Darren Bent’s beach ball goal 10 years on – five things you may not know
It is one of the strangest goals in Premier League history.
Exactly 10 years ago, an innocuous shot by Sunderland's Darren Bent was heading straight towards Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina.
But in what then-Reds manager Rafael Benitez described as “a special situation”, Bent's shot struck a beach ball, thrown on to the pitch by a fan, and was diverted into the visitors' net.
It was the only goal in a 1-0 Sunderland win at the Stadium of Light.
Before kick-off the inflatable had been knocked around in the away end and ended up on the pitch, eventually in Liverpool's box, thanks to a touch from 16-year-old supporter Callum Campbell.
But for all its notoriety, some of the consequences are less well known…
The thrower received death threats
Saturday, 17 October 2009 started badly for Campbell. As he left Liverpool for the Stadium of Light he realised he'd left his red rosary beads – the ones he always wore to a game in memory of his grandma – behind.
When Campbell returned home from the game he went into the garden and was physically sick – and that's before the death threats started appearing on the internet the next day.
“How was I supposed to know what would happen? It was just a bit of fun, and if I could turn back the clock and do it differently, throw the ball into the crowd instead of on to the pitch, then I would,” he told the Mirror at the time.
“One fan told me to get my coffin ready, another said he'd make me into a curry.
“I'm really, really sorry it happened like it did.”
The referee got demoted
The official laws say if an “outside agent” – someone or something that should not be on the pitch – makes its way on to the field then the game must be stopped while it is removed.
Unfortunately for referee Mike Jones, he did not follow that rule.
Jones was demoted from the Premier League to the Championship for the following weekend, taking charge of Peterborough's 3-0 win over Scunthorpe.
He returned to the Premier League the week after and went on to officiate in 202 top-flight matches.
It still annoys Reina
What's the longest grudge you've ever held?
When Reina sent this tweet a year ago – nine years after the match – it clearly still rankled…
It is Bent's most famous goal
Bent scored 106 Premier League goals, as well as four for England, in a career which included top-flight spells with Ipswich, Charlton, Tottenham, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Fulham.
Yet for all the great moments he enjoyed in a 17-year career, it is the goal that should never have been that he is best remembered for.
On Sky Sports' Goals on Sunday last season, Bent said: “That is the goal everybody speaks to me about. When they stop me in the street they say they remember that beach ball goal and Liverpool fans are like ‘I've never forgiven you for that'.”
The beach ball has its own place in history
If you're wondering where the ball is now, it's “usually on display” as part of The People's Collection at the National Football Museum in Manchester.
The listing on the museum website says: “In October 2009, Sunderland's Darren Bent scored when his shot deflected off this beach ball, which had been thrown on to the pitch by a visiting Liverpool fan. Although this single goal was enough to win the match for the Black Cats, the laws of the game say it should have been disallowed.”
Get yourself down there to see the ball in all its glory.
Test your knowledge of the Premier League's weirdest goals in our quiz:
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