Top 10: Premier League's maddest moments

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Football News

You need only look at the antics of Mario Balotelli over the past 18 months to remind yourself that the Premier League, for all its glitz and glamour, still possesses the ability to produce the weird and wonderful.

The Italian's ability to create headlines on and off the pitch, has seen him compared to Eric Cantona, who himself caught the imagination of Premier League during his five-year stay in English football.

While regular acts of brilliance on the pitch helped Manchester United to four league titles, his karate kick on a Crystal Palace fan in 1995 is the moment he's best remembered for.

Today, January 25th, marks 17 years since the moment which saw Cantona thrusted further into the media spotlight, and to mark the anniversary GMF have decided to review 10 moments that have shocked, surprised and baffled onlookers during the Premier League era.

10. Manchester United's half-time kit change

Three down to Southampton at The Dell at half-time, Sir Alex Ferguson demanded his team change their attitude, and their kit, which he in-part blamed for their first half performance.

Ryan Giggs scored late on as United won the second half, with the grey shirt consigned to history. Lee Sharpe said: "We wore blue and white in the second half, and played a bit better. I'd probably put it down to a mixture of the new kit and the manager's hairdryer treatment at half-time."

9) Phil Brown's half-time team-talk

Another mad moment from half-time, this time from Phil Brown, at the time manager of Hull City.

After watching his side go four-down at Manchester City in the first 45 minutes, Brown opted to hold his team-talk in front of the visiting Hull supporters. A year on, and midfielder Jimmy Bullard reenacted the incident when equalising against City from the penalty spot, this time salvaging a point for The Tigers.

8) Ketsbaia's celebration

The Georgian's footballing ability failed to capture the hearts of the Toon faithful, however this strange act after scoring a late winner against Bolton Wanderers will live long in the memory. After netting, Ketsbaia threw his shirt into the crowd before unleashing a venom of abuse at the advertising hoardings.

7) Delia Smith's half-time rant

Delia Smith, better known for cooking than for motivating a football team, went all Al Pacino during half-time of her team, Norwich's clash with Manchester City. Locked at 2-2 going into the break, Smith, having plucked up the courage to comfort supporters after guzzling wine for most of the first 45 minutes, attempted to spark Carrow Road into creating a wall of noise in the second half.

Her confidence appeared to get the better of her, as she produced a stuttering speech best left for Christmas parties rather than football (or foosball) matches. The rant failed to have the desired effect, with Robbie Fowler scoring late on to snatch all three points.

6) Prutton rages

David Prutton dealt Southampton a major blow in their hopes of surviving relegation from the Premier League by lashing out at the officials, which including push referee Alan Wiley following his dismissal for fouling Arsenal's Robert Pires.

The midfielder eventually has to be hauled await by then manager Harry Redknapp, but the damage had already been done. Prutton was banned for 10 matches, which contributed to the Saints being relegated at the end of the season.

5) Fowler sniffs up

After tucking away a penalty in victory over Everton, Fowler preceded to celebrate the goal by using the goal line to simulate snorting a line of cocaine. The act was apparently to repose to Everton fans who has questioned his private life, but his club took a hard line, finning him £60,000.

Manager Gerard Houllier attempted to cover for Fowler, claiming he thought he was pretending to consume grass. No Gerard, no.

4) Dyer and Bowyer fight for the cause

Already 3-0 down at home to Aston Villa, and down to ten-men, tempers flared at St James' Park. Both players came together while Newcastle were on the attack, with an angry confrontation requiring an intervention from both sets of players. The pair were both dismissed, and forced to apologise.

3) Di Canio pushes Alcock

Di Canio's scuffle with Martin Keown led to referee Paul Alcock showing a red card to the Italian striker, who subsequently pushed the official to the floor before eventually leaving the pitch.

A hearing saw his original three game ban for the dismissal increased to 11, sparking outrage among referee's that the ban wasn't long enough.

2) Keane exacts revenge on Haland

The former Republic of Ireland international exacted what he felt was sweet revenge for Alf-Inge Haland's taunting him four years previous. The two came together at Elland Road in 1997, leaving Keane nursing a serious knee injury, and during the Manchester derby in 2001, the midfielder crashed into Haland.

I'd waited long enough," Keane said in his autobiography. "I fucking hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you cunt. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries."

1) Cantona's cleanest strike

Cantona was sent from the field after kicking Crystal Palace's Richard Shaw. As he walked towards the tunnel, he karate kicked Palace fan Matthew Simmons.

Up to 120 hours community service, an eight month ban from football and a Football Association fine of £30,000 followed, with his absence damaging United's title hopes as Blackburn Rovers finished top of the pile.

Jimmy Bullard
Richard Shaw
Ryan Giggs
Manchester City
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Newcastle United
Eric Cantona
Manchester United
David Prutton
Robbie Fowler
Robert Pires
Martin Keown
Mario Balotelli
Robert Pires
Aston Villa
Crystal Palace
Hull City

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