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Tel 020 8267 5848 Fax 020 8267 5725
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Editor Hitesh Ratna

Art editor Anthony Moore
Deputy art editor Tom Chase
Features editor James Maw

Staff writer Andrew Murray
Staff writer Chris Flanagan
Chief sub editor Gregg Davies
Junior picture editor Tom Clazie Flynn @FourFourTwoEd
Head of video Ben Welch
Performance writer Alec Fenn
FourFourTwo videographer Jalal Ali These are pictures
Global digital editor Gary Parkinson
of my study fax,
UK digital editor Joe Brewin
Digital features editor Alex Reid a school diary we
Social media editor Harriet Drudge
Social media apprentice Hunter Godson were given to keep
Editorial secretary Cathy Wythe track of homework
Thanks to Haymarket Pre-Press (Repro), Steve Latter,
Ben Walsh, Ulisses Neto, Arthur Renard, Stephen Duffy, assignments. Like most kids in my school, mine
Mads Frederiksen, Anthony Marshall, Tristan O’Carroll,
Megan Pollard, Joe Nicholson, Barney Lane was full of random notes (“do a pencil drawing
Pictures PA, Getty, Shutterstock, Twitter, Alamy, Offside,
Instagram, Reuters, A Love Supreme, When Saturday
of noodle spaghetti for art class”) and even more @FOURFOURTWO
Comes, BXR, Kevin Cummins, Jeremy Clay random ’90s footballers. Step forward Wimbledon
Global brand director Andy Jackson
Global editor-in-chief David Hall
midfielder Peter Fear and his German Shepherd.
Business director Claire Griffiths So when we first discussed the idea of doing
Brand executive Ben Clark
Senior direct marketing executive Faith Wardle a ’90s-themed issue, it was simply meant to be
Global partnerships director Ian Porter
Deputy production manager Suzanne Wiseman
a celebration of all the things we loved about @FOURFOURTWOUK
Subscriptions & back issues Haymarket Consumer, 3 Queensbridge, the decade, a chance to revel in the nostalgia
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Licensing and syndication email of Mitre footballs and Sensible Soccer. It also
gave us an opportunity to speak to ’90s icons
Tel +44 (0) 20 8267 5159 Email like Matt Le Tissier and watch and review a load
Partnerships & advertising director Kevin O’Byrne
Commercial group head Stephen Windegaard of football VHS tapes. FACEBOOK.COM/
Senior account manager Emma Blick
Team leader Ben Hardy
But what we had almost forgotten was just how much football FOURFOURTWO
Key account manager Sam Evanson changed during the decade. In a period that started with Gazza’s
Account manager Keiron Batchelor tears in Turin and concluded with Man United winning the Treble,
Account manager Lindsey Dobson
Account manager Joshua McGonigle English football went through a radical transformation on and off
the pitch. Admittedly these changes came at a price, literally, but
International business director Jamie Wilson you would be hard pressed to make the case that things aren’t FOURFOURTWO
Global account director Jason Brown
better now than in 1989. And it is in
Global account manager Nicola Darkin
Circulation enquiries Frontline Ltd, Midgate House, Midgate, PE1 1TN this spirit that we bring you this ’90s
Tel: 01733 555161 Repro by Haymarket Pre-Press
Printed by William Gibbons & Sons Ltd. P.O.Box 103,
26 Planetary Road, Willenhall, West Midlands, WV13 3XT.
special: a collection of the best bits
FFT is published by Haymarket Media, Bridge House, 69 London Road, from the decade and a reminder of Hitesh Ratna
Twickenham, TW1 3SP. Tel: +44 (0)20 8267 5000;
FFT cannot accept any responsibility for unsolicited contributions, and no Editor
part of this magazine may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or how different things could have been…
transmitted without permission. ISSN 1355 0276 EAN 97713550270009

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Chief executive Kevin Costello

Save money by subscribing to FourFourTwo
0344 848 8811
Overseas: +44 (0)1604 251 455
Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge Gary Parkinson: Our cover feature Anthony Moore: The Geordie Tom Clazie Flynn: Stockpiling ’90s
writer has been a FFT staffer since genius that is our Art Editor spent photos proved troublesome for our
2004 and owns socks older than a large part of his ’90s coming to Junior Picture Editor. “The majority
many of his colleagues. The former terms with the fact he had to give of the issue was spent with the office
fanzine editor says the ’90s were the up his season ticket at Newcastle agape at each question I asked. I’m
Haymarket is certified by BSI to environmental
standard ISO14001 and energy management making of him and of football, and to attend university and live with still not sure if Southend really played
standard ISO50001.
anyone who disagrees can expect – among others – a Salford scally. Fiorentina, but everyone else seems
a strongly-worded pager message. Those type of wounds never heal. confident so I’m going along with it.” February 2018 5

One-on-One: Chris Sutton
Around the world in 12 stories
Robbie Fowler: Goals galore
Gazza and Wrighty on song
Your Sliding Doors decade
Quiz: Name the overseas star

90 things we loved in the ’90s
From John Barnes’ rap to the rise
of ‘Goldenballs’, FFT recalls the
players, games and dodgy strips
that made it a decade to cherish
Ajax rule the world (again)
25 Don’t mess with Wolfie After Johan Cruyff’s ’70s vintage,
26 Martin ‘AGUEROOOOO!’ Tyler how another golden generation
27 Talentspotter: Phil Foden came through to conquer Europe
28 Gabriel revived at Valencia 58 Between The Lines: Jimmy Glass
29 Owen’s France 98 stunner The keeper whose 94th-minute
30 Matthaus on that 1999 final goal kept Carlisle in the League
31 Your letters and tweets remembers his defining moment


92 82




Making of the super gaffers
FFT looks back at the formative
years and playing careers of four
top Premier League managers
Goals, gaffes & dubious gags
We press rewind to bring you
some VHS ‘classics’ salvaged
from lofts and car boot sales.
Er, has anybody got a VCR...?
Icons that made the ’90s great

Keegan’s shaggy dog story
Tractor Boys sign Soviet star
Ace Bristol City programmes
The record low top-flight crowd
Fight Club: Cyril vs Zampa

Yohan Cabaye masterclass
Players’ training pics analysed
Ravanelli, Hagi, Le Tissier: you all 105 FFT tests some anti-slip socks
have your heroes, and we have 106 Petr Cech’s ping-pong show
hunted down a few of our own 107 How to brush off your marker


There were worries before the USA hosted the World Cup
in 1994. Would Americans take to proper football? Would
anyone care England weren’t there stinking the place out?
Could Diana Ross score an open goal? Well: yes, not really,
definitely not. The pre-final closing ceremony at the Rose
Bowl in Pasadena – the most iconic stadium in American
Football – was a celebration of how much the Yanks had
embraced the beautiful game, and featured smiling pop
royalty Whitney Houston. Just as well it didn’t rain, eh?
Picture Tony Marshall/EMPICS/PA

“On ME nOSE, SOn!”

