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Liverpool beach ball boy says sorry

SoccerNews in English Premier League 25 Oct 2009

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A teenage Liverpool fan who caused one of the oddest goals in English football history came out of hiding Sunday to apologise profusely for belting a beach ball onto the pitch.

Callum Campbell, 16, told the Sunday Mirror newspaper it was he who whacked the inflatable onto the pitch, triggering Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat at Sunderland on October 17.

The youngster has faced death threats for his part in a defeat that dented the Reds’ bid to win the Premier League title and locked himself indoors for two days.

“It was me,” Campbell told the tabloid.

“I’m the one who did it. I’m the one caught on camera. I’m so, so sorry. This is my worst, worst nightmare.”

In the fifth minute of the match, Black Cats striker Darren Bent fired a shot on target, but it hit the Liverpool-branded beach ball, taking a big deflection and completely bamboozling Reds goalkeeper Pepe Reina — who went for the wrong ball.

Millions around the world have seen the bizarre incident.

When the beach ball came Campbell’s way before the kick-off, he punched it onto the Stadium of Light pitch. It went into Reina’s goal but blew out as Sunderland went on the attack.

“When I got home I went into the garden and threw up. I was physically sick — and that’s before the death threats started appearing on the Internet the next day,” Campbell said.

“I watched it over and over again, and I still can’t work out how it happened.

“But my mum tells me it wasn’t my fault — and that’s what I have to believe. The referee should never have allowed the goal. I just hope the real fans understand and forgive me.

“How was I supposed to know what would happen? It was just a bit of fun, and if I could turn back the clock and do it differently, throw the ball into the crowd instead of on to the pitch, then I would.

“I’m really, really sorry it happened like it did.

“It’s bad enough when Liverpool lose, like in a normal way, but this was just one big disaster.

“It would have taken someone a couple of seconds to move it away, or put a foot on it and flatten it, but nobody bothered. And then it started to roll about. Just at the wrong moment.

“But I accept I shouldn’t have thrown it on to the pitch in the first place.”

Defeat left Liverpool seven points behind bitter rivals Manchester United, the reigning champions, their visitors on Sunday at Anfield.

His uncle Tony Moore said: “Let’s say Liverpool are just three points short of winning the league at the end of this season — he’ll be beside himself, thinking they were the points that cost them.”

At Campbell’s request, part of the fee for his interview was donated to the Hillsborough Disaster Fund.

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