by Kevin Henning

1992 – Nottingham Forest 1 Liverpool 0 – First SKY live goal.
Super Sunday arrived with the screening of SKY’s first ever live league match. The game selectors had probably viewed the opening day defeat for Manchester United and the goalfest at Selhurst Park between Palace and Blackburn and wondered whether they’d chosen the wrong game. Forest and Liverpool were two of the powerhouses of English football though and between Richard Keys, Martin Tyler and Andy Gray, we were assured that thrills, spills and goals galore were in store for us.
It was a whole new ball game for the country’s top league. The backpass law had arrived, refs were allowed to wear a snazzy new green kit and we were to be supplied with wall to wall football should we crave it.
In the event, the match was a little dour. It did contain however, the first goal in front of the SKY cameras and a beauty it was too. Brain Clough’s men were rewarded for some inventive play when Edward Sheringham collected the ball on the left flank, cut in and unleashed a thunderbolt across David James’ goal and into the top corner. Martin Tyler couldn’t contain himself and almost let slip that a goal in front of the cameras was more important than either side picking up three points with his commentary. “Sheringham goes for goal!” he began. “Woah! The first…” before he realised that Forest fans cared more about their team than the drive to put a satellite dish on every house in the UK and after a pause added “….Premier League goal for Nottingham Forest.” SKY had their goal though and the nation had been given a glimpse of the monster that was about to take over our beautiful game.

2003 – Manchester United 4 Bolton Wanderers 0 – Christiano Ronaldo’s Dazzling Debut.
After a pre-season friendly in Portugal, Manchester United’s players implored their boss Alex Ferguson to snap up an unheard of teenager who had just amazed them with his array of tricks. Ferguson, for once, decided his players were worth listening to and snapped up Sporting Lisbon’s Cristiano Ronaldo for £12.24 milllion.
Just to ease the pressure and lower expectations on his new signing, Fergie handed the famous United number 7 shirt to his new goldenboy. The new season opened with a straightforward home fixture against local rivals Bolton Wanderers. Young Cristiano was named on the bench and United were already 1-0 up by the time he made his bow, through a Ryan Giggs free-kick. He would soon begin a habit that would last his entire stay at Old Trafford, he won a penalty. Ruud van Nistlerooy saw his spot-kick saved but Ronaldo had a spring in his step and was enjoying his debut. A dazzling run on the left hand side saw Ronaldo cross for Giggs to score his second of the match. Paul Scholes scored a third after rounding Jussi Jaaskelainen and van Nistlerooy wrapped it all up with the fourth of the afternoon.
The day though, belonged to the Portuguse teenager whose cameo appearance provided more highlights than his ludicrous hairstyle. The Stretford End appeared to have a new idol and all seemed well. Only something ridiculous such as a team going all season unbeaten could prevent United from retaining the Premier League……..

2008 – Hull City 2 Fulham 1 – Tigers roar to winning start.
Quite how Hull City hauled themselves up the Championship table and through the play-offs after being as low as 15th place during December remains a mystery. That they began life in the top flight by taking on, outplaying and beating the top sides belies belief. The Wembley win against Bristol City had been 104 years in the making but after the initial euphoria, concern and dread began to set in amongst some Tigers fans about what they would face in the Premier League.
A friend of mine who has held a season ticket for thirty-odd years told me of his nightmare scenario. “Kev, what if Fulham turn up and put 5 past us? Where will we go from there? What will the big guns do to us?” He needn’t have worried. After a hesitant start during which Fulham took the lead at the KC Stadium, the East Yorkshire outfit calmed themselves down and started to play the football that would shake up the entire league.
Brazilian Geovanni, an unbelievable acquisition on a free from Manchester City, pulled the Tigers level with the club’s first ever top flight goal. Then eight minutes from time, Paul Konchesky was caught in possession by Craig Fagan who squared for Caleb Folan to hit a winner which had the Humber Bridge shaking from the cacophony of noise that greeted this historic moment.
City went on to record wins over Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United in a strange coming to life of iconic Housemartins album “London 0 Hull 4”. They were still in the top six at Christmas but eventually ran out of steam and narrowly avoided relegation on the last day of the season. The opening day mauling of the Cottagers was an occasion that took an age to arrive but will be remembered forever.