But when the 2019-20 Premier League season ends, it will go down as the most notable campaign in league history, with football suspended for the first time since World War II due to the ongoing outbreak of the corona virus.
But prior to this unprecedented season, few Premier League campaigns had been as rowdy as 2004-05, when the conventions were ripped up and troubled footballers reached both the front pages and the back.
On April 2, 15 years ago, Newcastle’s teammates, Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer, were engaged in an extraordinary battle on the pitch at St James’ Park as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa. Referee Barry Knight sent both players away when punches were thrown and the fracas went through the tunnel.
Midfielders from Newcastle Lee Bowyer (left) and Kieron Dyer (right) fight each other
Former Newcastle defender Steven Taylor, who missed the incident because he was already in the locker room, because he was the first of three magpies to be broadcast that day, recalled the incident to Sports emailCraig Hope this week.
“Suddenly I only hear a quarrel coming to the dressing room. It was Dyer and Bowyer and two of the masseurs stopped them. Bowyer’s shirt was ripped and Dyer said, “Bend, you hit like a jerk.” I think, “What’s going on here?”
I thought Bowyer had argued with one of their players and Dyer jumped in. I didn’t know what had happened until I saw it on TV and thought, “God, they just saved me.” After the game, Alan Shearer entered the dressing room and said, “Right, you guys, explain yourself to the press.” ‘
That was perhaps not even the most notable incident on the pitch of the 2004-05 season. That award is likely from former Birmingham winger Jermaine Pennant.
Pennant, who was paroled at the time after being released early from a three-month prison sentence for drink-driving, became the first Premier League player to wear an electronic anklet during a match.
The terms of Pennant’s release meant that he had to wear the tag and not leave his home between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., allowing Arsenal’s tenant to play in Saturday afternoon’s kick-off against Tottenham. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Jermaine Pennant plays with a single label on his left leg while Birmingham draws with Tottenham
While news from Dyer-Bowyer and Pennant interrupted the season, the main story was all about Chelsea and Jose Mourinho. Roman Abramovich had bought Chelsea in 2003 and appointed Mourinho a manager a year later because he pumped millions into the club to try to get their first title in 50 years and only their second overall.
That would be no easy feat if Manchester United and Arsenal dominated English football in the 1990s and early 2000s. No team had broken that duopoly for ten years since Blackburn’s 1994-95 title win, with United winning six titles and Arsenal three – the last to come the season before remaining unbeaten.
Chelsea won their first Premier League trophy under Jose Mourinho in 2005
But none of that surprised Mourinho and Chelsea when they shredded the old order, the manager called himself the ‘Special One’ before beating United on the opening day to set the tone and only lose once all season to 12 points for finishing in second place placed Arsenal on a new 95-point Premier League record.
In the 2004-2005 season, things were shaken up on Merseyside. Liverpool would win the Champions League in Istanbul after the most incredible European Cup final of all time, coming back 3-0 down to win on penalties. Fortunately for Rafa Benitez, who is sticking firmly about an unwanted stat from his first season: Everton finished above Liverpool for the first time since 1987.
The shine was taken from that feat, though for David Moyes’ fourth-placed match, as they lost their Champions League play-off to Villarreal next season and had to sit back and watch the fifth-placed Reds defend their crown.
Everton celebrated the winner of Lee Carsley when they defeated Liverpool in December 2004
2004-05 PFA TEAM OF THE YEAR
Petr Cech (Chelsea); Gary Neville (Manchester United), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), John Terry (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Arsenal); Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Arjen Robben (Chelsea); Andy Johnson (Crystal Palace), Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
At the bottom of the table there was a fittingly dramatic ending to a crazy season. Incredibly, no team was relegated on the way to the last day, with West Brom, Southampton, Crystal Palace and Norwich just two points apart and just one safe place up for grabs.
Norwich entered the day safely, but was defeated 6-0 by Fulham and would relegate with Southampton, who lost to Manchester United at home. Palace was on their way to safety with both them and West Brom in their games, but a late equalizing goal for south London rivals Charlton sent the Eagles down. By staying up, West Brom, under Bryan Robson, became the first Premier League team to be at the bottom of the table at Christmas to avoid relegation.
However, there was a little consolation for Palace, as their striker was named Andy Johnson on the season’s PFA team, up front alongside Thierry Henry, who had scored 21 goals in a relegation season. Another highlight in a season that held back trends at so many levels.
Andy Johnson celebrates one of his 21 goals and Bryan Robson greets West Brom’s big break