Great Goals: Thierry Henry – ARSENAL vs. Tottenham Hotspur (November 2002)

Voted as Goal of the Season by viewers of ITV’s ‘The Premiership’ during the 2002-2003 season, this was Thierry Henry at his absolute best as Tottenham couldn’t live with him in the North London Derby.

Just over 15 minutes had been played when Henry controlled the ball inside his own half and turned past Matthew Etherington. The Frenchman started running away from Etherington and burst past the centre circle. He had options in Dennis Bergkamp and Sylvain Wiltord but Henry only had one thing on his mind and that was to score.

Drifting away from Stephen Carr and Ledley King, Henry found the space to shoot and beat Kasey Keller to complete one of the greatest solo goals we’ve seen in this classic rivalry. He promptly completed his long-distance run with a long-distance celebration back to his own half to celebrate with the Gunners’ supporters.

Arsenal won 3-0 in a period when they were the class of north London.

Advertisements

Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 3-2 Sunderland (October 2005)

Goalscorers: Shola Ameobi 34, 37, Liam Lawrence 35, Stephen Elliott 41, Emre 63

Teams:

Newcastle United: Shay Given, Peter Ramage, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Steven Taylor, Stephen Carr, Emre (Amdy Faye 81), Scott Parker, Charles N’Zogbia, Nolberto Solano (Lee Clark 80), Shola Ameobi (Michael Chopra 79), Alan Shearer

Sunderland: Kelvin Davis, Justin Hoyte, Steven Caldwell, Gary Breen (Alan Stubbs 42), Nyron Nosworthy, John Welsh (Julio Arca 45), Dean Whitehead, Liam Miller, Liam Lawrence, Stephen Elliott, Andy Gray (Anthony Le Tallec 79)

Referee: Rob Styles, Attendance: 52,302

In October 2005, both Newcastle United and Sunderland were struggling in the lower reaches of the Premier League. Sunderland had just one victory to their name all season, which had come in their last away match ironically at fellow north east rivals Middlesbrough. Newcastle didn’t even score a goal in their first four matches of the campaign and only Manchester City had left Tyneside pointless so far. This was a massive match for both where more than just local pride was at stake.

Graeme Souness was the Newcastle manager at the time and he was missing his summer arrival Michael Owen who was injured. Shola Ameobi was therefore recalled to the starting XI to partner Alan Shearer. He was a menace all afternoon and showed Geordie supporters that there was more to the team than just Shearer & Owen. Newcastle were the better side before taking the lead in the 34th minute. Ameobi connected with Emre’s inch-perfect corner and his header beat Kelvin Davis. It would trigger an incredible spell of four goals in just seven minutes.

Considering how low on confidence Sunderland must have been with just five points registered from nine matches, they didn’t show it. Liam Lawrence equalised almost straightaway with a precise drive that left Shay Given helpless. Sunderland were showing character. Unfortunately, their defending was not upto to scratch. Ameobi lost his marker again to nod in Charles N’Zogbia’s hooked cross just three minutes later. Ameobi always seemed to save his best football for derby days against the Black Cats.

Moments later, parity was restored once again. Stephen Elliott curled an absolute beauty into the net from 25-yards out. It silenced the St James’ Park faithful. Despite having bossed possession and having the better of the chances, Newcastle were not leading at half-time. They weren’t ahead at the interval but they would be by the full-time whistle. The excellent and energetic Emre crashed in a free-kick from distance that bounced off Davis’ left-hand post and into the net. The excitable Turkish midfielder then ran to the touchline to leap into Souness’ arms. This was a moment he would never forget.

Sunderland kept pressing as they looked to equalise for a third time in this see-saw battle. Elliott managed to lob Given when played in by Anthony Le Tallec but this time, the crossbar intervened. The Irish goalkeeper then managed to parry another effort from Elliott around the post.

Afterwards, Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy said: “I think we could have done better than to concede from corner kicks but my players are giving me, the club and the supporters’ value for money.”

Sunderland would win only two more matches all season and went down with just 15 points. Newcastle sacked Souness in February 2006 but rallied to finish seventh in Shearer’s final season as a professional footballer.

Iconic Moments: A Fratton thriller (September 2007)

On the face of it, Portsmouth vs. Reading in September 2007 didn’t sound like a very exciting game to the neutral. However, these sides put on a real thriller at Fratton Park. They still hold the record for the most goals scored in a Premier League match of 11.

There were nine different scorers in the match. The exception was Benjani. Portsmouth’s forward, who couldn’t find the back of the net in his early period with the club, hit the jackpot. The Zimbabwean scored a hat-trick although the goalkeeping from Marcus Hahnemann was not the best on the day.

