Tag Archives: football

The 2009-2010 Gary Neville Awards

By Guest Contributor Brian Knapp

2009-2010 Gary Neville Award for Worst Passing 

Being a Liverpool fan can be excruciating at times. It’s particularly difficult watching a team go from breaking the league record for most points earned while coming in second last year, to a team that struggles to complete consecutive passes. This award could easily have gone to a favorite Manchester City midfielder, yet I felt it better to award not one single poor passer but the whole conglomerate that is Liverpool’s midfield. Javier Mascherano, Lucas Leiva, Dirk Kuyt and whoever the sucker is that had to play with them that match, i.e. Benayoun, Babel, Rodriguez, Gerrard, Aquilani… I often look at Mascherano as a pre-teen adolescent with ADHD. When he gets the ball, he becomes so excited that he doesn’t actually know what he’s going to do with it. Thus leading to him losing the ball and tracking down the next unfortunate player on the other team. God bless his tireless work rate and two footed, red card tackles. His passing still leaves a lot to be desired. Lucas could also be up for a number of other awards including Worst Face and Worst Overall Ability, but being lumped in with the whole of Liverpool’s midfield, gives him the same slack that the fat Spanish waiter gives him each week after his poor performances. Which brings us to Dirk Kuyt. Kuyt is more or less the engine of the team. His tireless blue-color hustle helps inspire the team. But let’s be honest if the engine of a nice car isn’t as good as advertised, the truth is it’s a shitty car. And that sums up Liverpool’s season. They’ve performed about as well as a brand new, shiny…KIA.

2009-2010 Gary Neville Award for Worst Whining

It’s always a challenge narrowing down the final winner for each category and 2009-2010 was no exception. It was another stellar year for whining, bitching, complaining and throwing temper tantrums around the world of football. This year’s award goes to Manchester City and Santos FC’s forward, Robinho. A constant critic of his managers and teammates, Robinho also managed to be part of one of the funnier moments in football this season, by being brought on as a substitute and off again in the same match. This led to more of his incessant bitching and eventual move back to Brazil where he could do endless step-overs without the threat of being flattened by real defenders.

2009-2010 Gary Neville Award for Worst Coordination

“Worst Cordination you say? But these are professional football players. How could they have poor coordination?” It’s a question non-Korean’s ask themselves every time they turn on a Manchester United match and are unlucky enough to see Korea’s #1 Best-Hero-Man-Highting!, Park Ji-Sung. In South Korea, he is known as “The Oxygen Tank” or “Three-Lung Park” for his ability to run industriously from 18 to 18. Everywhere that is not South Korea, he is often referred to as Park Ji-Slip or “잠수함“ “submarine” for his remarkable falling and diving abilities. Usually you can credit an Italian or South American footballer for their fantastic ability to fall when it doesn’t look remotely possible, but this year Park Ji-Sung has brought home another award for all Koreans to be intolerably proud of.

2009-2010 Gary Neville Award for Worst Hair

This award can be picked up annually by Portsmouth goalkeeper David James, however last summer’s passing away of Michael Jackson caused a change not only in pop music but also in football. It was not simply the death of the King of Pop, but it was at that time that the jheri-curl was officially retired. Unfortunately Manchester United’s midfielder, Nani, did not get the memo. While made extremely popular by Michael and his white glove in the 1980s, Nani continues to sport this greasy look all around England. A close second place was Liverpool’s Sotirios Kyrgiakos who has been known to have watched Frank Miller’s “300” over 1000 times and reverted back to the hairstyle of his Greek ancestors.

2009-2010 Gary Neville Award for Worst Face

Carlos Tevez. Scar or no scar.

2009-2010 Gary Neville Award for Worst Transfer (retrospective)

Many players under the rein of Rafa Benitez are very capable of taking this award. However, there is one player who has been more active over the past few transfer periods than a brothel in South Korea. That lucky man is Robbie Keane. After making his dream move from Tottenham to Liverpool in the summer of 2008, Keane did everything he could, to regularly miss gifted chances on goal and make a speedy return to White Hart Lane. Once again back at the helm of good ol’ Harry, Keane was re-established as captain where he continued to perform like a lowly Middlesbrough player. After realizing their dear captain may be out of his prime, the Spurs once again decided it was time to give Robbie a chance to excel on a level more fit for him; The Scottish Premier League. Thus keeping a consistent streak of 3 transfers on the trot with an inevitable return from loan to Tottenham in the next window making it a solid 4 for 4. My hat goes off to you Robbie Keane. You made almost as many transfers as you did goals for Liverpool.

