Tag Archives: Roy Keane

Referees in the Middle: Uriah Rennie

Premier League Career: 1997-2008

First Premier League Match: Leeds United 0-2 Crystal Palace (23 August 1997)

Final Premier League Match: Tottenham Hotspur 0-2 Liverpool FC (11 May 2008)

In an 11-year Premier League career, Uriah Rennie took charge of 175 matches, dishing out 543 yellow cards and 30 red cards. Rennie was not afraid to stamp his authority on Premier League games and he certainly was not an official you would want to challenge a decision on as the likes of Roy Keane and even Alan Shearer can testify.

Rennie, who has a Masters degree in business administration and law, began refereeing in the local leagues in 1979 and then made the step up into the Northern Premier League. Appointed to the Football League list of referees in 1994, his first Premier League appointment came three years later for a fixture at Elland Road between Leeds United and Crystal Palace. Palace claimed a surprising 2-0 victory courtesy of goals in each half from Paul Warhurst and Attilio Lombardo.

Palace were also on the receiving end of the first red card Rennie gave out in the top-flight. The victim was Marc Edworthy, sent off in the first half of Crystal Palace’s 1-1 draw with Leicester in December 1997. Uriah had a busy first full season in the Premier League. In March 1998, he dismissed both Gudni Bergsson and Robert Ullathorne in the first half of a stormy match between Bolton Wanderers and Leicester City and a month later, he also handed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his one and only English red card for a professional foul in the dying embers of Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle United.

In 1999, he sent shockwaves around Tyneside by handing Newcastle United skipper Alan Shearer his first-ever Premier League red card on the opening weekend of the season against Aston Villa. The reason for Shearer’s dismissal was “persistent use of the elbow.” He threw away his captain’s armband in disgust and many felt that it was a harsh dismissal.

In 2001, Rennie joined the Select Group and received high praise from Keith Hackett, who was head of the PGMOB at the time. Hackett said Rennie was “the fittest referee we have ever seen on the national and world scene.” This was highlighted by the fact that in his spare time, he practiced both kick-boxing and aikido.

Outside of the Premier League, his biggest appointment was the 2001 Division One play-off final between Bolton Wanderers and Preston North End at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. Rennie let the game flow without a single yellow or red card and Bolton won 3-0 with goals from Gareth Farrelly, Michael Ricketts and Ricardo Gardner. He made the FIFA list in 2000, remaining on their list for four years until reaching the compulsory retirement age of 45.

In 2002, Rennie was another official who ended up sending off Roy Keane during a Premier League match. In the closing stages of Manchester United’s trip to Sunderland, Keane was spotted throwing an elbow at his former international teammate Jason McAteer and handed a straight red card. There had been some needle between the two earlier in the contest, going back to when Keane famously walked out on the Republic of Ireland squad on the eve of the 2002 World Cup finals.

His last red card was dished out to Pedro Mendes in December 2006 in a 2-2 draw between Portsmouth and Aston Villa. His last Premier League game came on the final day of the 2007-2008 season between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool FC.

After retirement, Rennie has kept a relatively low-profile but did appear on the BBC Two drama Marvellous in September 2014 and in August 2015, was the referee on the ITV daytime gameshow Freeze Out which was presented by Mark Durden-Smith.

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Premier League Rewind: 13th-14th September 1997

Results: Arsenal 4-1 Bolton Wanderers, Barnsley 0-3 Aston Villa, Coventry City 1-0 Southampton, Crystal Palace 0-3 Chelsea, Derby County 3-1 Everton, Leicester City 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool FC 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday, Manchester United 2-1 West Ham United, Newcastle United 1-3 Wimbledon, Blackburn Rovers 3-4 Leeds United

Going into the second month of action in the 1997-1998 season, it was Blackburn Rovers who were setting the early pace. New manager Roy Hodgson had made an immediate impact on his new side and they were scoring plenty of goals, finding the net 15 times in five matches. Blackburn were looking to keep their advantage at the top of the table and respond to Saturday’s action when they met Leeds United in the live televised Sky match.

Before they got the opportunity to play, history was being made at Highbury. Against Bolton Wanderers, Ian Wright finally managed to eclipse Cliff Bastin and become Arsenal’s record all-time goalscorer. Wright’s first goal saw him equal Bastin’s mark of 177 goals but in the excitement of scoring the equaliser, he took his top off and revealed a vest he was wearing ‘178 – Just Done It!’ He was slightly too keen but five minutes later, a more routine tap-in was the goal that saw him break the record. To cap his amazing day, he completed his hat-trick with nine minutes left, taking his tally to six goals in six games. Arsenal won the game 4-1 and remained unbeaten, playing some cavalier football under Arsene Wenger which was a welcome sight for the fans who had got used to tight, cagey games in the George Graham era.

