The term "unbreakable record" is something of an oddity in sports. Sporting records aren't supposed
to be unbreakable - as any given sport moves forward, progress inevitably leads to new peaks, as the rules and tactics evolve to allow new feats. They are quite literally made to be broken. An unbreakable record means the record was either set so early that rules literally do not allow it to be broken
(as seen in baseball when the Cleveland Spiders lost 101 games away in a season in 1899
, an amount only breakable if a MLB team played 21 more away games than exist
, and lost all of them). So let's examine four of football's unbreakable records, who set them, and see why they cannot be broken.
The fastest red card - 0 seconds
The reason I'm putting this record first is because I don't think it really counts. It's literally impossible for a player to be sent off having played less than zero seconds of football, but being sent off without a second played has actually happened a few times. Most recently, Inter Milan's long-term third choice goalkeeper, Tommaso Berni, received his second red card despite having never made an appearance for them.
Another player to match this admittedly impressive feat is Northern Irish international Keith Gillespie, who was brought on as a substitute by Sheffield United against Reading, and proceeded to immediately elbow Stephen Hunt in the face,
receiving his marching orders before play had started (he comes on at 3:15, and is off before the throw in is taken).
Often, the figure for the "fastest red card ever" is placed at two seconds, which is understandable if you only count players who played
. Cross Farm Park Celtic striker Lee Todd was sent off within two seconds in a Sunday league match against Taunton East Reach Rovers. Immediately after the referee blew his whistle, Todd was quoted as shouting "Fuck me, that was loud!
". Referee Pete Kearns viewed this as an immediate infraction of the rules disallowing abusive language and sent Todd off. Lee Todd would pay a £27 fine and miss 35 days due to his suspension; entertainingly, Cross Farm Park Celtic would end up winning the match he was sent off in 11-2.
Most red cards in one match - 36
In most football matches, maybe
one player is sent off. If two are sent off, it's probably a derby, or there was a small scuffle between the two players who left the field early. If five players on one team are sent off, the match is automatically forfeited by the team with the diminished numbers. So how do you beat that tally by thirty-one?
Bizarrely, it has happened twice. The first time was in the Argentinian fifth division
, where sides Claypole and Victoriano Arenas faced each other in early 2011. After two players had been sent off in the first half, things went fairly normally until the second half began, where, following a spat between two players, both teams, all their substitutes, the managers and several spectators entered the field.
Though this set the record for the most red cards, it didn't stand alone for too long.
Just a year later, in the Paraguayan junior divisions, football clubs Libertad and Teniente Farina descended into similarly anarchic scenes, as despite referee Nestor Guillen sending off two players near the end, neither player would leave the pitch and their fight instead escalated to a mass brawl
, including a spinning heel kick (shown at about 0:08) and several wild punches. The match officials, rather than controlling the match, simply left in fear, and appeared after the fight had ended to send off every player on both teams, including the entirety of both benches. The presidents of both Teniente Farina and Libertad were quoted expressing their disappointment in the match officials, with Teniente president Hernan Martinez saying "They weren't able to see anything that happened. But, in the report, to more or less wash their hands of the responsibility, they expelled all 36 players."
Most league appearances for one club - 1,013
One club men are getting more and more rare as football evolves to be a more globalized sport - the few footballers who spend a decade at one club will, most likely, leave near the end of their careers to somewhere where they'll get more game time in a less stressful environment. Obviously, there are a few famous exceptions to this, such as Ryan Giggs, Paolo Maldini, Paul Scholes and Francesco Totti. But above all of them sits Noel Bailie. Noel Bailie
was a sweeper for Linfield in the Northern Irish football system. He won ten league titles with them and seven Irish Cups over the course of his twenty-two year tenure as a Blue. Bailie, quite entertainingly, averaged a goal about every 92 games, while every year, on average, he appeared 46 times - this means he scored almost exactly once every two seasons.
Noel Bailie doesn't have a great deal of competition at the top. Lionel Messi, who has spent his entire career to date at Barcelona, has only played 734 senior games for them in all competitions. Paolo Maldini only reached 647 league games. Ryan Giggs only made it to 672. Noel Bailie has 1,013
For the sake of a hypothetical, to break this record, a 16 year old joins a team that always stays in the Premier League. If this 16 year old plays every game, without missing a single one, for twenty-five seasons, they still have sixty-three games
left to so much as equal it. This is a definitional unbreakable record - to break it, you need to never be injured, be good enough to play every game every season, and stay that good for at least 27 years. I can guarantee you this will never happen.