There are many ways to celebrate winning the FA Cup. You
could go for the prosaic smacker on silverware option or
the ‘crazy’ trophy-as-hat alternative, but these have been
repeated countless times before. After all, you want to be
unique. Ignoring the cup entirely, Liverpool keeper Bruce
Grobbelaar came up with his own entry. Invoking his inner
seal, the Zimbabwean balanced a comedy cap-umbrella
on his hooter after the Reds beat Sunderland 2-0 to claim
the ’92 edition of the world’s oldest cup competition. Arf!
Picture Ross Kinnaird/EMPICS/PA
UPFROnT THAT’S THE SPIRIT Model Nanna Chara has got a plan to date Neymar:

> < “I wrote his name on my foot. If I meet him, I will stamp my foot three
times, shout, ‘You are mine by the power of good spirits’ and he’ll agree”

Games that chan ow Sliding Doors decade t’s hard hats on at

life: Robbie Fowler ay have panned out p23 he Riverside p27

go and watch him playing for them, and chairman. We all liked to play this game
even at such a young age I could see he with coins, and if you lost you had to do
was a really good player. I actually got a forfeit. The pig was one of the forfeits.

rejected by Norwich when I was 12, but There were some other forfeits that were
I had another opportunity there at 16. a lot worse than that, but I’m not going
to tell you what they were! It was good
Chris, what do you think about the that there were no camera phones back
pedestrianisation of Norwich city in those days, as I was running around
centre, because I’m dead against it. a pig pen in the middle of Norfolk, diving
Gregg Patterson, Middlesbrough around trying to catch this pig. With my
[Laughs] I love Norwich, and I love the lack of pace, you know what happened!
pedestrianisation of the city centre, too.  
Interview Chris Flanagan Photography Richard Cannon Norwich is never going to be able to get Norwich were eight points clear at the
away from Alan Partridge, though that’s top of the Premier League just before
what I like about it. I like Alan Partridge. Christmas of the 1992-93 season, but

DOES HE REGRET SnUBBInG EnGLAnD? You played as both a centre-forward

finished 12 points behind Manchester
United. Should you have won the title?


and centre-half in your career. How’d Graham Notman, Derby
that happen and which did you prefer? Should have, could have... but you know


Tom Rosenhammer, Richmond, US what? We never really believed that we
I sometimes played midfield as well – it could win it because we were Norwich:
probably came about as the managers a club who had historically gone to and
thought I wasn’t quite good enough in fro between the top two divisions. We
Chris Sutton is midway through his FFT know I’m happily miserable…” he jokes. one position so they’d try me in another! had a decent team, but we were happy
photo shoot at the BT Sport studios in Indeed, the Premier League title-winner I was always a centre-forward, but there to be there. Although we were aware of
Stratford, when Robbie Savage bursts is in a positively good mood when he sits was once an injury at centre-half in the the position we were in, I don’t think at
through the door. down to answer your questions – though Norwich youth team and they told me: any point did I sense we really felt like
“What on earth are you doing popping rest assured, he’s still got some opinions ‘You’re quite tall, get back in there’, and we were going to win the league. I think
emoji balloons? Pathetic, pathetic man!” to get off his chest… I could read the game pretty well. When we were just hoping that we would do it.
Savage shouts, laughing, before exiting I broke into the Norwich first team I was United won the title that year and we
as quickly as he’d arrived. Your father Mike played for Norwich. playing in both positions. I came on as had to play them over Easter at Carrow
Chris resists the temptation to respond Was it your dream to play for them? a substitute as a striker to start off with Road. I was at centre-half and we were
to his fellow pundit, briefly smiling before Kevin Mann, Cromer but played most of my early matches in 3-0 down after the opening 30 minutes.
Upfront editor Chris Flanagan

the stern look returns, and he gets back My dad was the biggest influence on my the First Division at centre-half instead. We finished that season with a negative
in character to mercilessly destroy some career. He’d played for Norwich, Carlisle goal difference and that was probably
more balloons. and Chester, but packed it in pretty early You attempted to kiss a pig in a field down to me having to play centre-half
It’s clear from meeting Sutton that his at 28, went to Loughborough University, during your Norwich days – er, why? so often! We had some decent players at
hard-faced television persona is partly got a degree and then went to teach at Stephen Cross, Hunstanton the club and on our day we were good
that – a persona. “I’m perceived as being a school in Norwich. We moved back and [Laughs] I’d knock around with Ruel Fox enough to beat anybody. We just didn’t
miserable, but the people who know me he played for Great Yarmouth Town. I’d and Lee Power, who’s now the Swindon quite have that reliability defensively.

12 February 2018

1991-94 Norwich
1994-99 Blackburn
1999-2000 Chelsea
2000-06 Celtic
2006 Birmingham
2006-07 Aston Villa

