But sometimes canine hero turned to villain. There are disappointingly few reports of match officials being mauled, but no one who has seen the footage will forget the goalkeeper-sheepdog collision during a 1970 Colchester v Brentford game that ended Chic Brodie’s days as a pro.
We have precious little information about the dog’s subsequent life, but I don’t suppose the incident did much for his career, either.
Dogs are by no means the animal kingdom’s only pitch invaders, of course. The Anfield cat is a descendant of the mog that inspired the Kop to adapt its ‘Attack! Attack! Attack, attack, attack!’ chant to ‘A cat! A cat! A cat, a cat, a cat!’ Or so legend has it.
The Parkhead fox family has a long, proud history; squirrels have made their mark on pitches from London to Latin America; eagle owls, chickens and even a marabou stork have disrupted games. A pine marten won fame when it bit a player in Switzerland, but the Millwall giraffe is a figment of my imagination.
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