Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
The history of the beautiful game is heavily dusted with magic moments and iconic events.
In our On This Day in Football feature, we bring together the glorious goals, the cult heroes, the days of despair and the outright bizarre from every day of the year.
Our retrospection pays tribute to the events that mark the game’s history in day-by-day chunks and snippets of information that will give every football supporter their daily hit of football trivia.
Check out today’s listings below:
20th April, 2011 – Real’s cup dreams crushed
On 20 April 2011, Real Madrid won the Copa del Rey, ending a lengthy eighteen-year wait for the trophy.
However, Los Blancos then inadvertently proceeded to crush the cup, dropping it into the path of their parade bus as it crawled through the massed throngs in the Spanish capital.
Madrid hadn’t picked up the giant trophy since 1993, though a decisive Cristiano Ronaldo header in extra time carved out a win for Real in the 2011 Final against arch El Clásico rivals Barcelona.
Real didn’t get to savour the cup for long however. As the team celebrated together on an open-top bus ride through Madrid, centre-back Sergio Ramos got a little over excited and dropped the trophy over the front end of the vehicle.
The falling Copa del Rey, unnoticed by the driver, landed directly in front of the wheel of the bus and was subsequently flattened.
20 April 2004 – Fastest ever goal
On 20 April 2004, the FA credited Marc Burrows with scoring the fastest ever goal scored in English football history.
Burrows etched his name into the annals of the game while playing with non-league side Cowes F.C. against Eastleigh F.C. Just before the referee got proceedings underway, Burrows noticed that the opposition goalkeeper was standing a decent distance off his line, and when the whistle was blown, the attacker launched an effort directly over the stopper’s head.
With the aid of a strong breeze, the ball floated over the keeper’s head and into the net inside 2.5 seconds. Burrows was later quoted as saying: “The ball just sailed over their poor keeper. I was so stunned I didn’t really celebrate. I just put my hands in the air and burst out laughing.”
Burrows scored twice more in his memorable display, helping Cowes to a 5-3 victory.
Other events of note on April 20th:
1895 Aston Villa win the FA Cup for the second time, beating WBA 1-0 with what was at the time, the fastest goal in FA Cup Final history. Because the goal was so quick, there is some dispute about who actually scored it. The record books show that Bob Chatt was credited with the winning goal, though Villa’s players later claimed that John Devey actually notched it.
1955 Wales created a British Football record by playing two sets of brothers in their international contest Ireland in Belfast. Ivor and Len Allchurch (Swansea City) and John and Mel Charles (Leeds United and Swansea City respectively) appeared for the Dragons in a 3-2 triumph over their Irish hosts. John Charles scored a hat trick.
1995 With goals from Jeff Kenna and Kevin Gallacher, Blackburn secure a vital 2-1 home win over Crystal Palace. Rovers eventually go on to lift the Premier League title for the one and only time in the club’s history.
2002 Manchester United beat Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bride, avenging the 0-3 reverse they suffered at home to the Blues earlier in the campaign. Goals from Paul Scholes, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer do the damage.
2008 Aston Villa smash local rivals Birmingham City on derby day at Villa Park. Two goals each from Ashley Young and John Carew as well as a solitary effort from Gabby Agbonlahor allowed the hosts to humiliate their neighbours.
2010 Inter Milan beat Barcelona 3-1 in the opening leg of their Champions League semi-final match-up en-route to winning the trophy under Jose Mourinho.
2011 Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal play out a scintillating 3-3 draw in the North London derby. Rafael van der Vaart (twice) and Tom Huddlestone scored for Spurs, while Theo Walcott, Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri responded for the Gunners.
2014 Everton cruise to a 2-0 win over a Manchester United side led by old boss David Moyes, at Goodison Park thanks to goals from Leighton Baines and Kevin Mirallas. Moyes is sacked just two days later.
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