View Full Version : The Times Top 50 Moments in English Football

31-07-2008, 21:00
Gypsy, your beloved Hammers are in the top spot:D:D...
Lpool vs West Ham,FA Cup should be in the top 50 but it isn't..

Watching a great game or important event on TV or reading about it in the papers - all well and good, but not quite the same as being there, is it? What if you had a time machine and could set it to take you back to any point in football history? Which matches, which moments, would you choose - so you could proudly say, years later, "I was there"? Here's our list; let us know which magic moments you'd love to have witnessed in the flesh.

50. Jose Mourinho announces he is “a special one,” 2004

“I’m a European champion… I’m a special one,” announced a confident young Portuguese manager at his press unveiling, inadvertently providing the media with his nickname. And it proved accurate enough.

49. Tottenham 6 Reading 4, 2007

One of those classics that the Christmas fixture list seems to create, with four goals for Dimitar Berbatov at White Hart Lane on December 29. Reading were even in the lead with fifteen minutes left.

48. Wayne Rooney scores a hat trick on his Manchester United debut, 2004

Talk about a dream debut. The 18-year-old’s first appearance since limping out of Euro 2004 was an immense display of attacking football that brought him his first senior hat-trick as United beat Fenerbahce 6-2.

47. Chesterfield 3 Middlesbrough 3, 1997
A sensational game, tarnished by the inexplicable decision of David Elleray, the referee, to disallow a “goal” that would surely have sent the mid-table side from the third tier into the FA Cup Final against their Premier League opponents. Chesterfield went 2-0 up but Middlesbrough pulled level and took the lead in extra time, but the underdogs equalised in the 119th minute to earn a replay, which they lost.

46. Charlton Athletic overcome Sunderland to reach the top flight, 1998

The greatest of the play-off finals – and there have been a lot of superb ones – saw Charlton prevail on penalties after a 4-4 draw at Wembley.

45. David Beckham scores from the halfway line, 1996

This was a more impressive piece of individualism than Cantona’s attack on the same ground eighteen months earlier. The young midfield player announced the reliable excellence of his right foot by lobbing Neil Sullivan from the halfway line as United beat Wimbledon 3-0 in South London on the season’s opening day.

44. Sutton United: giantkillers, 1989

Such is the gap between the Premier League’s top four and everyone else that it created shockwaves last season when Barnsley beat Liverpool and Chelsea, who were only a division higher. But this is the biggest shock in the past 21 years, because Sutton are the most recent non-league team to have knocked a top-flight side out of the FA Cup – back in January, 1989, when Coventry City – winners in 1987 – lost 2-1.

43. Blackburn win the Premier League title, 1995

Rovers lost 2-1 to Liverpool but Manchester United’s failure to beat West Ham United gave Kenny Dalglish’s side the title on the final day. Why so important? Because in the thirteen subsequent seasons, only United, Arsenal and Chelsea have won the title, and can you see a winner from outside that three, especially from a club as small as Blackburn, breaking the hegemony?

42. Leeds shocked at “Slayer Road”, 1971

Another one of those games that has entered into Cup folklore. Colchester United, of the fourth division, with a team of veterans nicknamed “Grandads’ Army”, beat the hardnosed first division leaders 3-2 in the fifth round at Layer Road.

41. Villa win the European Cup, 1982

Tony Barton had only taken charge three months prior and Nigel Spink, the reserve goalkeeper, was playing only his second game, but the underdogs beat Bayern Munich 1-0 in Rotterdam to ensure the trophy returned to England for the sixth successive year.

40. Eric and the seagulls, 1995

“When ze seagulls (sips water) follow ze trawler… it is because zey think sardines will be thrown into ze… sea. Thank you very much (leaves).” Eric Cantona’s post kung-fu kick press conference, surely the most bizarre in history; but this oblique dig at the press merely enhanced his legend.

39. Ricky Villa’s goal, 1981

Villa and his fellow Argentina star, Ossie Ardiles, had signed for Tottingham after the 1978 World Cup. In the 1981 FA Cup Final replay, he showed his genius with two goals, one a magical dribble, as Spurs came from behind to beat Manchester City.

38. Pickles the dog finds the Jules Rimet trophy, 1966

The nation’s canine hero found a parcel in a front garden in Norwood - and it was only the World Cup, stolen a couple of months before the 1966 World Cup finals.

37. Bert Trautmann breaks his neck in the 1956 FA Cup Final

The goalkeeper and former German POW played the final fifteen minutes of the Final without realising he had broken his neck after diving to save at the feet of Peter Murphy, of Birmingham City. Manchester City won 3-1 and X-Rays later revealed the potentially fatal fracture.

36. The clown and Clough, 1973

Brian Clough, talking as a TV pundit, reckoned that Poland were sending in “a clown” to keep England at bay, but in front of the best atmosphere at Wembley since 1966, Jan Tomaszewski produced a marvellous performance to preserve the score at 1-1 despite huge England pressure, meaning that the winners in ’66 did not qualify for the 1974 World Cup finals.

