Into quitting his job as a defender for the Scottish soccer team Arbroath, 24-year-old Eddie Forrest. On June 23 Forrest signed a part-time contract with the first-division club. The agreement had a clause allowing Forrest to leave the team if he received a full-time offer from another side. A few days later Forrest got a call from someone who claimed to be Danny Smith, chairman of Scotland's Raith Rovers, and who offered Forrest a full-time job. Forrest accepted, and when he told Arbroath he would activate the escape clause in his contract, the team immediately hired a replacement, 28-year-old veteran midfielder Paul Browne.
But when Forrest called to find out when to report to Raith, Smith was flummoxed and said he'd never made an offer. An investigation of phone records revealed that the prank caller was in fact...Paul Browne! Arbroath voided Browne's contract and took Forrest back, but the incident created such a backlash against Browne—under headlines such as hoax which rocked football, outraged Scottish journalists labeled him "two-faced," "malicious" and a "sick prankster"—that he and his family have fled to England. "People have turned me into some kind of soccer leper," Browne told Scotland's Sunday Mail. Browne, who had confessed to the flimflam, is now backing off, claiming the calls were made by "a daft laddie who is a mate of mine."
Things have turned out better for Forrest, who last week again left Arbroath, this time for a full-time deal with Partick Thistle of the Scottish Premier League. "I can't forgive Paul for what happened, but I hope his football career isn't over because of this," said Forrest. "As far as I see it, I've had the last laugh."