On This Day: Jamie Pollock Scores One Of The Greatest Own Goals In Football History
Let's face it, own goals are just better than regular goals, no matter how spectacular a scorpion kick, 30 yard volley, thumping header or team goal may be. The absurdity, tragedy and helplessness attached to them is just too enjoyable an experience to believe any other type of effort could surpass an OG.
So, with this in mind, today we celebrate the 19th anniversary of what is perhaps the greatest own goal ever scored in the history of football.
No, that isn't unnecessary hyperbole.
It's the most accurate description of what former Manchester City midfielder produced one Saturday afternoon during a First Division relegation six pointer against QPR in late April, almost 20 years ago.
A month previously, Pollock had arrived at Maine Road from Bolton Wanderers to help City avoid relegation to the third tier for the first time in their history. And, when QPR paid a visit to Manchester on 25th April, 1998, Joe Royle's men had a fighting chance of remaining in the First Division.
No, your eyes aren't dreaming, Pollock did actually captain City AFTER scoring that own goal. What a bloke. Image: PA
City started the day in 21st place, one position above the visitors and, with 32,040 fans (City's biggest home crowd, that season) watching on, mercurial Georgian wizard Georgiou Kinkladze gave the home side the lead within the first minute.
The Rs would equalise and, with the score level at 1-1, Pollock decided one of the most important games in City's history was the right time to produce the most inspired moment of his career.
As the Hoops launched another attack, Pollock trotted back to intercept a through ball from the right wing and, not necessarily under much pressure, flicked the ball away from a QPR forward, effectively snuffing out any danger.
Or so every one else on the pitch, sidelines and all of the 32,040 fans inside Maine Road believed.
The '90s were fucking brilliant, weren't they? Image: PA
Under no pressure whatsoever, Pollock attempted to nonchalantly follow up his effective, lobbed first touch with an equally effective lobbed second touch, only this time the former Bolton midfielder opted for a header back to his goalkeeper rather than doing what any right minded First Division player in the '90s would have done and hoof the fucking ball any fucking where away from goal.
The result of Pollock's continental centre half style rush of blood (that he presumably learned during his two match spell with Osasuna in Spain) was his header looping over a helpless and presumably bemused Martyn Margetson in the City goal.
Like a fine wine, the goal has only become better with age.
A late Lee Bradbury goal rescued a draw for City, but a win was required and, a week later, despite a 5-2 victory over Stoke City, wins for Port Vale and Portsmouth condemned the Citizens to the Second Division.
The goal led to QPR fans voting for Pollock in an online poll a couple of years later to find the 'Most Important Man Of The Past 2,000 Years' in which Jesus came second. The former Middlesbrough man would leave Maine Road two years later, joining Crystal Palace before eventually retiring from the game in 2002.
We're not sure there's been many better ways of introducing yourself to a new club by scoring a spectacular own goal a month that effectively relegates your new employers. Fair play, Jamie Pollock, you're the hero we all deserve. Thank you.
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