35. Rene Higuita’s scorpion kick, 1995

Thought Gordon Banks’s save from Pele was good? Pah. He used his hands. Higuita continued the long tradition of goalkeeping eccentricity by enlivening a dull Wembley friendly with his party piece, the Colombian throwing himself forward and clearing the ball from behind with his heels.

34. Liverpool 5 Alaves 4, 2001

Gerard Houllier’s men won their first European title for 17 years in dramatic style against the Spaniards in Dortmund. It was 4-4 after normal time, then with Alves reduced to nine men, Gary McAllister’s free kick deflected in for a golden goal winner, giving Liverpool a treble – Uefa Cup, League Cup, FA Cup.

33. Michael Owen scores and David Beckham sees red in St Etienne, 1998

Talk about contrasts. Owen scored one of the best individual goals in World Cup history, while David Beckham was sent off for his petulant kick on Diego Simeone and would endure an almighty public and press backlash that would last for about two years, at which point we all loved him again.

32. Stan Collymore leaves it late, 1996

Liverpool 4 Newcastle 3, one of the best games in Premier League history, with an injury-time winner from Collymore badly damaging the Toon’s title hopes

31. Nottingham Forest win the European Cup, 1979

The win over Malmo in Munich was the culmination of a remarkable rise under the management of Old Big ‘Ead. Forest were champions of Europe just two years after winning promotion from the second division. And they did it again the next year.

30. Nayim from the halfway line, 1995

Arsenal were just seconds from a penalty shootout when Nayim, the former Tottenham midfield player, lobbed David Seaman from 50 yards, winning the Cup Winners’ Cup for Real Zaragoza and securing his status as a White Hart Lane hero.

29. Stokoe and Monty stun Leeds, 1973

The hat-wearing Bob Stokoe’s Sunderland became the first second-division side to win the Cup in 42 years by beating Leeds United 1-0. Stokoe famously ran on the pitch to embrace his goalkeeper, Jim Montgomery, and quite rightly, since “Monty” had made a sensational double save.

28. Paul Gascoigne scores against Scotland, 1996

Things would change a few days later, but at this point in the tournament it was wonderful to be an England fan. Victory over Scotland at Wembley and Gazza being Gazza, with a superbly original goal and a silly celebration. Football had come home and anything seemed possible, especially after the 4-1 win over the Dutch in the final group game.

27. Stanley Matthews says goodbye, 1965

This tribute match at the Victoria Ground was a fitting farewell for the 50-year-old maestro after a 33-year career. He was in fine form against an International XI including several other legends it would also have been a privilege to watch in the flesh – the likes of Alfredo di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas and Lev Yashin.

26. Jimmy Glass saves Carlisle, 1999

Last minute of the last game of the season and Carlisle United, once of the top-flight, are about to be relegated to the non-league. Their on-loan goalkeeper goes up for a corner and scores the goal against Plymouth Argyle that saves Carlisle and dooms Scarborough. Carlisle’s hero did not play for the club again, drifted out of professional football two years later and became an IT salesman.

25. The United States beat England, 1950

One of the greatest upsets in World Cup history, as England somehow lost to a team of part-timers (many not born in America) in Belo Horizonte, the only goal coming in the 57th minute.

24. David Beckham’s free kick against Greece, 2001

One glorious piece of excellence to send England to the 2002 World Cup, as Beckham reminded us all that he was a great footballer, not just a famous brand. Needing a draw to avoid entering a play-off, Beckham’s injury-time free kick gave Sven-Goran Eriksson’s men just that. And let’s not forget that Beckham’s all-round indefatigable display was one of the finest of any England player in recent decades.

23. The Christmas Day armistice match, 1914

Clearly no one would have wanted to be in the trenches, but this was a special moment: German soldiers sang Christmas carols, the British did the same, and troops met in no-man’s-land, exchanged gifts and began a few games of football – despite the freezing conditions. The only recorded result was a 3-2 win for Germany.

22. Manchester City stun Spurs, 2004

The greatest comeback in FA Cup history, surely (or the greatest collapse, if you like). A rampant Spurs, 3-0 up at home to a side in disarray that had lost Nicolas Anelka to injury and seen Joey Barton dismissed for dissent at half time, lost 4-3 in a fourth-round replay. Kevin Keegan’s madcap motivational management tuned to the max.

21. Germany 1 England 5, 2001

False dawn of the Sven-Goran Eriksson regime this may have been, but this thrashing in Munich was perhaps England’s best performance since Euro 96, and something to cling to in the dully defensive years that followed it.

20. Magic Magyars thump England, 1953

England’s undefeated home record against continental opponents was demolished, along with the myth of English superiority, as Hungary won 6-3 at Wembley, Ferenc Puskas leading the way as Billy Wright’s side were utterly outclassed.

