clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Friday Flashback: Gary Neville's 2006 scouser baiting

We take a look back in time to Liverpool's visit to Old Trafford in January 2006, and Gary Neville's infamous celebration.

Manchester United v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

"Gary Neville is a red, he hates scousers" -- the famous refrain of the Old Trafford faithful during the former England right-back's playing days.

Never was that statement more true than 22 January 2006, when Liverpool visited Old Trafford.

Going into the game only a single point separated table-topping United from their Merseyside rivals in second-place. A tight encounter was anticipated, and that's exactly what unfolded.

And it was the visitors who enjoyed the better of both the possession and the scoring chances. Captain Steven Gerrard dragged his shot wide when he should have hit the target, before Djibril Cissé inexplicably conspired to balloon the ball over an open goal after 67 minutes.

But United, in typical Ferguson-era style, remained resolute and took their late chance when it presented itself.

Manchester United v Liverpool Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

A stoppage-time free-kick wide on the left-hand side afforded Ryan Giggs the opportunity to swing a cross into the box. The Welshmen produced a delightfully curling ball which begged to be headed goalwards.

And centre-back Rio Ferdinand, who'd joined the attack in pursuit of a winner, was more than happy to oblige, dispatching a powerful header beyond the despairing grasp of Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

As the United players rushed to celebrate with Ferdinand in front of the Stretford End, Neville, the captain, had other ideas, as he raced to the corner of the stadium where the away supporters were housed.

In an infamous act of wind-uppery, Neville, screaming in celebration of the late match-winning goal, tugged at his shirt so as to display the United club crest to the Liverpool fans.

Neville ended up being hit with a misconduct charge by the F.A. after the Greater Manchester Police contacted English football's governing body to request that the matter be looked into.

In defence of his actions Neville told The Times:

The over-enthusiastic demonstration of passion may have landed Neville in hot water with the authorities, but it only served to further endear him to United fans.

It remains the standout moment of an otherwise unremarkable match -- although it's always fun to get one over on Liverpool, regardless of the performance -- and one of the most iconic moments of Neville's career.