Eden Hazard found himself in hot water midway through his first season at Chelsea after kicking a Swansea City ball boy named Charlie Morgan during a League Cup clash at the Liberty Stadium in January 2013.
The bizarre incident ended with referee Chris Foy showing Hazard, who was 22 at the time, a straight red card.
The Belgian winger attempted to retrieve the ball from Morgan, who had fallen on top of it, and ended up kicking the youngster in the process.
The teenager appeared to be in considerable pain as he trudged off the pitch holding his side.
“The boy put his whole body on to the ball and I was just trying to kick the ball,” Hazard insisted after the match. “I think I kicked the ball and not the boy. I apologise.”
There were 13 minutes left on the clock of the League Cup semi-final second leg when the incident occurred. Chelsea were 2-0 down from the first leg and Hazard’s red card effectively killed the tie.
Swansea went all the way in the League Cup that season, defeating League Two outfit Bradford City 5-0 in the final at Wembley.
Who is Charlie Morgan – the ball boy Eden Hazard kicked?
It turned out that the ball boy was the 17-year-old son of Swansea director Martin Morgan, the owner of the Morgans Hotel and worth a reported £65 million, per The Sun.
Charlie took to Twitter in the aftermath of the incident to confirm that he would not be pressing charges against Hazard. South Wales Police also stated that no action would be taken against the former Lille star.
As Morgan’s social media following skyrocketed from 600 to 100,000, several newspapers revealed how the young lad lived an ‘enviable lifestyle’ involving luxury holidays and flash cars.
Charlie Morgan – The man behind Au Vodka
It was said that Charlie’s ambition was to start a business – and that dream became a reality just three years later in 2016.
You may have heard of Au Vodka – a British ultra-premium brand that you can purchase in various UK-based shops including Tesco and Morrisons for just over £30 a bottle.
Well, Charlie and his best friend Jackson Quinn are the brains behind the popular drink. Aged 19 and 21 at the time, they decided to see if they could make their own product after spotting a gap in the market for bottled premium vodka.
They initially produced 2,000 bottles and launched in a few bars around their home city of Swansea.
The eye-catching gold bottles took off, Charlie Sloth – a British DJ, producer and TV presenter – joined the company as a partial owner and Au Vodka has gone from strength to strength ever since.
“Things really blew up for us in 2019 when Charlie came on board,” Jordan Major, Head of e-Commerce at Au Vodka, was quoted saying by Retail Sector in October 2021.
“Charlie helped us get endorsements from UK rappers and celebrities, including the likes of Headie One, Chip and Nines.
“We then launched our Black Grape flavour, and we coloured the vodka itself to match – which was something that hadn’t really been done with vodka before. It was a huge success.
“Then, earlier this year, we had our biggest endorsement yet – from boxing legend Floyd Mayweather. Floyd is a hero of ours, so it was a really surreal moment to see him holding bottles of Au Vodka.”
Yep, Floyd Mayweather really was pictured with a couple of bottles of vodka created by the former ball boy that Hazard kicked less than a decade ago.
Au Vodka wins award following huge growth
Au Vodka was recently crowned the winner of Brightpearl’s Lightning 50 – a league table that showcases the UK’s fastest-growing retail brands.
The company’s turnover has grown from £800,000 to a staggering £38.5 million, according to Retail Sector. A 10,000% online revenue growth was also reported (a jump from £24k in 2019 to £2.5 million in 2020) for Au Vodka, which was also named Winner in the Luxury Sector and Regional Winner for Wales.
“I entered the Lightning 50 on a bit of a whim, not expecting to win,” Jordan continued. “Then I got on with other stuff and kind of forgot about it. So when the call came in to say we’d won not one but three titles, I was absolutely buzzing.
“I ran in to tell the rest of the team and they all started cheering – it was a real moment for us.
“We’re always working hard towards our next launch or next goal, so we’ve barely come up for air in two years.
“Winning the Lightning 50 has given us the chance to step back for a brief moment and see that we’ve achieved something that’s pretty awesome.”
What else is known about Au Vodka?
Remarkably, it’s understood that almost every member of Au Vodka’s 55-strong staff is under the age of 30.
“Our team has got youth on its side – Jackon is 28, Charlie is 25, I’m 20 and all the other heads of department are in their twenties,” Jordan added.
“I think our collective youth has definitely helped us tap into what our target demographic wants – and to then have the energy and vision to make it happen.
“When orders have spiked, as they did during the pandemic, it’s been all hands on deck with lots of us doing our day jobs until 6pm and then packing orders until the early hours of the morning.
“It’s been really hard work – but, as well as being young, we’re a solid team of like-minded, ambitious people and we always pull together.
“I really think that’s played a big part in driving such rapid growth.”
Fair play to Charlie and his pals. They’ve well and truly smashed it.