Michael Owen, the 1998 World Cup against Argentina. Or David Beckham’s halfway-line lob against Wimbledon. They are clear pinpoints in time that demonstrate how a single goal can change a player’s life and leave managers seeing pound signs. The only thing more memorable that a wonder-goal are calamity blunders. For a manager watching it must be like all their money falling on the Million Pound Drop. So, without further ado, here are some of England’s best money making goals and those bloopers that slice a footballer’s price tag…
The other brother – Phil Neville
Who could forget Euro 2000 and Neville’s horror tackle that gave Romania a late penalty to knock England out the competition and a place in the quarter-finals.
First half goals from Alan Shearer and Michael Owen cancelled out an early strike from Romania’s Cristian Chivu before Dorinel Munteanu levelled things up after the break. All England had to do was hold on for the draw, but as always with the national side, things are never that easy.
Poor Phil Neville took the brunt for the national side’s exit from the competition after his clumsy, last ditch tackle brought down Viorel Moldovan just minutes before the close of play. Romania were awarded a penalty which Ionel Ganea duly dispatched to break English hearts. Despite a last-gasp chance on goal from a link- up between David Beckham and Alan Shearer, England just couldn’t find the net.
Afterwards, Shearer announced his retirement from international football and Neville felt the prodding finger of blame. Despite enjoying first team football and captaining Everton, he has struggled to become a regular in the England set-up since. He was left out of the both the 2002 and 2006 World Cup squads, it seems people don’t forgive or forget.
David Beckham: More than halfway there
Arguably David Beckham is the most famous English footballer of all time and not without good reason. Who could forget all his crazy haircuts; from the floppy curtains to the Mohawk or even the dreadlocks and of course his trademark free-kicks. The inspirational midfielder has enjoyed sweet success at some of the biggest football clubs in the world, including Manchester United, AC Milan and Paris Saint German. He even single-handedly raised the game’s profile in America.
There have been so many great moments in Beckham’s career and awe-inspiring goals, but the one stand-out goal that demonstrated his wealth of talent and vision was against Wimbledon in 1996.
The 50-yard goal on the opening day of the season was simply superb. From inside his own half Beckham crafted a beautiful teasing ball that caught Neil Sullivan off his line and scored to send the football world into excited chatter of the hot prospects of the young star.
He’s behind you!
Robert Green is a goalkeeper that has endured more than his fair share of blunders. The most famous has to be when he was between the sticks for Norwich City. After confidently catching a cross and stalling a Nottingham Forest attack, the clueless Chertsey-born lad put the ball down ready to punt it back up the pitch. Unfortunately, he didn’t check behind him where David Johnson was lurking. The cheeky striker took Green by surprise and nipped in to slot the ball home leaving the yellow canaries red-faced.
That little hiccup must have been well buried as Green was still called up for the England 2010 World Cup Squad. In the group stages against USA, he let one slip in a massive way. USA’s Clint Dempsey took a soft shot on goal that Green seemed to be in control until it spilt it out his hands and rolled agonisingly into the net with Green sprawling awkwardly after it. Safe hands indeed.
Michael Owen – That goal against Argentina
When you think of Michael Owen and the World Cup, images are conjured up of the young striker charging at the Argentine defence, skipping past defenders before smashing the ball in the top left corner of the goal. Owen later said how the goal changed his life as the world sat up and took notice as the young striker from Chester was catapulted into our lives as a household name.
The goal at the summer competition merely affirmed what Liverpool fans already knew, having seen Owen score 18 goals in his second season for the club, where he recorded an impressive ratio of one goal in every two games. Owen went on to score one hundred more goals for the Merseyside club and enjoyed spells at Real Madrid, Newcastle United and Stoke City.
Had Phil Neville not taken the brunt for England’s Euro 2000 exit, Everton might have paid at least double the £3.5m to take the defender to Goodison Park. If there was a ballpark figure that Owen’s goal against Argentina added to his price tag I would have to say at least £15m – not bad for one goal…