Well I’ve seen a few strange sights and experienced some unusual events watching football over the years but a pitch invasion by camels and lamas was a first for me.
H had finished her game for the First Vienna FC U11 Girls and had asked if we could stay on to watch the U15 Girls match as one of her friends was playing. The early part of the game saw Vienna take the lead and the main point of note, other than the quality of the football, was a friendly exchange of views between the referee and one of the parents over a contentious decision. The sun was shining, the game was in full flow, and life was unfolding at First Vienna’s youth training centre as normal last Sunday morning. Then we heard a crash….
Over beyond the right hand goal a temporary paddock had been placed to allow camels and lamas from the travelling circus to graze. As we looked across we saw one of the more determined camels give a second push to the rapidly collapsing fence. This Houdini of the camel world showed no interest in the game of football being played but instead turned its attention to the lush grass before it.
Even as our escape artist was joined by fellow camels and a number of lamas the game continued. We spectators were laughing and joking at the sight before for us and naturally people were reaching for cameras and camera phones. Someone was sent to rouse the circus folk and as more animals joined the initial breakout the referee was finally forced to call a temporary halt to the game.
By the time the animal’s keepers had arrived a number of the lamas had followed Houdini along the grass edge of the pitch and towards further grazing near the main builds. Suddenly the rest of the herd took off a speed to join them, chased by their circus guardians.
Suddenly the initial shock and humour of the crowd of parents changed to concern as the whole herd began to move back towards the pitch. We parents had been watching the game from the top of a slope adjacent to the pitch and were know shouting to the youngsters to join us on the safer high ground. As calm returned we all watched as keepers chased the animal around the pitch before successfully returning them to the paddock.
The referee called the players back on the pitch and resumed the game. Over to our right a group of well exercised camels and lamas were being guided from their paddock into the big top.