Everyone once dreamed to be a ball kid. To go to football for free, see your heroes up close and be privy to areas of arenas mere mortals are barred from.

What a privilege. Most ball boys and girls abide by the rules of the guild but there are the few troublemakers who are like moths to a light and drift towards the allure of infamy, imagining their face on every Twitter feed, Bleacher Report homepage and The Football Sack listicle of the world.

They were the disruptive kids in class who flustered the 20-something-year-old primary school teacher not armed with enough experience to deal with classroom disarray. They were the screeching kids mums dragged along supermarket floors when she just wanted to pick up some fettuccine for tonight’s carbonara; those kids weren’t screaming for any reason other than to make a scene.

These students in the dark art of mischief are surfacing on sidelines across the globe. Through moments of spontaneity or strategies designed by a superior, trouble-making ball kids are bravely using their powers in the battle of good and evil in coliseums of rabid football fans.

Let’s shamelessly glorify that which shouldn’t be and laugh heartily at the stirrers who both literally and, let’s be frank, metaphorically have more balls than us.

Caution: Hazard

If you type in ‘Eden Hazard’ on Youtube the first search result to appear is ‘Eden Hazard ball boy’. This wasn’t the first ball kid incident to ever occur but it’s definitely the highest profile.

It was a Carling/Capital One/Carabao/EFL/League Cup semi-final in January 2013 where the crime took place. Hazard, acquired only several months earlier by Chelsea in the transfer window, was keen to make his name in England.

Along came Charlie Morgan, 17, donned in home team apparel and full of chutzpah. Refusal to give up the ball, a quick wrestle and a kick to the ribs later and Hazard was expelled from the match.

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To make matters worse, it was revealed a few days after that Morgan is the son of multi-millionaire and Swansea board member Michael Morgan.

Not smart Eden. Not smart Charlie.

In the jewels

The UEFA Cup, how we miss thee and the fond memories you provided, such as… the one with the thing that one time. It provides the stage for our next scoundrel and also goes to show a classic ball-buster is timeless and still makes hordes of men laugh uproariously.

It’s all the little things around this incident which provides the colour, like Cypriot powerhouse Anorthosis Famagusta being creamed 4-0 and not an hour yet elapsed, the quotation marks around “ball” in the video title, and the unflinching nerve with which the action was executed.

The ball boy took his time before looking back for a reaction too, because there wasn’t a need to. He honed in on his target, he found it, and he coolly walked back to his chair. It was a job well done. An instant hero was made among the White Hart Lane crowd.

 

Humiliated again, v2: Electric Boogaloo

Robert Green boasts a highlight reel like no other. Who can say they’re responsible for one of the most iconic World Cup moments of all time and be outfoxed by a kid almost 20 years their junior?

Robert “The Machine” Green, that’s who.

His England career flatlined after “the incident”: dropped to the bench after the USA game for 159-year-old David James and only seen once more in national team colours in a friendly against mighty Norway some years later.

Nowadays, Green is getting ‘megged by ball boys. This has to be the height of cheek, too. The kid rattles off a dizzying array of pump-fakes, masterfully flummoxing Green into a tremendous stupor before promptly threading the ball between the unsuspecting legs of the goalie to knock the wind out of him. It’s like 2010 all over again.

Leaving a #Legacy

This one’s an all-timer. It might not have the lasting global impact of Hazard or the simple hilarity of Rob Green being had, but the obvious preparation and planning that went into this prank gives it great merit.

All Australians aged eight to 80 still dream of growing up to be like Tim Cahill. He’s a footballing superhero: he’s got his signature attack, an iconic move and a great catchphrase everyone remembers.

Clearly this Central Coast ball kid is more of a Mark Viduka fan. One can only imagine the meticulous planning that went into this moment; the constant wishing Timmy would score at that end, the hours of training his poker-face and mastering the timing to walk up and yank that flag out like it’s the Excalibur.

There’s still so many unanswered questions. What if it happened at another corner? Was every ball kid in on this? Who was the ringleader? What’d happen if Timmy pursued the flag? Would there’ve been a high-speed flag chase around Gosford?

Slappa da face, man

The list wouldn’t be complete without some crazy South American antics. This one’s short and sweet but by God it’s violent so viewer discretion is advised.

Carlos Sanchez, a former Liverpool player of the early 2000s (add that to your trivia list of obscure footballers) and here playing for Argentina giants River Plate gets physical with a ball kid.

A hay-maker to the cheek of the boy (nay man, he looks about 30 and could probably be Sanchez’s brother) lands the Uruguayan national a red card and, to be honest, draws a confusing reaction from the kid. Why did he throw the ball away in frustration; does his conscience get guilty that quickly?

Also note around the 31-second mark Sanchez touches the referees face. That’s a three month ban waiting to happen.

And the NEW……

Fresh in our minds, this one takes the belt. The incident is a landmark occasion for ball kids all over the world and shows what can be achieved if you work hard at your craft and strive to be the best.

This is the first ball kid incident we’ve ever seen where both benches were cleared out, virtually every player and staff member came running, a melee was incited, Matt Simon Matt Simoned everywhere, the infringing player was red carded and the ball kid had a freaking winners medal donated to him by the end of it all.

We’re embarking on new grounds. Brace for ball kid-sparked brawls to spread over the football world like a plague.

Behold, a game changer.

 

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Football and Aussie rules commentator, writer and radio host/producer from Melbourne.