Ryan Giggs and Top 10 Cases of Mistaken Identity in Football

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2014

Ryan Giggs and Top 10 Cases of Mistaken Identity in Football

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    Jon Super

    Ryan Giggs has made no secret of his desire to eventually move into management, so the 40-year-old Welshman was showered with congratulations when he was promoted to Interim Manchester United manager on Tuesday.

    However, some of the adulation was misdirected to a London rapper who shares his name.

    This error leads our top ten list of mistaken identity cases in the beautiful game...  

Ryan Giggs

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    Manchester United's Welsh midfield manager is almost certainly the most famous man on the planet with the name "Giggs," but there also happens to be a rapper from Peckham who performs under that handle.

    Apparently, he's been receiving high praise for landing a job he has not been offered!  

Andre Villas-Boas

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    Twitter has given ordinary football fans the unprecedented ability to directly abuse famous people, but sometimes the vitriol can be misplaced.

    When Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham were smashed 5-0 by Liverpool in December, a young lady from New York with the unfortunate Twitter handle @avb started receiving torrents of spiteful comments. To which she responded with musical theatre lyrics

David Moyes (Part 1)

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    It probably hasn't escaped your attention that David Moyes has had a rather tough season, which has ended prematurely. 

    A young Scottish lady named Sarah Moyes has been receiving the brunt of football fans' complaints and mockery thanks to her @moyesy Twitter handle. Which she probably should have changed about 10 months ago. 

Michael Gray

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    When Martin O'Neill was sacked by Sunderland in 2013, BBC Radio called up former Black Cats defender Michael Gray for a comment.

    Except that they didn't call the English football player, they actually reached a Glaswegian student with the same name, who proceeded to go live on air and give his views about the Ulsterman's dismissal!  

K. Reuben

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    The 2011 friendly between Australia and Malaysia featured an odd moment, when Malaysian defender K. Reuben put in a sliding tackle on the referee, presumably under the belief he was a Socceroo. 

Josip Simunic

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    During Croatia's 2006 World Cup group stage match with Australia, defender Josip Simunic received a yellow card for fouling Harry Kewell in the 61st minute and then another yellow in the 90th. Yet referee Graham Poll clearly mistook him for another Croat, as he remained on the pitch.

    As the final whistle blew, Simunic complained to Poll and shoved him—presumably for failing to properly punish his two offences—and he earned a third yellow and the elusive red. 

Brede Hangeland

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    Phil Cole/Getty Images

    During Fulham's Europa League clash with Roma in October 2009, Stephen Kelly conceded a penalty by bringing down John Arne Riise in the 76th minute. On the advice of his assistant behind the goal, Belgian referee Paul Allaerts saw fit to show a red card to first-half goalscorer Brede Hangeland, who was not involved in the incident at all. 

    After several minutes of kerfuffle—and no Fulham players actually owning up to who committed the foul—the fifth official correctly identified Kelly and he received his marching orders. 


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Poll isn't the only ref to fail to keep track of offences on the field.

    During Chelsea's recent demolition of Arsenal, referee Andre Marriner sent off Kieran Gibbs for a blatant handball committed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Gibbs appeared to tell Marriner that he had sent off the wrong player, but he was having none of it. Only at half-time did he admit his error. 

    The internet has now provided a hilariously sarcastic game to help us all see if we can avoid Marriner's mistake.  

George Weah's "Cousin"

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    In November 1996, Southampton manager Graeme Souness received a phone call from a man purporting to be George Weah, asking him to give his "cousin" Ali Dia—who had apparently played at Paris Saint-Germain—a chance with the Saints.

    However, the phone call was simply from a Portsmouth university student who was calling on behalf of fellow student Dia, who did not have the credentials claimed. 

    Somehow, the ruse worked and he earned a one-month contract. He came on as a substitute in a match against Leeds and was promptly subbed off again around twenty minutes later.

    "His performance was almost comical," said Saints legend Matt Le Tissier when reminiscing the bizarre incident. 

David Moyes (Part 2)

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    The longest running case of mistaken identity surely has to be David Moyes, who had been mistaken for a Manchester Utd manager for the past 10 months.

    Thankfully, the error has now been corrected.


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