How often does it happen in football that some players share the same name? – not a lot of times!
Guaranteed there will always be a couple of Silvas and Rodrigues, and nowadays even Mendys are trending. But to have a football match where all 22 players were of the same name is truly astonishing.
But that is exactly what happened in 2012 when all the 22 players were named Bungay.
But that’s not all.
Even the linesmen, referee, mascot, and doctor taking part in this kickabout shared the Bungay surname!
More than 50 Bungays from across the globe traveled to Bungay Town FC, north Suffolk, for the unique clash.
Yes, even the town in which this unique match took place was called Bungay!
Now, obviously, this was not by coincidence. This was a deliberate attempt induced by Bungay Town FC executive Shaun Cole, who was looking at ways to help promote the club when he spoke to PR boss Bil Bungay, who suggested this football match.
Shaun Cole had the following to say about the match:
“I thought the idea for the match was nuts when Bil first suggested it – and it is still nuts today. But it is was a brilliant way of putting Bungay on the map.
“We don’t believe anyone has ever held a match in which all participants share the same family name, let alone one of the UK’s least common names.
“Apart from their immediate family, many Bungays have never met another Bungay. It is a great day for them to all meet each other in the town which gave them their name.
Bungay is one of Britain’s rarest names, with only 455 people sharing the surname in the whole country.
The game also featured football’s first-ever blue card – inspired by Bungay FC’s home colors. It replaced the traditional red for the match’s only dismissal.
The game raised funds for the Jack and Ada Beattie Foundation, a London-based charity that assists underprivileged people.
So, how was the game?
In one word – chaotic!
Spectators, the majority of whom were named Bungay, witnessed an exciting 6-6 draw that included a sending-off, two penalties, and a last-minute equalizer.
The match featured players from the age of 4 to the age of 68 and one of the Bungay even scored a hattrick!
Keiran Bungay scored two penalties to complete his hat-trick which helped the game finish in a draw.
There are a lot of bizarre things that happen in football, but this has to rank very high on that list!
This just goes to show how simple, light-hearted, and enjoyable football can be at times!
All of us must catch a break from the current toxic club culture of focusing solely on results, results, and more results.
Not everything has to be about winning, and not every player should be underrated or overrated.
Regardless of the outcome, it’s sometimes enough to simply observe and cherish this beautiful game and its players who work their wizardry when they grace the field.
Because the magic of football is slowly running out, as a by-product of technology, modernization, and greed.
Before it entirely vanishes, we need to look football in the eye and admit, that it is the best thing ever!