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9 times testimonials were the weirdest, wackiest and most wonderful things about football

With Michael Carrick's 11-year Manchester United stint about to be marked, we look back at the best incidents from testimonials down the years

Testimonials, on paper, are meant to be laid back, jovial affairs in celebration of an individual player’s loyalty to a club.

In England a player qualifies for one by virtue of completing over a decade of service with one team, with Michael Carrick’s on the horizon in early June after 11 years at Manchester United.

But sometimes the occasion and circumstances provide the platform for some of the strangest and most memorable sights ever seen in football.

1 When Tony Hibbert sparked a pitch invasion at his own testimonial

Tony Hibbert scored his only career goal in his testimonial

Tony Hibbert scored his only career goal in his testimonial

Picture this.

Arguably Everton’s greatest cult hero went 308 appearances and his entire Toffees career without scoring, but then found the net with a FREE KICK in his testimonial.

Cue pandemonium, with the home faithful immediately surging onto the pitch to celebrate with their trusty right back back in 2012.

2 David Beckham pushing Jackie McNamara in Ryan Giggs’ testimonial

David Beckham was antagonised throughout by the Celtic players

Sky Sports
David Beckham was antagonised throughout by the Celtic players

Back in 2001 Martin O’Neil was tipped as being the most natural successor to Sir Alex Ferguson at United while there were genuine suggestions that both Celtic and Rangers could soon emigrate to the Premiership.

And in Giggs’ testimonial O’Neill showed why he and his Celtic side were so highly rated, bossing United throughout an entertaining encounter that ended in 4-3 win for the visitors at Old Trafford.

A Hoops outfit that boasted the likes of Henrik Larsson and Chris Sutton played United off the park, with tempers fraying to such a magnitude at one point that Beckham squared up to and pushed McNamara in the chest.

3 Gilles Grimandi assaulting Edgar Davids at Dennis Bergkamp’s

Grimandi made a name for himself as a tough tackling yet pretty cynical midfielder during his Arsenal days and this was a prime example.

When Davids lobbed the goalkeeper and was preparing to tap into an empty net, Grimandi came hurtling into him from behind to blatantly deny a goal.

The look on his face afterwards, knowing red cards are almost a non-entity in friendly games, is priceless:

4 When a 17-man brawl somewhat took the gloss off Julian Dicks’ big day at West Ham

Paulo Di Canio was at the heart of the action

Nicky Hayes
Paulo Di Canio was at the heart of the action

Dicks himself was a hard hut who wasn’t a stranger to confrontation, but even by his standards this all got a bit out of hand back in 2000.

Just before half time, Paulo Di Canio’s anger got the better of him which sparked a huge brawl consisting of almost every outfield player on the pitch.

Di Canio was so irked by proceedings that he was asked to leave the field of play.

5 Dean Ashton’s sublime overhead kick providing a reminder of what might have been

The standout moment of Mark Noble’s testimonial just over a year ago should have been when goalkeeper Adrian was allowed to run the entire length of the pitch to score.

But no, Ashton had to go and outdo him with a quite incredible overhead kick that emphasised just how sad it was he had to call quits on his career so early.

6 Barry Hayles doing the unspeakable – getting SENT OFF during a testimonial

Barry Hayles might be the only player ever to be sent off in a testimonial

PA:Press Association
Barry Hayles might be the only player ever to be sent off in a testimonial

Not much is really known about the day itself other than Hayles actually managed to receive his marching orders on Fulham goalkeeper Laurence Batty’s big charity day.

It might be the only known example of a red card in a testimonial.

7 Jamie Carragher scoring an own goal from the penalty spot in his own event

Liverpool great Carragher naturally arranged a friendly against his boyhood club Everton to mark his 17 years at Anfield.

And in an entertaining encounter that boasted the likes of Michael Owen, Luis Garcia and er, Joe Cole, Carragher managed to find the net at both ends.

But unlike all of his seven own goals during his Reds career this one was a little different, sneaking up behind Everton striker James Vaughan to score past Brad Jones from 12 yards.

8 When Bayern Munich had absolutely zero chill on Johan Cruyff’s testimonial

Johan Cruyff is regarded as Ajax’s greatest ever player

Johan Cruyff is regarded as Ajax’s greatest ever player

The German giants didn’t quite get the laid back, friendly memo when they were asked to mark Cruyff’s remarkable commitment to Ajax in 1978.

Reportedly annoyed by the budget hotel they were forced to stay in, the Bavarians proceeded to absolutely spank Cruyff’s team 8-0 – and they had three goals disallowed too.

Party poopers.

9 When a Southampton legend’s day was nearly ruined by Bon Jovi

Claus Lundekvam’s big day nearly never happened

Claus Lundekvam’s big day nearly never happened

Claus Lundekvam was a gentle giant down on the south coast but his day was nearly spoiled by Jon Bon Jovi and co.

The Saints clearly didn’t factor in the state of the pitch – which was duly a state – after the American rockers performed on it just days before Lundekvam’s testimonial.

The Norwegian was hellbent on the event going ahead though, eventually forking out £100k from his own pocket to repair the surface to make sure it did.