Di Canio, Paul Alcock and four other funny referee moments


For fans of a certain vintage, a match-up between Sheffield Wednesday and Arsenal conjures up a number of evocative images.

The Gunners spanked the Owls 7-1 in an old Division One fixture back in 1992, saw off Wednesday in the League Cup final a year later and then Andy Linighan scored an extra-time winner in the pair’s FA Cup Final Replay to secure a memorable cup double.

There’s not much there for the Sheffield outfit to cheer as they prepare to host Arsene Wenger’s side in front of 35,000 fans at Hillsborough this evening.

And, of course, it got even worse. Forget cup heartache. Paolo Di Canio’s shove on whistleblower Paul Alcock in a 1998 Premier League fixture ranked as a new low in their recent(ish) history.

But in the cold light of day it was pretty amusing.

So, now that we’ve got the preamble out of the way, here are five funny moments involving referees.

Di Canio shoves Alcock

Italian firebrand Di Canio didn’t take too kindly to being given his marching orders by Alcock.

And the striker’s shove – and ref’s subsequent stumble – have now gone down in Premier League history.

It all turned out OK in the end though. Wednesday went on to win the game 1-0, Paolo received an 11-match ban and the ref recovered his senses, if not his dignity.

Savage gets bashed in the face

If you ever find loudmouth pundit Robbie Savage is getting on your nerves, stick this on repeat and imagine you’re the ref.

The man in question is Matt Messias and his ill-timed elbow is now the stuff of legend. As is Alan Shearer issuing him with a red card. Who knew Big Al had a sense of humour?

Gazza gives ref a yellow card, gets one back

England’s court jester was perhaps a little unlucky to find himself booked by Dougie Smith during Rangers’ 7-0 trouncing of Hibernian back in 1995.

After all, Gazza was only returning the dropped card (albeit while holding it up to him) to Smith.

The ref didn’t see the funny side.

This Dutch ref got skills

The most topical moment on our list involves Dutch official Ed Janssen and his rather sublime display of ball control during NEC’s recent clash against Groningen.

Just chuck him a ball and he’ll do the rest…

Drunk ref only came to party

Taking charge of a football match always seems like a good idea when you’ve had one too many.

A prerequisite is the ability to stand up straight though and that’s something this rowdy ref had trouble with.

Still, the fans seemed to enjoy his performance while it lasted.

*Bonus Fail*

It’s only fitting to let Paul Alcock have the last word…

Got a funny ref moment? Let us know via @Ladbrokes!

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.



William Geldart

Having graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Wales, Bangor, William contributed to a number of online football blogs before finally finding his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow alongside the rest of the Ladbrokes News team. Now indulging passions for football, horse racing, greyhounds, boxing and political betting. Supports Wycombe Wanderers and can be spotted at various lower league and non-league grounds across the country.