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Premier League - Football: Top five rants

27 June 2022 06:13:14 EST
Harry Redknapp wasn't one to mince his words

Saturday marked the 81st birthday of Delia Smith, so what better time to celebrate one of the greatest rants in Premier League history.

Smith is known for her cookery and presenting skills, but she is also the joint majority shareholder of Norwich City alongside her husband Michael Wynn-Jones.

A passionate Canaries supporter, Smith underlined her allegiance to the Norwich cause with a now infamous half-time rant during a league match against Manchester City in 2005.

That raucous call to arms has gone down in Premier League folklore, but where does it rank amongst the best rants in the division's history?

Delia's rallying cry

Some things don't change and in February 2005 Norwich were engulfed in a Premier League relegation battle.

The Canaries were playing host to Man City at the end of that month and they raced into a 2-0 lead after just 16 minutes, only for the Citizens to draw level before the break.

There was a subdued atmosphere at Carrow Road as the half-time whistle blew, which prompted Smith to grab a microphone and deliver her memorable rallying cry.

"This is a message for possibly the best supporters in the world," Smith yelled. "We need a 12th man. Where are you? Where are you? Let’s be having you! Come on!"

Unfortunately for Smith and Norwich, City went on to win the game 3-2, while the season ended in relegation for the Canaries - it would be six years before they returned to the top flight again.

Keegan's title-race meltdown

In April 1996 the Premier League was in the midst of one of its most iconic title races, as Newcastle United and Manchester United went head-to-head for glory.

Newcastle, under the leadership of Kevin Keegan, had held a 12-point lead over Man Utd in January, but a drop in form meant their victory over Leeds United on 29th April 1996 was only enough to see them close to within three points of Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

In the build-up to that match, Ferguson had suggested teams such as Leeds and Nottingham Forest, who Newcastle would face two days later, would not try as hard against the Magpies as they would against the Red Devils.

This infuriated Keegan, who certainly got his point across during his post-match interview after the Leeds game.

"We have not resorted to that, but I'll tell you, you can tell him now if you're watching it, we're still fighting for this title, and he's got to go to Middlesbrough and get something, and... and... I'll tell you, honestly, I will love it if we beat them, love it!"

It wasn't to be for Keegan and Newcastle, however, as Man Utd pipped the Magpies to the title by four points, with Ferguson winning the battle of the mind games.

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Austin calls for VAR

VAR has proved a divisive introduction to the Premier League and it is hard to believe it has been in operation in the English top-flight for just three seasons.

Back in November 2018, the debate to introduce VAR was in full swing, especially after Southampton were controversially denied a winner in their 1-1 draw with Watford that same month.

Maya Yoshida was adjudged to be offside by referee Simon Hooper, who did not spot that the ball had twice struck Saints forward Charlie Austin.

Austin certainly let his frustrations be known in a post-match interview, leaving in no uncertain terms what he felt about the standard of refereeing and whether VAR should be introduced.

"It’s ridiculous, they shouldn't be in the game," Austin fumed. "We scored a perfectly good goal that was ruled out for offside. The officials cost us two points. They said it was offside, that is a joke.

"People go on about VAR, they clearly need help. If this is the best, most-watched league in the world then give them all the help they need. It's a joke."

Don't call Harry a wheeler and dealer

Harry Redknapp was one of the most renowned English managers of his generation and he has since forged a successful career away from the dugout, endearing himself to the public by being crowned 'King of the Jungle' on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here in 2018.

The 75-year-old was renowned as something of a wheeler and dealer during his managerial career, particularly during his time with Portsmouth during the 00s.

That reputation stuck with him at Tottenham Hotspur, but in August 2010, after a 1-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic in the Premier League, Redknapp decided enough was enough.

After being called a "wheeler and dealer" by a reporter, Redknapp went on an expletive rant denying the claim before storming off and ignoring the interviewer's attempts of an apology.

It is easy to understand why Redknapp was annoyed, he had just led Spurs to the Champions League for the first time in their history and they would go on to reach the quarter-finals of that competition that same season.

Benitez lays out the "facts"

Sir Alex Ferguson was the master at getting under the skin of his rivals in the dugout and some 13 years on from ruffling Keegan's feathers, he was at it again, this time irking Rafael Benitez and Liverpool.

In January 2009, Liverpool were top of the Premier League standings and looking well placed to end their 19-year wait for a top-flight title.

Man Utd were part of the chasing pack, but prior to Liverpool's home clash with Stoke City, Ferguson had complained about his side's fixture schedule.

That clearly annoyed Benitez, who used his pre-match press conference ahead of the Stoke game to call out Ferguson, constantly using the words "facts" to get his point across.

Unfortunately for Benitez, just like Keegan before him, it was Ferguson who would have the last laugh, as Man Utd went on to win the title, finishing four points clear of Liverpool, who drew that game with Stoke, as well as their next two league fixtures in a run that ultimately proved costly.

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