Football fans are a fiercely loyal bunch, staying dedicated to a team no matter what happens on the pitch. Whatever the weather, fans will subject themselves to away ends with no roofs and still turn up in the freezing cold winter months despite the realisation that their beloved team is probably about to lose at home to a relegation rival.
Football fandom is about more than just the 90 minutes of the match, though. Many fans have taken an interest in the statistical side of the game, challenging their management skills with games like Football Manager or testing their knowledge by playing funny sports quizzes. But often, what we take as fact is wrong. Clickbait articles are rife, and the rumour mill is still going strong. Online platforms like Twitter help fuel many of the myths that are still doing the rounds today.
With that in mind, here are five such myths that some fans believe but can be debunked.
When Manchester United re-signed Paul Pogba from Juventus in 2016, many people expected the Red Devils to recoup the transfer fee they paid for him through shirt sales. His net worth might be impressive, but that doesn’t mean the club was going to sell €105 million worth of shirts. In fact, it was revealed recently that the club only managed to sell 2.85 million shirts in the whole of 2016, indicating that they are some way off from getting their money back. The truth is, most clubs often only see around 10-15% of the revenue that comes from shirt sales.
Roy Keane was as hard as nails and set the tone in that famous Manchester United side of old, but that doesn’t mean that he’d intentionally end a players career. There is a line. Roy Keane’s challenge on Manchester City’s Alf-Inge Haaland was horrific, but the resulting injury wasn’t the one that ended the Norwegian’s career. Haaland played the rest of the match and represented Norway for 45 minutes a few days later, before eventually retiring due to issues with his left knee, not the right knee Keane targeted.
After facing Graham Taylor's Watford team in the early 1980s, AC Milan were reportedly interested in signing a striker and ended up with Luther Blissett when in actual fact, they were meant to sign his teammate, John Barnes. Barnes wasn’t a striker. Additionally, Blissett was English football's top scorer with 27 league goals at the time, so surely Milan were fully aware of that fact and noticed his goalscoring exploits? Don’t always believe what you read in the papers.
Arthur Conan Doyle wasn’t Portsmouth’s first ever goalkeeper. He was a goalkeeper, though, and represented Portsmouth AFC before the club folded in 1886. The legendary crime fiction writer and physician has no connection to Portsmouth FC, who were founded in 1888.
Believe it or not, but some people still think that Manchester United’s legendary winger chose to represent Wales over England at International level. The fact remains, Ryan Giggs isn’t English. He was born in Wales to Welsh parents, making him ineligible for any potential call-up to the England squad. He did represent the Three Lions at schoolboy level, but that is solely because he went to school in the country after moving to Manchester in 1980 to pursue his dream. At the time, Giggs couldn’t represent England at senior level although since then the rules have changed.