well, a big congratulations to David Haye for last night. no, obviously not a congratulations for his sterling, well worked defeat, but for cracking the list of the ten best rubbish excuses for defeat ever. his excuse was priceless, but not the best ever.
lets seem where he makes it in the list of the ten stupidest reasons to explain a defeat ever given.
10 Duck! Cover! Clouds!
cricket, played over five days, tends to as a consequence of the nature of the game throw up valid reasons for one side losing, although often it is the case that rather fair credit is just given to the victor. once in a while, though, an unsual, ludicrous excuse pops up. like, for instance, how high or low clouds are.
the England team touring South Africa in 1999/2000 was expected to do rather well. they were a side on the rise, they said, and were very nearly world beaters.
these expectations were thrown away inside three overs of the First Test at the Wanderers ground, when England found that they had four wickets down for all of two runs.
the reason for this score? a score that not even the minnows of world cricket have ever found themselves in? as far as everyone watching could see, the quick demolition of England's top order was down to an inspired display by Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock, two of the finest players the game has known. for England, though, the reason they lost so many wickets was due to the "unusually low clouds".
yeah, OK. granted, the weather does influence the swing of a ball in this most hallowed of sports, but do me a favour - low clouds? they obviously hung around for a bit, as England lost the series with some comfort.
9 Bouncy Bouncy
football features quite frequently here, for better or worse. we start with this one, which wasn't a defeat, but might as well be.
going on the headline you might suspect this would be about Liverpool's infamous and hilarious defeat at Sunderland when the goal went in off a deflection from a beach ball that a Liverpool fan had thrown onto the pitch. that, in fairness, should have been a disallowed goal, so you can't really blame them for feeling hard done by. this one does feature a Liverpool legend, however, in the form of Kenny Dalglish when he was manager of Newcastle.
in 1998, a full strength, title challenging Newcastle United were held to a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup by.....Stevenage Borough. that would be non-league side Stevenage Borough, to answer the question you're asking. so why only a 1-1 draw? the magic of cup competition at work, Kenny? supposedly weaker opponents taken for granted? Newcastle players just outclassed? oh no. Kenny Dalglish, with a straight face, claimed that the ball used in the match was "far too bouncy".
i can say nothing more about that one.
8 Boobies! I Saw Boobies!
quite a few things can distract a snooker player, i guess. there's the mental stamina to last a full World Championship game, which can last for many hours. there's a streak your opponent is on, coupled with you missing a few shots here and there.
however, it beggars belief that the reason one could lose a match is because of a lady, even sans clothes. a valid enough reason for Ronnie O'Sullivan, though.
apparently the streaker which ran across the playing room during the 1997 final put Mr O'Sullivan off his game so much that this was the reason Steve "Interesting" Davis went on to win. hmn. not sure if young Ronnie had never seen a lady in the all together before or something, but he remains to my knowledge the only person ever in the history of any sport to lose because he saw some flesh.
7 Tight Fit
clothing is a common excuse for defeat, oddly, as we shall see later. few, however, appear as ludicrous as the one used by Sri Lanka when they lost to Pakistan in 2001.
Pakistan won not by skill nor good fortune in the field, but rather because Sri Lanka were distracted at having tight shirts on. if you accept that they checked that they were not wearing each others kit in error and somehow get over the fact that they hadn't tried them on prior to the match, can anyone else explain how it is that they didn't just go off the field and change into another kit?
which leads us nicely to......
6 Bad Italian Fashion Designers
don't the Italians pride themselves on being Fashion Gods or something like that? apparently not, or not so far as the kit worn by the Italian team that went off to contest the Euro 2004 tournament.
a 0-0 draw was blamed on poor quality footwear by the Italian side. whereas one player complained that the thread used on the socks was "too rough", first prize went to Francesco Totti - yes, the Francesco Totti - for saying that his boots were too hard and hot, likening them to "boiling sand". why not just change boots, then?
it's a shame Italy used this excuse in 2004, because if they had waited 6 years to use it then it would have made them clawing back to a 1-1 draw in the 2010 World Cup against New Zealand all the more excellent.
the trilogy of clothing being blamed has a final chapter, but first.....