1997 England

2009-10 Lincoln

Alan McInally claimed Bayern Munich What did you make of Robert Chase –
would beat Norwich by about 10 goals the chairman at Norwich until 1996?
in the 1993-94 UEFA Cup. How much Ian Stuart Michael, Norwich
did his comments motivate the team? He split opinion at the club but I think he
Eddie Brown, Wymondham did a good job there. He was a wily old
We probably thought the same thing to chairman and very slippery. In 1993-94
be honest with you. But beating Bayern I had a good season and some big clubs
[2-1 in Germany and 3-2 on aggregate] came in for me. Manchester United and Right Sutton kicked off his
summed us up – under Mike Walker we Liverpool were interested, Blackburn and career at Norwich, where
had a way of playing, and at Bayern we Arsenal both agreed a fee and I decided dad Mike had also played
actually played with three centre-backs to sign for Blackburn. But the chairman Below Savouring a shock
and a sweeper too! We had some issues told me not to say anything about it, as UEFA Cup win over Bayern
defensively but had decent pace on the not long before that he’d said if he sold next to Jeremy Goss, Rob
break and trust in each other. Although me before the start of the new season, Newman and Daryl Sutch
the result was a huge surprise to many, he’d leave the club. He must have been
because it was Bayern Munich, it wasn’t thinking: ‘How do I get out of this one?’
a great surprise to us that, in a game of So he held a press conference, we sat
football over 90 minutes, we beat them. there and he said that if Chris Sutton is
Jeremy Goss scored early and although sold for a British record fee, which was
Bryan Gunn had to make a terrific save, £5 million at the time, he’d have to let
we deserved it. Afterwards, you realise me go. And I’m just sitting there, sworn
the enormity of it all. It was an amazing to secrecy. I’m looking at the press and
result – I don’t think many British teams thinking: ‘But what if someone asks me?’
have gone away to Bayern Munich and I would have lied – it was an incredible
won on their turf, and that’s the match situation. There’s a picture of me sat in
people still talk about today. What was the room where I’m thinking: ‘What are
probably more impressive was the fact you on about? You’re talking bollocks!’
we also held them off in the second leg  
back at Carrow Road [1-1]. How did they Is it true that you ended up in jail the
react to being knocked out? They were night before you signed for Blackburn?
ungracious, as you might expect. Lothar Tony Barnes, Accrington
Matthaus had the right hump – he was Yes, my playing career was littered with
particularly aggravated, which was nice. mistakes and that was one of them.



I’d gone out for a drink with Bryan Gunn games to go and we almost blew it. It
and a few of the other lads, and ended would have been unthinkable to not win
up diving into this convertible car. I bent that title, and that’s all I thought about
the indicator of it a bit and got arrested immediately after. I shouldn’t have been
– banged up. I was worrying about the thinking that, because we’d just won it.
move collapsing, about Kenny Dalglish Everyone thought Liverpool were going
pulling the plug on the deal. Worse than to chuck it against us because of their
that, though, I was thinking: ‘My dad is rivalry with Man United. But they beat us
going to go mad…’ And he did! [Laughs] and, whatever anybody says, in the end
  United had it in their own hands against
There were suggestions that you and West Ham and they blew it – although
Alan Shearer didn’t see eye to eye at we nearly blew it as well. It must have
Blackburn – was been great to watch,
that really true? but it wasn’t that
Ian Lainton, Bolton great to play in…


There have been  
suggestions over Blackburn were
the years – I got a relatively small
on fine with Alan. club compared to
Football dressing other contenders
HIGH: 1993
rooms are funny at the time – do
Helps Norwich win at Bayern –
places. Alan was you think Rovers’
nets 28 goals that season
best mates with triumph was as
LOW: 1994
Mike Newell, and good as Leicester
Part of Blackburn side upset
essentially I had winning the title
by Trelleborg in UEFA Cup
gone to take his two seasons ago?
HIGH: 1995
Top and bottom Chris was place upfront. So Sean Stevens,
Wins Premier League – 49-goal
a British-record £5m buy that was slightly via Facebook
partnership with Alan Shearer
for Blackburn in 1994 and uncomfortable to If I’m being totally
LOW: 1998
went on to net 47 league start with. I never honest, Blackburn
Controversially decides to pull
goals Left But he scored had any issues, were among the
out of the England B squad
just the three for Chelsea though. It’s not favourites in that
HIGH: 1998
after an ill-fated switch to that we were big season after Man
Shares Premier League Golden
London, the first of which drinking buddies United. So I don’t
Boot with Michael Owen and
was a Champions League off the pitch, but think it was such
Dion Dublin after 18 goals
strike against Skonto Riga we always got on a great shock that
LOW: 1999
and the chance we won the title,
Joins Chelsea after Blackburn’s
to play with Alan albeit it had been
relegation but fails to impress
was a big reason 81 years since the
HIGH: 2004
why I decided to last time they had
Named SPFA Players’ Player of
go to Blackburn. done it. But with
the Year after winning third of
Leicester nobody
four league titles with Celtic
Who was the saw it coming, so
better SAS: you I’d say Leicester’s
and Alan Shearer, achievement was
or Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge? better than Blackburn’s. Some thought
Sarah Preston, Bristol that Rovers bought the title, which was
Well, Suarez and Sturridge never won the deeply unfair. A lot of money has been
Premier League, so there’s the answer… spent in the Premier League in the last
[Smiles] Myself and Alan would get most 20 years or so, and success hasn’t been
of the headlines at Blackburn but people bought. Jack Walker was a hometown
forget we were a really good team. We man and what he did was he backed his
had very good wingers, Stuart Ripley and football club. In that respect, Blackburn’s
Jason Wilcox, putting balls into the box success was an incredible achievement.
for us and we had a way of playing that  
was effective. We certainly weren’t the Why did you lock yourself in a toilet
prettiest team ever to win the Premier after a match at Highbury in 1997?
League title but we were an extremely Greg Taylor, Barnet
well organised side with Kenny Dalglish [Laughs] Well that was Martin Keown…
in charge – we played to our strengths. Blackburn were struggling in the league
  that season and were losing 1-0 going
Describe what it felt like to lift the into the 90th minute. Back in those days,
Premier League trophy on the final if an opponent kicked the ball out for an
day of the season away at Anfield? injury, you would give it them back. But
Susan Doyle, Blackburn Patrick Vieira was just sitting down on
The best thing about it was we won the the pitch and when they kicked the ball
title. The worst thing about it was that out, we thought: ‘They’re time-wasting
we were nine points clear with only six here’. I don’t know if I’m trying to make February 2018 15



