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.