For the record, the other scorers were Stephen Hunt, Dave Kitson, Hermann Hreidarsson, Niko Kranjcar, Shane Long, Sulley Muntari from the penalty spot and two own goals by Ivar Ingimarsson and Sol Campbell. Portsmouth won the game 7-4 and David James saved a penalty from Nicky Shorey.

Reading boss Steve Coppell tried to put a positive spin on events afterwards, commenting: “It’s difficult to analyse a match like that and if you try you will be there a very long time…we scored four goals away from home and had a chance for another with a penalty. We played a full part in the game – I don’t think many teams will come here this season and score four.” 

Portsmouth would record their best Premier League finish of eighth and won the FA Cup at the end of the season. Reading were relegated on the final day of the campaign.

Whilst the defending by both teams was horrendous, this still goes down as an unforgettable contest in the Premier League archives.

Referees in the Middle: Keith Hackett

Premier League Career: 1992-1994

First Premier League Match: Ipswich Town 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur (30 August 1992)

Final Premier League Match: Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool FC (30 March 1994)

The majority of Keith Hackett’s career was before the introduction of the FA Premier League but even though he had reached the planned retirement age before the reformation in English football, his exemption onto the list for the inaugural season showed how well-respected he was.

Hackett’s record is right up there with the best in the business. In a list maintained by the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History and Statistics), Hackett is within the top 100 referees. When he retired in April 1994, he had been refereeing for over 34 years.

Like many of his peers, Hackett began in the local leagues in 1960, taking charge of games across Yorkshire. He became a Football League linesman in 1972 and four years later, had progressed to the full list of officials. He was just 32 years old when this milestone was achieved.

His best period was the 1980s. He was one of the youngest referees to ever have the privilege of officiating at the FA Cup final which was in those days, the ultimate domestic honour in English club football. Hackett’s year for the showpiece was the 1981 classic between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City which finished 1-1 before the Ricky Villa magic in the replay days later.

Three years later, he was back at Wembley to do the all-Merseyside Charity Shield when a Bruce Grobbelaar own goal meant Everton beat Liverpool FC. The domestic set was complete when he got the 1986 League Cup final as Oxford United won their only knockout trophy, defeating Queens Park Rangers 3-0.

In 1988, Hackett was the English choice of official at the 1988 European Championships in West Germany. He took control of the hosts’ 1-1 draw with Italy during the group stages which was played in Cologne. Later that summer, he went to the Olympic Games to officiate in the football competition in Seoul, South Korea. Again, he looked after a West German match, this time the semi-final with Brazil which ended 1-1 but saw the South Americans win on penalties.

In October 1990, he had to deal with one of the toughest incidents of his or anyone’s career when a 21-man brawl broke out at Old Trafford during a league clash involving Manchester United and Arsenal. Hackett and his match officials handled a tricky situation with stern punishments for both clubs. After consultations between them and the FA, Manchester United were docked one point and deducted two points from Arsenal’s total. The Gunners’ still won the league championship.

When the Premier League began, the new league could trust on Keith Hackett’s judgement and control. He took charge of 36 Premier League matches, handed out just 38 yellow cards and didn’t dismiss a single player. In that period, he only awarded three penalties and two of those were in one match when Oldham Athletic lost 4-1 to Tottenham in the inaugural season. He retired just short of his 50th birthday in 1994 with his last match in the middle being a blockbuster encounter between Manchester United and Liverpool FC. United won the midweek match 1-0 with Paul Ince scoring the only goal.

After retiring from officiating, Hackett became a referees’ assessor and in March 2004, he replaced Philip Don to be appointed General Manager of the PGMOB (Professional Game Match Officials Board). His knowledge has also come through in publishing through books, cartoon quizzes and columns for the Observer and the Daily Telegraph.

He is honest enough in his assessments too. At the end of the 2016-2017 campaign, he stated in a strong article that the likes of Jon Moss, Kevin Friend and Roger East shouldn’t be retained on the current elite list.

Keith Hackett is still a strong voice in the game and he won’t hold back either. People listen to his frank and honest assessments nowadays, just like they did when he was controlling football matches in the middle.

Premier League Rewind: 18th-20th September 1993

Results: Blackburn Rovers 0-2 West Ham United, Coventry City 1-1 Chelsea, Everton 2-0 Liverpool FC, Ipswich Town 1-2 Aston Villa, Leeds United 2-1 Sheffield United, Queens Park Rangers 2-2 Norwich City, Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 Southampton, Swindon Town 2-2 Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur 5-0 Oldham Athletic, Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal, Wimbledon 1-0 Manchester City

The 1993-1994 Premier League season was starting to slowly take shape in September 1993. There were some big games on the weekend of 18th-20th September which produced some interesting stories.