And the 2009-2010 Gary Neville award for Worst Overall Ability goes to none other than Shaun Wright-Phillips. SWP has once again shocked the world with his incredible lack of footballing ability. The real question however is how he continues to be employed as a professional footballer. It’s been rumoured that due to his staggeringly short stature, managers and fans have often felt the need to sympathize with him. Fans and managers tend to close their eyes to SWP’s forgetfulness, both in dribbling and remembering the colour jersey his team is wearing. Falling out of grace with Manchester City, SWP looks ripe for the picking in the next transfer window. A dream move for him would be to join other washed up professionals in the SPL or possibly Middlesbrough. One can’t count out the chance of him looking to reunite with his undersized relatives from the land of OZ.


Group of Death: The Exes of Evil

By David S. Wills

The phrase “Group of Death” has been used in football since 1954, when England, Brazil, the Soviet Union and Austria were drawn together in the World Cup. In 1970 it was used again to describe the group consisting of Brazil, England, Czechoslovakia and Romania.

After that the phrase burst into the lexicon with use in most knock-out competitions. Anytime more than two good teams find themselves drawn together… “Group of Death.”

(Perhaps it’s my nationality that once again blinds me to reality… But looking back through the history of the “Group of Death,” I can’t help but notice how frequently Scotland are that sad fourth team, doomed to play against three of the best teams in the world. In 1992, the term “Group of Certain Death” was coined, specifically for the purpose of describing Scotland’s plight.)

It seems a little bit on an exaggeration. Very rarely to players die on the pitch, and even when they do the pundits hardly predicted that was going to happen.

But football isn’t always a particularly civilised sport. One could apply the phrase “Group of Death” to competitions in Africa, South America and the Middle East, knowing that an actual death is more likely than in the pansy Premiership.

Throughout history there have been teams for whom football hasn’t been about fast cars and loose women so much as avoiding torture or death. Ever wonder what happened to Wimbledon?

Under the reign of Saddam Hussein, the Iraq football team was encouraged to win matches by way of “motivational lectures.” These included having players’ legs cut off, and punishments were set for missed penalties and own goals.

In 1994, at the USA World Cup, Andres Escobar scored an own goal against the United States and sent his team back to Colombia. He was shot dead upon arrival, with his murderer screaming “goooooooal!” for each of the twelve bullets fired.

Death and football sadly have a little tighter relationship than we are accustomed to thinking. We don’t necessarily see the downside to football when we read about the massive contracts and the hot wives.

Today the groups were drawn for the 2011 Asian Cup. Group D (for Death!) is comprised thusly:



North Korea


This, to me, seems like sitting a recently separated couple together at a dinner party. A couple with a history of extreme violence. A nuclear-enabled couple. And not just a couple… a veritable orgy of pissed off exes.

The exes of evil…

Back in Asian qualifying group for the 1994 World Cup, three of these teams were drawn again, albeit in a more regional-specific clusterfuck of a league:



Saudi Arabia

North Korea

South Korea


This was actually dubbed the “Group of Death” by numerous humorous media pundits. The group consists of two of the most fearsome threesomes in recent history. Nations who’ve gone to war, never gotten over the horrors, and were somehow thrown into FIFA-sanctioned competition once again.

Thankfully there were no deaths on the pitch, but when a rogue camel ate a pot of kimchi it exploded and gave birth to modern terrorism.

Strange Rumblings in Iceland

By David S. Wills

Iceland – the land of the suffix –sson – has famously never qualified for a World Cup, never succeeded in any European completion at national or club level, and has Eidur Gudjohnsen as its only successful player in a long and embarrassing history.

Handball is the national sport, and that’s hardly conducive to a good footballing environment. If “god” had meant for Icelandic people to play handball he wouldn’t have made it so cold they had to wear mittens.

Next to handball comes some kind of medieval wrestling. According to Wikipedia, this sport is a combination of waltzing and chess.

Some even doubt Iceland is a part of Europe. Tucked away up there beyond even the Scottish Isles, Iceland is the part of the map covered by the pin. It’s the tiny Canada of Europe, if anything.