Most goals scored by one player in a season - 74
The final "unbreakable record" isn't particularly well known - it's often glossed over so that focus can be put on Dixie Dean scoring 60
in the old First Division, back in the 1927/28 season - a tally regularly reported as its own unbreakable record, and a single-season goalscoring record that has stood to this day. But that record only stood for 29 years, and to find the current holder, we have to go back to Northern Ireland, and find the story of a young footballer who made it through everything going wrong.
The true hero of these stories is Jimmy Jones
. As a 20 year old, Jones was the main forward for Belfast Celtic, then a powerhouse in the Northern Irish football scene. There was controversy around them - their fans were majority Catholic, while their main rivals, Linfield, had a Protestant fanbase. Inevitably, something was going to happen, and on 27 December 1948, it did
As the match began, things continued as usual until partway through the first half, when Jones, attempting an innocuous challenge on Linfield centre-half Bob Bryson, injured Bryson, who left the field with what appeared to be an ankle injury. Bryson's team mate, Jackie Russell, also left the field with an injury, though what this injury was is not known. Over half-time, Linfield's secretary Joe Mackey announced that Bryson's leg had been broken in the incident. Mackey had prior said that he would "get his revenge" on Jones, after he joined Belfast Celtic as a youth rather than go to Linfield.
In the second half, the already-heated fixture escalated. Linfield forward Albert Currie and Celtic winger Paddy Bonnar were both sent off, agitating both sides of the 30,000 strong crowd watching. Eighty minutes in, Celtic half-back Harry Walker scored a penalty; though it seemed to be a certain winning goal, Linfield centre-forward Billy Simpson equalized with a header. Immediately, some Linfield fans began a small pitch invasion, only to be pushed away by police with batons. Despite this, the police were not impartial that day. Celtic winger George Hazlett would later be quoted as saying "When I saw the uniformed policemen, who were supposed to be neutral, throwing their caps in the air with delight, I realised we were not going to have much protection at full-time." And he was correct.
Immediately after the full time whistle, a massive crowd of fans invaded from the Spion Kop (now known simply as The Kop Stand). Both teams' players were forced to flee the pitch out of fear for their own safety, but Jones never made it. He was chased onto the terracing beneath the South Stand, where a mob of Linfield fans brutally kicked and stomped him. He was rendered unconscious, and horribly broke his right leg. It was so badly broken that the Belfast hospital Jones had been admitted to ordered it amputated.
The doctor who was to amputate the leg, Jimmy Withers, decided to wait a few days before making any drastic action, and during that time, the leg healed just enough to show that it could survive. Jones would instead have surgery to save the leg, though it meant his left leg would always be slightly longer than the right. Eventually, despite all odds, Jones made a full recovery, and joined Larne in March 1950. After a brief spell there, he was signed by Fulham, who accidentally registered him to only be eligible as a reserve player. After a year of reserve games and frustration, Jones returned to Northern Ireland with Glenavon.
Unfortunately, records get a little spotty in the Irish League at this time, so I couldn't positively confirm or deny how many goals he scored in the league. But I'll trust UEFA when they say that he scored 74 goals
for Glenavon in the 1956/57 season. To compare this to some other notable names, in his legendary 2011/12 season, Lionel Messi scored 73. Gerd Muller peaked at 67, Cristiano Ronaldo peaked at 61, and Luis Suarez peaked at 59. The only player to even come close
to this record is the consensus greatest player ever, and he still couldn't even equal it. I would be shocked if this record were ever broken.
These four records are probably the most unbreakable records in football still standing; one literally cannot be broken, one can only be broken if something goes very wrong to an extent never before seen, and the other two require skill and persistence so elusive that it's almost certain no players will even break them. But that's the beauty of an unbreakable record - it shows you where things took a turn for the exceptional, or the strange, and for every record that may never be broken, there's a story behind it worth telling.
This is the Third of Four write-ups and documentaries I have been working on Covering Unsolved Mysteries and Crimes within Ireland. For information on the documentaries please read at the end. Advice and constructive criticism is very much welcome. I hope you enjoy. This is possibly the most light-hearted of all the Irish cases I'm covering, yet still covers very dark and sad topics. I will do my best to answer any questions. An Incredible Horse -
The story of the Shergar, is possibly one of the most bizarre abductions of all time.