a case for myself? When we gave them
the ball back we said: ‘Send it over Nigel
Winterburn’s head and then we’ll chase
it’, which wasn’t quite the done thing.
I closed Nigel down, he put it out for
a corner and then it all kicked off. In
came the corner, Garry Flitcroft scored
a cracking goal and all hell broke loose.
All sorts of threats were being made so
I played the last minute and a half out
on the left wing near the tunnel! When
the final whistle went, I pegged it down
the tunnel and they’re all coming after
me, so I went back in the dressing room,
thought: ‘Sod this’ and got in the toilet.
That was the safest place for me! I got
the blame for Arsenal not qualifying for
the Champions League that season, but
they still had another three games after
us and dropped points against Coventry
and Newcastle, too. Maybe they should
all have taken a little bit more personal
responsibility – or defended the corner
better – rather than just blaming me...
You were sent off in October 1998 for
a two-footed tackle on Patrick Vieira
at Ewood Park. What was that about?
Alan Grennan, Finsbury Park
He was a great player but he’d elbowed
me at a corner and broke my nose. I was
left on all fours, my eyes were watering.
I looked up at him and he was grinning
back at me. I thought: ‘I’m going to do more England caps? I don’t really know. that era I think you’d get pretty close to I went there for big money and this isn’t
you’. When I tried to tackle him around [FFT: Are you on good terms with Hoddle double figures of top-quality strikers, like an excuse, but I had been suffering from
his knees five minutes later I missed him – you both work for BT Sport?] Yeah, I get Alan Shearer, Teddy Sheringham, Robbie injuries for probably about six months at
but was shown a straight red before I’d on well with him nowadays. When you Fowler, Les Ferdinand, Ian Wright, Andy Blackburn and hadn’t played regularly.
even got back on my feet. Then, as I was finish playing, you have to move on, you Cole, Michael Owen, Stan Collymore and But going into that new environment at
getting up, Emmanuel Petit pushed me can’t bear grudges. A player doesn’t Dion Dublin. I’ve probably missed Chelsea with the team-mates that I was
over and I landed face first on the pitch. have the right to do what I did and someone out. There was a lot of playing with, I should have done much,
  Glenn was 100 per cent spot on. competition upfront. I think the much better. I didn’t start very well, lost
Do you regret withdrawing from the I was wrong again. Can we do reality is, in this day and age I’d a bit of confidence and hesitated – you
England B game against Chile ahead some questions where I was have won a lot more caps, which can’t hesitate at that level, especially if
of the 1998 World Cup? Paul Merson proven right now? [Laughs] is a sad indication of where we’re you’re a striker. I had a tough time, but
played in that match and ended up   at these days in terms of the I don’t blame anybody else or the style
forcing his way into the final squad. England are not quality of English strikers. of play there. It was purely down to me.
Stuart Steelyard, Doncaster blessed with as    
Yes, it is a big regret. I was really angry many top-class Why do you think Is it true that Leeds tried to sign you
about how that all came about, because strikers these your £10m switch only a month after you’d joined the
I thought I deserved a place in the main days. You only to Chelsea in 1999 Blues, and were you tempted to go?
squad. But I didn’t have any right to do picked up one didn’t work out as Steve Wallingham, Leeds
what I did by phoning up Glenn Hoddle, cap – how many everyone had hoped? Yes, they did, and in hindsight perhaps
and he was quite right to put me away do you think you Roman Taylor, I should have gone to Leeds! But no, I’d
in the way he did and not pick me ever would have if you via Facebook committed to Chelsea and nothing was
again. I could be impulsive sometimes. were a player now? I blame myself. I don’t blame about to derail me from that. I was really
I didn’t do the right thing and it proved James Pickup, Harrogate anyone else for what happened looking forward to a long and illustrious
to be a big mistake, though if I’m being Good question. Of course at Chelsea. I think I lost a bit of career at Stamford Bridge, but it didn’t
totally honest, would I have got many it’s all speculative, but in confidence, if I’m being honest. last very long in the end, unfortunately.