Iceland has numerous embassies around the United Kingdom, where impoverished chavs can exchange drug-stained British currency for a range of frozen goods, including oven chips and fish fingers.

So with this air of failure permanently wrapped around otherwise frigid island nation, you can hardly imagine their rage when once again the sporting season draws to a close without a mention of any Icelandic achievements.

The Champions League is once again reaching its dying stages without a single team from north of the liable-to-be-raped-by-a-polar-bear line. The World Cup is coming and even North Korea has found eleven unstarved players to field.

Worse, Liverpool – who’ve signed three Icelandic players in their history – have managed to somehow scramble into the semi-finals of the Europa League, and is not taking their 16 yr old Icelandic “talent” Kristjan Emilsson with them.

So what did Iceland do?

They erupted a giant fucking volcano, grounding all flights in Europe, causing $200 million of revenue loss each day for several days, and forcing football teams across Europe to travel by train like a bunch of 19th century romantic novel protagonists.

According to my source in Reykjavik, Heyant Mysson, “Iceland is willing to erupt another volcano if FIFA won’t grant us an invitation to the World Cup.”

PFA Player of the Year Awards

By David S. Wills & James D. Irwin

(David’s words will appear in this text, whereas James’ will appear bold, as that’s the only way of making them distinguishable)

Yesterday the shortlist for the PFA Player of the Year was announced. The results were hardly surprising:

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Award

Wayne Rooney, Man Utd

Carlos Tevez, Man City

Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal

Didier Drogba, Chelsea

PFA Young Player of the Year Award

Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal

James Milner, Aston Villa

Joe Hart, Birmingham

Wayne Rooney, Man Utd

My nominations go to Fabregas and Rooney, in no particular order. They’ve both been the sole players on their respective teams this year. Without Rooney Man Utd would have been battling relegation, and without Fabregas Arsenal will be running down the clock from the kick-off for the rest of the season.

These men are the very definition of one-man teams. Their managers have – for whatever reason – come to rely totally on their genius. Man Utd without Rooney is embarrassing to watch, and not just because of his 34 goals. They’re like a cat with a missing leg, always trying to put weight on it and falling on its face.

And I doubt Mr. Burns Arsene Wenger will be very happy without Smithers Cesc Fabregas, who is out with another injury. Fabregas’ goals from midfield have been crucial to Arsenal’s otherwise lame campaign this year.

I’m still struggling to understand how Rooney and Fabregas can appear in both categories. I mean, surely you’re only eligible for one category or the other. It also surely means that if Fabregas or Rooney win Player of the Year then they have to win Young Player of the Year as well.

Another important question, really, is just who cares about these awards?! They’re clearly flawed and, as David has pointed out, extremely predicatable.

However, if I had a vote in the matter (as I did when I won the Champions League with Leeds on Championship Manager 01/02) then my votes would go to:

Wayne Rooney, mostly because I hate him less than the others. Seriously though, the best way of demonstrating just how good Rooney is is by seeing how bad United are without him. He has gone from being a promising young player to being a potential great in the last few seasons. He could make this summer’s World Cup his tournament, although he probably won’t. Because England always find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

I’m torn on the Young Player of the Year. I’m discounting Rooney and Fabregas, on the basis that it seems incredibly unfair to allow the awards to be dominated by two players that we already know are pretty good.

I’m tempted to go for Milner, but that is largely due to the fact he played for Swindon for a very brief period. Really it has to be Joe Hart. I mean, have you seen how unnaturally well Birmingham are doing?! The man is incredible, and should never have been replaced by Man City. I was immensely frustrated when they signed Given, because it obvious to anyone with eyes that Hart in the rightful heir to the England number one shirt. He’s already better than Robert Green. I’d probably take him to the World Cup now. We’re going into South Africa in the summer with two relegation battling goalkeepers; James is already a Championship goalkeeper, and Green could well be by the end of the season. It is, I would argue, where he belongs.

I digress: I vote Joe Hart.

We turn now to our fantastic although limited readers to pitch in…

Getting FOX’d Over Football

By David S. Wills

There are two words frequently used to describe me: honest, and biased.

I’m happy to put my prejudice out there and I could probably argue in my defense by saying that anyone who claims to be truly objective is a big fat liar… But I think I’m just lazy. There are some things in this world I like, and some I don’t, and I really can’t be bothered with pretending otherwise.