The biggest match-up was the latest in the rivalry of the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool FC. Both sides had made positive starts to the campaign and were in the chasing pack behind early season pacesetters Manchester United and Arsenal. In the 27th minute, the home side took the lead which led to some extraordinary scenes afterwards. Andy Hinchcliffe’s corner was cleared at the near post by Steve McManaman. It only managed to find Mark Ward, who rifled a shot into the bottom corner of the net. As he went off celebrating, Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar got into a heated confrontation with McManaman which saw handbags thrown and luckily no more than that. Tony Cottee’s goal five minutes from time ensured Howard Kendall’s men would finish the weekend inside the top four.

With Manchester United and Arsenal playing each other on the Sunday afternoon, Blackburn Rovers had the opportunity to take top spot briefly. They missed their chance at home to newly-promoted West Ham United. A goal in each half from Lee Chapman and Trevor Morley spearheaded the Hammers’ to an unlikely 2-0 victory at Ewood Park. It was already Blackburn’s second home loss of the campaign.

It was a miserable weekend for Oldham Athletic, who took a pasting at free-flowing Tottenham Hotspur. Ossie Ardiles loved his sides to attack and they did this at White Hart Lane to devastating effect. Inside nine minutes, Oldham were 3-0 down and ended up losing 5-0. Teddy Sheringham continued his fine start to the season, scoring twice. Sheringham’s goals kept Tottenham in the early season mix. Unfortunately, injury would strike a month later which seriously hurt his side’s form afterwards.

Fresh from scoring the winning goal a week earlier to beat the reigning champions, Gavin Peacock was at it again at Highfield Road. He opened the scoring in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Coventry City. Steve Morgan equalised for a share of the spoils. The points were also shared in games involving Swindon Town and Newcastle United at the County Ground and Queens Park Rangers vs. Norwich City at Loftus Road. Les Ferdinand rescued a point for QPR in their 2-2 draw with the Canaries. His 83rd minute goal denied Norwich another impressive success away from home.

On Super Sunday, the top two met at Old Trafford. Manchester United bounced back to winning ways with a stunning free-kick from Eric Cantona good enough to beat Arsenal 1-0. It took the Red Devils’ three points clear at the top of the table. The action ended with Wimbledon beating Manchester City by the same scoreline on Monday Night Football. Robbie Earle scored the only goal to inflict a first defeat on Brian Horton as City manager.

What else happened in September 1993?

  • The 1,000th Boeing 747 jumbo jet is produced.
  • Sci-Fi drama “The X-Files” makes its debut on American television, launching the careers of Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny.
  • Pete Sampras and Steffi Graf are the men’s and women’s singles champions at the US Open at Flushing Meadows.
  • The USA beat Europe 15-13 to win the 30th Ryder Cup at The Belfry.
  • Nearly 10,000 people are killed when an earthquake strikes the region of Latur, India which measures 6.4 on the Richter scale.
  • In Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Leader Yasser Arafat famously shake hands after signing the Oslo I Accord; temporarily bringing peace to the Middle East.

Premier League Files: David Linighan

Premier League Career: Ipswich Town (1992-1995)

Defender David Linighan came from a footballing family. He has two brothers who played professional football. One of his brothers, Andy Linighan scored a winning goal for Arsenal in the 1993 FA Cup final.

David’s career wasn’t quite as high-profile as that of Andy but has the record for the most Premier League appearances for Ipswich Town and is a former captain of the club.

He began his career as a 17-year-old at Hartlepool United in 1982, making close to 100 appearances at Victoria Park. David moved onto Shrewsbury Town in 1986 before Ipswich snapped him up two years later.

He played 277 league games for the Tractor Boys’, scoring 12 times. Named skipper in 1990, his commanding performances helped the club win promotion to the Premier League in 1992.

Linighan would score four times in the Premier League Years – all at Portman Road. His final goal came in a draw with Manchester City in March 1994.

He moved to Blackpool in the closing months of 1995, playing under three different managers at Bloomfield Road in Sam Allardyce, Gary Megson and Nigel Worthington. He finished his playing career playing in the non-league with Hyde United in 2002.

Although he has made the occasional appearance on local radio as a matchday pundit, David has stayed out of the game since retirement and now works as a carpenter.