16 February 2018


You had one crack at being a manager

but didn’t bother again. What was it
that put you off forever after Lincoln?
Joseph Bruton, Peterborough
How do you know I’m put off managing
forever? You’re assuming! [Laughs] To be
honest, I won’t rule anything out. I had
a year at Lincoln and enjoyed coaching
the players. I moved on, but would I go
back? I enjoy what I’m doing now, but
you never know further down the line.
Do you think the current Celtic team
could still beat Rangers blindfolded?
Alan Fyvie, Glasgow
When I made that remark I was talking
about a cup semi-final a couple of years
ago, so you need to put that into context.
I think Celtic beat Rangers 2-0 on a cow
Far left Going toe-to-toe of the only good goals I scored during field that day and I was absolutely spot
with Ronaldinho in a 2004 my whole career. Google it if you want! on. Would they beat them blindfolded
tussle against Barcelona   now? I believe Celtic at the moment can
Above left The striker won Why didn’t things work out for you at play any system and still beat Rangers.
four league titles at Celtic Celtic when Gordon Strachan arrived? In a one-off game, you never know. But
after swapping Chelsea for Stuart Macrie, Dumfries Celtic are by far the strongest team. The
Scotland Above right He Er, this one might take about an hour… big thing now is will Celtic go for the 10
finished his playing career [Laughs] He was the type of manager to league titles in a row? What I would say
with spells at Birmingham come in and change things around, and is that Rangers have a far better chance
and their arch rivals Villa that’s absolutely fine. Let’s just say we now they have got rid of Pedro Caixinha,
had a disagreement about my contract as his entire reign was a joke. I made an
situation, which had been agreed under early call on him, as most of what came
the previous manager, and I ended up out of his mouth was nonsense. I’m not
leaving Celtic. I didn’t want to leave the sure how he got the job in the first place.
club. In fact, I was really sad to go after  
five and a half seasons. But to be fair to Has a Rangers fan ever confronted you
him, Gordon did a good job with Celtic. about some of the things you’ve said?
Who was your better strike partner: of green and white shirts heading to the   Brian Whittaker, Falkirk
Alan Shearer or Henrik Larsson? stadium ahead of the game – so it was What reception did you get from the Yes, I had someone try to run me over,
Richard Caldwell, Cumbernauld extremely sad to not win for all of them. Aston Villa fans when you arrived in but these things happen… it was good
Henrik Larsson. He was the best player 2006 from Birmingham, after netting and light-hearted! [Laughs] What I like
I ever played with, full stop. Shearer was You played in 20 Old Firm derbies – for the Blues in a Second City Derby? about Glasgow is that people will tell you
a brilliant player, a ruthless No.9 and the which was your favourite moment? Junior Leoes, via Facebook what they think. It’s not always what you
greatest Premier League striker in terms Craig Storer, Glasgow You probably shouldn’t make that move, want to hear but they’re forthright and
of goals – absolutely phenomenal. But The most memorable game of my entire Birmingham to Aston Villa, should you? upfront. I get a bit of stick from Rangers
Henrik [above, celebrating with Sutton] career was my first ever Old Firm derby, But I don’t think anybody really noticed! fans, but most of them end up agreeing
could do it all. Henrik could play as the just in terms of where Celtic and Rangers   with me – like over Mark Warburton and
No.9, he could play from wide, he could were at. Rangers had won the league by How frightening was it to lose some Pedro, although they’ll never admit it…
play in a No.10 role, he could see a pass 21 points the season before, but Martin of your eyesight while at Aston Villa?  
and he could slide a through-ball, like he O’Neill had become Celtic manager, and Shaun Marston, Birmingham You’ve become a bit of a pantomime
did in the 2006 Champions League Final. before that Old Firm game we’d won all Some people might suggest that I lost villain as a pundit. What do you think
They were both phenomenal footballers our games and they’d won all of theirs. my eyesight long before that! I finished of the image you portray on TV now?
but Henrik had more strings to his bow. We didn’t know what to expect from the playing because I had damaged my eye. Kristian Bruce, Chertsey
  game but I scored inside a minute and I damaged it playing for Celtic initially, in I just say what I see. I’ve got no agenda.
How do you reflect on the 2003 UEFA we won 6-2. That game was the turning Gordon Strachan’s first game in charge. I respect what other people say, but you
Cup Final defeat to Jose Mourinho’s point for Celtic and a period where the Neil Lennon put a knee through my face have to form your own opinion and then
Porto? Do you think you were beaten club dominated a reall stron Ran ers. a ainst Artmedia [where Celtic lost 5-0 back them up. My opinions aren’t always
by a better side in Seville or was it an My m eague]. I fractured the right ones, although they are most
avoidable loss after levelling twice? goal wa r places and when of the time… But I’m a bit of a hypocrite,
David Aneurin Shearan, Hebburn we beat on me they went though, because I once told Neil Lennon
Now I don’t want to sound too sour but game. e side of the head. and John Hartson that if they ever saw
were we beaten by a better side? Porto 0-0 in t d vision after that. me write a column or appear on the TV,
were a very good side, but I wouldn’t say I held of itself, but my last they could hit me round the head with
they were better than us. They were on and chi gainst Manchester a shovel. More faces than Big Ben, me!
the day, but that was because of other from ab nja Vidic elbowed  
circumstances – lots of their play-acting That wa liberately, it’s part You can see BT Sport Score on BT Sport 1,
was unsavoury, to say the least. It was goal, be of the game – and BT Sport Showcase and live on Twitter,
an incredible occasion – 60-70,000 Celtic I meant hat I soon realised every Saturday from 2.30pm. For more
fans on the streets of Seville and a sea It was o ad to call it a day. information, head to February 2018 17

UPFROnT ERBIE RIDES AGAIN An under-18 fixture in
he UAE was held up briefly because a joyrider
> < rove a VW Beetle across the pitch mid-match

AROUnD 5 9
France Paris Norway Lillestrom

Ahead of their Real Madrid showdown, Lillestrom lifted the Norwegian Cup for
PSG have called on Mickey and Minnie a sixth time recently, but it’s the joyous

Mouse for tactical advice. celebrations that’ll be remembered the
Sadly Neymar wasn’t able to make it, most: defender Aleksander Melgavis
but Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and stripped naked up on stage at a public
team-mates went to greet the cartoon event and slipped his manhood inside
characters at Disneyland. Mickey is in the trophy. It’s probably a good idea to
favour of implementing zonal marking get a new cup ordered now: no team

and a diamond to outnumber Madrid will want to win that trophy ever again.
in midfield, but Minnie prefers keeping

it simple: just bait Sergio Ramos until NICKLAS BENDTNER: DOG-
he boots someone and gets sent off... CATCHER EXTRAORDINAIRE
Macedonia Skopje
IT INTO THE NET!” Macedonia’s attempts to train animals
Russia Moscow to deliver the matchball have had little
success: in hindsight, using a duck-billed
Donald Trump joins Leicester City, Japan introduce The World Cup draw brought Pele face platypus was too ambitious.
to face with a renowned villain – and as However, what they do have is a good
a matchball monkey and Nicklas Bendtner fails to
well as Diego Maradona, Vladimir Putin old-fashioned dog on the pitch, and the
catch a dog – 2017 ended in frankly bizarre fashion was there too. Maradona was pictured pooch even laid down for a tickle on the
raising his hand – a force of habit during belly from Vardar’s goalkeeper during
World Cup events – while Pele produced a Europa League clash with Rosenborg,
his phone, perhaps to show Vladimir the before stewards approached and it all

1 3
“NURSE, I’M HALLUCINATING POLES APART Hand of God goal in its full infamy. went a bit Benny Hill. Nicklas Bendtner
ABOUT LEV YASHIN AGAIN!” China Handan The president was probably making was playing for Rosenborg and is said
Russia Moscow mental notes. “Can we get that ref for to have insisted on being known as the
The Chinese province of Hebei has been Russia’s opening game?” world’s greatest dog-catcher, despite
FFT knew Lev Yashin was great, but home to Ezequiel Lavezzi, Gervinho and failing to catch the canine.

we’ve gained a whole new respect for Manuel Pellegrini in recent times, as the BEHOLD, A MATCHBALL MONKEY

him after seeing FIFA’s official poster mighty Hebei China Fortune came fourth Japan Osaka “ALRIGHTY THEN, SQUAD!”
for the 2018 World Cup: showing that in the Chinese Super League. Ukraine Kharkiv
footballs were the size of huge great The province is also home to a bunch The J-League can usually be relied upon
wrecking balls back in the USSR. of pole dancers, who randomly turned to produce something bizarre, and they Shakhtar Donetsk boss Paulo Fonseca
Confusingly, the pitch is tiny and up at a football stadium and showed off have really delivered this month. promised to dress up as Zorro if his side
circular – it’s almost as if they were their skills in the middle of the pitch. The Before a recent Cerezo Osaka match, reached the last 16 of the Champions
depicting what a match would look dancing even included balancing some a monkey in full kit appeared pitchside, League. After beating Manchester City
like if viewed while on some sort of footballs for extra difficulty – it wasn’t picked up the matchball, waltzed onto 2-1 in Kharkiv, he only went and did it:
drugs. Write your own punchline... like this back in Manchester, eh Manuel? the playing surface and handed it over striding into the press conference after
to the ref, before toddling off. We’ll be the game in hat, mask and cape.

