Thank you Jon Walters

Football was once again filled full with all the drama, joy and despair that Sky Sports viewers have come to associate with the modern English game this weekend.

Contentious refereeing decisions were re-hashed by commentators – as former players spewed a memorised list of adjectives in an attempt to look insightful – while goals were cooed over, and play was eagerly admired.

There was joy at the top for the Manchester clubs and also at the bottom for anyone living outside the Birmingham area, but even for those fans in a depressive state over the afternoon’s action they’d just witnessed, there was a remedy and on Saturday Jon Walters selflessly delivered it.

With a dark humour that’s usually reserved for satire, Walters inadvertently bundled his Stoke side towards defeat with a series of comical errors in front of his own goal, missed a penalty and for good measure he hooked an attempted cross into his own face, which was gloriously poured over by the nation’s pundits, with a certain amount of Schadenfreude.

Usually a competent, driven and direct player, the Republic of Ireland international was reduced to a figure of fun by his performance against Chelsea on Saturday, selflessly ensuring that his miserable afternoon would raise a smile from even the most pessimistic fan.

Having opened his account with a wonderful diving header just before half-time, he added a second off the back of his bonce after the break, but missed a late Stoke spot-kick to magnify his afternoon’s woes and propel him into a select band of eccentrics in the process.

And such a joy was greatly needed by those neutral fans who delight in a players comical misfortune, as the last one to score both an own goal and miss a penalty in a Premier League game was Aston Villa’s Juan Pablo Angel, against Spurs back in October 2006.

Thankfully there a more mavericks like Walters, who have been willing to defy the basic principles of the game that confine their scoring to the goal guarded by a fella from the opposition.

As three other unfortunates have also scored two own goals in a single Premier League game. Gary Breen did so for Coventry City against United in 1997, as did Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher also against United in 1999, whilst Michael Proctor twice found the net for Charlton in the name of Sunderland in 2003.

Michael Duberry however went one better by completing the unusual hat-trick seemingly so coverted by Walters.

The former Chelsea defender reached the pinnacle of his career on 21st January 2012 after he struck twice in the wrong net, before rescuing a point for his Oxford United side with a late equalizer, to earn him the dubious honour of scoring the imperfect (right, left, head but not necessarily all in the correct goal) hat-trick.

But, despite how much light these renegades shine on our occasionally gloomy perception of the game, none come close to the sheer heroics performed by Jamie Pollock, who scored the reverse Gazza in April 1998, despite defeat condemning his City side to relegation to the old Division Two, at the expense of the opposition that day QPR. The game finished 2-2.

And the inspiration behind Walters’s first amusing indiscretion is the amazing Mr Chris Brass, who can be seen below in glorious Technicolor playing for Bury against Darlington in 2006. He suffered for his art too, breaking his nose in the process of this wizardry. Thank heavens for renegades.

Tags: Bury, Chris Brass, Jamie Pollock, Jon Walters, Manchester City, Premier League, Stoke City

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