Seasonal Records: 1994-1995

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from season three of the Premier League – 1994-1995.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Blackburn Rovers 42 27 8 7 80 39 +41 89
2 Manchester United 42 26 10 6 77 28 +49 88
3 Nottingham Forest 42 22 11 9 72 43 +29 77
4 Liverpool FC 42 21 11 10 65 37 +28 74
5 Leeds United 42 20 13 9 59 38 +21 73
6 Newcastle United 42 20 12 10 67 47 +20 72
7 Tottenham Hotspur 42 16 14 12 66 58 +8 62
8 Queens Park Rangers 42 17 9 16 61 59 +2 60
9 Wimbledon 42 15 11 16 48 65 -17 56
10 Southampton 42 12 18 12 61 63 -2 54
11 Chelsea 42 13 15 14 50 55 -5 54
12 Arsenal 42 13 12 17 52 49 +3 51
13 Sheffield Wednesday 42 13 12 17 49 57 -8 51
14 West Ham United 42 13 11 18 44 48 -4 50
15 Everton 42 11 17 14 44 51 -7 50
16 Coventry City 42 12 14 16 44 62 -18 50
17 Manchester City 42 12 13 17 53 64 -11 49
18 Aston Villa 42 11 15 16 51 56 -5 48
19 Crystal Palace 42 11 12 19 34 49 -15 45
20 Norwich City 42 10 13 19 37 54 -17 43
21 Leicester City 42 6 11 25 45 80 -35 29
22 Ipswich Town 42 7 6 29 36 93 -57 27

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1,195
European qualifiers Blackburn Rovers (UEFA Champions League), Manchester United (UEFA Cup), Nottingham Forest (UEFA Cup), Liverpool FC (UEFA Cup), Leeds United (UEFA Cup), Everton (UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup)
Longest winning run 7 games (Blackburn Rovers)
Longest unbeaten run 13 games (Nottingham Forest)
Longest winless run 12 games (Everton & Southampton)
Longest losing run 8 games (Ipswich Town)
Highest attendance 43,868 (Manchester United vs. Sheffield Wednesday)
Lowest attendance 5,268 (Wimbledon vs. Manchester City)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Alan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers)
PFA Young Player of the Year Robbie Fowler (Liverpool FC)
Football Writers’ Award Jurgen Klinsmann (Tottenham Hotspur)
PFA Team of the Year Tim Flowers, Graeme Le Saux, Rob Jones, Colin Hendry, Gary Pallister, Paul Ince, Tim Sherwood, Matt Le Tissier, Chris Sutton, Alan Shearer, Jurgen Klinsmann
Manager of the Year Kenny Dalglish (Blackburn Rovers)
LMA Manager of the Year Frank Clark (Nottingham Forest)
Goal of the Season Matt Le Tissier (Blackburn Rovers vs. SOUTHAMPTON)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Chris Sutton Blackburn Rovers vs. Coventry City 4-0 27th August 1994
Robbie Fowler Liverpool FC vs. Arsenal 3-0 28th August 1994
Andrei Kanchelskis Manchester United vs. Manchester City 5-0 10th November 1994
Alan Shearer Blackburn Rovers vs. Queens Park Rangers 4-0 26th November 1994
Teddy Sheringham Tottenham Hotspur vs. Newcastle United 4-2 2nd December 1994
Tony Cottee West Ham United vs. Manchester City 3-0 17th December 1994
Alan Shearer Blackburn Rovers vs. West Ham United 4-2 2nd January 1995
Alan Shearer Blackburn Rovers vs. Ipswich Town 4-1 28th January 1995
Tommy Johnson Aston Villa vs. Wimbledon 7-1 11th February 1995
Andy Cole (5 goals) Manchester United vs. Ipswich Town 9-0 4th March 1995
Peter Ndlovu Liverpool FC vs. Coventry City 2-3 14th March 1995
Tony Yeboah Leeds United vs. Ipswich Town 4-0 5th April 1995
Ian Wright Arsenal vs. Ipswich Town 4-1 15th April 1995

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Alan Shearer Blackburn Rovers 34
2 Robbie Fowler Liverpool FC 25
3 Les Ferdinand Queens Park Rangers 24
4 Stan Collymore Nottingham Forest 22
5 Andy Cole Newcastle United & Manchester United 21
6= Jurgen Klinsmann Tottenham Hotspur 20
6= Matt Le Tissier Southampton 20
8 Teddy Sheringham Tottenham Hotspur 18
8= Ian Wright Arsenal 18
10= Chris Sutton Blackburn Rovers 15
10= Uwe Rosler Manchester City 15
10= Dean Saunders Aston Villa 15
13= Andrei Kanchelskis Manchester United 14
13= Paul Rideout Everton 14
15= Bryan Roy Nottingham Forest 13
15= Peter Beardsley Newcastle United 13
15= Tony Cottee West Ham United 13
15= Dion Dublin Coventry City 13
19= Eric Cantona Manchester United 12
19= Ian Rush Liverpool FC 12
19= Tony Yeboah Leeds United 12
19= Paul Walsh Manchester City 12
23= John Spencer Chelsea 11
23= Mark Bright Sheffield Wednesday 11
23= Guy Whittingham Aston Villa & Sheffield Wednesday 11