2 4
WHEN TRUMP MET LIAM “BLIMEY, THIS BLIZZARD’S honest, we’ve watched the video about Here’s hoping the trend of managers
Sweden Stockholm GETTING WORSE!” 250 times – it is the weirdest thing we dressing up as film characters catches
Germany Cologne have ever seen. Only in Japan. on – FFT would love to see Rafa Benitez
From Stan Collymore letting off a fire as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

extinguisher in La Manga back in the With three points from their opening GLORY, GLORY

day, to the events of Thailand 2015: 16 Bundesliga matches, things haven’t ‘TOTTENHAM HOTSPURS’ GIFS THAT KEEP ON GIVING
squad trips abroad have not always been going well for FC Köln - and even Kenya Machakos England Bristol
gone well for Leicester City. the groundsman has fallen victim to
Thankfully it was more peaceful this their slapstick season. Victor Wanyama may have been injured Bristol City have won the internet. The
time: players jetted to Stockholm and As he fired up his trusty snow-shifting recently, but Spurs’ Kenyan fan club are Robins have been busy producing the
dressed up as Yoda, Spiderman and device after a blizzard had engulfed the trying to keep his spirits up. greatest goal gifs ever, with each tweet
Donald Trump. Danny Simpson was RheinEnergieStadion before their clash The lads clubbed together and printed featuring a recorded clip of the scorer.
Buzz Lightyear, while Marc Albrighton with Freiburg, he appeared to send the a big ‘Wanyama Get Well Soon’ banner The highlights include Jamie Paterson
came as Liam Gallagher. Apparently snow directly into his own face. (which helpfully included the added bit having an egg smashed over his head
the winger spent most of the time The match started well, though: Köln of explanation ‘Defensive midfielder – and Bobby Reid pouring milk on himself
bemoaning the lack of ‘sunshiiiiiiine’. went 3-0 up… then lost 4-3. Tottenham Hotspurs’) before marching to imitate WWE wrestler ‘Stone Cold’
through Machakos. Surprisingly, no one Steve Austin. It’s almost worth staying


brought a ‘Wenger Out’ sign along with at home on a Saturday afternoon, just
them – a missed opportunity. to see what they do next...

i i i
Arsenal vs Chelsea January 3 Liverpool vs Everton January 5 Sheff Utd vs Sheff Wed January 12
Last term’s Emirates defeat was a turning point Klopp vs Big Sam, FA Cup grudge match: stay The Blades won at Hillsborough in September
for the Blues – should they lose 3-0 once again? tuned for those comedy post-match interviews – Friday night at Bramall Lane could be feisty

18 February 2018
NARROW DEFEAT Venus Bucharest lost 26-1 to Academia
26 Rapid in Romania’s fourth tier. “If they hadn’t scored the first
10 goals, I think we could have won it,” said the goalkeeper

02 03




06 07 08

09 10 11 12

i i i
Inter vs Roma January 21 Valencia vs Real Madrid January 28 Tottenham vs Man United January 31
Luciano Spalletti has guided Inter into Scudetto Real have trailed Los Che all season in La Liga Midweek Premier League action: United have
contention: will his old club derail their hopes? – they will want three points at the Mestalla won each of their last six games at Wembley February 2018 19

> <

MY LIFE Liverpool 5-0 Fulham
October 5, 1993 League Cup

“This was my first match at Anfield and
I was so nervous. I was a snotty-nosed,
skinny kid – to get the call that I would
be playing, and then to score five goals,

was tremendous. I think only about four
or five players in the history of Liverpool
have ever managed it. But I didn’t go out
and celebrate straight after the match.
I just went home and had a Chinese...”

Liverpool 3-0 Arsenal

August 28, 1994 Premier League

“It was the biggest game that changed

my life. I was up against David Seaman,
Nigel Winterburn, Tony Adams, Lee Dixon
and Martin Keown – all England players
– so to score three goals against them
was unbelievable: words can’t describe
that. To do it in four minutes 33 seconds
was unreal. It seemed longer than that.
Did time stand still for me? I’m not sure.”

Spain 0-0 England (2-4p)

June 22, 1996 European Championship

“Not a lot of people know that I was in

the Euro 96 squad. I came on during the
Holland thrashing and the quarter-final
against Spain, and was due to take the
fifth penalty in the shootout – Seaman
didn’t do me any favours by saving their
fourth pen! I was devastated, as it could
have been me placing a big mark on my
international career, but it wasn’t to be.”

L’pool 1-1 Birmingham (5-4p)

February 25, 2001 League Cup

“That was the first time I had captained

the club in a major cup final. I didn’t play


Interview Joe Brewin

as many matches as I would have liked

that year, but scored a great goal to put
WAS THE FIRST TROPHY OF WHAT TURNED INTO A TREBLE” us 1-0 up and netted in the shootout. It
was the first trophy of what turned out
to be a treble in an incredible season.”

20 February 2018
REBUTTAL Defensor Sporting assistant Alejandro Acevedo
hit back after pretending to be nutted by the fourth official.
“I collapsed because I felt my glasses falling off,” he said

THE FOOTBALL GRID The ’90s did give us Three Lions and World in Motion
– but not every football song was a chart-topper...

