After almost three decades of its establishment, the English Premier League is just one moment of misfortune away from 1,000 own goals.
The humiliation of putting the ball into your own net is always a popular moment in England’s top-flight unless you are associated with the team and player committing the blunder of course.
As we waited for the own-goal number 1,000, we almost had it on Thursday night when Bruno Fernandes’ shot got a wicked deflection off of Nathaniel Phillips. However, the goal was awarded to Fernandes, owing to the shot barely being on target.
As the wait continues, here’s a look at ten of the best (worst) own goals in top-flight history.
PETER ENCKLEMAN: Birmingham 3-0 Aston Villa – September 2002
Goalkeeper of Aston Villa, Peter Enckelman, has had a fairly good career and spent a decade as an international goalkeeper for Finland.
But unfortunately, the shot-stopper will always be remembered for one of the worst own goals in Premier League history, which occurred in 2002, during Villa’s humiliating 3-0 derby loss away at arch-rivals Birmingham City.
With Villa losing 1-0, defender Olof Mellberg chucked a harmless throw-in back to Enckelman, who was under zero pressure from any Birmingham player.
The Finn attempted to control the passback without looking at the ball, only for the ball to comically go underneath his foot and into the bottom corner of the Villa net.
Two things should be noted in this bizarre own goal. First is Enckelman’s little desperate attempt to chase after the ball which trickled very slowly over the line. The other being the fact the ball brushed under the keeper’s studs ever so slightly to give him the own goal, and not Mellberg.
GARETH BALE: Tottenham 2-1 Liverpool – November 2012
Tottenham winger Gareth Bale, who is now on a second spell at the club, is known for his fierce free-kicks, he scored through one of them during Spurs’ 2-1 home win over Liverpool in 2012.
What he isn’t known for is the bizarre own-goal he scored shortly after putting his side 2-0 up at White Hart Lane.
Aaron Lennon was on the line to boot the ball clear when Steven Gerrard’s header was struck from a corner. However, as Bale was standing just inches away from Lennon at the time of the clearance, the Welsh winger got in the way of the clearance. The ball hit him square in the face before rocketing into his own net and he collapsed to the ground in pain – and embarrassment.
FRANCK SINCLAIR: Middlesbrough 1-0 Leicester – March 2002
Just four minutes into the game, Leicester City defender Franck Sinclair managed to score a 40-yard own goal from a backpass.
Sinclair took the ball from the central defence and maybe wanted to calmly play it back to goalkeeper Ian Walker. Unfortunately for Walker, the Leicester man overcooked his pass and put it wide of his goalkeeper, with the ball ending up in the bottom corner of his own net.
Sinclair scored six own goals in his Premier League career, and undoubtedly this was the most amusing.
SANTIAGO VERGINI: Southampton 8-0 Sunderland – October 2014
In one of the biggest wins in PL history, Ronald Koeman’s Southampton put eight past Sunderland – well actually it was only five as the Black Cats put three in themselves!
The first of which will go down as one of the most unbelievable own goals in Premier League history.
Former Manchester United player Morgan Schneiderlin chased a loose pass which startled Sunderland defender Santiago Vergini – so much that he tried to clear the ball as hard as he could despite the fact he was facing towards his own goal.
The Sunderland man looked on in disbelief as what he thought was a clearance away from goal ended up being a fabulous strike into his own net.
Liam Bridcutt and Patrick van Aanholt also found their own net in the same game.
TONY POPOVIC: Portsmouth 3-1 Crystal Palace – September 2004
Before Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Olivier Giroud scored by a scorpion kick, there was the scorpion own goal. Just the one though and it came from Tony Popovic’s awkward leg.
With Palace already losing 2-1, Portsmouth’s Steve Stone played a ball towards the front post which Popovic looked to clear. Just why the big Australian centre-back dangled his leg at an awkward angle is only known to him, but it led to one of the most attractive own goals in football history.
RIO FERDINAND: Portsmouth 2-1 Manchester United – April 2007
Another own goal at Portsmouth’s home of Fratton Park, and this one will go down as one of the angriest moments you will have ever seen from Rio Ferdinand
Matt Taylor tried to slip in Lomano LuaLua but Ferdinand covered the striker’s run well and wanted to simply pass it back to goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.
The England defender did not know van der Sar’s whereabouts, the keeper was already out the blocks trying to scoop up Taylor’s pass. So, as you must’ve guessed, when Ferdinand passed it back to him – he was nowhere to be seen and the ball trickled over the line. Ferdinand then turned around and started shouting at himself.
PHIL JONES: Newcastle 3-0 Manchester United – January 2012
From an own goal by one of United’s best defenders to one not so great, Phil Jones.
In January 2012, Sir Alex Ferguson’s United were chasing the club across their city, Manchester City, at the top of the table when they visited Newcastle but found themselves 2-0 down in the closing stages due to goals from Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye.
As the match ticked over into stoppage time and the chances of a comeback diminished, the Red Devils’ woes were sealed when a long ball forward was kicked up by Newcastle’s Tim Krul and Jones put an awkward header past his onrushing goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard which ended up going over his own goal line. A night to forget for Ferguson’s side.
RICHARD DUNNE: Manchester City 1-1 West Brom – December 2004
Richard Dunne ended up scoring ten own goals in his Premier League career, the most by any player. With this Christmas cracker for Manchester City being the best one of the lot.
City were cruising at home against the Baggies and heading for victory until Baggies defender Paul Robinson tried to find Robert Earnshaw with a long ball forward, only for Dunne to get in the way and unintentionally divert the ball past the onrushing David James.
As Bryan Robson’s West Brom earned an unlikely point in Manchester, Sylvain Distin’s reaction to the freak goal was priceless.
MARK CROSSLEY: Blackburn 4-1 Nottingham Forest – September 1992
Stunning own goals aren’t just a recent phenomenon, you know. In the Premier League’s first-ever season back in 1992, we witnessed one of the best own goals of the lot.
Nottingham Forest was in trouble, as they were 3-1 down thanks to an Alan Shearer brace at Ewood Park, and Rovers were streaming towards their goal at every opportunity.
The Forest goalkeeper Mark Crossley managed to save Colin Hendy’s bullet header from a corner to relieve some pressure, however, Crossley fumbled the ball when he hit the deck and it spilled over the line.
The scoring stopped for Forest, but the humiliation still remains for Crossley.
VINCENT KOMPANY: Fulham 2-4 Manchester City – December 2013
One moment of madness at Fulham by Man City’s ever-reliable former captain showed he was human after all.
Fulham’s Sascha Riether burst down the right-hand side to put a harmless cross into the box which Kompany should have cleared easily. However, the Belgian defender took his eye off the ball, which then sliced up in the air and into a helpless Joe Hart’s net.
HERE’S AN ADDITIONAL UNFORTUNATE LIST OF HIGHEST OWN-GOAL SCORERS IN PREMIER LEAGUE HISTORY
1. Richard Dunne – 10
=2. Jamie Carragher – 7
=2. Phil Jagielka – 7
=2. Martin Skrtel – 7
=5. Wes Brown – 6
=5. Jonny Evans – 6
=5. Ryan Shawcross – 6
=5. Frank Sinclair – 6