Football Commentator & Columnist
Greatest Premier League moments: Martin Tyler chooses his top 12
Fergie Time, Collymore closing in, Philippe Albert and Aguerooo!
Last Updated: 11/04/20 1:27pm
Sky Sports' Voice of Football Martin Tyler has been behind the microphone for many of the Premier League's greatest moments. Here, in chronological order are his favourite 12...
1. Steve Bruce and the birth of Fergie Time
It was April 1993 and the fate of the very first Premier League title hung in the balance. I was sent to Old Trafford for the latest chapter in the search for league success of Manchester United, who had not been champions of England since 1967.
They were locked in a duel with Aston Villa, who had Alex Ferguson's predecessor Ron Atkinson at the helm. United had six games left starting with Sheffield Wednesday at Old Trafford. Under Trevor Francis Wednesday had put together a talented squad. They reached both domestic cup finals that season.
Another central figure was John Hilditch, who began the afternoon running the line but in the second half took over in the middle when referee Mike Peck was injured.
Almost immediately Paul Ince fouled the tricky Chris Waddle and the stand-in official awarded Wednesday a penalty. John Sheridan, who was born in Greater Manchester, converted, to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
It was a sunny afternoon but dark clouds of doubt surrounded Old Trafford. Step forward Steve Bruce, one of those rare centre backs who was just as effective in the air as an attacker as he was as a defender. In the 86th minute he glanced a Denis Irwin corner past England goalkeeper Chris Woods. It was 1-1.
Then the debate started which gave football the phrase "Fergie Time". The Wednesday argument was that in the changeover of officials the accuracy of the timing was compromised. United responded that there should have been even more of the added period.
In what is recorded as the 96th minute, Bruce struck again with another fine header beyond Woods. Ferguson jumped for joy. His assistant Brian Kidd bounded onto the pitch and fell to his knees. United had the points, won all their remaining games and within a month were the first team to hold aloft the brand-new Premier League trophy.
2. Blackburn's final-day drama
Before the last day of the 1994-95 Premier League season Sky Sports proudly announced that, for the first time, two matches would be shown simultaneously on two channels.
These two games would decide whether Manchester United or Blackburn Rovers. would be champions.
Blackburn, with their fate in their own hands, were at Anfield. Manchester United were at West Ham where once they had clinched the title (1967) and once effectively lost it (1992).
The gap was two points in Rovers' favour, so United had to win if they were to complete a hat-trick of titles in the first three campaigns of the Premier League era.
At Anfield, the Sky Sports plans for a forensic build up were ruined because the previous programme, live coverage of the FA Trophy Final, overran considerably. It went to extra-time at Wembley. Lots of skilfully crafted Premier League pre-match material had to be dropped. Much less previewing was followed by lots of actual viewing on both channels where the action was gripping.
In the end neither contender won their final game. United did everything but, in a 1-1 draw at West Ham. Blackburn led at Anfield but lost in the last minute to a brilliant free-kick from Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp.
Blackburn fans did not care because the moment Jamie's shot hit the back of the net right in front of them they heard on their portable radios that the final whistle had gone at Upton Park and United had failed to win.
At Anfield it was one of those rare days when everyone was a winner. Blackburn, managed of course by Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish, went home with the Premier League trophy. Liverpool ended the season with three more points.
By the way, the club which eventually lifted the FA Trophy at Wembley earlier in the afternoon? My beloved Woking! It was a very memorable day all round.
3. Collymore closing in...
"The best 90 minutes I have ever commentated on" I have claimed ever since, almost from within the commentary itself. On the 24th anniversary of this epic encounter last week, Sky Sports re-broadcasted the whole game and the action still lived up to the billing.
The scenario gave it a head start. Both clubs had a chance of becoming champions in what was only the fourth season of the Premier League, though in the end neither would win it. Maybe the intensity of this extraordinary evening eventually told on all the players in the run-in.
The tempo of the contest was unrelenting. Every turnover of possession led to speedy and skilful counterattacking.
Liverpool led from the second minute with Robbie Fowler's 34th goal of a prolific season until Les Ferdinand's 10th-minute equaliser, but were not in front again until Stan Collymore's winner in added time. 1-0, 1-1, 1-2, 2-2, 2-3, 3-3, 4-3!
Two goals for Fowler. Two goals for Collymore. David Ginola and Faustino Asprilla joined "Sir Les" on the Newcastle scoresheet. All such eminent attacking talents. The decisive goal also owed much to contributions from two greats, John Barnes and Ian Rush. Big names shone in a very big game.
For me, the very best.
4. David Beckham scores from his own half
David Beckham's wide range of activities in the commercial world, Brand Beckham, can dim the memories of what a fine footballer he was.
Celebrity was still a while away on this opening weekend of the Premier League in 1996. He was still two weeks away from his first England cap, and this stellar moment might well have played a part in Glenn Hoddle selecting him.
The game was drifting to a close with Manchester United, the defending champions, 2-0 up at Selhurst Park, the rented home of opponents Wimbledon. So when Beckham, just inside his own half, spotted goalkeeper Neil Sullivan off his line he thought: "Why not?"
