An assistant manager in Spain pulled a Moonlight Graham on Sunday, crossing that foreboding white line and onto the hallowed green grass, but his reward wasn't the eternal bliss of playing catch with Shoeless Joe Jackson — he got a shove in the back, a red card and cries for his dismissal at Colmenar Viejo and the revocation of his coaching license. Real life is nothing like Hollywood.
The match was a meaningful one between Villanueva del Pardillo and Colmenar Viejo in Madrid's Categoría Preferente — effectively the sixth level in the Royal Spanish Football Federation's (RFEF) new setup. The top two finishers in the league earn promotion to the fifth-tier Tercera División RFEF.
Villanueva and Colmenar Viejo entered the match sixth and ninth, respectively, but separated by just four points. More importantly, second-place La Moraleja and first-place Canillas were also just a few points ahead with eight games to play.
Colmenar Viejo, the away side, took the lead in the 38th minute, but Jorge Borrego equalized for Villanueva in the 83rd. The momentum clearly shifted, and in the 90th minute, Villanueva found itself breaking out wide with numbers rushing forward to get into the box.
Colmenar Viejo had a couple defenders back but the team's assistant manager — reading the long breakout pass down the line — took about four steps onto the pitch to intercept.
Have you ever seen anything like this?A Villanueva del Pardillo coach was SENT OFF after entering the pitch to stop a counter-attack against his team in the 89th minute! pic.twitter.com/4uJiEFIpKp
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) April 12, 2022
It's hard to tell what he felt from there. Shame? Embarrassment? Fulfillment? His reaction was pretty nonchalant, like "it is what it is, we've all seen this a thousand times," and then he took a forearm shiver to the back.
The match would end 1-1, and Colmenar Viejo later released a public apology for the coach's actions.
❤️ | COMUNICADO OFICIAL pic.twitter.com/TxBq97k9EJ— ADCOLMENARVIEJO (@adcolmenarviejo) April 11, 2022
This is perhaps the first interception we've seen by the managerial staff. We've seen tackles before.
When N'Golo Kanté becomes a manager.pic.twitter.com/iEFH3P8yor— The18 (@the18com) November 19, 2020
— Nathan Harding (@HardingHimself) June 16, 2019