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PAOK and West Ham: Pitch invaders break the Matrix

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Owners with guns, home fans with corner flags can’t possibly be UEFA reality, right?

Ivan Savvidis and Valdimir Putin

Last year, New Yorker columnist Adam Gopnik received somewhat considerable internet fame when he posited that the flubbed Best Picture announcement, just months after the ayahuasca-fueled hallucinogenic fever nightmare that was 11/9/2016, was evidence that we were living in a simulation:

And so both of these bizarre events put one in mind of a simple but arresting thesis: that we are living in the Matrix, and something has gone wrong with the controllers . . . The people or machines or aliens who are supposed to be running our lives are having some kind of breakdown. There’s a glitch, and we are in it.

If Mr. Gopnik’s theory is true, then it would only make sense that football, the world’s most popular sport, would suffer similar vagaries, right? If Leicester winning the Premier League two years ago (doesn’t that feel like forever ago?) was not enough evidence for you that the matrix of world football is indeed broken, allow me to introduce you to Ivan Savvidis.

PAOK packing heat

Savvidis is the owner of PAOK Saloniki, who entering the weekend sat second in the Greek Superleague Table. In first was AEK Athens, and these two titans of Greek soccer faced off on Sunday. A win would see PAOK move into first place. The match was tied heading into the 89th minute when PAOK scored what appeared to be a game winning goal.

Then, madness descended upon the stadium. The ref disallowed the goal, and Savvidis reacted exactly how you would expect a billionaire buddy of Vladimir Putin to react: by storming the field WHILE ARMED WITH A HANDGUN.

Photo: InTime Sports (AP)

After this very reasonable and cool reaction from Savvidis, not only was the match suspended, the whole dang league was suspended! They are now heading to court to determine whether or not the goal should have counted; two hours after fleeing to the locker room, the referee changed his mind and allowed the goal. Not suspicious at all. And you thought VAR was a nightmare!

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Savvidis for storming the pitch, yet not for doing so while in possession of a handgun, which is logical and smart. And people say America’s international influence is waning!

Meanwhile, in West London


The image you are looking at is West Ham captain Mark Noble chasing after a pitch invader during their embarrassing 3-0 loss to Burnley this past weekend. Fan discontent boiled over at the Olympic Stadium as the once proud Hammers were handed another bare bottom spanking at the hands of a Premier League minnow.

Fans began to invade the pitch after Ashley Barnes gave Burnley the lead in the 66th minute. Noble took the liberty of gently escorting the lucky fan depicted above off the pitch. Meanwhile another supporter absconded with the corner flag, running towards the center of the pitch and planting it in the ground there. West Ham owners David Sullivan and David Gold would eventually also be escorted from the stadium as fights broke out in the stands. The Burnley substitutes even gave up their seats in order to protect the youth of West London:

Referee Lee Mason consulted with both sides’ managers as to whether or not he should suspend the match, ultimately allowing it to continue. Burnley’s Chris Wood scored twice to seal the 3-0 win for the Clarets, and West Ham issued a statement after the game promising a thorough investigation. I leave you with the adroit analysis of the always level-headed West Ham Fan TV:

Ah, football: truly the beautiful game.