January 25 is the anniversary of an event that is probably still, to this day, the craziest moment in the history of the Premier League.
Watching the footage back now, even after seeing it hundreds of times, is still unbelievable. The idea of a player replicating anything remotely similar to this any time soon is unimaginable (thankfully).
But Cantona’s infamous kung-fu kick is far from the only wild moment the Premier League has treated us to down the years, here are ten more of the craziest moments in the history of England’s top flight.
Luis Suarez bites Branislav Ivanovic:
Amazingly this incident wasn’t the first time Suarez had bitten another player (and it wouldn’t be his last), although it was still equally as shocking.
The ex-Liverpool forward was tussling with Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in the box when he suddenly grabbed hold of the Serbian and sunk his infamous gnashers into his arm.
Incredibly Suarez escaped a red card on the day as referee Kevin Friend didn’t see the incident and VAR did not yet exist. However the Uruguayan would later be banned for 10 matches after an FA investigation into the incident.
Alan Pardew’s headbutt on David Meyler:
It’s not unusual for things to get heated between opposition players, and sometimes even physical. But altercations between a manager and a player are rare, especially of the physical kind.
With his side already leading 3-1, it seemed there would be little reason for the manager to be involved in any kind of scuffle. But when Meyler came to collect the ball for a throw-in, he pushed Pardew out of his way.
Pardew was incensed and immediately squared up to the midfielder, before pushing his forehead into Meyler’s cheek. Whilst it seems a stretch to call it a ‘headbutt’, it’s hard to clarify Pardew’s actions as anything else.
The Newcastle Manager was sent off and later received a three-game stadium ban, followed by a further four-game touchline suspension and a fine of £160,000.
Cesc Fabregas throws pizza at Sir Alex Ferguson:
Pizza-gate, The Battle of the Buffet, whatever name you remember these events under, the incident went down as one of the most infamous (and ridiculous) moments in the Premier League.
Tempers flared after Manchester United ended Arsenal’s 49-game unbeaten run in controversial circumstances. The arguments between the players and staff continued into the tunnel, with Arsene Wenger and Ferguson at the heart of it.
But unexpectedly, players began to throw food at each other from buffets provided in the dressing rooms. However, the incident became infamous after Arsenal’s Fabregas hit United boss Ferguson directly in the face with a slice of pizza.
Teammates Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer fight:
Three goals and a man down with eight minutes to go, Dyer and Bowyer decided to pile on the misery for Newcastle fans when they took their frustrations out on each other.
An argument over a misplaced pass eventually erupted into an all-out brawl between the pair. After some initial pushing and pulling, punches were thrown and the pair had to be dragged apart by the other players.
Despite not fouling any opposition players, the pair were both dismissed for violent conduct, a decision that was later upheld by the FA.
Paolo Di Canio pushes referee Paul Alcock:
Di Canio was involved in his fair share of controversy and altercations throughout his career. But on one particular occasion, he pushed things just a little too far.
After an incident involving Vieira escalated into a scuffle, the Italian rushed in to defend his teammate but ended up kicking Martin Keown and grabbing the player around the throat. He was rightfully shown a red card but took his frustration out on Alcock, shoving the referee to the ground.
Di Canio was eventually handed an 11-match ban and a £10,000 fine for his actions, although the Referees Association were unhappy with the supposed leniency of the punishment.
Roy Keane’s revenge on Alf-Inge Haaland:
Keane held a grudge against Haaland for an incredible three-and-a-half years after being accused of faking an injury by the Norweigan in 1997.
Keane seized the opportunity to take his revenge when Manchester City played United in 2001. As Haaland challenged for the ball, Keane slammed his studs into the defender’s knee, sending him to the ground in agony.
Keane was given an immediate three-match ban and after admitting in his autobiography that he’d injured Haaland on purpose, a further five-match ban was handed down.
Emmanuel Adebayor celebrates in front of Arsenal fans:
The controversial circumstances surrounding Adebayor’s Arsenal exit left fans with a bitter taste in their mouths, but that feeling was compounded by one of the most memorable celebrations in Premier League history.
Adebayor was treated to a hostile reception from Arsenal fans when they visited the Etihad as boos and chants were directed at the striker. So when the opportunity arose to give the fans a taste of their own medicine, the forward couldn’t resist grabbing it with both hands.
Adebayor scored in the 80th minute before sprinting the entire length of the pitch to knee-slide in front of the away fans. He was pelted with missiles from the angry crowd, including lighters, coins and even a plastic stool.
Darren Bent scores via a beach ball:
In one of the most bizarre incidents on this list, Bent scored a controversial goal involving a beach ball.
A Liverpool fan condemned his team to defeat after throwing a beach ball onto the pitch during a match against Sunderland. Bent picked up the ball on the edge of the box before rifling a shot towards Pepe Reina, however, the ball struck the beach ball and completely changed direction baffling the shot-stopper.
In retrospect the game should have been stopped due to ‘outside interference’ but the goal was awarded and Liverpool lost 1-0.
Phil Brown holds Hull City team-talk on the pitch:
This infamous incident would go down as probably the most memorable team-talk in Premier League history. When Hull City were 4-0 down by half-time, manager Phil Brown decided to tear into his team in front of shocked fans and pundits.
In scenes reminiscent of a classroom full of naughty schoolchildren, Brown sat the players on the pitch rather than returning to the dressing room. He then proceeded to give the players a major dressing down in front of the thousands of fans packing out the stadium.
The incident was later immortalised in a hilarious finger-wagging celebration by Jimmy Bullard, ensuring that nobody would forget it any time soon.
Ben Thatcher knocks out Pedro Mendes with an elbow:
Thatcher’s challenge on Pedro Mendes was so sickening that Greater Manchester Police would eventually become involved.
As both players chased down a bouncing ball, it was clear that Thatcher wasn’t going to reach it before Mendes. As the two players met, the Welshman threw his elbow into the face of the Portsmouth midfielder. The Portuguese 27-year-old appeared to be knocked out cold before he even hit the deck.
Fortunately for Thatcher, Mendes and the police agreed to take no further action, but he was later handed an eight-match ban by the FA and fined six weeks wages by Manchester City.