs continually and when the ball is out of play for a throw in, or being returned slowly for a corner, all result in the lost 28 minutes of action.

Pickles saves the day

The Jules Rimet (Football World Cup) trophy was stolen in 1966 and was found by Pickles, a dog. The trophy was found wrapped in newspaper.

The penalty spot

The penalty spot in football was invented as a time and cost saving measure in the late 1800s. Originally, the penalty line was drawn completely across the whole pitch.

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