After Months Of Training With Owner, This Goldfish Learns How To Play Football

It turns out that goldfish aren’t nearly as unintelligent as people thought they were. Just spend a few minutes reading this incredible story of a goldfish that can play football.

For many years people believed that goldfish were stupid and had a 3-second memory span. Well, it turns out this is just not true. 80-year-old Peter Bettison spent hours training his little goldfish to play football. The little fish is a pro! His name is Span, after the football icon, Sir Stanley Matthews. Sporty Span nudges his tiny football across the floor of his tank, right into the goal. And he manages it every time!

Peter rewards four-year-old Span with a little food each time he scores a goal, to encourage him to keep scoring. Peter bought Span for his wife, Sheila, when she was ill in hospital. Now he and Span raise funds for hospice together.

The 80-year-old owner shares how he was able to train his goldfish to play football:

“Basically you start gradually using a reward system – a bit like footballers’ pay but fish food for it – to encourage the fish to first swim through a ring.”

“Then gradually you work up to a six-inch tube for the fish to swim through, horizontal, then vertical.”

“Then there is the limbo where it swims under a bar and finally you introduce the ball which is plastic and doesn’t float.”

Unlikely footballer: Although Span does not have a streamlined body, it makes a surprisingly effective striker
Unlikely footballer: Although Span does not have a streamlined body, it makes a surprisingly effective striker
Pride and Joy: Peter Bettison from Exeter with his football playing fish
Pride and Joy: Peter Bettison from Exeter with his football playing fish

“It has taken to it really well and seems to enjoy scoring goals. People say goldfish are not very bright and have no memory.”

“What is slightly odd is that its is not built like an athlete, more like a swimming tennis ball.”

Practice pitch: Span is able to put in hours of training with a scaled-down pitch that fits in its tank
Practice pitch: Span is able to put in hours of training with a scaled-down pitch that fits in its tank. Not only can Span handle a football with skill, it can also play netball, swim through hoops and limbo thanks to Mr Bettison’s guidance

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