Manchester United hadn’t quite reached full throttle yet but they were getting the results and that meant the reigning champions went top after beating West Ham United 2-1 at Old Trafford. After five consecutive clean sheets, the Red Devils defence finally conceded after 14 minutes thanks to John Hartson. Recently-appointed captain, Roy Keane quickly levelled the scores before Paul Scholes scored the winning goal with 14 minutes left to play.

They would stay top of the table as Blackburn were beaten for the first time in the season after an absorbing first half against Leeds, who went into the match on a run of three successive defeats and just outside the bottom three. Leeds made a great start, taking a 2-0 lead inside six minutes through Rod Wallace and Robert Molenaar. Within 16 minutes, Blackburn were level, thanks to a scorching strike from Kevin Gallacher and a Chris Sutton penalty. Attack seemed to be the best form of defence for both teams and the visitors stormed back into a two-goal lead. Wallace scored his second of the afternoon before David Hopkin finished off another sweeping counter-attack. On 33 minutes, Martin Dahlin got the better of Molenaar and beat Nigel Martyn with a shot that went in off the post. Naturally, the second half didn’t quite have the frantic approach of the first 45 minutes although Leeds finished with 10 men after Harry Kewell was sent off. Nevertheless, they held on for all three points and left Blackburn three points behind Manchester United.

Elsewhere and Newcastle United’s 100% start to the season was ended by a Wimbledon side who had started the weekend bottom of the Premier League. The Dons left Tyneside with all three points after an excellent all-round team performance, triumphing 3-1 with goals from Carl Cort, Chris Perry and Efan Ekoku. Southampton replaced them at the foot of the table after losing 1-0 away at Coventry City. Chelsea moved into third position with a fourth successive victory after cruising to a 3-0 success at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace. Graeme Le Saux wrapped the scoring up in the 90th minute with his first goal in his second spell with the Blues.

What else happened in September 1997?

  • Over two billion people worldwide watch the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales which takes place at Westminster Abbey.
  • September sees the death of Mother Teresa, aged 87.
  • Both Scotland and Wales voted in favour of a devolved Parliament, meaning the formation of the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Parliament.
  • The IOC selects Athens as the host city of the 2004 Summer Olympics.
  • The National Geographic Channel is launched.
  • The Italian regions of Umbria and Marche are struck by an earthquake, causing part of the Basilica of St. Francis at Assisi to collapse.
  • The football teams in Scotland’s top-flight, including Rangers and Celtic, decide to split from the SFL and form the Scottish Premier League from next season.

 

The Managers: Mick McCarthy

Premier League Clubs Managed: Sunderland (2003, 2005-2006), Wolverhampton Wanderers (2009-2012)

In February 2019, Mick McCarthy will turn 60. McCarthy enjoyed some time out of the game after his reign at the helm of Championship club Ipswich Town came to an end in April 2018. However, he returned to the international scene in November 2018, agreeing to take charge of the Republic of Ireland for a second time. McCarthy has had the unique honour of playing and coaching the Republic of Ireland at two different World Cup finals. He also enjoyed a three-season stint in the Premier League as manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Born in Barnsley, McCarthy started his playing career with the Tykes and that was to be his longest spell with any club in his playing days. Barnsley were in the bottom-tier of English football when he made his professional bow in 1977 and as a strong central defender, he helped them to promotion in 1980. He made 272 league appearances for the Yorkshire side, scoring seven goals. In December 1983, he moved to Manchester City, experiencing top-flight football in England for the first time.

In 1987, he went north of the border to play for Celtic which is where McCarthy enjoyed his most successful spell in terms of silverware. He was part of the Celtic side that won the Scottish League and Cup double in 1988 and another Scottish Cup followed a year later. Mick was part of the final Celtic side to win the championship before Rangers’ nine-season stranglehold on the Scottish league title. A move to Lyon followed but he didn’t play as much as he wanted and he moved back to English football on the eve of the 1990 World Cup finals with a loan switch to Millwall.

Although the Lions were relegated, McCarthy did more than enough to protect his place in Jack Charlton’s squad for the tournament in Italy and also earned himself a permanent move to London. Injuries restricted him to just 29 appearances in the next two seasons and he effectively retired from playing in 1992. However, a new challenge was to wait for him at the club where he finished his playing days.

For Ireland, McCarthy won 57 caps for his country, qualifying to play for them because he had an Irish father. He made his international debut in 1984 and featured in all three group games of the Republic’s first major international tournament which was the 1988 European Championships. His respect within the camp meant he was awarded the captaincy and he never shied away from making a crunching tackle. In fact, McCarthy committed more fouls than any other player during the 1990 World Cup. In their debut World Cup adventure, Ireland made the quarter-finals before going out to hosts Italy.

