Here, AFP Sports selects five incidents from the campaign that raised a smile:
‘Ref, it was me!’
– Referee Andre Marriner made an unusual blunder during Arsenal’s 6-0 defeat at Chelsea on March 22 when he sent off the wrong player in a remarkable case of mistaken identity.
Arsenal were 2-0 down in manager Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th game in charge when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain used his hand to push a shot from Chelsea winger Eden Hazard away from goal in the 15th minute.
Marriner awarded a penalty, which Hazard subsequently scored, but showed a red card to the innocent Kieran Gibbs.
Television pictures appeared to show England midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain telling the official: “Ref, it was me!”
Marriner let the decision stand, leaving a disbelieving Gibbs to storm off the pitch, but his red card was later rescinded.
Eto’o mocks Mourinho’s age concern
– Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o made fun of manager Jose Mourinho’s doubts about his age with an ‘old man’ celebration during his side’s 4-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
Mourinho sparked controversy in February when footage of him suggesting that Eto’o may be older than he claims to be — 32 — was broadcast by a French television channel.
After giving Chelsea the lead in the 56th minute at home to Spurs, Eto’o raced to the corner flag before abruptly slowing down, putting his left hand on his back, and stooping to mimic old age.
The celebration met with a flurry of approval on Twitter, while Mourinho commented: “It was fantastic. We knew it, because he was preparing something.”
Star helps accordion factory survive squeeze
– Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny helped finance a rescue package to save an accordion factory in the French town where he grew up.
The 28-year-old international was part of an investment group that put up 600,000 euros ($835,000) to save the Maugein factory from closure.
France’s oldest accordion factory is situated in Tulle in the Correze region, the player’s hometown and French president Francois Hollande’s constituency.
Founded in 1919, the business was threatened with closure after struggling to compete with cheaper accordions made in Eastern Europe and China.
Dial 999 for Fergie
Greater Manchester Police said they received the 999 call from a man in Crumpsall, north Manchester, shortly after United had sensationally lost a League Cup semi-final to visitors Sunderland on penalties at Old Trafford.
“A man rang 999 in a drunken state demanding to speak to Sir Alex Ferguson about last night’s result,” the force’s statement said.
“Obviously, it can be a sad and depressing moment when your football team loses a game, however can we all please remember that 999 is to be used for emergencies only?”
The fan’s call can be heard here: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1872173-999-call-made-for-sir-alex-ferguson
‘Villas-Boas abuse’ music to ears of New Yorker
– A musical theatre lover who shared the same initials as former Tottenham coach Andre Villas-Boas tweeted song lyrics back to irate Spurs fans who deluged her with abuse.
Ashley Van Buren from New York, a freelance writer and researcher according to her blog, uses the Twitter name @AVB, giving her the same initials as Villas-Boas, who was eventually fired from his job.
She wrote on Twitter: “Reminder that I am NOT the U.K. football coach, so if you send me a death threat meant for him, I’m gonna tweet you a musical theatre lyric.”
Van Buren stayed true to her word, replying to one detractor: “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night. #SoundofMusic.”
Another received: “The sun will come out tomorrow! #Annie.”
Later she explained: “This happens every weekend. But today I had enough.”