Since 1971, the BBC has asked the football-watching public of the UK one simple question every year. What do you think was the goal of the season? It’s the fairest way to determine that year’s best goal, and there are some absolute crackers on the list.
Since the Premier League’s inception in 1992, the winning goal was scored in that competition 26 out of 30 times – by legends of the game such as Dennis Bergkamp, Wayne Rooney. Mohamed Salah and, erm, Rodney Wallace.
But which of those goals is best? Let’s run down our favourites.
#5 Paolo Di Canio, West Ham United vs Wimbledon, 1999/00
You’ll see more than one volley on this list. Everyone loves a volley – hitting the ball so sweetly just as it drops. Di Canio though, he doesn’t wait for the ball to drop. He decides to leap and meet it, making the connection while seemingly hanging in mid-air. It’s an all time classic.
#4 Mohamed Salah, Liverpool vs Manchester City, 2021/22
Manchester City have some of the world’s most expensive defenders. They know what they’re doing. That’s why City have won so many titles in recent years. So how does Salah make them look like rank amateurs? He leaves a trail of blue-shirted bodies in his wake, as he casually wanders through before smacking the ball across the hapless City keeper. It’s man against boys.
Salah is the only current player on this list, so make sure you get hold of some Liverpool tickets to see him in the flesh.
#3 Dennis Bergkamp, Arsenal vs Newcastle United, 2001/02
Just watch it. If you can explain how Bergkamp manages to move the ball behind the defender with his instep, while spinning the wrong way, and then re-unites with it on the other side of poor Nikos Dabizas, then you could probably write a physics paper about it. The finish past a sprawling Shay Given is just the icing on the cake. We wish we had an Arsenal Tickets to witness this one.
#2 Wayne Rooney, Manchester United vs Manchester City, 2010/11
If you chose one word to describe Wayne Rooney, it wouldn’t be “acrobatic.” Even in his prime, Rooney never had the athletic grace of a Cristiano Ronaldo. So when a looping ball dropped just behind him in the Manchester derby, everyone just expected Rooney to hold the ball up and lay it off to Berbatov. He didn’t. He somehow pulled off one of the best bicycle kicks of all time. No wonder the City defence look stunned.
#1: Tony Yeboah, Leeds United vs Wimbledon, 1995/96
Teams used to hate playing Wimbledon. Tough, aggressive games that relied more on determination than flair. Unless you were a Ghanaian with a foot like a traction engine. Yeboah does a bit of ball juggling, drops his shoulder to find space, and then WHACK. In off the crossbar.
Even now, over 20 years later, you’ll hear adult men who were schoolkids at the time praise any goal that clatters in off the bar with the words “he’s absolutely Yeboah-ed that.”
As you’ve seen from this list, the best goal of the season can be scored anywhere, at any time. So make sure you pick up your Premier League tickets and keep an eye out for the best goal of next season.