When it comes to football we all have our passions. Some of us try to hide those passions and fail miserably. Watching John Motson try to cover his erection when Wayne Rooney’s monstrous head comes into view is one such example. And everyone in Scotland recalls Chick Young’s first interview with Rangers’ Danish legend, Brian Laudrup: “Brian, why are you so good?!”

When it comes down to it, we’re all fools to deny our impartiality. As children we are raised by our fathers to play football, to watch football, to think about, talk about and dream about football. We are dressed in certain colours and indoctrinated from early ages to a certain mindset, and when we deny that we look as foolish as Republicans pretending they are anything but a well organized gang of bigots.

If I tried to write about Celtic’s defeat to Ross Country (!) on Saturday I would become a fraud. It would take me several rewrites to finally pick out each inappropriate use of the word “scum.” I would descend into Bush-like language, comparing Ross County’s victory over the forces of evil to… No, I can’t do it.

I was raised to feel a certain sickness at the sight of a green and white hooped shirt. And whilst I’m above the level of sectarian abuse, I cannot bring myself to approach the subject in a professional manner.

I could take a different approach, perhaps, and talk about the majesty of cup competition being its ability to bring the small and under-funded teams of the world to a position where they may vie for a shot a European success, playing in a national stadium in front of whoever the hell will honestly sit through an hour and a half of Ross County…

But then I rewrote that paragraph several times to remove all references to the stranglehold Rangers and Celtic have over the Scottish game, and that it is not a stranglehold built necessarily upon skill or managerial prowess, but rather upon religious division and financial shenanigans, resulting in a pressure upon referees and players to maintain the deeply unjust status quo.


Or I could take a look at the other Scottish Cup semi-final and discuss Dundee Utd’s victory over a typically sub-par Raith Rovers team. But then there’s not a lot of attraction in a third placed Premier League team beating a First Division side. For anyone but a United fan it’s a bit of a disappointment, given this season’s gallery of cup-upsets.

But you see, I happen to be a Dundee Utd fan. I was extremely happy to see my team steamroll over Raith and progress to the cup final. After all, with the Old Firm’s ill-gotten grip on the Premier League, first and second place will probably never again fall to another team. The best United can hope for is third place plus a cup victory.

And a bittersweet cup victory it will be, provided Ross County don’t provide another shock and win at Hampden. Such a thing would be so romantic and provide another example of the beauty of cup football… But of course I’ll cry foul and bemoan the referee’s desire to see United lose the game.

Such is the burden of a passion for football. The only people who write about it should be bred especially for the job – isolated in labs beneath the earth until old enough to watch a game with no predilection towards either team.

Or perhaps we should all switch countries and only write about teams against whom we have no particular bias.

I could write about the Man Utd – Blackburn game that I watched on Sunday (from thousands of miles away in South Korea). But then I’d probably start talking about the moment when Park Ji-sung smashed the world long jump record (previously set by Cristiano Ronaldo). Park – who is fond of falling to the ground when caressed by a slight breeze – managed to leap into the box with no provocation, and expected a penalty in spite of the incident (which I shall refer to as the “foul”) occurring several metres outside the box.

Or I could write about the Burnley or Man City games… But then I’ve been involved in a deathly-serious fantasy football league all season, and both games were vitally important to my chances. I had both Carlos Tevez and Graham Alexander on my team, and so in spite of having absolutely no preference for any of the teams involved, I found myself screaming in celebration for four of the goals.

What about the Championship? No one cares about the crappy Championship…

Don’t spread it around, but I happen to be a Middlesbrough fan, and although I try and tell myself it’s not true, I can’t help but peak at the results each week.

And so I come to the conclusion that it’s all utterly hopeless. There is no such thing as professional, objective journalism. We are all slaves to our own stupidity. We are all hopeless.

The only thing to do is to get FOX’d and just except that we’re all extremely biased, prejudiced, fundamentally sick people. The world wasn’t meant to be full of reporters. After all, Hunter S. Thompson put it best when he said:


Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits – a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.

Korea’s Footballing Failures

By David S. Wills

As a lifelong football fan, and a current resident of South Korea, I thought it would be appropriate that my first post concern both these topics.

“But wait!” I hear you say… “I don’t give a fuck about the shitty K-League, and I’ve already heard of Park Ji-sung!”

