Keegan’s ‘love it’ rant in 9 PL moments earlier than Arsenal’s Ethan Nwaneri
Arsenal gem Ethan Nwaneri is now the youngest player in Premier League history. HITC Sport therefore takes a look at some of the league’s greatest moments that predate the Hale Ender.
Mikel Arteta gave the Gunners product his top-flight arc as the Emirates Stadium side beat Brentford 3-0 on Sunday. Nwaneri entered the action at Gtech Community Stadium as a 92nd-minute substitute for Fabio Vieira to make his debut aged just 15 years and 181 days.
Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott was previously the record holder, having played in the Premier League for Fulham in May 2019 at 16 years and 30 days. He took the honor from Matthew Briggs, who played for Fulham at Middlesbrough in 2007 aged 16, two months and seven days.
Nwaneri caught Arteta’s eye with his performances for Arsenal’s Under-18 team and in U16 action for England. The midfielder now has around 450 days to find the back of the net in a Premier League game to secure James Vaughan’s record as the division’s youngest goalscorer.
Vaughan scored his first goal for Everton at home to Crystal Palace in April 2005 aged 16 years and 270 days. That effort beat James Milner’s first hit for Leeds United against Sunderland in 2002 at 16 years and 356 days and Wayne Rooney’s first with Everton (16 years, 360 days).
Rooney’s searing volley against Arsenal at Goodison Park two months before Milner’s coup is one of the greatest Premier League moments that Nwaneri – who was born on March 21, 2007 – was not alive to witness. So HITC Sport is looking at what other big events he missed…
Premier League debut among greatest moments Nwaneri not alive to witness
Naturally, with the midfielder not even 16 yet, Nwaneri was not alive to witness the Premier League formation and the first division matches. The English top flight was reformed for the 1992/93 season with 22 teams breaking away from the Football League.
Nine games kicked off at 3:00 p.m. on 15 August 1992 to start the new era of England’s top flight. As Liverpool visited Nottingham Forest for the first televised game on August 16, and Manchester City would later host Queens Park Rangers on Monday August 17.
Arsenal were one of the teams to enter the first Premier League season and remain one of the six players still present along with Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. The Gunners finished the 1992/93 campaign in 10th position with 15 wins from 42 games.
Manchester United win first Premier League title among Nwaneri’s missed moments
Manchester United winning the first Premier League title is also, understandably, among the finest moments Nwaneri was not alive to witness. The Red Devils won the 1992/93 title with 84 points from 24 wins and 12 draws, ahead of Aston Villa on 74 points and Norwich City on 72.
Eric Cantona suspended for nine months after kicking a fan in January 1995
Eric Cantona might make headlines with his work on the pitch but in January 1995, the French icon’s moment of madness landed him stardom and a nine-month suspension.
The striker was struggling back to the dressing room at Selhurst Park after being shown a red card for a fight with Crystal Palace defender Richard Shaw. Mayhem ensued as Cantona walked along the sideline as he launched into a kung fu kick aimed at an Eagles fan.
The fan had berated Cantona the entire game behind the billboards. He would get a nine-month ban from the Football Association for all football-related activities, including reserve games. France also stripped the Marseille native of 45 captaincy caps.
Blackburn Rovers won the Premier League title in 1994/95 on the final day
Blackburn Rovers emerged triumphant from a decisive final day in May 1995 to win the first Premier League title not won by Manchester United – which sealed four of the first five.
The Ewood Park natives traveled to Liverpool on the final day of the season with a two-point advantage over the Red Devils. But the Lancashire side couldn’t finish the job as Kenny Dalglish’s men lost 2-1 at Anfield thanks to a 90th-minute free kick from Jamie Redknapp.
Manchester United were still drawing 1-1 at West Ham United when the full-time whistle sounded on Merseyside. So the Old Trafford natives threw everything they could at a last-minute winner for another title, but Ludek Miklosko came to the rescue for Blackburn Rovers.
