When Sky famously promised ‘a whole new ball game’ with the launch of the Premier League back in 1992, I don’t think anyone envisioned just how much football would change.
Simple Minds’ ‘Alive and Kicking’ kicked off proceedings and to millions of us, will forever be synonymous with the Premier League and Sunday afternoon’s watching matches on Sky Sports.
Yet what about its 25-year history?
It’s crazy to think the Premier League, come 15 August, will turn 25-years-old – so many memories, especially for the fans of the teams that have experienced it.
Well forget the best or the worst moments, let’s take a look at all the times the Premier League has brought laughter into our lives.
It’s been hard to narrow down from such a huge catalogue of gaffs, jokes and everything inbetween and in no particular order, here are the ones that are most memorable to me.
Possibly one of my favourite stories involves Southampton, then boss Graeme Souness and a ‘footballer’ named Ali Dia – the most famous phoney in the history of British football.
The striker ended up at the club after a recommendation from someone pretending to be George Weah on the phone and due to injury problems, came on for Matt Le Tissier in the Saints’ game against Leeds United,… after just one training session.
Dia was so bad he was taken off after 53 minutes and Southampton unsurprisingly lost the game 2-0.
He may have left Souness red-faced but ensured years of laughter for the rest of us.
12 years on from her infamous half-time speech and Delia Smith is probably more renowned for this public outburst than her cooking!
‘Let’s be havin’ you’ she cries into the PA system as her beloved Norwich took on Manchester City at Carrow Road.
Speaking afterwards, the Canaries fan conceded:
My message to the fans was a totally spontaneous appeal from the heart.
Maybe in the heat of the moment I didn’t choose the best words
You don’t say!
Jimmy Bullard is one of those players, well former player, who’s gained a reputation for being a bit of a comedian and he makes the list with his greatest goal celebration ever.
It all started when his Hull side conceded four first-half goals against Man City at Eastlands in the season before and manager Phil Brown gave a furious half-time team talk on the pitch.
Brown spent three minutes with his players, in front of the fans who had travelled down from East Yorkshire, wagging his finger at various individuals.
So as the stars would have it written, Bullard goes and scores the equaliser in the same fixture the following season, celebrating in the best way possible.
Bullard sits his team-mates down, stands in the middle of them replicating Brown and starts to wag his finger at them as the Hull players laughed and cheered.
Arguably one of the best goal celebrations in PL history.
The next moment needs no introduction – a fired up Kevin Keegan in response to Sir Alex Ferguson who had riled the Newcastle manager during their ‘95/’96 title race.
As Man United’s form started to dip, Fergie turned the screw by suggesting the likes of Nottingham Forest might not try as hard against Newcastle as they did against his side.
After victory at Leeds at the end of the season, Keegan snapped on television:
And I’ll tell you, honestly, I will love it if we beat them. Love it!
Now this is a personal favourite of mine, and no not because I’m a supporter of a specific team in claret and blue…
Midfielder David Dunn – during a derby game against fierce rivals Aston Villa – believed he had the skill set to pull off a rabona.
Instead, he stabbs the ball and ends up lying on the floor in a mangled mess – no more words needed.
Birmingham City feature again, this time with Mr Marmite himself, Robbie Savage,… with the help of the referee and Alan Shearer.
During City’s game against Newcastle, as Savage runs back up the pitch, the referee fails to spot him and as he swings his arm out to make a signal, he clatters the Welsh man in the face – flooring him in the process.
Probably the funniest we’ve seen Shearer too – he proceeds to get a red card from the ref’s pocket before showing it to him.
Now Robert Pires and Thierry Henry are both regarded as two of the Premier League’s greatest ever players – however there’s one gaff from the pair of them, neither will be able to live down.
In 2005, after earning a spot kick against Manchester City, Pires stepped up to the spot, however, the Frenchman attempted to pass the ball to Henry so his team mate could score.
Pires merely brushed the ball, meaning it didn’t move from the spot, causing Henry to run past it – the referee awarded City a free-kick in the opposite direction.
In April 1999, during a Merseyside derby, Everton supporters had been taunting Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler for supposedly indulging in class-A narcotics.
The Reds hero responded in the best way possible – he scored from the penalty spot in Liverpool’s 3-2 victory before going on to bag another.
However his celebration drew wide-spread criticism.
Fowler mimicked snorting cocaine on one of the white lines on the Anfield turf.
Gerard Houllier, manager at the time, tried to stick up for Fowler, suggesting he was ‘eating grass’, but the striker was hit with a £32,000 ban and a two-game suspension.
It was a four-game ban in all after Fowler had received another two-match suspension days before following an altercation with Chelsea defender Graeme Le Saux.
They say when a bird poops on you, it means good luck is coming your way.
I don’t think Ashley Young will have seen it like that when, during Manchester United’s home loss to Swansea in 2015, a bird did just that.
Not only did said bird poop on the winger, his deposit shall we say, landed in his mouth – sickening for Young, hilarious for us!
Young has since denied it happened, but who am I to pass judgement!
Wrapping it up at number ten, I’ve gone for an older clip – a moment that many may have deemed more painful than funny.
For the lads reading this, imagine how painful it would be to go sliding into the goal post, crown jewels first, while the opposition scores…
Poor Phill Bab!
Now there’s been plenty more I wanted to include – trouble is you guys wouldn’t spend all night reading about them, so here are a couple of others you can go and google until your hearts are content!
- Watford’s seven-foot mascot Harry the Hornet mocking Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha with a comic dive on Boxing Day – there’s plenty of incidents where mascots have caused trouble.
- Teammates Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer fighting each other during Newcastle’s home defeat to Aston Villa.
- Andrei Kanchelskis, while playing for Everton, standing on the ball mid-game
One thing’s for sure, the Premier League 2017/18 season is bound to produce a few golden moments…