I have absolutely no interest in the K-League, and I despise Park Ji-sung. The reason for both stems from being immersed in an overly nationalistic country with little to be proud of except excellent track records in suicide, domestic abuse and rape.

You see, Korea isn’t very good at football. That applies to both the North and the South. You might think that this is a terribly harsh thing to say, but it’s true. South Korea holds the record for the worst World Cup performance of all time. In 1954 they managed to concede a staggering sixteen (16) goals in two games.

As ESPN noted, years later, “[South Korea] set the modern standard for World Cup futility.”


But, as you will probably be aware, times have changed. South Korea was an impoverished nation, just emerged from a war, when they were humiliated in Switzerland. Now the country is unrecognizable. It’s one of the richest countries in the world, with mega-corporations like Samsung and Hyundai. It hosted the 1988 Olympics and 2002 World Cup.

“Ah yes, the World Cup. I thought that was in Japan…”

Yes, but it was a joint effort. South Korea made a name for themselves by finishing fourth.

“Which made them the fourth best team in the world, right?”

Not exactly. Two years later Greece won the European Championship, and nobody’s foolish enough to claim they were the best team in Europe, then or now.

South Korea beat Italy and Spain in the knock-out rounds by cheating. Their matches were fixed, and as a result Korea went on to be beaten by Germany in the semis and Turkey in the third-place playoff.

(Click here to view Korea’s World Cup cheating)

It may seem harsh for a Scottish person to judge South Korea’s football performances, but that is not the case. Scotland may be a historically shite nation at football, but we embrace that fact. We do not delude ourselves with the idea that we are the greatest team in the world.

It is rare to find a Korean person who does not consider the Korean race to be the supreme beings of this world. It is written into their culture. This is a philosophy that the Nazis embraced, and that now the Koreans embrace. They believe they are the chosen ones.

When Park Ji-sung joined Manchester Utd this only served to prove to Koreans that they are the master race. Park Ji-sung, they believe, is the greatest player of all time – in the same way that every Korean sportsperson with a modicum of success is also “Number One!” (For more on this observation, please see Kim Yuna.)

The problem is, however, Park was only signed so Man Utd could make money in the Asian market. He is a marketing ploy that has paid off tremendously. Try finding a Korean person who doesn’t like Man Utd…

Take a look at any Man Utd home game and you will see Samsung, LG and Hyundai advertisements littering the stadium. Some of these are even written in Korean, for the benefit of the entire Korean nation – who sit around watching reruns of Park Ji-sung’s “greatest moments.”

These “greatest moments” include the few complete passes he manages to make each season, the several occasions on which he was not knocked over in trying to get possession, and the horrendous injustice that is committed every time Park takes a dive and is not rewarded by the ref.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s not an awful player. He just shouldn’t make the first team as often as he does. He runs a lot and tries his best, but ultimately he’s there because you can’t turn on a TV in Korea without seeing his heavily Photoshoppped face.

(People in Korea don’t realise that Park Ji-sung is monstrously ugly. When he appears on TV here his face is digitally altered.)

The worst part is that an otherwise entertaining Man Utd game will be ruined by “player cam.” Thanks to the desire of the Korean people to see nothing but Korean faces, the broadcast will be altered to show Park running around the pitch for 90 mins, or sitting on the bench, as the case may be.

But at least Park’s place in the Man Utd team guarantees an interest in the Premiership over here. Thanks to Park, football is constantly on Korean TV.

Unfortunately, a top of the table, end of season clash will always be preempted for a Park Ji-sung highlight reel, or a repeat of the Korean national team’s glorious “triumphs” over Italy and Spain.

In Korea, nationalism trumps common sense every time. If there were a Korean player in the Championship they would broadcast his performance rather than the biggest game of the season. All Koreans want to see is someone from their mighty nation.

Thankfully there is now Lee Chung-yong, the youngster at Bolton, who has been linked with an £8 million move to Liverpool. He is undoubtedly better than Park, and certainly at a team more suited to his level.

I really enjoy watching Lee play, although I don’t care for Bolton. If Park is benched, you can bet that the Korean broadcasters will choose to show the Bolton game instead, so I hope that he does move to a better team this year.

I also hope that no more Korean players make their way into middle of the road English teams, because I can’t stand having an important match ignored for the sake of nationalism. Last year I was forced to sit through countless Fulham matches for the sake of Seol Ki-hyeon, a man whose performances were so poor he had his contract cancelled in the January transfer window.