Shergar was a thoroughbred racehorse which was Irish-bred and British trained which competed for two years and grew an incredibly impressive collection of wins in multiple different derby’s such as the highly respected Irish Sweeps Derby. Most impressively Shergar won the Derby Stakes in Epsom by an incredible 10 lengths which was a record margin for the 20th century. In essence this horse wasn’t just fast, this horse was the fastest horse of its day.
Due to his impressive wins his owner the Aga Khan (A religious leader of Ismaili Muslims) split ownership of him into 40 shares, selling 34 and retaining only 6 himself. At this time Shergar was valued at a total of £10 Million Pounds
(43 Million Pounds Today), making Shergar one of the most valuable horses of all time.
Shergar retired to Ballymany in Ireland and like all great race horses became a professional Stud, earning his owners £80 Thousand Pounds (345 Thousand Pounds Today) per “Booking” with a mare (a female horse
). In total Shergar covered 44 meres in his first retirement season bringing in a total of 3.5 million pounds (15 Million Today) for his owners. One of his colts (sons
) Authaal had an equally impressive career, Shergars stock was considered of very high quality and he was in high demand.
At the start of February 1983 Shergar was prepared to get his groove on and was fully booked for a second stud season with a total of 55 mares to cover. A Precise Abduction -
The night of Tuesday the 8 February 1983 was a moonless foggy night at Ballymany stud, Jim Fitzgerald father of a family of six and head groom for Shergar was resting on the grounds, preparing for the night. Shergar was in the stables like he always was at this time, nothing was out of the ordinary.
At 8:30 a knock was heard at the door, Fitzgerald's son Bernard went to open it. Suddenly two masked men rush into the house armed with guns and ushered Fitzgeralds wife and children into a room, locking the door. Announcing they were there for Shergar and it would be £2 Million Pounds to get him back. Another man arrived and at gunpoint commanded Fitzgerald to lead them to Shergars stable, which he did. Upon arrival at the stable the masked men used a two-way radio, soon a horse trailer pulled up to the stable. By now there were at least 6 masked armed men occupying the grounds. Fitzgerald was forced to load Shergar into the horse trailer, which went without problem as Shergar was soothed by Fitzgerald.
The masked men then ushered Fitzgerald into a car at gunpoint, blindfolding him in the process. After driving around for three hours was given the command to not contact the Gardai (Irish Police
) or else he and his family would be killed. Before their departure the gang of men gave Fitzgerald a code word: - ‘King Neptune’ - that would be used to identify the group when they contacted Shergars owners. Fitzgerald was dropped off on a back road near the village of Kilcock.
Shergar the horse of the century had been horsenapped. Messy Negotiations - Sources disagree over the exact dating. However the order of events is the same across all sources, I have decided to follow the BBC timeline.
Fitzgerald contacted the manager of the stud Ghislain Drion and urged them not to contact the Gardai, however eventually through contacting multiple different agencies and people of note including the Ministry for Finance and retired Military captains the police were eventually informed but only eight hours after the event. By this stage the trail had already gone cold. Negotiations Team A:
The following day Wednesday the 9th a call was received by the BBC newsroom in Belfast, the call was made anonymously and informed the BBC the negotiations would only be conducted by three notable horse racing commenters and journalists: Derek Thompson, John Oaksey and Peter Campling.
The caller told the BBC the men had to be in the Europa Hotel (At the time the most bombed Hotel in the world
) in Belfast by Thursday evening. The Europa hotel was swarmed by Journalists, once inside the commenters led by Thompson received commands by phone: They were being watched, they had to escape the press and were instructed to go to the house of Jeremy Maxwell a notable horse trainer in the North of Ireland.
Maxwell had received a call earlier which had dropped the ransom to a mere £52’000 Pounds. Once at the house, over the next eight hours Derek Thompson took 10 to 12 more phone calls where he attempted to keep the Anonymous caller on the line for more than 90 seconds in order to trace its location. Thompson managed to achieve this at 1AM, yet later its was broken to him the officer who traces calls went off-shift at midnight. The calls went cold for the night.
The following morning at 06:55 on the 12th of February Thompson received the last call, only eight words were said: ‘The Horse Had an accident. He’s dead’. All communications had ceased Negotiations Team B:
During all these spectacular events a more covert line of negotiations began on February 9th, Ballymany Stud was contacted once again and Ghislaine Dion answered the call. Drion who was French pretended there was a language barrier in an attempt to keep the callers on the line for more than 90 seconds. But failed in this task.
Once again demanded £2 million pounds and informed Drion that they would deal through the Aga Khans French office.