(1990) (1991) (1993)
Sales rep, 41
Bryan Robson,
Craig Burley Ian Wright,
A rapping Gazza Cameroon’s Juninho, Craig Andy/Andrew/
’90s midfielder, 46 Starring... Wright,
(and Lindisfarne) Roger Milla Hignett, Phil Andy Cole
Q: Who was Chelsea’s
first manager in the
Premier League? Milla becomes Bob
RM: I’ll go with Ian Geordie group Wrighty Striker remakes
world’s leading ortimer
Porterfield – it may sing about river co-writes 1982 funk hit
corner flag orks Chris
be Dave Webb.  The context mist, capitalising
dancer, decides
house tune
ea song when
after Man
CB: I think it was on Gascoigne’s Pet Shop Boys’ United win
to release Boro reach
Ian Porterfield.  Italia 90 fame
an album
Chris Lowe
FA Cup final
the Treble

1-1 By objective Of course, it’s The song at

He’s not a bad Cole raps to
standards, Roger Milla least makes
Q: Chelsea reached the singer - his specially written
his rapping singing! Plus, it beyond 42
1994 FA Cup Final – Any good? hat choice is football lyrics –
is terrible – cameo from a seconds –
which team did they another matter they’re far from
no match for female unlike cup
beat in the semi-final? outstanding...
PJ & Duncan John final hopes
RM: Can’t forget that.
We beat Luton 2-0. 
ving up, “We’re caught
CB: Luton Town! 
“It’s black sy to do, in a world full “7.5-mil record
and white, this n work is of tears” – breaker, rapping
2-2 Worst lyric Come
Geordie boy’s ing, and a reference on the mic, I’m
gonna do alright” you can’t get to imminent a record maker”
Q: From which club did
through” relegation?
Chelsea sign Gianfranco
Zola in November 1996?
RM: Definitely Parma. Wrighty sings in
An absolute steal.  Gascoigne Random lion a centre circle Video includes Cole turns up
CB: It was Parma.  blacked-up Boro
Weirdest attempting to roars halfway while bloke at nightclub,
fan with a giant
moment play his own through – brandishes starts playing
Emerson wig.
3-3 leg as a guitar scary stuff yellow card
Er, OK then...
table football
at camera
Q: What was Chelsea’s
Fan vs Player interviews Richard Edwards

highest Premier League Soared to

finish during the ’90s? Sadly not: the Yes, but at Only reached 44 At 68, behind
No.2, pipped
RM: I might be being British public 43. Mr Vain – it was a song Mi Chico Latino
by Unch
overly optimistic here, Did it sing was No.1 – saluting them and Livin’ La
Melody (n
but I reckon third?  chart?
.. ironic, some scraping past Vida Loca.
CB: No idea. Fifth?  Jerome
Canadian singer Chesterfield in the What a time
might suggest semis, to be fair to be alive...
Fan wins February 2018 21

READ IT AND WEEP TSV Oldenburg’s boss Boris
Ekmescic saw he’d been fired in a match report:
“I’m glad I read it or I’d have gone into training”


The ’90s had their fair share of Sliding Doors moments – FFT investigates how the universe could have turned out…
ALEX FERGUSON GETS THE SACK a “Jimmy jazzy jumper jackass”, the Wegerle and Alexi Lalas, the Motown SEPP BLATTER LOSES
Just one week into the new decade and spheres roll clumsily through his tiny deity ditches her heels for the Umbro The good suits of FIFA see through
a beleaguered Ferguson heads to Forest fingers and his wig falls off, making Specialis and strides out for the World the bluster of slippery Swiss snake-oil
in the FA Cup Third Round: Mark Robins him an international laughing stock. Cup opening ceremony. She chips in salesman Sepp and instead choose
spoons a chance foolishly over the bar, Hopes of going into politics one day a panenka so exquisite that America to vote in the steady Swede Lennart
Forest triumph and the gaffer’s sacked. at an end, Donald’s forced to become instantly falls in love with soccer and Johansson. The result? A boring old
He returns to Aberdeen, who dominate a YouTuber, doing degrading stunts abandons NFL for good. Italy win the football administration, totally free
Scottish football for 25 years and scoop like dressing up as an oversized baby, 1994 tournament with Roberto Baggio from ethics committees, “financial
the Champions League... twice. United and staring directly into an eclipse. scoring the winning penalty, inspired mismanagement” and people with
are then managed by Brian Kidd, Bryan by Ross – but the United States quickly Trump Tower apartment blocks just
Robson, Brian Little, Brian Horton, Brian THE PREMIER LEAGUE DOESN’T HAPPEN evolve into a footballing dream team. for their cats. England bag World Cup
McDermott and eventually Brian Laws, After sounding out the top clubs with Kobe Bryant slam-dunks 43 goals past 2018 and Australia get 2022. Qatar
who lobs a chicken wing toward Leeds’ a view to pumping untold riches into France in the 2018 World Cup Final. are left with a load of cash they don’t
five-time league champ, Eric Cantona. their coffers, ITV and BSkyB come to know what to do with, so add it on
the decision that wrestling’s probably JEAN-MARC BOSMAN DECIDES to Neymar’s PSG pay packet, putting
GAZZA DOESN’T GET BOOKED a safer bet. Clubs go bust, Giggs and DUNKERQUE IS A TOILET the Brazilian on £367 billion a week.
Gazza puts in a robust challenge on Becks join Serie A clubs and Richard The bog-standard Belgian midfielder
Thomas Berthold during the Italia 90 Keys goes into the photocopier repair was getting itchy feet with RFC Liege, RONALDO FEELS GREAT ON
semi-final with Germany – Berthold is trade. Meanwhile, 250,000 pack into but after seeing Dunkerque’s rickety WORLD CUP FINAL DAY
booked for diving, Gascoigne sheds the Wembley GrappleDome to watch Stade Marcel-Tribut facilities, decides O Fenomeno gets up feeling absolutely
a tear of laughter before scoring an Giant Haystacks face The Undertaker to stay put and play for the reserves phenomenal on the morning of July 12,
extra-time winner. In the showpiece, in a billion-dollar Premier League of instead. What’s the point in making 1998, and enjoys a seizure-free day of
his talent blossoms with a hat-trick Wrestling slamdown. Break his back! a fuss, he shrugs, boring old EU illegal carb-loading, soap operas and napping.
past Argentina, and the whole team parameter system. Edgar Davids and At the Stade de France that evening, the
are knighted, going on to win Euro 96. DIANA ROSS ACTUALLY SCORES Steve McManaman settle for notably hosts catch merry hell: the world’s best

