Antonio Conte once famously said: “Just one regular day of Barclays (Premier League), that’s all I ask. It will never happen”. As the Italian tactician testified, an uninteresting day in the Premier League is pretty hard to come by.
The Premier League offers so much more than just great football, it also offers up some of the craziest moments you could imagine. So we’ve dived into the history books and dug up the top 10 craziest Premier League moments in history that we could find.
10 – “LETS BE ‘AVING YOU”
In the 2004-05 season, Norwich were staring down the barrel of relegation. Celebrity chef & board-member Delia Smith was seemingly so unimpressed by the crowd’s support that she felt compelled to take to the pitch at half-time. She then went on to make a now infamous and cringe-worthy rallying call to the supporters over the tannoy.
Her efforts were all in-vain as Norwich went on to lose 3-2 to Liverpool.
9 – Santa’s Crash Landing to the Premier League
17th December 1998, Aston Villa were hosting Arsenal at Villa Park. As part of the Christmas festivities, it was planned that former RAF flight sergeant Nigel Rogoff would parachute into the stadium dressed as Santa Claus. What could go wrong?
Well, Nigel AKA Santa, lost control and crashed into the roof of the stadium then fell to the pitch below. All in front of the thousands of fans in attendance. He even had to have his leg amputated as a result of the crash.
The silver lining though, he went on to marry the nurse who was caring for him at the rehabilitation centre at Headley Court in Epsom. The couple had twins called Harry and Oliver. A happy ending!
8 – Roy Keane’s Revenge
Roy Keane is not a man to be messed with. Anyone with even a rough concept of football could tell you that. There are people who don’t understand the offside rule that know this. However, no one passed the memo to Alf-Inge Haaland, who decided that berating an injured Roy Keane rolling on the floor in pain was a good idea.
SPOILER ALERT – it wasn’t
The next time Keane met the Norweigan on the pitch, he saw his chance for revenge and took it, issuing one of the most brutal, blood-curdling tackles the Premier League has ever seen. Unsurprisingly, He gave Haaland a mouthful as he lay injured on the ground and he received a straight red for the challenge. Keane later admitted in a book he did it intentionally and had no regrets.
Haaland attempted to sue him for those comments, arguing Keane had admitted to ending his career. However, the lawsuit was thrown out as Haaland played a couple of weeks after the tackle for Norway and it was ultimately his other knee, which he’d already had persistent issues with (you can see it’s bandaged already in the picture above), that ended his career.
7 – Hull’s Pitch Team Talk
Things were going well for newly promoted Hull in the 2008-09 season. At Christmas they found themselves 6th in the Premier League. But come Boxing Day, things were not going so well, as they found themselves 4-0 down at half-time at the Etihad.
The teams walked in for half-time and much to the bemusement of the fans and the cameras in the stadium, one of the teams quickly reemerged. The Hull players and the manager, Phil Brown, took to the pitch to do their half-time team talk there instead of in the confines of the dressing room.
Why? No one knows. Did he think it would motivate the players? Was he high on his own farts? Did a parasitic worm living in his brain tell him to do it? Nobody knows but it was certainly bizarre.
6 – David James The Striker
Picture the scene: The last game of the 2004-05 season. With 2 minutes of normal time remaining City are level 1-1 with Middlesbrough. They need a goal to secure qualification for the UEFA cup. Stuart Pearce needs to make a change. Does he look to £5 million striker Jon Macken? No. Nicky Weaver second choice keeper came on for midfielder Claudio Reyna and David James ditched the gloves, donned the ready-made outfield #1 jersey and the rest is history.
What followed was the most incredible 7-minute cameo performance that the world has ever seen. It almost worked as well had it not been for Robbie Fowler’s poorly-placed penalty.
Why did Stuart Pearce do it? Nobody knows. Maybe he’d been infected with a mind-controlling parasitic worm from Phil Brown? I don’t know but, I believe striker Macken probably retired out of embarrassment.
5 – Liverpool’s Day At The Beach
Out there somewhere in the world, there is a Liverpool fan. He has his tea, gets his Steven Gerrard PJs on, gets tucked up into bed, and then lies there all night thinking about what he did on October 17th 2009.
What happened? Well, on first impressions Darren Bent latches on to a loose ball in the penalty area, 5 minutes into Sunderland vs Liverpool at the Stadium of Light. And he blasts it past Pepe Reina.
Quickly a fuller picture became clear. On the ball’s journey to the goal, it struck some kind of inflatable object. The ball had gone right, the inflatable left, and Reina was stuck in the middle trying to save the inflatable, if any.
Further investigation showed that the “balloon” was in fact a beach ball. The final nail in the coffin – it was a Liverpool-branded beach ball, thrown by a, now sleepless, Liverpool fan.
4 – Arsenal’s Mistaken Identity
After 7 minutes Arsenal were already 2-0 down to Chelsea in March 2014. Then at the 14th minute, Hazard found himself beautifully positioned to try to bend one into the corner. And try he did. Oxlade-Chamberlain, out of pure desperation to save his team from a dreadful afternoon, made a diving save – clearly handballing it.
