They think it’s all over: Top 5 premature sporting celebrations


The look on Ben Payne’s face in the split-second he went from triumphant winner to bemused runner-up was a sight to behold.

The American runner was convinced he’d won the Peachtree 10k on July 4, so much so he began celebrating before he’d crossed the line.

He was oblivious to the threat of Scott Overall closing fast and the British runner sped past him on the line to take the glory in a scene that leads our top-5 premature sporting celebrations.

1 Pipped at the post

Everyone in athletics knows you run through the line, not up to it. Everyone except Ben Payne, it seems. The American thought he had won the Peachtree 10k on July 4 2015 and began celebrating accordingly. Unfortunately for him, British Olympian Scott Overall (yes, that’s his real name), came steaming through to take the win on the line.

2 Arsenal get shirty

This one could well be mere legend but it’s too good not to include. Arsenal, still riding high from their unbeaten season, arrived to face Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2004 looking to take their invincible run to 50 matches. The story goes that sponsors Nike had given the Arsenal players vests to wear under their shirts emblazoned with ’50 not out – just done it’. Sir Alex Ferguson was apparently tipped off about this and used it to fire his players up in his pre-match team-talk. Whatever the truth is, United won the match and ended the Gunners’ proud record.

3 Arsenal get shirty (again)

Arsenal don’t have much luck when it comes to shirts and celebrations. Striker Olivier Giroud and midfielder Francis Coquelin threw their red and white jerseys into the crowd at the end of a pulsating 4-4 draw against Reading in the Capital One Cup in October 2012. But, of course, it wasn’t the end. Giroud and Coquelin thought they had earned a replay – and did not realise the competition rules require extra-time. At least this time the Gunners had the last laugh, winning 7-5.

4 Billy Davies – job not done

Preston North End manager Billy DaviesWhen Preston held Leeds to a 1-1 draw at Elland Road in the Championship play-off semi-final first leg in 2006, manager Billy Davies clearly thought the hard part was out of the way. In his post-match TV interview, the Scot described the result as “job done” but those words came back to bite him on his diminutive behind. In the away dressing rome ahead of the second leg at Deepdale, Leeds manager Kevin Blackwell pinned to the wall a poster that read “Billy Davies – job done”. It did the trick, inspiring his players to a 2-0 win and a 3-1 victory on aggregate to reach the final.

5 Don’t want to win a Caddy, just want you as my caddy

English golfer Paul Casey had promised to split the prize with his caddy if he made a hole in one to win a new Cadillac at the 2012 World Golf Championship. Casey aced the par-3 15th to send his bagman into a fit of joyous laughter, before they realise the prize can only be won on hole 13.


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