Starting out at Millwall

In March 1992, McCarthy became Millwall player-manager following the departure of Bruce Rioch. Although he was still registered as a player, Mick’s focus was soely on management – so much so, he only made one further playing appearance after his appointment.

In 1993-1994, Millwall launched a serious challenge for promotion to the Premier League, finishing in third place in the final standings and only narrowly missing out on automatic promotion. Heartbreak would follow with defeat in the semi-finals to Derby County and it was Leicester City who would win the third promotion place, despite finishing below the Lions in the table.

In December 1995, Millwall topped the table before a cataclysmic display away at Roker Park, losing 6-0 to Sunderland. It was around this time that McCarthy became the frontrunner for the vacant Republic of Ireland job after Charlton retired as team manager. The speculation did little to help Millwall’s club form and eventually in February 1996, he was officially appointed as Ireland’s new manager. Millwall ended the season with relegation whilst McCarthy was ready for his big international break.

Japan and Keane

Initially, he couldn’t weave the magic on the team that Charlton had achieved. The Republic of Ireland were beaten by Belgium in a two-legged qualifying play-off for the 1998 World Cup finals. They also missed out on the party for the 2000 European Championships in Holland and Belgium. Better luck was to follow in 2002.

Drawn in a tricky group alongside European semi-finalists Portugal and Holland, expectations were low but Ireland delivered and a 1-0 victory over the Dutch in Dublin in September 2001 guaranteed them a top two finish, ensuring Louis van Gaal’s side would fail to qualify for their first World Cup since 1986. That took them into another play-off, this time against Iran. A narrow 2-1 play-off victory over the Asian side meant the Republic qualified for their first major tournament in eight years. It was meant to be an exciting opportunity in Japan and South Korea.

However, the tournament build-up was dominated by a public spat between McCarthy and his skipper, Roy Keane. Keane openly questioned the training facilities that had been allocated by the FAI, then thought preparations were too laidback going into the country’s third World Cup finals. Insults were thrown by the player and McCarthy decided to send him home without kicking a ball in the tournament.

Despite this negative build-up, McCarthy rallied his side through the group stage. Robbie Keane scored three goals, including a dramatic injury-time equaliser to earn a draw with eventual finalists Germany. The likes of Gary Breen, Damien Duff and Steve Finnan flourished throughout the competition but Ireland were knocked out on penalties by Spain in the round-of-16 after a 1-1 draw. In total, they missed four spot-kicks in the match – one in regular time and three in the shootout.

A poor start to qualification for the 2004 European Championships saw McCarthy step down from his role in November 2002. In total, he won 29 of 68 internationals during his six-year spell as national team manager.

Sorry Sunderland

In March 2003, Sunderland sacked Howard Wilkinson and Steve Cotterill as their management team after losing six successive matches. McCarthy, who had been shortlisted for the job before Wilkinson’s controversial appointment, took over the sinking ship. Relegation was virtually a guarantee when he was appointed and sure enough, Sunderland’s Premier League fate was confirmed a month later. They lost every single game after his appointment as manager.

The 2003-2004 season in the First Division was considered as a disappointment. Sunderland did reach the play-offs but lost a semi-final penalty shootout to Crystal Palace who would eventually win the play-off final. However, the turnaround of the club was completed with the Championship title in 2005, recording 94 points on their way to the title.

In 2005-2006, life became incredibly difficult at the higher level for both the team and the manager. The Black Cats lost their first five matches and he actually never won a home Premier League game at The Stadium of Light. There were away victories over Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion but with 10 games remaining in the campaign, McCarthy was dismissed with the club 16 points from safety in March 2006. Ironically, Roy Keane was appointed as the next permanent boss.

Keeping Wolves in the top-flight

He was out of the game for just four months before taking over at Wolverhampton Wanderers, replacing Glenn Hoddle in the hotseat. His first two campaigns at Molineux saw the club finish sixth and seventh respectively, losing another play-off semi-final to West Bromwich Albion and missing out on a top six result in 2008 only on goal difference.

Promotion to the Premier League was secured in April 2009 with a 1-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers and the Championship title followed a week later. Wolves had spent 42 of the 46 matchdays top of the table in 2008-2009 in one of the most dominating second-tier campaigns in recent history. His fine work saw him win the Championship Manager of the Year.

In 2009-2010, survival in the Premier League was the aim for everyone connected with Wolverhampton Wanderers and McCarthy managed to achieve this. Safety was assured with two games remaining and Wolves ultimately finished in 15th place. This was despite being fined £25,000 after the Premier League authorities decided he had fielded a weakened team for a fixture away at Manchester United in December 2009.