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Manchester United 9-0 Ipswich Town 4th March 1995
Aston Villa 7-1 Wimbledon 11th February 1995
Sheffield Wednesday 1-7 Nottingham Forest 1st April 1995
Crystal Palace 1-6 Liverpool FC 20th August 1994
Manchester United 5-0 Manchester City 10th November 1994
Newcastle United 5-1 Southampton 27th August 1994
Arsenal 5-1 Norwich City 1st April 1995
Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 Coventry City 28th December 1994
Blackburn Rovers 4-0 Coventry City 27th August 1994
Leicester City 0-4 Manchester United 15th April 1995

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
9 Manchester United 9-0 Ipswich Town 4th March 1995
8 Sheffield Wednesday 1-7 Nottingham Forest 1st April 1995
8 Aston Villa 7-1 Wimbledon 11th February 1995
8 Aston Villa 4-4 Leicester City 22nd February 1995
7 Crystal Palace 1-6 Liverpool FC 20th August 1994
7 Manchester City 5-2 Tottenham Hotspur 22nd October 1994
7 Sheffield Wednesday 3-4 Tottenham Hotspur 20th August 1994
7 Wimbledon 4-3 Aston Villa 9th November 1994
7 Leicester City 3-4 Wimbledon 1st April 1995
7 Southampton 4-3 Tottenham Hotspur 2nd April 1995
7 Tottenham Hotspur 3-4 Aston Villa 19th November 1994
7 Leicester City 4-3 Southampton 15th October 1994
6 Newcastle United 5-1 Southampton 27th August 1994
6 Arsenal 5-1 Norwich City 1st April 1995
6 Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 Coventry City 28th December 1994
6 Blackburn Rovers 4-2 West Ham United 2nd January 1995
6 Blackburn Rovers 2-4 Manchester United 23rd October 1994
6 Leicester City 2-4 Nottingham Forest 11th March 1995
6 Newcastle United 4-2 Chelsea 10th September 1994
6 Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 Newcastle United 3rd December 1994

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Emile Heskey Queens Park Rangers 2-0 Leicester City 17 years, 1 month, 25 days 8th March 1995
Richard Wright Ipswich Town 2-0 Coventry City 17 years, 6 months, 1 day 6th May 1995
Matt Oakley Everton 0-0 Southampton 17 years, 8 months, 19 days 6th May 1995
Kevin Ellis Arsenal 4-1 Ipswich Town 17 years, 11 months, 4 days 15th April 1995
Phil Neville Manchester City 0-3 Manchester United 18 years, 21 days 11th February 1995
Stephen Hughes Arsenal 0-0 Aston Villa 18 years, 3 months, 8 days 26th December 1994
Brian Launders Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea 18 years, 3 months, 16 days 24th September 1994
Keith O’Neill Southampton 1-1 Norwich City 18 years, 8 months, 17 days 2nd November 1994
Marcus Hall Coventry City 0-4 Tottenham Hotspur 18 years, 9 months, 7 days 31st December 1994
Jon Wright Aston Villa 1-1 Norwich City 18 years, 10 months, 21 days 15th October 1994

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
John Burridge Manchester City 2-3 Queens Park Rangers 43 years, 5 months, 11 days 14th May 1995
Ray Wilkins Chelsea 1-0 Queens Park Rangers 38 years, 7 months, 15 days 29th April 1995
Gordon Strachan Coventry City 0-0 Everton 38 years, 3 months, 5 days 14th May 1995
John Wark Ipswich Town 2-0 Coventry City 37 years, 9 months, 2 days 6th May 1995
Steve Ogrizovic Nottingham Forest 2-0 Coventry City 37 years, 7 months, 5 days 17th April 1995
Graham Rix Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal 37 years, 6 months, 21 days 14th May 1995
Glenn Hoddle Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal 37 years, 6 months, 17 days 14th May 1995
Bruce Grobbelaar Liverpool FC 3-1 Southampton 37 years, 5 months, 20 days 5th April 1995
Nigel Spink Norwich City 1-1 Aston Villa 36 years, 9 months, 6 days 14th May 1995
Neville Southall Coventry City 0-0 Everton 36 years, 7 months, 28 days 14th May 1995

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Peter Schmeichel Manchester United 21
2= Tim Flowers Blackburn Rovers 17
2= David James Liverpool FC 17
2= John Lukic Leeds United 17
5= Pavel Srnicek Newcastle United 14
5= Neville Southall Everton 14
5= Nigel Martyn Crystal Palace 14
8= Mark Crossley Nottingham Forest 13
8= Ludek Miklosko West Ham United 13
10= Ian Walker Tottenham Hotspur 11

Memorable Matches: Manchester City 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur (May 2010)

Goalscorer: Peter Crouch 82

Teams:

