Top 10 amazing football coincidences

To celebrate Fulham including another Moussa Dembélé in their squad, we list some great football coincidences.

Paul Scholes, the centre of one of our favourite football coincidences
Scholes… Made a right hash of his 200th and 600th games (Image: Gordon Flood)

Moussa Dembélé signs for Fulham! No, you haven’t travelled back in time – chortle! – it’s just one of those amazing football coincidences that makes it all worthwhile.

Mousa ‘just the one S please’ Dembélé left the Cottagers for Tottenham Hotspur in August 2012, so they went out and procured a damn-near-identically named young centre-forward from Paris Saint-Germain described as “the new Drogba”.

Dembélé junior was recently awarded a professional contract, was included in the first team squad for Saturday’s home defeat against Swansea City, and has even been linked with Manchester United.

Fulham of course have previous in terms of weird football coincidences – in 2004 they signed Liberian striker Collins John, having had former Scotland midfielder John Collins on their books between 2000 and 2003.

Collins even introduced John at Craven Cottage upon his signing, just for a bit of a laugh we suppose.

Anyway, this all got us thinking on other great football coincidences from recent times…so here’s a top ten of ’em:

Scholes goals

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes scored on his debut, his 100th game, his 200th game, his 300th game, his 400th game, his 500th game and his 700th game.

Granted the goal on his 200th game was an own goal, and failed to score on his 600th, but that’s still fairly remarkable.

Life of Brians

Leeds United are managed by Brian McDermott and have a 25-year-old winger called Ryan Hall. Rugby League side Leeds Rhinos’ head coach is Brian McDermott and they too have a 25-year-old winger called Ryan Hall.

In another astonishing coincidence, Leeds United’s Ryan Hall was let go this very week following this “bizarre Twitter outburst”:

Look on the bright side if your (sic) not getting played take the L out and get payed (sic). Football is such a short career and can end at anytime with an injury so do what ever you can to earn as much money as possible.

‘Whatever’ should be one word as well, but we refrained from making it a hat-trick of (sic)s.

Nominative determinism

Arsène Wenger managing Arsenal is an obvious one, and you could make a case for Roberto Mancini managing Man City.

Wolfgang Wolf managed Wolfsburg between 1998 and 2003, while last season Hartlepool United had Peter Hartley and James Poole on their books.

In fact, goals from Hartley and Poole gave Hartlepool a 2-1 win over Notts County in February – alas they scored in the wrong order.

David Beckham was born at Whipps Cross University Hospital. Does that count?

Double Mac

Until the former’s recent move to Everton, Wigan Athletic had both James McCarthy and James MacArthur on their books, both midfielders and both signed from Hamilton Academical.

Pardew my French

Remember the hoo-ha caused in 2009 when Alan Pardew, sitting in as a pundit on Match of the Day, described a Michael Essien tackle with the delightful turn of phrase “he absolutely rapes him there”?

Well, the player Michael Essien had tackled was one Ched Evans, who is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for rape.

Water coincidence!

Dutch goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus made his debut for Manchester City in September 2004 against Barnsley in the League Cup, City running out 7-1 winners against a Tykes line-up including Nick Colgan in goal.

The following year Waterreus moved to Rangers, for whom he made his debut against Dundee United in the League Cup. Rangers won 7-1 and yer man Colgan was once again in goal for the opposition.

Butt of the joke

German goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt was a fine penalty taker, scoring three Champions League goals for three different clubs – Hamburg, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich, since you ask.

As you can see, they were all against Juventus…

Oh, Deano!

The late Dean Richards was thrice involved in matches where his side led 3-0 at half time only to wind up losing – for Tottenham Hotspur against Manchester City and Manchester United, and for Southampton against Tranmere Rovers.

Despite being a centre back he even scored in two of those games, against United and Tranmere. In fact, the United game was his debut for Spurs.

A matter of time

The following events all took place in both 1981 and 2005:

Prince Charles got married

Coronation Street’s Ken and Deirdre got married

There was a new Doctor Who

Norwich City and Crystal Palace were both relegated

Liverpool won 17 league games and finished 5th

Liverpool were crowned champions of Europe

Er, and another

In the 1921-22 season, all of the following things happened to Manchester United:

Appointed a new Scottish manager

Lost 4-1 at Manchester City

Lost by one goal to Liverpool

Drew 0-0 with Chelsea

Lost by one goal at home to West Bromwich Albion

Beat Sunderland

Drew their eighth league match 1-1

Were relegated

All of these things have happened to them this season, except for the obvious one at the end.

If you fancy a spot of fact-checking, you can peruse United’s 1921-22 results on Wikipedia.

Over to you: Can you think of any notable football coincidences we’ve missed? Have your say in the comments whatsit!