The tension could hardly have been thicker when Blackburn and Wigan took the field at Ewood Park on Monday. Forget those well-to-do teams vying for the EPL title, the stakes are highest as the bottom feeders of the top flight in English soccer scrap to avoid relegation. Appropriately, everything was stone-faced and cagey at the start. Until the seventh minute of the match when an unexpected participant burst on to the field to bring a bit of levity to the affair.
Sporting a Blackburn flag that had been fashioned into a cape, a chicken strutted about the Wigan net. Much to the delight of the fans in attendance -- and as it seems, some of the players as well -- the match was delayed as the bird was corralled. Apparently, even chickens in England wear their loyalty on their sleeve (or wing).
This isn’t the first time an animal has made an appearance during an EPL game this season, but other animals will be hard pressed to delay a match with such style.
Luckily, Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi and Blackburn's Yakubu were able to catch the fowl after leading him into the net. The feathered interloper was then handed off to a stadium official and ejected from the field. No word if anyone actually saw a red card.
According to The Wall Street Journal, it's possible that the chicken had been released in an act of protest toward Blackburn's owners: Indian poultry company Venky's, who have owned the club since 2010.
Neither the Blackburn chicken or the team's human supporters were likely pleased with the result as a late Wigan goal ensured that the Rovers will move down to the Championship next season.