Manchester City: Marton Fulop, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Kolo Toure, Wayne Bridge, Nigel de Jong, Gareth Barry (Patrick Vieira 57), Adam Johnson (Shaun Wright-Phillips 71), Craig Bellamy (Roque Santa Cruz 84), Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor

Tottenham Hotspur: Heurelho Gomes, Michael Dawson, Ledley King, Younes Kaboul, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Tom Huddlestone, Luka Modric (Wilson Palacios 88), Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon (David Bentley 71), Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe (Roman Pavlyuchenko 81)

Referee: Steve Bennett, Attendance: 47,370

This was effectively a shootout for a UEFA Champions League qualification spot. Tottenham Hotspur travelled to Eastlands for their penultimate game of the season knowing that a victory would clinch their place in Europe’s premier club competition for the first time since the Champions League had been reformed in 1992. A win for their rivals Manchester City would put them into the driving seat for fourth place going into the final day. The prize was estimated to be worth £30 million.

Roberto Mancini had to rely on ex-Spurs shot-stopper Marton Fulop as his goalkeeper. Injury to Shay Given and with Joe Hart unable to be recalled from his loan period at Birmingham City, it meant the cash-rich club had been forced to ask the Premier League to use the emergency loan system to bring a goalkeeper in. Fulop had been made available after being deemed surplus to requirements by Sunderland.

He would have a busy evening. Tottenham started the brighter and were by far, the most threatening side. Their first opportunity came in the 18th minute. Peter Crouch smashed a header off the crossbar having met Gareth Bale’s free-kick. Moments later, the visitors’ thought they had taken the lead when Ledley King connected with Bale’s corner and headed home. However, referee Steve Bennett had spotted King was stopping Gareth Barry from jumping fairly, so correctly disallowed the goal.

By contrast, City looked flat. Heurelho Gomes made an early save from Carlos Tevez and also reacted well to his left-hand side when Bale almost inadvertently turned Craig Bellamy’s cross over the line. Into the second half and the pattern didn’t change. Bale was causing huge problems for City’s full-backs in Pablo Zabaleta and Wayne Bridge. He played Jermain Defoe in on 58 minutes but Fulop came to the rescue with a fine save. By this point, Barry had been forced off the pitch by an ankle injury and former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira was brought on as his replacement.

Fulop was in great form. He denied Crouch from close-range, saving his header with his legs. As the game entered the last 10 minutes, it looked like the match was destined to finish goalless when Tottenham finally got the crucial breakthrough. Younes Kaboul made a run into the penalty area, skipping past Craig Bellamy. He fired a shot in from a tight angle. This time, Fulop parried the shot but only into the path of Crouch who was in the right position to head home and send the travelling supporters into exultation.

Spurs had done it. Harry Redknapp had guided them into the UEFA Champions League for the first time. Defeat for Manchester City meant their expensive squad would have to spend the 2010-2011 season playing in the UEFA Europa League. Redknapp’s only final worry was to get soaked with a bucket of water whilst finishing a post-match television interview. It will always remain one of the finest nights Tottenham Hotspur ever experienced in the Premier League.

Shock Results: Manchester United 1-3 Fulham (October 2003)

Goalscorers: Lee Clark 3, Diego Forlan 45, Steed Malbranque 66, Junichi Inamoto 79

Teams:

Manchester United: Tim Howard, Gary Neville, Mikael Silvestre (Quinton Fortune 45), Rio Ferdinand, John O’Shea, Eric Djemba-Djemba (David Bellion 80), Nicky Butt, Cristiano Ronaldo (Paul Scholes 69), Ryan Giggs, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Diego Forlan

Fulham: Edwin van der Sar, Moritz Volz, Jerome Bonnnissel (Martin Djetou 74), Zat Knight, Alain Goma, Lee Clark, Mark Pembridge (Junichi Inamoto 32), Sylvain Legwinski, Steed Malbranque, Louis Saha, Luis Boa Morte (Barry Hayles 86)

Referee: Mike Riley, Attendance: 67,727

Manchester United would have gone top of the Premier League table in October 2003 but they were given a rude awakening by Fulham at Old Trafford. They were on a high following a midweek UEFA Champions League success against Rangers but Chris Coleman’s team had other ideas.

Fulham took control very early on and got the lead through a defensive mistake. Mikael Silvestre conceded possession and the lively Steed Malbranque steered a low cross into the box. The experienced Lee Clark was at the right place at the right time to convert at the near post.

It was no fluke. The Cottagers’ showed no fear for the occasion and they could have extended their lead before half-time. American stopper Tim Howard had to deny the in-form Louis Saha, who would become a Manchester United player three months later. Then, Mark Pembridge, a deadline day signing from Everton smashed an effort against the crossbar.

