Manchester United were thrashed by Tottenham, while Rangers mauled Celtic, exactly 19 and 72 years respectively.
1) RANGERS 8 CELTIC 1 (1ST JANUARY 1943)
Right, we’ve wrapped up modern day New Year’s Day classics. Now it’s time to jump into our football Tardis to time travel back to 1st January 1943. With war wreaking havoc across Britain and Europe, Scottish league games were very much on hold – but Rangers and Celtic were still able to put out sides for an unofficial war time match. An exhibition then? Sort of, but this was as hotly contested as ever. That day at Ibrox, Celtic suffered one of the worst defeats in their history. The collapse was sealed by a goal from the half-way line by Rangers player George Young. The audacious strike put The Gers up 4-1 and led directly to two Celtic red cards after The Hoops aggressively claimed offside – quite how they could justify that we have no idea! With their heads gone, The Hoops succumbed to a further walloping, forcibly gulping down eight goals at the hands of their greatest foe.
2) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4 MANCHESTER UNITED 1 (1ST JANUARY 1996)
With Alex Ferguson’s men making a very strong tilt at the league title, a 4-1 walloping at the hands of Spurs on New Year’s Day was very much not in the script. United were seemingly doomed from the start – Paul Scholes fell ill in the warm up and Peter Schmeichel injured his calf in the preamble too. The Dane’s absence rocked the United defence – and that wasn’t helped by the presence of French defender William Prunier, quite possibly one of the worst signings in Manchester United’s history. He was cut to ribbons that day by a rampaging Chris Armstrong, who notched up two goals. Teddy Sheringham, who would one day be instrumental to United’s treble-winning heroics, was also on the scoresheet that day. The Red Devils clearly recovered from the humiliation – going on to win the league by seven points.
3) READING 6 WEST HAM 0 (1ST JANUARY 2007)
2007 were heady days for Reading. They finished the season in 8th spot, a tremendous achievement given their recent arrival to the top tier and the meagre resources at their disposal. The secret of their success was superb home form, and that pedigree was dramatically on show in New Year’s day, when they mauled Alan Curbishley’s West Ham 6-0. It was one-way traffic from the first whistle, with the Hammers suffering the embarrassment of shipping three goals in the first half hour. The loss cemented West Ham’s spot in the relegation zone and seemingly the writing was on the wall. Yet, a certain Argentine orchestrated a miracle escape in the final games of the season – a memorable rescue mission that climaxed in Tevez scoring the winner against Manchester United in the last game of the season – just enough to secure West Ham’s Premier League status against all odds.
4) LIVERPOOL 4 NOTTINGHAM FOREST 2 (1ST JANUARY 1996)
When you return to an old club, you hope and pray you don’t make and ass of yourself, and hopefully show them what they’re missing. Stan Collymore certainly achieved the latter by scoring a goal and conjuring three assists in a 4-2 victory against his old club Nottingham Forest. He didn’t leave the midlands club on the best of terms and was unsurprisingly suspected to boos at the start of the game on New Year’s Day 1996. A torrent of jeers hit a crescendo when Forest took a 2-0 lead. The Reds eventually shook off their New Year’s hangover by sweeping back in to contention, and eventual victory, thanks to ‘Stan the Man’. We couldn’t dig up footage of the match, but for those not well versed in his tumultuous career at Liverpool, this is essential viewing:
5) LIVERPOOL 3 BOLTON WANDERERS 0 (1ST JANUARY 2007)
Hands up on this one, this wasn’t an absolute corker of a match, but it did contain the best goal we have ever seen scored on New Year’s Day. That accolade goes to Peter Crouch, who became a tornado of gangly limbs as he slapped in a sensational bicycle-kick – one of the goals of the season. It was his second over-head volley goal of the campaign too, having scored an almost identical strike against Galatasaray. The win continued Liverpool’s hot streak of form, which included, at that point, 27 games undefeated at home. The win pushed them up to third place, which is where they finished behind Manchester United and Chelsea at the end of the season.
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