Sky Sports Vault
This season, we're unlocking the Sky Sports Vault and picking out some classic football moments from yesteryear for you to watch and enjoy once again. With goalkeeping howlers in the news this week, and Chelsea playing Norwich on Super Sunday, we're rewinding to September 1992...
By Jon Holmes - @jonboy79
Last Updated: 04/10/13 4:17pm
Joe Hart's rotten start to the season hit its nadir against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, although his 'chocolate wrists' display for Manchester City certainly didn't contain a howler quite as bad as the one that befell Viktoria Plzen's Matus Kozacik away to CSKA Moscow.
There's been plenty of goalkeeping bloopers in the Premier League down the years, and several spring readily to mind. Massimo Taibi letting Matt Le Tissier's daisy-cutter trickle through his legs as Manchester United drew 3-3 with Southampton at Old Trafford in 1999; Bradford keeper Gary Walsh's sliced clearance straight to Teddy Sheringham in United's 3-0 win at Bradford in 2001; and Peter Enckelman letting Olof Mellberg's throw-in bounce under his foot and into the Aston Villa net in the Birmingham derby in 2002.
Individual bloopers like these are bad enough - but what about multiple calamities in the same match? Dave Beasant had made history when he became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty in an FA Cup final as Wimbledon beat Liverpool in 1988 but four years later, he would endure a nightmare day to forget when Chelsea hosted Norwich in the inaugural Premiership season.
The two clubs had already met in the second round of league games - the home team winning 2-1 at Carrow Road - and due to one of those quirks in the fixture list, the return match at Stamford Bridge took place less than a month later. By that time, Mike Walker's Canaries were top of the table, with five victories and a draw from seven games. Chelsea had two wins under their belt, but were coming off the back of a 2-1 loss at Liverpool, where Beasant had been blamed for failing to hold a Mark Walters cross that Jamie Redknapp had tucked away for the deciding goal late on.
If he was left feeling lousy after that game, Beasant was even sicker the following Saturday - even before kick-off. "I shouldn't have played that day for a start," Beasant recalled. "I'd been sick in the morning, but we only had a young kid (Nick Colgan) on the bench, so I played."
However, for the first half at least, it was Norwich who were ill prepared. Their team bus only arrived at the Bridge shortly before kick-off, having struggled to negotiate the heavy traffic in west London. Lining up for the Blues was Robert Fleck, whose strike threat the previous month had forced through a then club-record move from Norwich. A clause had stopped him facing his old club in August and despite the audible jeers of the visiting fans, he claimed an assist for Mick Harford's second-minute opener. Just before the half hour, Dennis Wise set up Andy Townsend for an excellent goal and all seemed hunky dory for the home team by the interval. The fans in the Shed End sang for one of their own, the MP David Mellor, who had been caught up in a kiss-and-tell tabloid scandal involving a Chelsea replica shirt. Club-shop kit sales looked set to rise after the match.
As for Beasant, he had not been busy - but by now, he was dizzy: "My head was swimming. I couldn't concentrate and I couldn't see properly. I asked to come off at half-time, but the physio dosed me up with smelling salts to clear my head, and pushed me back out." The whistle blew for the restart, and shortly afterwards a deep cross from the right was toed towards goal from eight yards out by Mark Robins. The ball bounced in front of Beasant but instead of grasping it, he somehow managed to pat it up and over his left shoulder, into the net.
With around a quarter of an hour left on the clock, Rob Newman muscled Mal Donaghy off the ball and with a bewildered Beasant having wandered well off his line, he coolly squared for Robins to sidefoot home the equaliser.
With the crowd now silenced, Norwich's winner arrived five minutes later. Chelsea's players were slow to close down David Phillips as he cut inside from the left and the Welshman had time to send a low shot towards the bottom right-hand corner of Beasant's goal. He got down to make the save, but the ball squirmed under his body to complete a horrible afternoon.
To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: to make one howler may be regarded as misfortune, to lose two looks like carelessness. Some would argue he was culpable for the second Norwich goal as well. In Beasant's defence, he had stressed to manager Ian Porterfield that he wasn't fit to play, but the Chelsea boss was far from sympathetic. "Every time they attacked, I thought they would score," Porterfield said afterwards. "I have tried to be fair to Dave Beasant, but we can't afford the mistakes he is making. The time has come when we have got to make a change. He probably needs a change as much as we do."
Beasant had been at Chelsea longer than Porterfield, but that counted for little. Kevin Hitchcock returned from injury to take the gloves again and in October, Beasant was farmed out on loan to Grimsby, and later their First Division rivals Wolves. The Blues' form picked up - they went second behind Norwich at one point in December. However, a run of 12 league games without a win ensued, sending them plummeting to 12th. Porterfield was sacked, with David Webb taking over until the end of the season and he handed Beasant a successful recall in early March - the 33-year-old kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 home win over Arsenal on Monday Night Football. Chelsea ended the campaign in 11th, while Norwich were third - their highest-ever league finish.
Beasant would leave Chelsea permanently in November 1993, joining Southampton for £300,000 - and he was still playing football as recently as August this year, when he came out of retirement at the age of 54 to play for North Greenford United in the Southern League Division One Central (level eight of the football pyramid).
So is Beasant the rightful bearer of an unwanted title - the worst individual goalkeeping display in Premier League history? The first and third Norwich goals have to be attributed to the Chelsea custodian, while the second sees him go AWOL for no apparent reason. Clearly the former England international - widely acknowledged to be among the nicest men in football - shouldn't have been shoved out for the second half anyway, which is why Porterfield's treatment of him must have hurt so much.
"You need your manager to back you when he leaves the dressing room," said Beasant, reflecting on the unhappy memories to the Daily Mail.
"Ian Porterfield didn't say a word to me that day, but I'm back home, watching News at Ten, and it more or less said I'd been sacked.
"The manager had been put in a corner by the media and didn't know how to handle it.
"My confidence was shot. I wasn't even confident of walking in the street. I stood out anyway because of my height and I thought everyone would be saying, 'There's that goalkeeper who's been sacked'."
Can you think of a worse Premier League goalkeeping display than this? Let us know. Also, as always, we'd love to hear your suggestions for future Vault clips, so say what you'd like us to search for by leaving a comment below, or you can tweet us on @SkyFootball using the hashtag #skysportsvault.