The 2010-2011 campaign was even more dramatic. There were thrilling home victories over outgoing champions Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United – ending the latter’s unbeaten start to the season in the process. There was also a fantastic 1-0 away victory at Liverpool FC in December 2010. However, Wolves struggled to find any consistency against the teams in the relegation battle and going into the final day, they were just one point clear of the relegation zone. They lost 3-2 at home to Blackburn Rovers but defeats for Birmingham City and Blackpool meant Wolves avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth. It meant McCarthy became the first Wolves manager in 30 years to maintain the club’s top-flight position for two successive seasons.

Things didn’t go so well in 2011-2012 for McCarthy, despite topping the table after two successive victories. Results didn’t progress and Wolves dropped once again into a relegation scrap. In February 2012, Wolves were embarrassed 5-1 at home by local rivals West Bromwich Albion. 24 hours later, the inevitable happened and McCarthy was sacked after five years and 207 days in the post at Molineux. His long-trusted assistant Terry Connor took over but Wolves failed to win another game after McCarthy’s departure and they were relegated.

After nine months out of the game, he resurfaced at Ipswich Town with Connor joining him as assistant. Despite having one of the smallest wage budgets in the Championship, McCarthy worked miracles with the resources he had available to him. They made the play-offs in 2014-2015 before yet more semi-final frustration, this time at the expense of East Anglian rivals Norwich City. Eventually, things got slightly stale at Portman Road and McCarthy left the club just before the end of the 2017-2018 season.

After leaving Ipswich, McCarthy filled his time as a pundit for both BT Sport and BBC Radio Five Live. However, he was never going to be done with management and after Martin O’Neill left the Republic of Ireland post following a dismal UEFA Nations League campaign, the international job became available again. Mick is back and will lead Ireland into the upcoming European Championship qualifying campaign. It remains to be seen how he does in his second spell managing the Irish national side.

Iconic Moments: Keane’s brutal revenge (April 2001)

Roy Keane was never a player to mess around with and his feud with the Norwegian midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland was one of the most explosive with brutal revenge dished out.

The issue began in September 1997 when Keane was injured at Elland Road against Leeds United. The Irishman had been trying to tackle Haaland and in the process, injured his anterior cruciate ligament. The recently-appointed United skipper was stretchered from the field of play and would miss the rest of the season with the injury. Haaland showed no symphony and suggested Keane had feigned injury in trying to avoid punishment. Four years later, no mercy was shown.

In the Manchester Derby of April 2001, Keane saw his opportunity. He lunged in with a sickening tackle on Haaland’s right knee with Haaland now playing for Manchester City. Referee David Elleray had little choice but to send Keane off for the fourth time in his professional career. He was eventually fined £155,000 and received an eight-game ban after admitting in a biography that it was an act of vengeance over the criticism he received back in September 1997.

Haaland was forced to retire from professional football in July 2003 after failing to regain full fitness. He only played another five club games after the tackle and whilst it seems like wounds have healed since the incident, it remains one of the most dangerous and ugliest tackles and feuds we’ve seen between two opposition players in Premier League history.

Referees in the Middle: David Elleray

Premier League Career: 1992-2003

First Premier League Match: Liverpool FC 2-1 Sheffield United (19 August 1992)

Final Premier League Match: Newcastle United 1-0 Birmingham City (3 May 2003)

One of the most well-known and high-profile referees in the first decade of the Premier League, David Elleray was one of the strongest officials in the top-flight. He took charge of 197 games between 1992 and his retirement in 2003, handing out 540 yellow cards and 34 red cards.

A former geography teacher and housemaster at a public school in Harrow, Elleray took a firm and strict approach to the game at a time when referees were combining a full-time day job with weekend matches in the middle. He certainly was someone who you wouldn’t mess around with.

Educated at Dover Grammar School for Boys, David did dabble with the playing side of football at a young age but started taking charge of games at the age of just 13. It was a role he enjoyed doing and a hobby that soon turned into something he would be well-known for throughout the rest of his career.

A keen rugby enthusiast, he went to University and progressed through the non-league system until becoming a Football League official in 1986. Three years later, he took part in a trial which saw officials wear microphones during a tempestuous First Division clash between London rivals Millwall and Arsenal. It didn’t go well and David admitted in an interview with the BBC in 2013 that the documentary, shown on Channel 4 had been corrupted. He said: “I saw a preview which was very balanced, but it was then hijacked to become a witch-hunt of Arsenal. Bleeps were put in to give the impression that players were swearing when they hadn’t. They only showed the occasions when there was some sort of dispute between the players and me. They edited out all the good exchanges and gave the impression that Arsenal had behaved appallingly.”