But the transpiring melee of players seemed to confuse referee Andre Marriner, who subsequently sent off Kieran Gibbs instead of the guilty party. Even though Oxlade-Chamberlain protested declaring: “It was me!”
The irony was, Hazard’s shot appeared to be going wide, and Arsenal went on to lose 6-0 to their London rivals.
3 – Manchester United’s Wardrobe Malfunction
In April 1996, Manchester United seemed on an unstoppable charge for the title. They’d won 11 of their last 12 when they arrived at The Dell to play relegation-threatened Southampton. The result seemed almost a foregone conclusion but there was to be a twist in the tale.
By half-time, United were 3-0 down and being completely outperformed by the team on the opposite side of the table. But what happened next was the real talking point. Much to the surprise of the fans at the game, when the United team re-emerged after half-time they had changed the strip from their original grey shirt to their blue & white alternative shirt.
Post-match Sir Alex explained that the reason for the change was because the players were struggling to pick each other out in the grey kit against the backdrop of the crowd. However many years later, Man United winger Lee Sharpe said that none of the players had even mentioned the kit and they just thought they’d performed poorly.
2 – Bowyer vs Dyer: Clash Of The Magpies
The 2004-05 season will not be looked back on fondly on Tyneside. A rocky start to the season saw the much-loved Sir Bobby Robson sacked as manager with Graeme Souness brought in to replace him. But things didn’t really improve from there.
This all culminated on the 2nd of April 2005 in one of the most bizarre games of football to ever grace the Premier League.
5 minutes into the game against Aston Villa at St James’ Park, Newcastle found themselves already 1-0 down thanks to some sloppy defending and a blistering shot from Columbian, Angel. Newcastle fought well to try to get back in the game and had some solid claims to a couple of penalties that fell on deaf ears.
But around the 70th-minute mark, courtesy of some more sloppy defending, Darius Vassell found himself through on goal 1-on-1. But it wasn’t Goalkeeper Shay Given that Vassell was staring down, it was defender Steven Taylor. Nobody had told Steven Taylor that schoolyard “flying keeper” rules aren’t applicable in the Premier League though.
Vassell shot, and Taylor saved it. Taylor then proceeded to give the acting performance of a lifetime to try to convince the referee that it had struck his ribs and not his arm. Philip Seymour Hoffman even admitted after winning the Oscar for Best Actor that year for his role in ‘Capote’, that the victory felt hollow and had Steven been nominated, he would have won.
(I made that last bit up.)
Despite his best acting efforts, Taylor was sent off and Gareth Barry buried the subsequent penalty. But things were about to go from bad to worse for the Magpies.
Not long after, Villa got another penalty for a rough shoulder barge from Steve Carr on Vassell, despite the challenge appearing to be outside the box. Barry dispatched it and 10-man Newcastle were now 3-0 down.
Tensions then reached boiling point. Team-mates Lee Bowyer and Keiran Dyer exchanged heated words and those heated words quickly descended into a full-on bar brawl between the two. Punches were thrown, shirts were ripped. Eventually, the 2 were separated by Villa and Newcastle players alike.
Barry Knight the referee had no choice but to dismiss both the fledgling boxers and Newcastle were down to 8 men. Newcastle managed to keep the score to 3-0 but the embarrassment and legacy went far beyond the scoreline.
1 – Cantona’s Kung-Fu Kick
On January 25th 1995, Manchester United faced Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. It was a cold wet miserable Wednesday night that was about to become undoubtedly the most infamous night the Premier League would ever see.
The game was cagey and just after half-time Cantona tried to get in on the end of a ball in behind. Clearly unimpressed by the Palace defender’s attempts to prevent him from doing so, Cantona kicked out at him in full view of the linesman.
The referee brandished a straight red card to the Frenchman with his collar iconically flicked up. The commentary team even hastily remarked: “There’s the morning headline”, but they were about to be proved very very wrong.
As Cantona made his way to the tunnel, a fan in the crowd made a remark that would infuriate the Manchester United man to the point of mounting the advertising hoardings and unleashing a kick in a style normally seen in Jackie Chan films.
What followed off the pitch was almost as dramatic as the incident on the pitch. He was handed a 9-month ban by the football authorities and 120 hours of community service by the actual authorities. There was also an infamous press conference where Cantona came, said his bit about coastal birds, and then instantly left.
History looks back on this incredible instance more fondly than public opinion at the time. The reason being it later transpired the remarks from the Palace fan were racial. The bloke kicked a racist, what’s wrong with that? Eric said his only regret was that he didn’t kick him harder.
Can you think of any other insane Premier League memories that we’ve missed? Leave a comment down below!
Manchester United fan and FPL enthusiast with over a decade as a season ticketer at Old Trafford, though currently enjoying life in an armchair.