5 Don't Eat The Food There
perhaps the most controversial one on this list. the 1995 Rugby World Cup. in a somewhat unexpected but absolutely dream tournament, hosts South Africa won at the first time of being in the contest. not too much of a surprise when you consider the quality, skill and passion to be found in South Africa for the game, really. unless of course you are from New Zealand, and thus will only accept that food poisoning was the sole reason for the All Blacks loss in the very close final.
at least the NZ coach had the decency not to drag the Springboks into this as somehow being complicit. it might have been better if he had, though, as his theory is even more ludicrous. apparently the food poisoning came about after a waitress, whom he names as Suzie, drugged the players' drinks on instruction by some mysterious, presumably shady, Far Easten Gambling Syndicate. yeah, OK.
New Zealanders still get quite sensitive about this one, despite having a few opportunities to win the tournament since. perhaps this year they will; maybe not though.
4 It's Me Toe, You See.....
on July 2 2011, David Haye had an awful lot to put up, since he had declined to shut up about exactly what he would do to Wladimir Klitschko. yes, the fight went the distance to the surprise of many, but in the end it was Mr Haye was indeed shut up by the superior boxer.
it was a frustrating bout to watch in many respects. Haye was looking like he could produce an upset, except for his bizarre approach of stopping and looking at the referee every time he delivered a couple of quick blows on the (and this is an understatement) big Ukranian. this, coupled with his attempts to dive more times within 45 minutes than even Ronaldo could, led me to start thinking he was hoping a free kick or penalty would be awarded eventually.
so why, according to David Haye, did the Hayemaker lose? just outclassed? no. tactics wrong? no. unfair referee not awarding a penalty? no. David Haye lost, in the words of David Haye, because David Haye broke a toe some three weeks ago. this didn't allow him to spar properly, and meant that he could not "launch properly" at Wlad.
congratulations on stripping away any possible dignity in defeat, Mr Haye. and well done on making sure you will be remembered forever for a really lame excuse instead of anything you did in the ring.
3 Indoor Weather Conditions
weather is usually a valid excuse for a lack of performance, but in darts?
apparently Mervyn King lost to Raymond van Barneveld, widely regarded as one of the greats, in 2003 because of the settings on the air conditioning in the venue affecting his darts.
when it was put to Mr King that this was preposterous as surely it would have affected the darts of his opponent just the same, Mervyn rejected this, stating that Raymond used - and this is true - "heavier, flatter" darts that were suited to the air conditioning settings.
and there were those of you who thought darts wasn't even a proper sport, too.
2 The Magic Invisible Cloaking Device
ah yes, the third and the best part of the clothing is to blame for defeat trilogy. Manchester United, the then self-proclaimed "uncrowned Kings of Europe", found themselves losing 3-0 at half time to unfancied Southampton. at half time the team changed their shorts and managed to claw back to a more respectable 3-1 defeat.
Sir Alex Ferguson berated the kit you see above, saying it was the reason they lost. why, other than looking horrid? because this kit apparently had the power to make the players invisible. Ferguson claimed that the kits "blended" too much and made it very difficult for the players to pick each other out and pass properly.
fans of this great side will argue that never once have they ever been beaten "fairly and squarely". indeed, although it seems that sometimes they lose because of fancy new sophisticated technology that the impose on themselves, then.
this one took some beating, but those with an excellent memory will probably already know what comes in at number one.......
1 Swedish Supermen
ah, yes. Euro 1992 in Sweden. England lost a group game to the hosts. losing to the host nation of a tournament is hardly a disgrace, even for the England side who came so near and yet fell just short in the World Cup a mere 2 years ago.
not really much reason or need for an excuse beyond "we were outplayed by the home team" was needed, but then again the manager was Graham Taylor.
his reason for England losing and Sweden winning? "the Swedish have a healthy outdoor lifestyle which makes them naturally better athletes and thus better than us at football". you may want to take the time to read that one again.
so the England squad could never have hoped to defeat the powerhouse that is Sweden by just fielding professional, trained athletes, could we? well, he has a point. just look at all the World Cups and that Sweden have gone on to win thanks to their "healthy, outdoor lifestyle".
i am sure there are some gems i have missed out on (David James' addiction to PlayStation games, distracted by colouring his hair blue, etc), but these are the ten which readily come to mind!
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!