Iconic Premier League Moments

Roy Carrol Clanger

The Goal That Wasn’t (Manchester United 0 Tottenham Hotspur 0, 4th January 2005)

Roy Carroll flaps Pedro Mendes’ speculative effort over the line in the closing stages of what had otherwise been a drab encounter between United and Spurs. Inexplicably the goal is not given despite everyone in the ground bar the linesman claiming to have seen the ball cross the line.

Carroll’s sheepish face should have told referee Mark Clattenburg all he needed to know. After plundering a clear goal back over his line the keeper casually glances in the assistant referee’s direction as bewildered as everyone else that he’d somehow gotten away with it. A comically inept explanation from linesman Rob Lewis  (‘there was nothing I could have done differently – apart from run faster than Linford Christie’) did nothing to sway angry fans. The campaign for goal line technology had begun…

What Happened Next…

  • Pedro Mendes would get his moment in the sun as he became Portsmouth’s chief talisman and purveyor of stonking goals in their legendary escape from relegation the following season.
  • Spurs would eventually stumble to a 3-2 win over United at Old Trafford seven years later. It was their first win there since 1989.
  • The Premier League responded by instantly implementing a goal-line technology system eight years later.
  • Roy Carroll was shepherded quietly out of the club via the back door. He recently reappeared  in Greece. His many years masquerading as a professional footballer should put him in good stead for a role as one of the T Birds.
  • The English press were left with no option but to crucify assistant referee Rob Lewis for his wrongdoing. ‘Seeing as the English game has never benefited from a dubious decision from a linesman before, it seemed the only fair course of action’ local newshound John Reporterson was quoted as saying whilst repeatedly stabbing Lewis in the side with a spear to make sure he was dead.

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Iconic Premier League Moments

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The Old Guard vs The Young Pretenders (Manchester United 4 Manchester City 3, 20th September 2009)

Michael Owen and his Manchester United teammates celebrate ecstatically as the veteran goal poacher scores a winner deep into stoppage time against arch rivals City.

‘You come at the king, you best not miss.’ So sayeth The Wire‘s Omar Little after a failed attempt on his life but the sentiment seems equally applicable here. New-money Manchester City came into this derby with a point to prove; that finally they were the match of their hideously successful neighbours, not just a troublesome handful but for once a genuine title rival. Manchester United, in turn, sought to put The Citizens in their place and show that there was still a clear gap in quality between the two sides. Over the course of an enthralling game it was United who triumphed in typically Fergisonic fashion but not before being dealt a scare by their east-city rivals. Despite the win it became clear the gap was closing.

What Happened Next…

  • Neither team would win the title that season. Manchester United would finish second to a resurgent Chelsea side. Manchester City would finish fifth narrowly missing out on the Champions League…
  • …However, The Citizens would go on to claim their rival’s crown two seasons later in a sensational down-to-the-wire title battle. City had officially announced themselves as a Premier League giant.
  • Michael Owen celebrated this, the high point of his Manchester United career, by keeping The Devils’ (and later Stoke’s) bench warm until his anticlimactic retirement a few years later.
  • Omar Little would terrorize gangsters on the mean streets of Baltimore for another four seasons. He remains one of the best-loved modern-day television characters of all time.

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Iconic Premier League Moments

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The Battle of Old Trafford (Manchester United 0 Arsenal 0, 21st September 2003)

Martin Keown defiantly launches himself upon a broken Ruud van Nistelrooy after the Manchester United striker misses a disputed penalty in the final minutes of a bad-tempered game. Although still early in the season the match (and miss) would prove decisive as Arsenal would go on to finish the season as undefeated champions; an unmatched feat. The Invincibles’ legacy may not be associated with brutality but that team was born in the fire and blood of this moment.

What Happened Next…

  • Several Arsenal and Manchester United players were charged by the FA as a result of a brawl that erupted because of the confrontation between Keown and van Nistelrooy. Some received bans including Keown himself.
  • The Invincibles went unbeaten for 49 matches; an English league record. Sometimes they even gave Pascal Cygan a run-out, the footballing equivalent of arm-wrestling with your weaker hand because you’re just that good. The run did eventually come to an end…
  • …in the following season’s corresponding fixture, United coming out on top 2-0 to stop their rivals one short of 50. The decisive goal came from the penalty spot after Rooney went down in controversial fashion. Ruud van Nistelrooy stepped up to score and symbolically get the angry, arm-waving monkey(own) off his back. Beautiful…football is just beautiful…

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Iconic Premier League Moments

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The Keegan Slump (Liverpool 4 Newcastle United 3, 3rd April 1996)

Kevin Keegan sinks in despair as his title-challenging Newcastle side concede a last-gasp winner  in a barnstorming, pulsating 4-3 defeat to Liverpool. The picture beautifully captures the ‘wears-his-heart-on-his-sleeve’ Keegan’s mix of exasperation and anguish as his team capitulates in the dying seconds. The defeat would hand advantage to Manchester United in an era-making title race that would cement the Red Devil’s place at the apex of the game and make stars of the ‘class of 92’ (apparently you can win things with kids). It is now a reference point for any worth-his-salt pundit seeking to thunder on about the merits of the Premier League.  

What Happened Next…

  • The game would later be voted Match of the Decade by the Premier League 10 Seasons Awards.
  • Liverpool and Newcastle would  feature in a identikit sequel the following season as the Reds once again overcame the Magpies 4-3 at Anfield in a game not as quite era-defining but entertaining nonetheless. Everyone sort of shrugged.
  • Stan Collymore, scorer of the all important final goal in the first match, would also star in a disappointing, unimaginative sequel: the pointless Basic Instinct 2. He played a footballer who gets off on masturbating at dangerously high speeds in his car and would describe the role as the most challenging of his career.
  • Kevin Keegan disappeared shortly after the match and has not been seen or heard from since.*
*Unverified.

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