There was little Sir Alex Ferguson could do to influence matters. He was confined to the directors’ box. An earlier misconduct incident in the season at Newcastle United meant he was serving a touchline ban. His side did find their feet and slightly undeservedly, equalised right on the stroke of half-time. Diego Forlan’s fine finish across the bows of Edwin van der Sar levelled the scores. It was the much-maligned Uruguayan’s first goal of the season.

If Ferguson was dishing out the “hairdryer” treatment during the 15-minute pause, the players were not listening. Fulham kept plugging away and they never lost belief in their abilities to pull off a shock result. Midway through the second half, they got their lead back. An opportunist strike from Malbranque saw Fulham on their way to a first victory at Old Trafford in over 30 years. The Frenchman punished a slack header from Rio Ferdinand.

United were reeling and although they responded with a John O’Shea header that whistled wide of Van der Sar’s goal, it was Fulham who deservedly struck again in the 79th minute. Popular midfielder Junichi Inamoto produced a spectacular finish from six-yards out to send Fulham fans into delirium.

This moved them upto fifth in the table and they had a fine season, despite losing Saha to Manchester United in the January transfer window. A ninth-place finish was an excellent reward in Coleman’s first full season in club management. Manchester United did spend Christmas on top of the table but ended a disappointing third and 12 points behind unbeaten Arsenal.

Iconic Moments: Saints thrash Black Cats (October 2014)

Sunderland arrived on the south coast in October 2014 boosted from their first Premier League win of the season a fortnight earlier at home to Stoke City. What happened next went down as one of their worst days in Premier League history. They left humiliated, shell-shocked and embarrassed as Southampton routed the Black Cats 8-0.

The writing was on the wall from an early stage. Saints took the lead through a nightmare for Santiago Vergini. The hapless full-back managed to smash the ball into his own net from 20-yards out. The reaction from his fellow defenders afterwards spoke volumes.

Sunderland were 3-0 down by the interval as the home side’s attackers had a field day. Graziano Pelle scored twice, there were two further own goals and midfielders Dusan Tadic, Jack Cork and Victor Wanyama all managed to get on the scoresheet too. Southampton had 11 shots on target in the game and eight of them found the back of the net.

It was Sunderland’s biggest defeat in 32 years. Manager Gus Poyet was understandably fuming afterwards, admitting: “It is the most embarrassing game I have ever been involved in.”

Things didn’t improve much at the Stadium of Light as the season progressed. Poyet was axed in March after a 4-0 loss at home to Aston Villa and Dick Advocaat somehow managed to galvanize the players to beat the Premier League drop again.

However, some of the Sunderland players who featured on this day have had to deal with being on the end of one of the Premier League’s most one-sided games in the last quarter of a century.

Iconic Moments: The craziest deadline day (January 2011)

Transfer deadline day has become a nationwide event for football fans since the introduction of the August and January transfer windows from the 2002-2003 season onwards. There have been some intriguing days like Arsenal’s signing of Mesut Ozil in August 2013 and Dimitar Berbatov’s last-gasp switch to Manchester United five seasons earlier.

But there were fewer mad days in the transfer market than the one that played out on Monday, 31 January 2011. Over £100 million was spent on three strikers, with Liverpool FC, Chelsea and Newcastle United playing the leading roles.

There was a big departure from Anfield. Star striker of the past three and a half years, Fernando Torres decided to leave the club. Days earlier, the Spaniard had handed in a transfer request which was initially rejected. Eventually, a deal was agreed that saw Torres move to Chelsea for a British transfer record fee at the time of £50 million. A lot of LFC fans were very upset by Torres’ comments in the aftermath of the deal going through. Shirts were burned outside the ground as their former idol had moved on, saying “This is the target for every footballer – to try to play for one of the top clubs in the world.” 

Although he did go on to win the silverware he craved such as the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League in 2012, Torres never fully settled at Stamford Bridge. Liverpool fans never really forgave him until an appearance at Steven Gerrard’s testimonial three seasons later. He is now back in Spain playing for his boyhood club, Atletico Madrid.

That wasn’t the only business conducted at Chelsea. Brazilian defender David Luiz arrived from Benfica for £26.5 million and not the end of the drama either at Liverpool. As El Nino checked out of Merseyside, the Reds were busy pulling off their own double striker swoop.

£22.8 million was paid to Ajax for the controversial but exceptionally talented Luis Suarez and £35 million was exchanged with Newcastle for Andy Carroll – a club record fee. Like Torres, the transfer fee seemed to weigh too much on Carroll. His 18-month spell was an unhappy one and he eventually moved onto West Ham United in August 2012. On the other hand, Suarez lit up Anfield with many spectacular performances. Despite racism and biting controversies which led to suspensions totalling 19 matches, his spectacular goals nearly guided the club to a Premier League title in 2014 before departing for Barcelona in a £75 million transfer.