Included on the original referees list for the inaugural Premier League season, Elleray is remembered for a number of incidents in his career. He was the official at the 1994 FA Cup final, handing two penalties on the day to Manchester United in their 4-0 victory over Chelsea. He later admitted in his autobiography that for the second spot-kick, scored by Eric Cantona, he “blew without thinking” and although he knew he had made a mistake, he could not change his mind.

However, he was well-respected by supporters, coaches and even repeat players who got in trouble with him. Roy Keane was sent off four times in his career by Elleray but there was no bad blood between the pair. The referee admitted: “I got a letter and a signed shirt from him when I retired. It demonstrates the relationship between players and referees are better than people think. When you’re away from the heat of battle on the field there is a mutual respect.”

In 1999, David was given two of the tastiest fixtures in the Premier League and they weren’t without any incidents either. In May 1999, Manchester United were going for The Treble and travelled to Anfield to face Liverpool FC. They were leading 2-0 when Liverpool produced a second half fightback with some help from the referee. He gave Liverpool a penalty, even though replays showed Jesper Blomqvist had cleanly tackled Oyvind Leonhardsen in the penalty area. Moments later, Denis Irwin was given a second yellow card for kicking the ball down the touchline. Sky Sports commentator Andy Gray couldn’t believe Elleray’s strict behaviour, saying on the broadcast: “I don’t believe it. It is a nothing offence.” Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said afterwards: “We would have won the game had it not been for the referee and we’re not going to allow him to deny us this opportunity.” United would win The Treble but there were still angered fans who disgustingly sent Elleray death threats afterwards.

Six months later, he took control of the North London Derby at White Hart Lane which saw Tottenham Hotspur defeat Arsenal 2-1. Freddie Ljungberg and Martin Keown were both sent off by Elleray and nine players were booked. Elleray admitted it was one of his toughest-ever matches he had to take control of.

His school commitments meant he missed out on going to a World Cup finals despite being the preferred choice in 1998 (Paul Durkin went instead) but he was a FIFA referee until 1999, taking charge of 40 international matches including the 1997 UEFA Super Cup final between Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund. In his final Premier League match, Birmingham’s Matthew Upson was sent off as the Blues lost 1-0 to Newcastle United in May 2003.

He was awarded an MBE in 2014 for his services to football and in May 2016, took the position of Technical Director for the International Football Association Board. His achievements mean David Elleray has to qualify as one of the Premier League’s most influential referees in the first 25 years of the competition.

Referees in the Middle: Jeff Winter

Premier League Career: 1995-2004

First Premier League Match: Nottingham Forest 0-0 Chelsea (23 August 1995)

Final Premier League Match: Charlton Athletic 2-1 Southampton (15 May 2004)

On average, Jeff Winter would officiate 20 Premier League matches a season and his no-nonsense approach to the game made him one of the leading officials in the country in his prime.

During his Premier League career, which lasted nine seasons, Winter took charge of 185 Premier League matches. He handed out 535 yellow cards, awarded 27 penalties and dished out the red card on 27 occasions too.

Manchester City’s Richard Edghill was the first victim of a red card from Jeff Winter. He picked up two bookable offences to see the tunnel earlier than his Manchester City teammates in a 3-1 reverse to Newcastle United in September 1995.

Other notable Premier League red cards he gave out included:

  • Sent off Blackburn Rovers debutant Garry Flitcroft inside of three minutes in a 3-0 home defeat to Everton in March 1996.
  • Dismissed Roy Keane in October 1996 in the first half as Manchester United crumbled away at Southampton, losing 6-3.
  • Gave Franck Leboeuf his marching orders after a petulant stamp on Harry Kewell as Chelsea went down 2-0 at home to Leeds United in December 1999.
  • John Hartson saw red for foul and abusive language in Wimbledon’s damaging 3-0 loss to Bradford City in April 2000; a result that played a crucial role in the “Crazy Gang’s” relegation from the top-flight in 1999-2000.
  • Sent off Christian Ziege in the closing stages of Spurs’ entertaining 3-2 win at Manchester City in December 2003. This turned out to be the last time Jeff Winter would show a red card in a Premier League match.

Two of Winter’s hardest Premier League games came in 2001. In August, he showed nine yellow cards and sent off both Lee Bowyer and Danny Mills for two bookable offences in the match between Arsenal and Leeds United at Highbury. Despite finishing with nine men, Leeds held on to a 2-1 victory.

Four months earlier, he made several dubious calls during a pulsating Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park. Winter awarded two controversial penalties, booked 11 players and harshly sent Igor Biscan off in a performance which was questionable to say the least.

His last match in professional football was the 2004 FA Cup final as Manchester United saw off First Division outfit Millwall 3-0 in the showpiece event.