Over four days a number of telephone calls took place between the captors and professional negotiators attempting to reach a deal however it became apparent the kidnappers did not account for the fact or did not know that the Aga Khan was not the sole owner of the Horse and a deal could not be reached without all the 34 other shareholders agreeing. On top of this they also demanded the ransom in 100 pound notes which did not exist at this time.
The one thing the abductors had going for them was that they managed to produce photos on February 12th of the horses head next to a newspaper dated the 11th of February by dropping them off at a Hotel in Dublin however these photos were just of the head and did not prove signs of life and were insufficient proof of life for the investigators.
On the 12th of February the negotiator received a call at 10:40 Pm where they expressed that the photos were not enough and did not show signs of life. In response the anonymous caller said ‘Well, if you’re not satisfied, that’s it’. No other calls were received. Theories -
The investigation is most accurately described by Chief Superintendent James Murphy who announced at a press conference ‘A clue ? That’s something we haven’t got.’
Investigators were hindered by the 8 hour period between the abduction and them being informed, furthermore a horse auction was taking place in the area the following day making the presence of a horse trailer to be commonplace. So eyewitness accounts besides Fitzgeralds weren't leading to any progress. The police investigation at one point included up to 70 detectives working the case all over the country of Ireland including multiple lines of questioning and theories. Attempts at finding the horse trailer by releasing a description were made but no traces of it were ever found.
The main piece of physical evidence obtained by the police was a magazine for the Steyr Mpi 69. This gun is linked with the only major suspect in the whole case who were known to have had this gun within their arsenal: The IRA.
Ireland was still in the height of the troubles with both sides trading blows which were lethal to each other and non-combatants. The IRA would have needed funding to be able to sustain their efforts and in 1981 they abducted Irish Businessman Ben Dunne for a ransom of £300’000 pounds. So it would not have been outside their capabilities and considerations to abduct a horse. The IRA were considered heavily by both Police and Intelligence agencies yet no evidence fit for court could ever be located.
Furthermore a book written by Sean O’Callaghan a former IRA member and informant for the Irish Police in 1999 claimed it was in fact them who had abducted Shergar. In a 2004 interview Sean claimed that Shergar was killed within hours of his abduction, possibly the abductors lost control of Shergar due to him being such a strong and physically imposing stud which led to them killing him. It is also highly rumored that they accidentally broke the Horses leg, and this was the event leading to them killing Shergar.
Finally Derek Thompson, one of the sports commentators from earlier, confirmed that one passcode used by the abductors over the phone which featured in the book was kept secret and was guilty knowledge. Meaning only the the Abductors and the negotiators knew of this passcod and so most possibly it was them Closing Statements
Truthfully, we will never for sure know who exactly did it. There are rumours and certain names flying around, however directly referencing this would be dangerous as all of these 'named' people are only known due to rumours. However we have a very strong indication of the group of people who did it: The Irish Republican Army.
The story of Shergar isn't as shocking or gruesome as others on this Subreddit. However it in itself is a tragedy and could be seen as almost allegorical for the Troubles of Ireland: Innocence being caught in the crossfire.
Shergar was a national icon for Irish Horse Racing at the time, and was something people could be proud of in a very dark period. Shergar survived in the hearts and minds of the Irish people and racing world with the creation of a now prestigious cup being made in honour of him: The Shergar Cup. Thank you for reading this far, I know this is my most dense write-up yet even though it is the lightest case. I hope you enjoyed it. Below are the many references used for research. Most are news reports, and historical accounts. If you wish to see my documentary using video and audio from the time see below. Documentary: [RINGED: Who Stole Shergar, The Million Dollar Horse ?]
References: [RTE] [Belfast Telegraph] [Mental Floss] [Guardian] [BBC Coverage] [BBC Coverage From 1980's]
It is November 28, 1981, in Paderborn, Germany on a British Army Base. Katrice Lee (Picture of her
) is celebrating her second birthday, wearing a pretty dress and white tights/stockings. Her mother, Sharon, and Katrice’s aunt, Wendy, take Katrice to a shop at the northern end of town to pick up some last-minute party supplies. It is the last payday before Christmas, so the store is packed. Katrice didn’t want to be ride in the shopping cart, so her mother let her down at the checkout with the aunt. The mother left for a moment to grab some crisps, and the aunt thought Katrice had followed her mother. Within moments, Sharon returned and noticed Katrice was missing. Both women raised the alarm and everyone in the store began looking for the little girl, but she had vanished.
