IT can be tough being a football manager, what with disgruntled fans, over-ambitious directors and the media constantly harping away.

So the last thing you need is to be sent off for tackling a pitch invader dressed in a mankini!

That’s what happened to Ashley Vickers, player-manager of non-league side Dorchester Town during their recent 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Havant & Waterlooville.

Vickers had been forced to play in the game because he had several senior players out injured.

Vickers told his local newspaper, the Dorset Echo: “I’m dumbfounded and speechless. I thought I was doing them a favour.  Their players told the ref not to send me off and their chairman even offered to take a player off to even things up.”

Havant & Waterlooville fan Alan Young,  who admitted he ran onto the pitch for a bet, told BBC Radio Solent: “The security there were too slow but Vickers caught me quite well. He should be a rugby player.

“He hit me quite hard so by the time I had got up I didn’t know where I was on the pitch because I hadn’t expected the tackle”

Havant boss Shaun Gayle told BBC Radio Solent: “The person I feel sorry for is Ashley Vickers, all he tried to do was deal with it and the referee has sent him off.

“If he had just grabbed him and held onto the lad then the ref might not have sent him off. He [Vickers] was obviously wound up with the situation, his side had just conceded a goal.”

We are never slow to hail our footballing stars as heroes but now it’s being claimed that they could also be mathematical geniuses!

A sports scientist says that stars such as Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney naturally excel at maths and science and develop an intuitive understanding of geometry which allows them to perfect the beautiful game.

Dr Ken Bray, from the University of Bath, says:  “Football is an art, but it’s also a science and every footballer uses geometry, aerodynamics and probability to perform at their peak.

“An understanding of scientific and mathematical principles could be worth its weight in gold if you want a career in football.”

Still on the subject of science, the Daily Telegraph newspaper has reported that Tottenham Hotspur shirts could contain a ‘computer’ that relays players’ biometric signals such as heart rate and temperature.

The Premier League club has signed a five year kit deal with American sports clothing manufacturers Under Armour and the company says that it is planning to include its ‘E39’ technology in the shirts,

Sensors in the shirts can send regular updates on everything from a player’s heart rate to core body temperature, breathing rate and acceleration.

The data can be accessed by coaching staff so that they can monitor players’ fitness and performance during training and matches.

Mark Dowley, Under Armour’s executive vice president, said: “We can metrically tell you what is happening to the body of somebody kicking a penalty in front of 60,000 people.

“You can watch his heart rate as he waits to take the kick. For the first time you can see inside an athlete as they perform.”

He added: “You could also tell who the best conditioned athlete is on the pitch and over the season, and when to pull a player out because he’s worn out.”

Whether the information will be made available to broadcasters remains to be seen,