After retirement, Winter appeared as a referee in the revived BBC programme ‘Superstars’ and became an official in Masters Football indoor tournaments. He has worked on radio from TFM Radio on Teeside, and also has a book out called ‘WHO’S THE B*****D IN THE BLACK? CONFESSIONS OF A PREMIERSHIP REFEREE’

Current Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce once said this of Winter: “He drives me nuts. An absolute prat – and you can print that as well.”

However, he did his job very well and won plenty of respect too.

Memorable Matches: Southampton 6-3 Manchester United (October 1996)

Goalscorers: Eyal Berkovic 6, 83, Matt Le Tissier 35, David Beckham 41, Egil Ostenstad 45, 85, David May 56, Paul Scholes 89, Phil Neville 90 OG

Teams:

Southampton: Dave Beasant, Jason Dodd, Richard Dryden, Claus Lundekvam, Simon Charlton (Graham Potter 70), Alan Neilson (Jim Magilton 75), Ulrich van Gobbel, Matt Oakley, Eyal Berkovic, Matt Le Tissier (Gordon Watson 88), Egil Ostenstad

Manchester United: Peter Schmeichel, David May, Gary Pallister (Denis Irwin 45), Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt (Brian McClair 17), Roy Keane (SENT OFF), David Beckham, Jordi Cruyff (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 83), Paul Scholes, Eric Cantona

Referee: Jeff Winter, Attendance: 15,256

Manchester United arrived at The Dell in October 1996 off the back of a humiliating 5-0 defeat to Newcastle United six days earlier. Manager Alex Ferguson must have been shell-shocked after the scoreline at St James’ Park. He was about to get another taste of embarrassment. This result will remain one of Southampton’s greatest and one of Manchester United’s worst in the Premier League era.

This match was played six months after the ‘grey shirt’ debacle when Manchester United lost 3-1 and changed their away kit at half-time because Ferguson claimed the players couldn’t see each other! This time, he could offer no excuses. His team were simply outplayed and outfoxed by a wily Southampton outfit.

The scoring began in the sixth minute. New signing Egil Ostenstad forced Peter Schmeichel into a save. However, Eyal Berkovic was in the right place to smash the ball past the Dane on the rebound. United’s cause wasn’t helped even further when Roy Keane picked up a red card inside of 21 minutes.

10 minutes before half-time, it was 2-0. Berkovic found Matt Le Tissier, who had plenty of time outside the penalty area. He evaded challenges from Brian McClair and David May before producing a delicate lob over Schmeichel’s head. It was another amazing goal in the Le Tissier collection. The Red Devils’ did find a quick response this time. David Beckham’s trademark free-kick reduced the deficit but not for long. Right on the stroke of half-time, Ostenstad bamboozled May and then somehow squeezed a shot past Schmeichel’s defences at his near post. The scoreline was 3-1 at half-time.

Another five goals would follow in the second half. Again, Manchester United responded. Beckham’s free-kick was nodded in at the back post by May, who was making up for his own shoddy defensive display. Then, with seven minutes left, Southampton scored their fourth goal. Israeli international Berkovic crashed in his second goal of the afternoon with a venomous volley from the edge of the penalty area after a corner wasn’t properly cleared by United’s weary defenders. Worse was to come.

Ostenstad raced past May again and beat Schmeichel to make it 5-2! Paul Scholes did grab a consolation shortly afterwards but there was still time for a sixth Saints’ goal. Substitute Gordon Watson played in Ostenstad who rounded Schmeichel and found the net again, via Phil Neville’s despairing attempt to stop the ball. Although Ostenstad deserved his hat-trick, the records officially show this quite harshly as a Neville own goal.

Manchester United would lose their unbeaten 40-year home record in Europe days later to Fenerbahce but would claim a fourth Premier League title in five years. Southampton survived again and their fans will never forget the afternoon when the reigning champions were hit for six of the best.

Iconic Moments: Keane vs. Vieira in the tunnel (February 2005)

On the first day of February in 2005, old rivals Arsenal and Manchester United clashed at Highbury. Both sides were a long way behind the frightening pace that Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea were setting and the managers had conceded the loser of this match would be out of the title race.

The match was the first since the ‘Pizzagate’ furore after the Red Devils’ 2-0 victory earlier in the season – a game which had ended Arsenal’s 49-match unbeaten sequence. The Gunners’ were after revenge. For Patrick Vieira, that meant trying to gain an advantage in the tunnel even before kick-off.

Sensing Manchester United’s right-back Gary Neville as a potential weak link, Vieira warned Neville that if he started dishing out sly challenges on his compatriot Robert Pires, he would: “come after him.”

Keane arrived in the tunnel late having forgotten his captain’s armband but heard what was said and took issue to the words used by Vieira.

Warning: The below video contains some explicit and strong language.

Match official Graham Poll was forced to take strong action with both, informing them to leave any issues in the tunnel and not drag it onto the pitch.