Before that there was Lee Dong-gook, a Middlesbrough player of such low quality that he suffered a similar fate to Seol. His contract with terminated, and he went down in history as one of Middlesbrough’s shittiest players. He has plenty competition for that honour, but he’s holding his own.

At present, these Premiership failures are lighting up the K-League and inspiring Koreans to think they might just win the World Cup this summer. Lee Dong-gook (Boro’s shittiest import) is presently the highest scoring player in Korea, and regarded as one of the best players in Asia. He is, embarrassingly, Korea’s great hope for 2010.

Once Upon a Time in Barcelona…

I haven’t played football in about three years. I love football. Even when I want to hate it I can’t look away.

Yesterday I arranged a game at the park for next weekend with a few of my friends. This re-ignited my football fever, and I spent the rest of the day watching clips of the best football moments from my childhood.

To mark my ‘comeback’ I’m looking back at one of the greatest all-time comebacks…

1998/1999 was my first season as a dedicated football fan, and one of its final games is still probably the best game I’ve ever seen.

I am not a Manchester United fan, but my brother is. So I watched every game of Man Utd’s 1999 Chapions League Campaign.

The Champions League is like a World Cup tournament for the best club teams in Europe. In 1999 to qualify as an English team you either had to win the Premier League or the FA Cup. Arsenal won both in ’98, so the second spot went to the team who came second in the league— Man Utd.

But first they had to qualify. All the second spot teams played each other to keep the riff raff out— like Polish league runners up LK Lodz. The 1999 Champions League final is one of the best games in the history of football. Man Utd’s campaign started off with the most boring sporting spectacle I’ve ever seen (and I’ve watched Curling…) It wasn’t just a 0-0 draw, it was a game in which nothing exciting happened at all. I have it on video.

They narrowly progressed to the group stage, I don’t remember anything other than the game against the Austrian champions Sturm Graz. I remember this because Sturm Graz played at the brilliantly named Arnold Schwarzenegger-Stadium. They’ve re-named it now, because like most NFL teams the stadium sold sponsorship rights.

On FIFA 2000 I beat Sturm Graz 126-0. Back in the PS One days you could actually play 90 minute games. So that’s what I did. Every time Graz kicked off I’d charge forward with the tackle, make a run, pass wide to Beckham or Giggs and then square it for Solskjaer to fire home. Sometimes it’d go slightly off plan and someone else would end up with the finish, but 116 times out of 126 Solskjaer was there with the finish.

Anyway: The final. It was exciting. Manchester United were on course to win three major trophies in 1999: the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions League. A football grand slam. It was an incredible team. And back then the majority of the team had been playing for United since they turned professional. Only a handful of players had been at United less than a year.

The team they were up against was German, a natural footballing rivalry. Bayern Munich had already been United. On top of this United had lost both their central midfielders, Pauls Scholes and the captain, Roy Keane who had scored two goals in the semi-final, but picked up too many yellow cards.

Five minutes in and the Germans score from a free kick. The free kick is conceded by Ronny Johnson, who my brother has hated all season, for no reason. Mario Basler swings at the ball, it deflects off a United player and bounces past a helpless Peter Schmiechel. 

89 minutes into the game and it’s still 1-0 to the German side. The United manager has brought on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham as a last resort.

United go on what looks to be a last ditch attack, but a low cross is blocked easily for a corner.

There is a mighty roar from the crowd: one last chance.

The engraver has already engraved ‘Baye’ onto the trophy.

‘’Can manchester united score?’’ asks the commentator emphatically. ‘’They always score.’’

David Beckham lines up the corner and swings it in. The ball is loose in the box. Ryan Giggs swings the ball low towards goal. Teddy Sheringham directs it into the bottom corner. It’s 1-1. Veteran German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn lies flat on his arse limply appealing for offside.

Three minutes of injury time are signalled.

Bayern Munich come within inches of robbing it.

United come forward again, the ball is belted out for a corner.

Another roar from the crowd.

Beckham swings in another corner.

Tedding Sheringham gets a head to it. Solskjaer does little more than poke his foot out to meet it.

The ball flies into the roof of the net.

This was one of the final games of my first season as a football fan, and it’s one of the greatest comebacks of all time.