With so much incredible sporting talent amongst its ranks, it’s no wonder that the Premier League has inspired some moments of absolute greatness.
From Kevin Keegan’s TV meltdown, to David Beckham’s halfway lob against Wimbledon, there have been many unforgettable goals, tantrums, and surprises since the Premier League’s inception in 1992, and here is your chance to relive some of the best.
United make it 19
There is no question that Manchester United’s 13 Premier League titles make them the most successful club in the relatively short history of the competition.
But on May 14, 2011, Manchester United officially became the most successful club in English football history, having won their 19th league title (including victories in the old Division One).
The previous record holders were Liverpool, who despite never having won a Premier League title, had been league champions 18 times prior to 1992.
Graeme Souness receives a prank call
In November 1996, Graeme Souness, then manager at Southampton, took a phone call from a man claiming to be former world player of the year and AC Milan star, George Weah.
The man told Souness that he had a cousin called Ali Dia who had played for Paris St. Germain, and that he would like Souness to give him a trial.
Souness promptly signed Dia on a short-term contract and put him straight on the substitutes’ bench for a match against Leeds. Dia came on during the 32nd minute.
Over the next 53 minutes of play, it became all too clear that Dia bore no footballing likeness to the brilliant Weah and he himself was substituted in the 85th minute. It turned out that the caller wasn’t Weah, but friend of Dia’s making a prank call, and that Dia’s former club was in fast Blyth Spartans.
Southampton let Dia go the following week and he returned to the North East, where he signed for non-league Gateshead and scored on his debut.
Alan Hansen’s gaff
After champions Manchester United lost 3-1 away to Aston Villa on the first day of the 1995-96 season, BBC pundit Alan Hansen was highly critical of Alex Ferguson’s team, blaming the poor start on the abundance of young players in the team.
His statement that “you can’t win anything with kids” turned out to be so very wrong. United went on to win both the league and the FA Cup double that same year.
Paolo Di Canio pushes the ref to the floor
There are many outrageous and shocking moments involving the maverick Italian, Paolo Di Canio. However, it was an incident he was involved in when playing for Sheffield Wednesday that stands out among all others.
In September 1998, when Wednesday were playing Arsenal, Di Canio and Gunner Martin Keown became involved in a scuffle. Referee Paul Alcock sent off Di Canio. This prompted the Italian to protest wildly before shoving Alcock to the ground. Di Canio was punished with a £10,000 fine and an 11-match ban.
Beckham scores from the halfway line
It was in a match against Wimbledon in August 1996 that David Beckham first came to the attention of the world.
Towards the end of a routine win for United (at which point they were leading 2-0), Beckham saw that the Dons’ keeper, Neil Sullivan, was off his line. Beckham lobbed the ball from the halfway line and it went over the shocked Sullivan’s head and into the net.
Cantona’s kung-fu kick
An otherwise boring game for Manchester United away at Crystal Palace went into the history books for all the wrong reasons in January 1995. In the 56th, the referee sent off Eric Cantona for a foul against his marker, Richard Shaw.
During his retreat to the dressing room, Cantona certainly turned back and launched a kung-fu kick at an abusive Palace fan in the crowd.
Cantona received an eight-month ban from the FA, while a criminal assault charge led to 120 hours of community service for the Frenchman.
It was following a win against Leeds in April 1996, that then-Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan lost his cool live on air in response to comments made by Alex Ferguson.
The Manchester United manager had made the comment that other teams wouldn’t try as hard against Newcastle as they would against his own team. Keegan began to bellow the line he would live to regret: “I would love it if we beat them – love it!”
As Keegan rose to Ferguson’s gamesmanship, he showed himself to be ill-equipped for the pressures of a title challenge. Newcastle duly gave away what had been a commanding 12-point lead in the title race, before eventually losing out to United.
Luis Suarez lets his teeth do the talking
In April 2013, Liverpool played Chelsea at home. Ending in a 2-2 draw, the match was remarkable only for the fact that it was the game in which Luis Suarez sunk his teeth into Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic after losing the ball with a fair tackle. Suarez then protested his innocence to the ref and went on to score an equaliser in the dying minutes of the game.
The FA reviewed the issue and slapped him with a 10-match ban and a fine of an undisclosed amount. What’s even more remarkable is that this was the second of three times that Suarez has bitten an opponent during his professional career so far.
Arsenal go whole season without losing
In the 2003-04 season, Arsenal were dubbed “Les Invincibles”. This was due in part to the strong French contingent in the team, but also to the fact that the Gunners went the whole season without losing a single match in the Premier League.
On the final day of the season, they were losing 1-0 to Leicester, before getting two goals back and winning their last match. Many pundits predict that their remarkable record of 49 without losing will never be beaten.
West Brom stay up
Perceived wisdom is that the club who are bottom of the league at Christmas will end the season being relegated.
This is because this has always been the case in every Premier League season – until the 2004-05 season, that is, when West Brom sat at the foot of the table at Christmas.
In fact, West Brom were still propping up the table on the last day of the season, during which they were fighting Crystal Palace, Norwich and Southampton to stay up. Palace and Norwich drew and Southampton lost at home to Manchester United.
This meant that West Brom’s 2-0 win against Portsmouth was enough to keep the Baggies in the Premier League by a slim one-point margin. Their narrow escape continues to ensure West Brom of their place in the history books.