The Most Bizarre Cases of Mistaken Identity in Football History

If you've been keeping up to date with football ongoings across the pond, then you might have seen a rather hilarious blunder by FC Cincinnati's social media team.

Legendary Dutch central defender Jaap Stam has been chosen to take up the reins at the MLS Eastern Conference side, so the club informed their fans of the news by confirming someone else has taken the managerial position.

Well, they weren't supposed to, instead they chose a similar looking man who happened to pop up when they typed his name into the Getty image bank. There's no hiding it, it's darn right hilarious and hugely embarrassing.

But while you'd think foolish incidents of mistaken identity might not be commonplace in football, you'd better guess again, since it's happened a rather remarkable number of times. Really, it has.

And here are just a few of them.

Josip Šimunić's Three Yellow Cards

Graham Poll, the only English referee at the 2006 World Cup, was in dreamland. He was plying his trade on the biggest stage in world football and was widely regarded as the best English ref in the business.

That dreamland clearly carried over onto his profession, where he made the biggest mistake of his career as Croatia took on Australia, with both teams bidding to qualify for the knockout rounds.

A fantastic encounter was delicately poised at 2-2, and with tensions boiling over, Poll issued red cards to Dario Simic and Brett Emerton. Another was to follow when Simunic was shown his second yellow of the afternoon...but he didn't leave the pitch. It wasn't because he was fuming or being disruptive, instead, Poll had got his players mixed up.

Having complained to the referee after the full-time whistle, Poll did eventually send him off with his third yellow card, but the damage was already done. Poll wouldn't referee again in the tournament and announced his international retirement shortly after.

Brede Hangeland's Red Card Against Roma

There is sometime some scope for making a defence of a referee sending a player off, if, say, they look similar to other players in their side or have no distinctive features.

So, tell me please, how Belgian referee Paul Allaerts and his five other officials all managed to mistake Stephen Kelly for Brede Hangeland during Fulham's Europa League tie with Roma. Everyone at Craven Cottage could see it was Kelly who had committed the foul on John Arne Riise, except for the six referees, obviously.

He showed (by far) the tallest man on the pitch a red card, before wild Fulham protesting eventually made him reverse his simply ridiculous decision.

"I'm Martin From Wakefield"......Not Huddersfield's New Manager

This glorious case of mistaken identity didn't actually happen on the pitch, rather in the stands where one supporter was merely enjoying a game of football.

Martin from Wakefield was a Manchester City fan attending his side's away game with Huddersfield Town, when one Sky reporter was seen approaching him in the stands. With the Terriers set to appoint Jan Siewert as their new manager, Martin had nothing at all to do with the appointment....only that he shared an uncanny physical resemblance to the German.

The reporter had mistaken the fan for the new Huddersfield boss, and while the audio during the exchange isn't available, you can clearly see the moment where he realises the error of his ways.

Wes Brown and John O'Shea Mix Up

There were so many elements to this that Roger East messed up on. Firstly, the obvious one; the fact that he managed to mistake pale white, black-haired John O'Shea for anyone other than pale white, black-haired John O'Shea is question that still hasn't been answered.

What he did instead was clearly pay zero attention to Sunderland's clash with Manchester United by opting to send off Wes Brown when it was O'Shea who had clearly hauled down Radamel Falcao in the penalty box.

Then, even after O'Shea made it very clear Brown was innocent, he still didn't change his mind. And finally, while Brown's red card was eventually rescinded, O'Shea escaped later punishment as East had included the incident in his match report. Well done.

Robin Zentner Mistakes the Penalty Spot for the Ball

Yes, you read that right, this actually happened. While there might have be some argument for Zentner simply losing track of the ball and happening to kick in the area where the penalty spot was conveniently placed, the player himself admitted he made this outstanding mix up.

The Mainz goalkeeper was taking on Borussia Mönchengladbach, and after receiving the ball back from one of his defenders, his touch wasn't all that great and the ball rolled slightly behind him. The real problem was, Zentner had no idea.

With the ball trickling away towards his own goal, he sought to pass it out to a teammate, only to kick the air above the penalty spot. He had got it horribly wrong, genuinely thinking the white penalty spot was actually the football. Fortunately for him he finally noticed, while his defenders helped recover to save his bacon, but it's still very hard to comprehend what happened there.

Kathiripillai Reuben Tackles the Referee

Australia vs Malaysia, friendly game, 5-0 scoreline to the Aussies and injury time almost up. The game is pretty much done there, and the referee is about to blow the whistle. Job done, no more drama, right?

Now, while it's nice to imagine that Malaysia's Reuben mistook the red-coloured referee for one of the yellow and green-coloured Australian players, it's quite hard to believe that to be true.

Either way, he made a scything challenge on the referee from behind to stun all in attendance, in what was a supposed act of mistaken identity. Perhaps he just didn't want the game to end?

When Local Radio Phoned Up the Wrong Michael Gray

You know Michael Gray, former Sunderland footballer with three caps for England? Of course you do. But do you know Michael Gray, Glaswegian University student? Didn't think so.

Clearly BBC radio hadn't either, as they phoned up the youngster instead of the former Black Cat to discuss Martin O'Neill's sacking in 2013.

The student took full advantage after an initial call to ask for his availability, going live on the radio and doing his best interpretation of a Mackem accent, while throwing in as many football cliches as he could.

Andre Marriner's Kieran Gibbs & Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Clanger

Arsene Wenger's 1000th game in charge of Arsenal was certainly one to remember. Not for the Frenchman, Andre Marriner or the Gunners, who were thumped 6-0 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, but for literally every other person alive. Why? Because of one truly horrendous mistake that begs belief.

Trailing 2-0, Arsenal were being ripped apart to the point of desperation, which is probably why Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain decided to turn into a goalkeeper with a blatant handball in the penalty box. Marriner had to brandish the red card, but preferably, y'know, to the right person.

Not on this occasion, oh no, as Kieran Gibbs was the unfortunate recipient of the red card to the utter bemusement of everyone in attendance. The explanations from the Arsenal duo did little to sway his thinking, and Gibbs trod off. It was an incident that will live long in the memory for all the wrong reasons. How do you get something so wrong?

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Source : 90min