With a perfect combination of drive and drift, the 21-year old Beckham delivered one of the Premier League's most re-watched goals. I was lucky enough to witness it in real time. Take a bow, David Beckham!
5. Philippe Albert's wonder goal
Two months after his wonderful moment at Selhurst Park, David Beckham was on the receiving end at St James' Park of another iconic Premier League goal, which completed a 5-0 thrashing of Manchester United.
Newcastle had pushed them all the way in the title race the previous season and had now added Alan Shearer to an attacking repertoire which had already earned them the nickname of "The Entertainers".
The Magpies had fresh and painful memories of a 4-0 defeat against Alex Ferguson's team in the Charity Shield and needed no extra motivation on this October Sunday afternoon. Shearer's customary goal had made it 4-0, adding to a whip of a strike by David Ginola, a fine header from Les Ferdinand, all this after defender Darren Peacock had opened the Newcastle account.
Fellow defender Philippe Albert was determined not to be outdone in the goalscoring bragging rights among the boys at the back. With seven minutes to go he decided to chip in - in more ways than one.
Peter Schmeichel was full of frustration by this stage and was out by his penalty spot. Albert saw his chance, executed it perfectly, and floated in Newcastle's fifth.
It was truly regal from "Prince" Albert!
6. Would you believe it? Tony Adams sums it all up
Arsene Wenger's first full season in charge of Arsenal had brought a new sophistication to football in the Premier League. The professorial Frenchman introduced a passing style which first tested his players' ability to adapt to it and then tested their opponents' ability to resist it.
For much of the season the Premier League title looked a one-horse race. Manchester United, winners in four of the five previous Premier League seasons, were 12 points clear at the end of February.
However, on March 11 Arsenal began a run of 10 straight victories which took them beyond United and they were crowned champions with two games to spare. The second of that sequence was a 1-0 triumph at Old Trafford and, after that, the chase was on.
On the penultimate Sunday of the season, a win over Everton would bring the title to Highbury. Much is made of the current philosophy of playing from the back but Wenger was encouraging that more than 20 years ago.
Defenders like Tony Adams, Steve Bould and Martin Keown were of the Kick It, Head It and, above all, Clear It school , but their French boss taught the old dogs new tricks; he encouraged them to "play".
His success was summed up by the final goal in the eventual 4-0 win over Everton which clinched the title. Bould, encouraged now to be a creator, cleverly played Adams through. Not unnerved now by the ball at his feet in front of goal Mr Arsenal finished with style and an appropriate salute!
Thirteen days later this freewheeling football landed the FA Cup as well.
7. Arsenal's Invincibles thrash Leeds 5-0
The Arsenal double of 98 was followed by another in 2002 and then by the even more remarkable "Invincible" Premier League season of 2003/04.
The statistics speak for themselves P38 W26 D12 L0 F73 A26 Pts90.
History might have been very different had Ruud van Nistlerooy converted a last-minute penalty against the Gunners at Old Trafford in only the sixth game of that season. Even on the final day with pens poised to record the culmination of this extraordinary feat, Arsenal had to come from behind at home to Leicester City. The glory came from toughness as well as talent.
German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann played in every game. Lauren, Kolo Toure, Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole were regulars at the back. Patrick Vieira, Freddie Ljungberg and Gilberto were prominent in midfield. Dennis Bergkamp, then 34, still made magical contributions.
But the leaders of the pack were the French pair of Thierry Henry and Robert Pires, who spoke the language of football so fluently. They scored 44 of the 73 Premier League goals between them
In front of the Sky Sports cameras, the 5-0 win over Leeds United on a Friday evening in April encapsulated the swagger of the team and the two buddies from across the Channel in particular. Pires, a thinking man's footballer, made the early breakthrough and Henry did the rest.
Thierry was a rare combination of fleetness of foot, speed of mind and strength of body that could overcome all manner of attempts to cut him down to size. He loved the Highbury stage and this was one of the finest in his portfolio of great performances there.
8. What about superb? Wayne Rooney's derby overhead kick
Manchester derbies had been relatively comfortable for United for decades, but City were stirring, financially reinforced and for this cross-town clash back in 2011 included Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabalata , Yaya Toure and David Silva. In fact the little Spaniard had been credited with an equalising goal to Nani's opener for United.
It was a fluke, the ball deflected in off his back. What followed though was sensational. United had just lost their first Premier League game of the season, away to the soon-to-be-relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers and dropping home points, particularly to the emerging City, might well have threatened their march towards regaining the Premier League title.
With 12 minutes to go they worked the ball to Nani on their right. Confronting him was Zabaleta, who after a substitution had been switched to left-back. Nani crossed and a little touch off the Argentina defender took some of the pace off the ball.
Rooney had an extra second or two to make up his mind and adjust his body. What followed was a goal remarkable in its execution and significant in its context. With his back to goal he manufactured a bicycle kick to divert the ball into the top corner of the City net past a bemused Joe Hart.
Wayne has described it as the most important goal he ever scored for United.
