Give all that is going on in the world right now, announcing a new manager is always likely to fall quite low on the news agenda.
That is, unless you announce your new man with a picture of….well, somebody else.
Step forward FC Cincinnati, the MLS franchise in their second season after their establishment in 2018. It should have been a huge moment in their history announcing former Manchester United and Netherlands legend Jaap Stam to the club. However, they rather made a mess of the news by using a picture of Tinus van Teunenbroek in their official press release and social media posts instead.
It’s an easy mistake to make in the sense that they are both Dutch, both have ‘hard’ faces and both are, ahem, a bit thin in the hair department.
ICYMI: Join us in welcoming our ?????? new head coach, Jaap Stam. #FCCincy
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) May 21, 2020
But even so, it’s not exactly the warmest of welcomes for Stam, who will be tasked with changing the fortunes of a team who were soundly below-par in their debut MLS campaign in 2019. Hopefully, he can channel any feelings of frustration positively….
In fairness, mistaken identity is surprisingly common in football and in sport in general, as these almighty cock-ups confirm.
After the sacking of David Wagner, Huddersfield Town were in the hunt for a new manager during the 2018/19 season and rumours circled that they closing in on the relatively unknown Jan Siewert as his replacement.
So unknown was Siewart, in fact, that nobody really knew what he looked like other than from photos on the internet.
So you can probably forgive the Sky Sports reporter who, seeing someone who vaguely resembled Siewart in the crowd for the Tykes’ game against Manchester City, moved in for an exclusive interview.
“No, no, that’s not me. I’m Martin from Wakefield,” replied, well, Martin from Wakefield in a rather embarrassing case of mistaken identity.
Plenty of other media firms have fallen foul of similar mix-ups, including the Irish Herald, who ran a front page story on Romelu Lukaku with an accompanying picture of the rapper Stormzy.
One of the most common refereeing errors in football in particular is when they show a card to the wrong player.
There are lots of examples of players being booked or even sent off when a crime has been perpetrated by a teammate who looks vaguely similar to them.
Kieran Gibbs was on the receiving end of one such occasion when he was sent off for handball while playing for Arsenal – even though it was in fact Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who had tipped Eden Hazard’s shot around the post.
Such errors can take place on the biggest stage of them all too. Former English referee Graham Poll once failed to send off the Croatian, Josip Simunic, despite showing him two yellow cards in separate incidents.
Amazingly, it all kicked off at the final whistle and Simunic ended up pushing Poll, who had no choice but to show him another yellow card – his third of the game – before brandishing the red card that the Croat richly deserved!
Brede Hangeland and Gareth McAuley have also fallen victim to card-based mix-ups, and who can forget the farce at Old Trafford when Sunderland defender John O’Shea brought down Falcao in the penalty area. His colleague Wes Brown received his marching orders by mistake, which the referee rectified after the game, but he failed to name O’Shea as the true perpetrator in his match report – meaning neither player was suspended.
A Bit of Horseplay
It’s not just the world of football that is prone to such errors, and it’s not a phenomenon exclusive to human beings either.
To the untrained eye, racehorses can look pretty similar, and maybe that’s one reason why the trainer Charlie McBride got confused about which one of his horses he was entering in a race at Yarmouth back in 2017.
He thought he’d declared Mandarin Princess, but in actual fact it was Millie’s Kiss who travelled to the east coast and who went on to win the race.
McBride said it was an ‘honest mistake’ when a scan revealed the fraud, but the British Horseracing Authority were not amused and disqualified Millie’s Kiss and fined the trainer £1,500.