Kevin Keegan’s famous ‘I’ll love it’ rant as Newcastle push for title
Kevin Keegan returned to Newcastle United to manage the club he previously played for in 1992 and with him the Entertainers were born. His brand of attacking football with marauding full-backs, fluid movement, incisive passing and icons like Andy Cole made the Toon formidable.
His work in the dugout also saved the Magpies from relegation to the third tier ahead of a climb to the top of the Premier League table. While in 1995/96 Keegan’s Newcastle pushed Manchester United to the wire for the title as tensions mounted with Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ferguson got under Keegan’s skin through comments he made implying that teams like Leeds and Nottingham Forrest weren’t fighting against the Toon as much as they were against his Red side Devils. And with them, fanned the fire for one of the most iconic rants.
“No, no… when you do that with footballers, like he said about Leeds, and when you do things like that about a man like Stuart Pearce, I’ve been very quiet, but I’ll tell you say something, he fell in my opinion when he said that,” Keegan said sky sports.
“We didn’t resort to that. But I’ll tell you, you can tell him now if you watch him, we’re still fighting for this title, and he has to go to Middlesbrough and get something. And… and… I’ll tell you, honestly, I’ll love it if we beat them, I love it!
Beckham found the back of the Wimbledon net from the halfway line in 1996
David Beckham made Premier League history in August 1996 when the Manchester United midfielder scored from the halfway line against Wimbledon. He made headlines on opening day and made a name for himself at 21 after spotting Neil Sullivan off his line.
Wayne ‘he’s supposed to be 16’ Rooney scored a howler against Arsenal
Rooney left Arsene Wenger in shock in October 2002 when England’s future all-time top scorer broke through at Everton with a howl against Arsenal. The striker collected the ball with 28 seconds remaining and he let loose a curling finish from 30 yards out.
The daring shot circled over David Seaman and nestled against the crossbar to seal the victory for Everton. After which Wenger said of the £80-a-week striker who had only been on the pitch for 10 minutes, via The Guardian at the time: “He’s supposed to be 16.”
Wenger added:[Michael] Owen is a complete striker, but I haven’t seen him play at 16. At this age, Rooney is already a complete footballer. The guy can play. It’s the best English Under 20 I’ve seen since I’ve been here [to manage Arsenal in 1996].”
Arsenal Invincibles made remarkable Premier League history in 2003/04
Arsenal sealed their third Premier League title in 2003/04 with one of the most remarkable moments in the division’s history. Under Wenger, the Gunners went an entire league term without tasting a single defeat to claim the crown with 90 points from 26 wins and 12 draws.
The North Londoners started their Invincibles run in May 2003 with two wins to close out the previous season. It wasn’t until October 2004 that Arsenal would suffer another defeat when Manchester United won a 2-0 win at Old Trafford to end a 49-game unbeaten run.
Delia Smith launched ‘let’s be ‘avin you!’ half-time rant against Norwich fans
Delia Smith is a renowned celebrity chef and presenter, but has also held shares in Norwich since November 1996. Together with her husband, Michael Wynn Jones, she remains the majority shareholder in the Canaries. While in 2005, made his voice heard in Carrow Road.
Norwich struggled on their return to the Premier League in 2004/05 after 10 years out of the top flight. Relegation already looked like a certainty at the start of the year, so dismissing a two-goal first-half lead against Manchester City pissed off the TV personality.
So, at half-time, Smith burst onto the pitch to urge the more than 20,000 fans in attendance. “A message for the best football fans in the world,” she said, via 90 minutes “We need a 12th man here. Where are you? Where are you?! Let’s be ‘avin you! Go on!”
Norwich then lost the game 2-3 and would eventually return to the Championship in 19th place, between Crystal Palace and Southampton, just one point from safety. The Carrow Road natives won just seven of their 38 matches in 2004/05, while conceding 77 goals.
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