The defining moment of the Premier League. The last kick (virtually) of the 20th season since the restructuring of the top level of English football.
You could not have made it up. The joust between the competition's serial winners and their noisy neighbours. Manchester City on the rise but still with a fan base far more used to failure. Manchester United with 12 titles from the previous 19 campaigns, and certain to devour another one should City stumble again.
There was the added twist in the nature of the opposition at the Etihad. They were fighting for Premier League survival, managed by the man who had been deemed not the right fit for the recently installed and much richer City regime. Queens Park Rangers had points to win. Mark Hughes had a point to prove. Throw a returning Joey Barton into the mix as well and anything you could imagine could happen.
The actual conclusion was unimaginable. Truth far stranger than fiction. City were 2-1 down needing to score twice in stoppage time. United players, having done their job at Sunderland, were watching on pitch-side monitors as the drama unfolded in Manchester. Edin Dzeko equalised, which is often overlooked because of the grand finale which followed.
As a commentator there is a place you can go to only when you are privileged to see history made when you have a microphone in your hand.
Thank you Sky Sports for the opportunity that afternoon. Thank you Sergio Aguero for everything else...
10. Eden Hazard wins the Premier League for Leicester
I feel I owe Leicester fans an apology for telling the fairytale of the Foxes through the eyes of another game. But it was at Stamford Bridge that the deal was sealed thanks to Tottenham, after leading 2-0, failing to beat Chelsea.
A year earlier Eden Hazard had clinched the title for his club with a winning goal against Crystal Palace. Now on exactly the same ground his equaliser had exactly the same outcome, but for a different team.
Because of the brutality of the contest there were unedifying scenes at the final whistle at Stamford Bridge. By far the more savoury aspect was being able to shout "Leicester City have won the Premier League. Leicester City are champions."
When you remember the East Midlands club only stayed in the division for that season thanks to a great escape from relegation in the previous campaign, it was an incredible saga. New manager Claudio Ranieri spent months emphasising the accepted survival tally of 40 points was his main target. Leicester finished with more than double that.
Jamie Vardy's rags-to-riches footballing career fashioned interest worldwide, in places where they had either never heard of Leicester or did not know how to pronounce it. The name Schmeichel resurfaced on a Premier League podium. Kasper now knew how dad Peter had felt to be a winner. Riyad Mahrez exploded on to the scene. It was a rum tale with a Captain Morgan writ large in it. Every player had a fascinating back story.
Lest you forget, the Foxes lost only three games in becoming champions. They finished 10 points clear. It was some triumph.
And it was some night at Chelsea when it was made official.
11. Goodbye White Hart Lane
Leicester City is one of a number of clubs which have moved home in the Premier League era, but they are a rarity in finding a site very close to the ground they were leaving. Football fans are creatures of habit and breaking a familiar journey to a different part of town takes some getting used to. Older fans of say Manchester City, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and certainly West Ham would testify to that.
The least painful and surely most pleasurable such experience must belong to Spurs supporters who now have a ground to go to which is actually marginally nearer to the actual road, White Hart Lane. If the previous home was a footballing mansion, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is a palace.
For a chairman known for his financial care, Daniel Levy has pushed out several boats to create a ground for the future which has taken great care of the traditions of the past. He has made sure the soul of the club made the short journey too.
After the final match was over in May 2017, a win over Manchester United preserving an unbeaten home record in the Premier League that season, Spurs staged a farewell ceremony which was worthy of the occasion. Almost 50 past players and managers were introduced onto the pitch and at Sky Sports we stayed on air to cover the event and the emotion it brought.
Nostalgia was very much in the air but so too was rain which threatened to dampen this historic presentation. Happily the sun was not far away and the conditions produced a rainbow which spanned the old stadium, on its final day, and the construction site of the new ground. For Tottenham's progress it was a perfect picture.
12. Liverpool beat Man City 4-3 in a modern classic
Arguably the match of the 21st Century in the Premier League, and the rivalry between the two clubs and the managers Jurgen Klopp and Per Guardiola has grown in intensity in the two years since this thrilling contest at Anfield.
City arrived confident a miserable record on Merseyside could finally be improved. They were unbeaten through their first 22 Premier League games of the season including a 5-0 win in September over Klopp's team. Liverpool had just got richer in the bank, but maybe poorer on the pitch, by bowing to the wishes of Philippe Coutinho to leave for Barcelona.
That potential cloud immediately had a silver lining when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, taking on some of the Brazilian's duties, fired Liverpool into a ninth minute lead. Their need to spend some of the transfer fee on a strengthening in goal was evident five minutes before half time when Loris Karius could not keep out a less-than-stinging Leroy Sane shot. City's unbeaten run did not look in particular danger at half-time.
That changed in a nine-minute spell when all of Liverpool's formidable front three scored, the last of which from Mo Salah was a superb response to a poor clearance from the City 'keeper Ederson. City fought to the very last and conjured late goals from Bernardo Silva and Gundogan. Sergio Aguero almost made it 4-4 later still.
Liverpool had torn off City's cloak of invincibility, but they still went on to be champions with 100 points. It was a glorious game.