Katrice had curly light brown hair, brown eyes, a pink birthmark slightly to the right of the base of her spine which looked like a rash, and strabismus in her left eye.
The military police were effectively in charge, but had to negotiate with the German civil police because the NAAFI building was within a German town, not on military premises. Both the military and German police believed Katrice had fallen into the nearby River Lippe and drowned, but no body was ever discovered. The German police refused to go to the press, and it was six weeks before an item appeared in the local newspaper. The investigation produced little result, and despite dredging the river and conducting house-to-house inquiries, no trace of Katrice was found.
In 2012, a new probe into the case resulted in an eye-witness who stated that he saw a man carrying a small child into a green vehicle. An E-fit was constructed and released.
This is the E-fit side-be-side comparison with Robert Black: https://imgur.com/cDOg7eZ
ROBERT BLACK Robert Black
)was a Scottish paedophile serial killer and child rapist/kidnapper who was sentenced to life in prison and died in 2016 in Ireland. He had a fetish for white socks
on little girls, liked to dress up as a little girl as he assaulted the children, would deliver packages while the children were in his vehicle, would rape them and sometimes keep them for days, then usually strangle them and throw them in bodies of water, often very far from the kidnapping site. He would select them impulsively. He is linked to 13 other child murders and disappearances, including Silke Garben
of Detmold, Germany in 1985 (see further below for connection).
To increase his scope for casual work, in the mid-1970s Black bought a white Fiat
van to enable him to commit to driving for a living. In 1976, Black obtained a permanent job as a van driver for Poster, Dispatch and Storage Ltd, a Hoxton-based firm whose fleet delivered posters—typically depicting pop stars—and billboard advertisements to locations across the UK, Ireland and continental Europe. To his employers, Black was a conscientious employee who was willing to undertake the long-distance deliveries some of his married co-workers disliked.
While working as a driver, Black developed a thorough knowledge of much of the UK road network, subsequently enabling him to snatch children across the entire country and dispose of their bodies hundreds of miles from the site of their abduction. To reduce the chance of being identified by eyewitnesses, Black often adjusted his appearance by alternately growing a beard or appearing clean-shaven, and occasionally shaved his head completely bald. Black also owned over a dozen pairs of spectacles, and would wear a pair significantly different from those he regularly wore when abducting children. He also covered the rear windows of his van with opaque black curtains.
He delivered to Germany as well.
Silke Garben was a Detmold
, Germany schoolgirl who disappeared on her way to a dental appointment in 1985. Her body was found in a stream the day after her disappearance; she had been sexually assaulted and strangled. Black is known to have made a delivery of posters to a British Army base close to Garben's home on the date of her disappearance.
Detmold, Germany is a 30 minute drive away from Paderborn (where Katrice lived), directly around the lake to the northeast. MAP
OTHER SUPPORTING INFO: “A retired detective claims to have uncovered significant evidence linking serial child killer Robert Black with the disappearance of a British toddler who vanished in Germany 35 years ago. Clark is adamant that the swiftness and subtlety of the way the toddler vanished bears all the hallmarks of Black's killing spree. But as well as that, he has now found evidence that the Scotland based poster worker was in the Paderborn area at the time of Katrice's kidnapping. He claims petrol receipts in Black's as yet unreleased police file show he had travelled to the outskirts of the German city to plaster up posters in the lead up to advent, 1981. Speaking to The Mirror
, Mr Clark said: 'Katrice disappeared just a few weeks before Christmas, when Black would have been travelling to Germany to put posters out for alcohol and cigarette firms. 'He'd have been visiting British Army camps along the Rhine, including Paderborn. I'm quite convinced Black quietly befriended Katrice Lee, took her to his van outside the NAAFI and took her away.' The historical German city lies just off the delivery route Black would have used visiting the country - Highway 33.”
My theory is that Robert Black was delivering posters to the army base in Paderborn, Germany on November 28, 1981 and decided to drop into the complex north of town to shop and took the opportunity to snatch Katrice Lee. This has been my pet case for over two years, and I'm sad to come to this personal resolution. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3592580/Did-serial-killer-Robert-Black-snatch-two-year-old-girl-British-Army-base-Germany-three-decades-ago.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disappearance_of_Katrice_Lee https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Black_(serial_killer)
) https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/773253/katrice-lee-disappearance-police-release-image-suspect https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/other-young-girls-robert-black-believed-to-have-slain-34602281.html