The whooping. The hollering. The chanting. All these and more are all elements you’d expect at any sporting event.
Sports are nothing without the rabid fans. They come to the games, they cheer, they boo, they laugh, they cry. And in some cases, they act like total tools. In sports, fans are the best and worst assets.
Remember Speedo Guy? The Duke University fan who did his best to distract North Carolina’s Jackie Manuel from sinking crucial free throws? Steve Davidson, clad in only a tight pair of blue Speedos started prancing around, gyrating hips, basically trying to distract Manuel from making the shot.
Well, it worked.
Philadelphia Eagles fans pelted Santa with snowballs in 1968, and have since been branded the most notorious fans in the NFL.
Some fans like Vickie Timbrell prefer to be mean to other fans. At a Preston v. Swindon match in May, hat-trick scorer Jermain Beckford threw his shirt into the crowd of Preston fans. An eight year-old snatched it, but it was wrestled out of his grasp by 31 year-old Vickie. She promptly listed it on Gumtree for sale for approx $ 2,000. Talk about being grabby!
Fans have shocked us with their antics for decades and they don’t have any plans of stopping soon. From fans attacking players to going after the ball to even laying into other fans, here are 13 fans who made our jaws drop.
13. South Africa vs New Zealand, 2002
A 2002 rugby Tri-Nations match in South Africa was brought to a halt when a drunk fan jumped on the field and attacked Irish referee, David McHugh. 46-year-old Pieter Van Zyl was in turn tackled by New Zealand’s Richie McCaw before the stewards came to take him away.
The attack was supposedly triggered by the referee awarding a penalty earlier in the game. McHugh suffered a dislocated shoulder and Van Zyl was banned for life.
12. Kenya National Rally Championships, 2012
The deserts of Kenya provide the perfect location for motor sport rally races. As drivers and sponsors converge to try and develop the sport, a group of unruly fans are already threatening its growth.
Referred to as “party beasts”, these supposed fans attempt some rallying of their own. The only problem is they tend to do it while a high speed event is going on and often in the wrong direction. Their antics are often fueled by copious amounts of alcohol. Their reckless behavior has led to numerous fatal accidents.
11. Blooming vs River Plate, 2009
At a Copa Sudamericana match (South America’s equivalent of the Europa League) between Argentina’s River Plate and Bolivian club Blooming, a fan stormed the field and attacked River’s Henry Gimenez.
What made his attack particularly chilling was that the fan had a knife in his hand as he attacked the player. In the melee that ensued with Gimenez falling over, the knife was dropped. Quickly apprehended by stadium security, the attacker was marched off, but the game was suspended as supporters started to throw objects and flares on the pitch.
10. FC Petrolul Ploiești vs FC Steaua București, 2011
This was a pitch invasion with the game still going on! A fan of the home team, Dragos Enache ran on the pitch and attacked defender George Galamaz. He struck an unsuspecting Galamaz with a heavy object, breaking his cheekbone.
Enache was quickly set upon by the players of Steaua București, a reaction that netted two of them red cards. Stewards arrived and dragged the man off, but the game was eventually called off when a flare was thrown on the field.
9. Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg vs Salavat Yulaev Ufa, 2010
Leaving the mad world of soccer, Kazakh goalie Vitaly Kolesnik suffered an unprovoked attack from a fan while on the bench in a 2010 KHL game. The drunk assailant climbed over the glass into the Salavat player’s area and snatched the goalie’s own stick. He proceeded to whack Kolesnik on the head multiple times.
Kolesnik suffered a deep cut and a concussion; the attacker was bundled away by match stewards and arrested. The attack led to a hefty fine (one million rubles) for the home team.
8. Stevenage vs Newcastle, 2011
Another soccer on-pitch incident, where left back Scott Laird was attacked by Rob Fitzgerald. Reason? Fitzgerald claimed he was defending the honor of his current girlfriend who happened to be Laird’s ex-girlfriend.
The punch knocked Laird out cold and the unpleasant incident overshadowed the 3-1 win over Newcastle. For his antics, Rob was handed a ten-year ban from football grounds.