Mikael Silvestre was sent off for a head-butt on Freddie Ljungberg but it was Manchester United and Keane who had the last laugh on the night, winning 4-2 although Arsenal would still finish above them in the final standings and win the FA Cup final on penalties.

Seasonal Records: 1999-2000

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 1999-2000 Premier League campaign, which saw the biggest margin of victory between the top two in Premier League history.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 28 7 3 97 45 +52 91
2 Arsenal 38 22 7 9 73 43 +30 73
3 Leeds United 38 21 6 11 58 43 +15 69
4 Liverpool FC 38 19 10 9 51 30 +21 67
5 Chelsea 38 18 11 9 53 34 +19 65
6 Aston Villa 38 15 13 10 46 35 +11 58
7 Sunderland 38 16 10 12 57 56 +1 58
8 Leicester City 38 16 7 15 55 55 0 55
9 West Ham United 38 15 10 13 52 53 -1 55
10 Tottenham Hotspur 38 15 8 15 57 49 +8 53
11 Newcastle United 38 14 10 14 63 54 +9 52
12 Middlesbrough 38 14 10 14 46 52 -6 52
13 Everton 38 12 14 12 59 49 +10 50
14 Coventry City 38 12 8 18 47 54 -7 44
15 Southampton 38 12 8 18 45 62 -17 44
16 Derby County 38 9 11 18 44 57 -13 38
17 Bradford City 38 9 9 20 38 68 -30 36
18 Wimbledon 38 7 12 19 46 74 -28 33
19 Sheffield Wednesday 38 8 7 23 38 70 -32 31
20 Watford 38 6 6 26 35 77 -42 24

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1060
European qualifiers Manchester United (UEFA Champions League), Arsenal (UEFA Champions League), Leeds United (UEFA Champions League), Liverpool FC (UEFA Cup), Chelsea (UEFA Cup), Leicester City (UEFA Cup), Aston Villa (UEFA Intertoto Cup), Bradford City (UEFA Intertoto Cup)
Longest winning run 11 games (Manchester United)
Longest unbeaten run 16 games (Chelsea)
Longest winless run 11 games (Sunderland & Watford)
Longest losing run 8 games (Wimbledon)
Highest attendance 61,629 (Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur)
Lowest attendance 8,248 (Wimbledon vs. Sheffield Wednesday)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Roy Keane (Manchester United)
PFA Young Player of the Year Harry Kewell (Leeds United)
Football Writers’ Award Roy Keane (Manchester United)
PFA Team of the Year Nigel Martyn, Ian Harte, Gary Kelly, Sami Hyypia, Jaap Stam, Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira, David Beckham, Harry Kewell, Andy Cole, Kevin Phillips
Manager of the Year Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
Premier League Goal of the Season Paolo di Canio (WEST HAM UNITED vs. Wimbledon)

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Michael Bridges Southampton vs. Leeds United 0-3 11th August 1999
Andy Cole (4) Manchester United vs. Newcastle United 5-1 30th August 1999
Kevin Phillips Derby County vs. Sunderland 0-5 18th September 1999
Alan Shearer (5) Newcastle United vs. Sheffield Wednesday 8-0 19th September 1999
Kanu Chelsea vs. Arsenal 2-3 23rd October 1999
Marc Overmars Arsenal vs. Middlesbrough 5-1 21st November 1999
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (4) Manchester United vs. Everton 5-1 4th December 1999
Nick Barmby West Ham United vs. Everton 0-4 26th February 2000
Stan Collymore Leicester City vs. Sunderland 5-2 5th March 2000
Steffen Iversen Tottenham Hotspur vs. Southampton 7-2 11th March 2000
Dwight Yorke Manchester United vs. Derby County 3-1 11th March 2000
Paul Scholes Manchester United vs. West Ham United 7-1 1st April 2000
Dean Windass Bradford City vs. Derby County 4-4 21st April 2000

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Kevin Phillips Sunderland 30
2 Alan Shearer Newcastle United 23
3 Dwight Yorke Manchester United 21
4 Michael Bridges Leeds United 19
5 Andy Cole Manchester United 18
6 Thierry Henry Arsenal 17
7 Paolo di Canio West Ham United 16
8= Niall Quinn Sunderland 14
8= Chris Armstrong Tottenham Hotspur 14
10= Tony Cottee Leicester City 13
10= Steffen Iversen Tottenham Hotspur 13
10= Marian Pahars Southampton 13
13= Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United 12
13= Kanu Arsenal 12
13= Dion Dublin Aston Villa 12
13= Paulo Wanchope West Ham United 12
13= Hamilton Ricard Middlesbrough 12
13= Kevin Campbell Everton 12
13= Robbie Keane Coventry City 12
20= Michael Owen Liverpool FC 11
20= Gary McAllister Coventry City 11
22= Harry Kewell Leeds United 10
22= Emile Heskey Leicester City & Liverpool FC 10
22= Tore Andre Flo Chelsea 10
22= Nick Barmby Everton 10

