Einstein, Billy and Friends – Great British Footballing Fish

It is a few years back, but this was then Britain’s fishy footie squid – sorry, squad

Let’s hope Britain will do well in Russia. We wish our squad the best of results, but let go back a few years and check out this squad.

Bert Trautmann, Sol Campbell, John Scales, Mark Fish, Graham le Roe, Paul Shoals, Steve Guppy, Prawn Wright-Phillips, Jamie Pollock, Connor Sammon, Hugo Rodallega…

Sure, it is a few years way back now, but we were desperately hoping that footballing fish Einstein’s career hasn’t come to a premature end. In case you missed it, the talented Einstein’s path through the beautiful game was imperiled by a sudden illness. As reported in the Daily Express, Einstein’s problems looked a little more serious than a temporary loss of form – he found himself stranded on the bottom of his tank, unable to swim, let alone kick a ball. It took a hand-made tubular lifejacket to put him back on his fins again.

Fish playing football? Ridiculous. But no: fish has a longer tradition in British football than you might think, and not just by way of players such as Derby County’s Connor Sammon, or even former Liverpool and England player John Scales. There’s even more to it than the usual teams floundering about on the bottom. This is a more than just a way to make a living. For some other odd career options, check out this page.

Fleetwood Town are nicknamed the Trawlermen. Morecambe are the Shrimps. And pity poor Charlton Athletic, the Addicks – so-called because in the early days a good result meant they got haddock and chips for supper and a bad one meant they only got cod.

Billy the Fish

My favorite footballing fish, apart from the one I, like Charlton, enjoy tucking into with chips after a resounding premier league victory (not that I’ve had the pleasure of one of those for a while) has to be Carlisle United’s Billy. Rescued from the waters of the penalty area of the club’s Brunton Park during the floods of 2005 after being washed out of his bowl, Billy (whose real name was Judy and who was actually a girl, but let’s not spoil the story) went on to be adopted by the club as their mascot. It was written in the club’s history with a calligraphy pen…

And a glittering career he had of it, too. At the time of his arrival in January 2005, Carlisle weren’t even in the Football League but Billy proved a high-impact signing and they were immediately promoted into League 2, of which they finished champions the following season. Their achievements in League 1, however, declined as Billy grew older and they narrowly avoided relegation in 2010, shortly before his death.

Billy/Judy broke the glass ceiling for fish in the human-dominated world of football. But what of Einstein? His period of rehab may be a long one and with his propensity to plunge to the floor he may have to shake off a reputation as a bit of a diver…but we’re behind him all the way and hoping that as a footballer Einstein hasn’t yet had his chips…Just reminiscing…