In the first of what we might turn into a semi-regular series on Pies, we examine some of the oddest, most esoteric set-pieces to have ever been unleashed, both in anger and in muddled incompetence.
Three games into the 2001/02 season, Manchester United came up against Aston Villa at Villa Park.
Darius Vassell put Villa ahead in the fourth minute of the match, leaving United to chuck everything into chasing an equaliser for the remainder of the match.
Still trailing as the second half wore on, United won themselves a freekick in an advanced position, right on the corner of Villa’s 18-yard box.
It was at this point that Ryan Giggs and David Beckham decided to reveal what they’d been working on together all summer: a devastating, pioneering tandem freekick routine.
Unable to divvy up the set-piece responsibilities between themselves, the pair instead attempted a simultaneous shot on goal..
Peter Schmeichel, who had just returned to the Premier League in July after spending two seasons with Sporting Lisbon, wasn’t the least bit foxed by the Giggs-Beckham charade and simply palmed the resulting duo-shot clear of his crossbar (only to get a little bit left on him by Roy Keane).
Funnily enough, the tandem freekick didn’t really catch on and hasn’t been attempted or even mentioning in passing since.
As for the match itself, United did eventually go on to salvage a draw in the 90th minute via an unfortunate own-goal from Alpay…