Other moves saw Birmingham sign Obafemi Martins on-loan, Bolton add Daniel Sturridge to their ranks from Chelsea, Tuncay depart Stoke City for the Bundesliga with VfL Wolfsburg and Blackpool add four players to their relegation scrap. Charlie Adam stayed put despite a late bid from Tottenham Hotspur.

In total, Premier League clubs spent over £200 million in the 2011 January window and deadline day in this window remains the craziest and probably best window of this era of transactions in football.

The Managers: Ian Holloway

Nicknamed “Ollie,” Ian Holloway is a character who will take no prisoners and has enjoyed successful times as a player and manager. In November 2016, he left his position as chief Football League pundit with Sky Sports to have another go at managing Queens Park Rangers, the club he represented with great dignity in the Premier League.

Holloway began his playing career with Bristol Rovers, his hometown club in 1981 and finished his playing career in 1999 with the same team. During his playing days, he won promotion with both Rovers and also Wimbledon.

In August 1991, Gerry Francis paid Bristol Rovers £230,000 to take Holloway to Queens Park Rangers. He played more than 150 games for the club over five seasons and was one of the leaders in the dressing room. He left after the club’s relegation to the First Division in 1996.

Moving straight into management, his first spells were with the two clubs he spent the longest time with and he achieved five years with both Bristol Rovers and Queens Park Rangers in the dugout. Ian was producing good work with both teams. Having arrived too late to stop QPR slide into the third tier in 2001, Holloway rebuilt the side, got them promoted in 2004 and kept them as a stable mid-table club until his departure in 2006, just before Flavio Briatore came in and turned sacking managers at Loftus Road into a hobby.

Spells with Plymouth Argyle and Leicester City followed but it would be his role with Blackpool that attracted the most headlines and turned him into a national treasure.

Blackpool revival

When Holloway was appointed by Blackpool in 2009, he had been out of the game for almost a year. Relegation with Leicester City had damaged his reputation and this was a chance to restore his credentials.

He sensationally took the club into the top-six in the Championship, earning a playoff position. The Tangerines’ then saw off Nottingham Forest in the semi-finals and beat Cardiff City 3-2 in a topsy-turvy final to achieve promotion to the Premier League and all this in his first nine months in the job. Holloway would later say that this achievement was his greatest in football.

Blackpool arrived in the Premier League for 2010-2011 and were expected to be the whipping boys of the top-flight. Holloway galvanised an amazing team spirit though and the best out of players like Luke Varney, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and of course, skipper Charlie Adam. They sent ripples through the league with a stunning 4-0 opening day victory away at Wigan Athletic. Blackpool followed this up with a series of impressive victories away from home. They beat Newcastle United, Sunderland, Stoke City and recorded a memorable 2-1 success away at Liverpool FC.

There were heavy defeats to Arsenal (6-0) and Chelsea (4-0) but Blackpool were committed to playing football the right way. They scored lots of goals but also conceded far too many. Holloway loved Premier League life, despite threatening to resign after the club was fined £25,000 for fielding a weakened team in a November fixture away to Aston Villa.

Blackpool sat eighth in the table at the turn of the year and they would go onto defeat Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur in the early weeks of 2011. However, a transfer saga developed over Adam and although the club held onto his services, his performances dipped and with that, so did the team’s. They slipped into trouble and eventually into the bottom three by mid-April. Despite a gallant display on the final day of the season at Old Trafford, a 4-2 defeat to the new champions would see immediate relegation, exactly a year to the day of promotion to the elite. Nevertheless, they had won plenty of fans for their gung-ho approach to the season.

Palace come calling

Despite interest from other Premier League clubs, including Aston Villa, Holloway stayed at Blackpool for 2011-2012 and guided them back to the Championship playoff final. This time though, it would end in defeat to West Ham United.

In November 2012, he resigned from his post at Bloomfield Road to take over at Crystal Palace. His first match in charge with the Eagles’ was a 5-0 thumping of Ipswich Town and the playoffs were becoming a specialist subject for Ian. He was back at Wembley again and this time, it was promotion glory over Watford. Veteran Kevin Phillips scoring the only goal, courtesy of the penalty spot.

He led Crystal Palace into the Premier League but his enthusiasm wasn’t quite the same as it had been at Blackpool. The club lost seven of their first eight matches back in the top-flight and after a 4-1 home defeat to London rivals Fulham, he left by mutual consent after a rollercoaster year in south London.

He stayed in the capital with Millwall before returning to the management game with Queens Park Rangers for the second time in 2016-2017. Safety in the Championship was just about secured and he will be aiming to bring the good times back to Loftus Road next season.

The Premier League has not seen the last of Ian Holloway. He is a character and the game is a poorer place when he isn’t in the dugout.

25 years of the most envied league in the world!