Top five: Animal pitch invaders

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Football News

A fleet-footed rodent-like creature caused somewhat of a stir in the Swiss Super League match at the weekend, as the furry pitch invader managed to evade capture for some time, before being escorted from the field of play having nibbled on a player's finger.

The pine marten - related to the more well known weasel family - interrupted proceedings on more then once occasion, prompting players from both teams involved - FC Thun and FC Zurich - attempting to intervene.

Zurich defender Loris Benito managed to snaffle the marten with a full stretched dive, before the captured forest-based creature took exception and had a chomp on the hand of his 21-year-old detainer in order to escape.

The wriggling rascal was then scooped up again, this time by goalkeeper David da Costa, before being led down the tunnel to a standing ovation.

Although undoubtedly hilarious, this instance of an unwanted animal guest is far from rare, and there have been a number of instances over the years where creatures great and small have caused play to be halted.

GMF picks five of the most memorable examples of such events...

Pussy galore in Liverpool

A grey and white tabby called Kenny but more simply, and understandably, known as 'the Anfield cat', lit up an otherwise non-eventful encounter between Liverpool and Tottenham last season, which ended goalless.

The fearless moggy sauntered onto the pitch through a gap in the advertising hoardings, and even had time to sit down on the hallowed turf not far from his namesake, and Liverpool boss, Kenny Dalglish.

Stewards eventually intervened after play was delayed for around a minute, and Kenny (not that one) was removed from the spotlight. The Anfield cat soon had his own Twitter profile, which boasts over 60,000 followers. Watch the Anfield cat in action here.

'Keeper left shattered by over-zealous dog

Unfortunately, animal pitch invaders do not always simply cause hilarity but, sometimes, they can cause serious - although not intentional - harm to the species more associated with the beautiful game.

This was the case back in 1969, when unsuspecting Brentford goalkeeper Chic Brodie was poleaxed by an over-zealous dog as he went to hoof a backpass in an encounter with Colchester United.

The collision left Brodie with a shattered knee-cap, which ended his career as a professional, before he retired from all football just a few years later. Watch the unfortunate incident here.

Club mascot killed by kick from opposition

Such instances as the Brodie-dog collision do, however, sometimes happen in reverse, as a particularly unedifying episode in Colombia two years ago, which resulted in the death of a club mascot, demonstrated

An owl, which was mascot for Colombian club Atlético Junior, somehow found its way onto the pitch during an encounter with Deportivo Pereira, and was initially dazed after being struck by the ball.

With the game stopped to remove the owl, opposition defender Luis Moreno attempted to clear the stricken bird from the pitch with his boot in an overly forceful manner. It later died of its injuries. Watch the incident here.

Blackburn rooster is clucked off with Venky's

A far more light-hearted example of a winged creature entering the field of play, was when a rooster was released by a bunch of jokers at Ewood Park, seemingly in protest at the club's owners - famed chicken farmers - Venky's.

Proudly wearing a Blackburn neckerchief, the bird clucked its way around the opposition penalty area whole stalked by Rovers striker Yakubu and Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi.

The humans eventually got the better of their feathered friend, as Al-Habsi encouraged it into the grateful hands of Yakubu, who had taken up a position inside the Wigan goal. Have a watch here.

Barcelona supporting pig granted dying wish

It is often the wish of dying football aficionados to have their ashes spread onto the pitch of the favourite football club, after they are deceased. This is clearly also an ambition of some animals, as demonstrated at the Camp Nou in 2002.

Having left Barcelona for Real Madrid, Luis Figo was the subject of both verbal and physical missiles on his return to Catalonia, with objects raining down on the Portuguese every time he went to take a corner.

One such object was the head of a pig, which was granted its ambition to have its remains strewn over the hallowed Barcelona turf. At least I think that's what happened. Watch the video here.

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