7. Giro d’Italia, 2015
In May, an over-zealous – and possibly intoxicated – fan caused a spectacular crash at the stage two of the Giro d’Italia. The fan decided it would be a good idea to join the speeding peloton ten kilometers to the end of stage two.
Swinging into their midst seemingly out of nowhere, many cyclists were caught off-guard. The collision and chaos that ensued led to a massive pile-up and tangle of limbs and wheels. Many racers lost valuable time and some were so banged up that they had to pull out of the stage.
6. Dinamo București vs Steaua București, 2011
Some fans just don’t know where to draw the line. This list has shown fans attack with fists, kicks and even a knife, but how about a fire work? At the 2011 Romanian Cup final between arch rivals Dinamo București and Steaua București, things got a little heated. Literally.
Dinamo București’s Elis Bakaj had a firecracker launched at him as he dribbled down the field. The firecracker was launched by one of the Dinamo fans. Although Bakaj managed to dodge the firework and didn’t lose control of the ball, the distraction ruined any momentum he had. Dinamo eventually lost the game.
5. Chicago White Sox vs Kansas City Royals, 2002
This attack on the coach of the Kansas City Royals, Tom Gamboa, has gone down in history as particularly creepy and vicious. During a game against the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park, a father and son, William Ligue Sr. and Jr., burst onto the field and attacked Gamboa.
Slamming him into the ground, they punched and kicked him till Royals players pulled them off him. The assailants were charged with aggravated battery, but it could have been worse as a pocketknife was found on the field after the attack. Gamboa suffered hearing loss after the attack.
4. Georgia Force vs Jacksonville Sharks, 2011
Fans and bad behavior isn’t always about them attacking players and officials. Fans have been known to interfere with play and try to swing the odds in their team’s favor. We all saw Speedo Guy and his antics. But one fan took this a step further at the Arena Football League Conference Title game between the Georgia Force and the Jacksonville Sharks.
Georgia’s C.J. Johnson was in the end zone waiting for a kickoff, when a Sharks fan suddenly latched onto him. Grabbing him around the shoulders, he held on to him and prevented him from running the ball out of the end zone. This over-zealous fan interfered with play and could have injured Johnson as he grabbed him by his mask. For his troubles, the fan was only ejected from the arena.
3. Malice at the Palace – Pacers vs Pistons, 2004
During the final minutes of this game, with one argument already brewing on the court and players shoving each other, a fan decided to ‘cool down’ the situation by throwing his drink and cup at Indiana’s Ron Artest. Artest was having none of that and lunged into the stands, throwing punches left and right.
As fans punched back, his team mates Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O’Neal joined in. On account of the brawl that followed, the game was called off and the Pacers were awarded the win. In the aftermath of the fight, nine players received 146 games worth of suspensions and two fans were banned for life.
2. Chicago Cubs vs Florida Marlins, 2003
No list of fans behaving badly would be complete without including Steve Bartman. In October 2003, at the eighth inning of Game Six of the NLCS, the Chicago Cubs looked like they finally had a shot at winning the series.
Marlins second baseman Luis Castillo hit a foul ball that sent Cubs outfielder Moises Alou sprinting for the second-out catch. As the ball veered into the stands, one Cubs fan, Bartman, touched the ball and disrupted Alou’s chance of a catch. The game went sour from there with the Cubs losing the game and the series.
Fans blamed it all on Bartman who had to be given a police escort out of the field. The terror continued off the field, with police having to guard his house. Bartman apologized, changed his number and eventually went into hiding from all the harassment.
1. Seles vs Maleeva, 1993
From fans over-reacting about lovers, imagined slights and even players over-reacting, we’ve seen the depths sports can take us to. However, the creepiest fan stories ever always come back to the career-ending injury on nine-time Grand Slam singles winner, Monica Seles.
In the ’90s, this young ace became the youngest-ever French Open champion, winning at only 16. During a break in a quarterfinal match in 1993, Seles was stabbed between her shoulder blades by Gunter Parche. The boning knife used left a 1.5 cm gash in her upper back. Any deeper and doctors say she could have had her lungs punctured.
When questioned, Parthe claimed he was trying to help the object of his affection, Steffi Graf, regain the world no. 1 ranking. Deemed mentally unstable, he was given a two-year suspended license.