19. The “Matthews Final”, 1953

The 38-year-old “Wizard of Dribble”, a mere twelve years from retirement, finally won the FA Cup winners’ medal that had eluded him for two decades, Blackpool coming from 3-1 down to beat Bolton 4-3.

18. The first FA Cup Final, 1872

It would have borne scant resemblance to today’s game, but The Wanderers beat Royal Engineers 1-0 at Kennington Oval in front of about 2,000 people, and were presented with a silver cup. Fifteen teams had entered, in the days when real men wore moustaches.

17. Eric Cantona tries kung fu, 1995

Sent off for kicking an opponent as Manchester United met Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, Cantona did not go quietly, reacting to abuse from spectators by lunging feet-first at a fan standing behind an advertising hoarding and punching him, causing a sensation. He was banned for nine months. Quelle folie!

16. Wembley’s White Horse final, 1923

The first Cup Final to be staged at the stadium, and also the birth of a legend: the policeman, Constable Scorey, on his white steed, Billy, who herded the crowd back when overcrowding caused them to spill on to the pitch.

15. Ryan Giggs goes solo against Arsenal, 1999

One of the best semi-finals in Cup history was settled by a stunning winner deep in extra time, as Giggs ran 70 yards to put his ten-man Manchester United side into the final.

14. Ronnie Radford tries his luck from distance, 1972

Obviously you wouldn’t want to have been there in your best clothes – all that mud – but it would have been a treat at Edgar Street to witness Hereford United, of the Southern League, humbling top-flight Newcastle United in a third round replay, with a goal – that goal – from Radford

13. Penalties, the Germans, you know the rest, 1990

The closest England have come to the World Cup final since 1966 this was ultimiately a night of desperate disappointment, but one of the most famous (or notorious) matches in England’s football history all the same.

12. Wimbledon win the FA Cup, 1988
“The Crazy Gang have beaten the Culture Club!” John Motson squealed. Actually, Boy George was nowhere to be seen, but this was crazy all right. Non-league just eleven years prior, Wimbledon denied Liverpool the Double courtesy of Lawrie Sanchez’s header and Dave Beasant’s penalty save – the first in a Wembley FA Cup Final – from John Aldridge, the league’s top scorer that season

11. Germany beat England on penalties again, 1996

This semi-final was simply an epic encounter. Terribly disappointing, but an unforgettable and emotional experience all the same; unique, yet sadly familiar. We thought we’d see England win the European Championships; instead we got pizza adverts.

10. Charlton 7 Huddersfield 6, 1957

This has to be the greatest comeback in league history. Huddersfield, managed by Bill Shankly, were winning 5-1 against ten-man Charlton on the hour mark. Incredibly, the Londoners scored five times in 19 minutes and were now winning 6-5, with five goals scored by the winger, Johnny Summers, all with his weaker right foot. An own-goal in the 86th minute drew Huddersfield level, but there was still time for Charlton to grab the winner, making their opponents the one and only team in the league to have scored six times and lost. The word “unbelievable” is over-used in sport, but still…

9. John Terry slips, 2008

The first all-English Champions League final – not just a historic moment but an enthralling game, and a penalty shoot-out that distilled a grand spectacle into a very human drama as John Terry, one of football’s tough guys, crumpled.

8. Best is El Beatle, 1966

George Best’s greatest individual performance, the 19-year-old unplayable as Manchester United thumped Benfica 5-1 in the Stadium of Light in the quarter-final, second leg of the European Cup.

7. Gordon Banks saves Pele’s header, 1970

“What a save, Gordon Banks!” as David Coleman’s commentary had it. Greatest save ever? It’s impossible to say. But it was certainly one of the very best.

6. European Cup final, 1968

Ten years after Munich, Matt Busby’s Manchester United lifted the European Cup – the first English team to do so – beating Eusebio’s Benfica 4-1 after extra time at Wembley with two goals from Bobby Charlton and a fabulous solo effort from George Best.

5. Arsenal nick the title, 1989

The most dramatic conclusion to a title race in history, as Arsenal went to Anfield needing a two-goal win to pinch the championship from Liverpool. Alan Smith scored early in the second half then… “It’s Thomas, charging through the midfield!” as Brian Moore’s breathless commentary put it, as Michael Thomas burst through and scored past Bruce Grobbelaar in injury time.

4. Maradona’s cheating and his cl**** 1986

After a spot of volleyball in the World Cup against England, Maradona reminded the world that he wasn’t bad with the ball at his feet, either.

3. Manchester United leave it late against Bayern Munich, 1999

An advertisement for never leaving a game early, as the European Cup final turned on its head at the death.

2. The miracle of Istanbul, 2005

One of the greatest, most astonishing matches of all time. Liverpoool’s comeback is something to tell your grandchildren about, not that they would believe you.

1. Geoff Hurst and friends, 1966

The finest and most iconic afternoon in English football history, as well as one of the most dramatic matches. And who knows when or if it will happen again?

Top 50 'wish you’d been there' moments | Football - Times Online (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/article4287740.ece?token=null&offset=144&page=13)