The final day of the season has brought some of the best games in Premier League history.
For some teams, it’s a day of hectic desperation, for others the pressure is off and it’s just about signing off with a flourish. The mixture of those things breeds a level of chaos and entertainment value that you don’t get anywhere else on the football calendar.
As we get ready to say goodbye to yet another Premier League season, then, we’ve taken a look back at some of the best final day encounters over the years and ranked them on their drama.
The Blues and the Reds went into this one with the fourth and final Champions League spot on the line, but with their debts mounting and the threat of administration lurking ominously in the background, Chelsea could scarcely afford to lose it.
It looked as if it was getting away from them when Sami Hyypia headed in an early opener, but Marcel Desailly soon cancelled it out. Stamford Bridge then erupted on the half hour when Jesper Gronkjaer curled in what proved to be the winner, and kept Chelsea’s bank balance alive to fight another day.
The win attracted investment from a certain Russian billionaire who bought the club over that summer. The rest fell nicely into place.
Steven Gerrard’s last game in a Liverpool shirt wasn’t quite the ending he would have envisioned.
He did score for the Reds that day, but unfortunately they were 5-0 down by that point and already well on their way to one of the worst defeats in their history.
A double from Mame Biram Diouf and goals from Jonathan Walters, Charlie Adam and Steven Nzonzi had Stoke five to the good after an astonishing first half. Gerrard pulled one back, but Peter Crouch rubbed salt in the wound with a late header and sealed a famous win for the Potters.
This was the writing on the wall moment for Brendan Rodgers at Anfield; he was dismissed just a few months later, and in came Jurgen Klopp.
The permutations were complicated for Man City heading into the final day of the 1995/96 season, but basically, they had to better the result of Southampton or Coventry to stay in the Premier League.
Had they beat Liverpool, then, they would have stayed up.
They elected against pressing for the win in the late stages at Maine Road, though. In one of the most bizarre and chaotic turns of events in Premier League history, City boss Alan Ball instructed his team to waste time and hold onto the point, because he’d heard that Southampton had conceded a late goal.
As it happened, they had not. And while City were taking their time over throw-ins and running the ball into the corner, all they were doing was sealing their own fate: relegation to Division 1.
Talk about cracking a nut with a sledgehammer.
Chelsea needed a win on the final day to make sure of the Premier League title, but it became clear very quickly they weren’t leaving anything to chance.
Nicolas Anelka got the party started with just five minutes on the clock and an onslaught for the ages ensued. Half the population of west London lined up to stick them past poor Wigan keeper Mike Pollitt, who must still have nightmares about the sight of Didier Drogba bearing down on goal.
The 1990s were a strange time for Everton. Wedged in between the glory days of the 70s and 80s and the stability that came later under David Moyes, the Toffees were suffering from an identity crisis that nearly cost them their top-flight status.
They were staring down the barrel of relegation within 20 minutes of this one as Wimbledon charged into a 2-0 lead, but they showed incredible fight to get back into it as Graham Stuart and Barry Horne got them level.
The scenes that followed Stuart’s late penalty to win it? You can only imagine.
Chucking a three-goal lead against West Brom? Bit of a fraud, this Fergie guy, eh?
It was only fitting of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United career that he got a send-off as chaotic as this.
United were 3-0 up at one point, and 5-2 up at another, but the inspired form of Romelu Lukaku denied the great man a winning finish.
Bit rude if you ask me, but whatever.
“I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again!”
To be fair to Martin Tyler, we haven’t, and we probably never will.
We probably don’t need to go over the specifics of this one given it’s the most famous moment in the history of the Premier League, but to win the title, on goal difference, with the very last kick of the ball…ridiculous.
Tyler did his very, very best to overcook it, but he failed, because it’s a moment in history that simply cannot be overcooked.