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Back in 2002, a fan of Niemi's club at the time, Hearts, called talkSPORT demanding to know why the 28-year-old wasn't in the latest Scotland squad. The slight issue, pointed out by host Arthur Albiston, being that Niemi was a Finland international.
However the caller - on being told "He's Finnish" - misheard and replied with: "He's not finished! He's only 28!" Classic.
Now the former Rangers, Hearts, Southampton and Fulham shot-stopper has had his say on the viral radio moment that never seems to go away, admitting he's been sent it "a thousand times".
"It was funny, of course it was funny, but I kind of thought it must be a wind-up," he said in an interview with CoffeeFriend.co.uk.
"I thought, 'This can't be serious.' Whoever was presenting the programme, I was thinking, 'Don't argue with him, he's obviously not serious.'
"A lot of people bought it, and I still get messages from people every year saying, 'Have you heard about this?'
"Yes, like a thousand times and it's not funny anymore!"
Happy birthday to Antti Niemi! :flag_black:
He's 47 today... but he's not finished!
Still one of the best moments in the history of talkSPORT pic.twitter.com/eOGHwuUqYC
- talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) May 31, 2019
Niemi also revealed that he was later offered the chance to speak to the man who made the call when he returned to Scotland years later. This is when the bombshell was dropped that the call was - allegedly - an elaborate prank.
"I actually went and we spent Christmas a couple of years ago with a family in Edinburgh and I went to a Hearts game," explained Niemi, who's worked as a goalkeeping coach since he stopped playing in 2010, per CoffeeFriend.co.uk.
"A guy came to me before the game and said, 'Have you heard about this call?' And I said, 'Yes,' thinking, 'Here we go again.'
"But he said to me it was actually his good friend who made that phone call, and I actually spoke to the guy who made the call over the phone.
"He explained to me that it was just a wind-up, he never thought it would go through, and he kind of got scared afterwards thinking, 'Oh my God, what have I done?'
"It was a good joke but it was never meant to be that big, so it's a funny story but not true!"
Or so the radio caller is claiming now. Although this shock admission raises questions - such as how did he know that talkSPORT host Albiston would feed him the "He's Finnish!" line that the caller finished (sorry) so perfectly?
Apologies, Antti, but it's still real to us. And it's definitely still funny 19 years later.
Featured image credit: PA Images/talkSPORT
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