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Newcastle United 8-0 Sheffield Wednesday 19th September 1999
Manchester United 7-1 West Ham United 1st April 2000
Tottenham Hotspur 7-2 Southampton 11th March 2000
Chelsea 5-0 Manchester United 3rd October 1999
Derby County 0-5 Sunderland 18th September 1999
West Ham United 5-0 Coventry City 22nd April 2000
Newcastle United 5-0 Southampton 16th January 2000
Everton 5-0 Sunderland 26th December 1999
Wimbledon 5-0 Watford 4th December 1999
Manchester United 5-1 Everton 4th December 1999

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
9 Tottenham Hotspur 7-2 Southampton 11th March 2000
9 West Ham United 5-4 Bradford City 12th February 2000
8 Newcastle United 8-0 Sheffield Wednesday 19th September 1999
8 Manchester United 7-1 West Ham United 1st April 2000
8 Everton 4-4 Leeds United 24th October 1999
8 Bradford City 4-4 Derby County 21st April 2000
7 Leicester City 5-2 Sunderland 5th March 2000
7 Middlesbrough 3-4 Manchester United 10th April 2000
7 Coventry City 3-4 Leeds United 11th September 1999
7 West Ham United 4-3 Sheffield Wednesday 21st November 1999
6 Manchester United 5-1 Newcastle United 29th August 1999
6 Manchester United 5-1 Everton 4th December 1999
6 Arsenal 5-1 Middlesbrough 20th November 1999
6 Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 Wimbledon 2nd October 1999
6 West Ham United 2-4 Manchester United 18th December 1999
6 Tottenham Hotspur 2-4 Aston Villa 15th April 2000
6 Newcastle United 4-2 Arsenal 14th May 2000
6 Everton 4-2 Watford 1st April 2000
6 Southampton 4-2 Newcastle United 15th August 1999
6 Manchester United 3-3 Southampton 25th September 1999

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Gary McSheffrey Sunderland 1-1 Coventry City 17 years, 16 days 29th August 1999
Jonathan Bewers Tottenham Hotspur 2-4 Aston Villa 17 years, 7 months, 5 days 15th April 2000
Joe Cole West Ham United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur 17 years, 8 months, 30 days 7th August 1999
Carlos Marinelli Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Middlesbrough 17 years, 9 months, 12 days 26th December 1999
Jordan Stewart Leicester City 1-3 West Ham United 17 years, 10 months, 19 days 22nd January 2000
Adam Murray Derby County 0-1 Bradford City 17 years, 11 months, 26 days 25th September 1999
Michael Carrick Bradford City 0-3 West Ham United 18 years, 1 month 28th August 1999
Graham Barrett Leicester City 0-3 Arsenal 18 years, 1 month, 28 days 4th December 1999
Steve Brooker Watford 2-3 Wimbledon 18 years, 2 months, 17 days 7th August 1999
Robert Betts West Ham United 5-0 Coventry City 18 years, 4 months, 1 day 22nd April 2000

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Steve Ogrizovic Coventry City 4-1 Sheffield Wednesday 42 years, 7 months, 24 days 6th May 2000
Neville Southall Bradford City 1-2 Leeds United 41 years, 5 months, 25 days 12th March 2000
Dave Watson Everton 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur 38 years, 1 month, 26 days 15th January 2000
Richard Gough Leicester City 1-1 Everton 38 years, 3 days 8th April 2000
Barry Horne Sheffield Wednesday 4-0 Leicester City 37 years, 11 months, 26 days 14th May 2000
Stuart Pearce West Ham United 2-0 Southampton 37 years, 10 months, 13 days 8th March 2000
Steve Bould Sunderland 2-1 Everton 37 years, 4 months, 9 days 25th March 2000
Raimond van der Gouw Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester United 37 years, 1 month, 20 days 14th May 2000
John Dreyer Bradford City 1-0 Liverpool FC 36 years, 11 months, 3 days 14th May 2000
David Seaman Arsenal 3-3 Sheffield Wednesday 36 years, 7 months, 20 days 9th May 2000

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Ed de Goey Chelsea 16
2 Sander Westerveld Liverpool FC 14
3 Nigel Martyn Leeds United 13
4 David James Aston Villa 12
5 Mark Bosnich Manchester United 11
6 Paul Gerrard Everton 10
7= Thomas Sorensen Sunderland 9
7= Mark Schwarzer Middlesbrough 9
7= Magnus Hedman Coventry City 9
7= Mart Poom Derby County 9