Words Nick Moore

Gazza wins the Ballon d’Or four times, THAT PENALTY smaller mansions, while Sol Campbell player runs amok, Zidane starts nutting
but melts them all down in a prank After being hothoused snubs Arsenal and links up with Gary anyone in yellow, Emmanuel Petit loses
with best bud Jimmy Five Bellies. in the special art of Doherty, Helder Postiga and Goran his lovely mane due to stress and Thierry
the penalty kick by Bunjevcevic in helping Tottenham to Henry is diagnosed with crippling
DONALD TRUMP MESSES UP John Harkes, Roy become the Invincibles in 2003-04. insecurity..
The brusque Yankee business
mogul thought it’d be fun,
pulling balls out of a velvet
sack live on the telly. But
after being caught off
camera calling Saint
a “stumpy porridge
swiller” and


UPFROnT OINT MADE Former Brasov owner Ioan Neculaie was jailed
fter reacting to a flat tyre by ‘taking out a gun and shooting
> < he other tyres too’ – he was ‘making a point to his chauffeur’


All these players, from 20 different nations, featured in the Premier League in the 1990s

1 2 3 4

Fever Pitch
Nick Hornby
(Gollancz, £5.99)

When the ’90s began,

fans were perceived

Answers 1) Florin Raducioiu; 2) Arnar Gunnlaugsson; 3) Daniel Amokachi; 4) John Jensen; 5) Nayim; 6) Bryan Roy; 7) Ronny Rosenthal; 8) Cobi Jones; 9) Robbie Slater; 10) Karel Poborsky;
11) Uwe Rosler; 12) Branco; 13) Gunnar Halle; 14) Lionel Perez; 15) Roberto Di Matteo; 16) Lucas Radebe; 17) Temuri Ketsbaia; 18) Sasa Curcic; 19) Paulo Wanchope; 20) Martin Dahlin
by many as dimwits 5 6 7 8
and hooligans: Fever
Pitch illustrated that
the reality was quite
a lot different.
Published in 1992,
the autobiographical
tome explained what
it was actually like to
be a football fan in
a way that no book
had done before.
It also showed that
9 10 11 12
supporters could be
intelligent, civilised,
normal people, albeit
with an all-consuming
obsession that takes
over your daily life –
in Hornby’s case this
involves moving next
door to Highbury and
daydreaming about
Lee Dixon penalties. 13 14 15 16
That it culminated
in the drama of the
Gunners’ 1989 title
triumph at Anfield
just added to the
allure of a book that
pretty much every
fan could relate to.
Best chapter title?
‘Saddam Hussein
and Warren Barton’. 17 18 19 20
Later made into
a film starring Colin
Firth, it catapulted
Review Chris Flanagan

Nick’s writing career

and remains one of
the greatest football
books of all time.

24 February 2018

QUOTE OF THE MONTH A Sunderland fan insists he didn’t
defecate in his seat mid-match: “The lad next to me said
I didn’t have a s**t. He said, ‘I can confirm he had a piss’”

The Wolves mascot may be happily
married, but he’ll punch a pushy pig

olfie loves nothing more than spending Wolves’ First Division clash at Bristol City, when Wolfie
Gruff centre-halves a relaxing morning with wife Wendy, found himself face to face with sworn enemies The
A$AP Ferg
during the ’90s were but be warned: he has a violent streak. Three Pigs, who had been hired for the day by one of
supposed to run pubs Never was that better displayed than the home side’s sponsors. What Are We
after retiring – not in the 1998-99 campaign, when Wolves’ mascot was Tensions increased when the mascots took part in
have a boozer named involved in not one, but three altercations. There was a particularly tetchy penalty shootout, before trouble Fighting For
after them. a fracas with a photographer, then he was reported to erupted on the halfway line as the pigs squared up to Live
Many ex-stoppers the Football Association by West Bromwich Albion fans Wolfie, who responded by hitting one of them in the
aren’t in with a real because of “crowd incitement and bringing the game face. Stewards swiftly intervened, and the mascots
chance of leading into disrepute”, after kicking Baggie Bird to the turf on were removed. This
unfancied Burnley derby day. Even worse, Throstles fans complained he He has calmed down a bit these days, often riding Lisa Loeb
into Europe, though. “goaded us with a wave”. The devil. However, all of around the pitch on a motorbike. But the message is
If Sean Dyche does that paled into insignificance compared to events at clear: don’t mess with Wolfie.
just that, the local Title
pub has promised
to change its name:
Meghan Trainor
from The Princess
Royal to The Dyche. Tell Him
Originally it’d only
offered the Clarets’ The Exciters
manager free shandy.
“He said he preferred
a pint but he has not
I Will
been in, so I came up Radiohead
with this,” landlady
Justine Lorriman tells
FFT. To start off with, Love
the pledge had been John Lennon
a quirky message on
an advertising board,
but a TV crew “asked IT
him about it”, Justine Original
says. “He joked that
if his face was above Motion Picture
our door, it’d stop Soundtrack
underage drinking.”
The pub is clearly
the place to be after If
the match. It went Janet Jackson
viral last year when
a fan rode a horse
in the bar following Oui
victory over Everton.
“I think The Dyche nAGOYA GRAMPUS EIGHT Jeremih
would be very good
for business,” Justine When Gary Lineker moved to Japan in 1992, Beat
adds, optimistically. nothing inspired him more than the badge –
Dyche words Si Hawkins

No doubt Princess an angry killer whale jumping for a header. Ricky Dillon
Anne is sticking pins Sadly Nagoya Grampus Eight have changed
in her voodoo doll their badge, and even their name, to simply
of Jeff Hendrick as Nagoya Grampus. The whale will be livid...
we speak... Them February 2018 25




The Sky commentator never bins anything: he might need that team-sheet from 1973 any day now
Hello Martin. One of your most famous Interview Nick Moore Illustration Bill McConkey before they played England in World Cup
moments was the excellent shouting qualifying. They can be tricky. I will write
of “AGUEROOOOO!” How close did you them all out phonetically, so I don’t get
come to screaming out “MOTHER OF caught out. It’s all part of globalisation,
CHRIST!”, “BIG KICK IN THE NET!” or and it is a courtesy to try to get it right.
something else that was much worse? Your name is an anagram of Mr Tiny
Hi. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head Alert, Mr Early Tint and Mr Nay Litter.
– I could have really messed it up. It was If you had to be renamed one of the
Aguero’s moment, and I was just lucky three, which option would you go for?
enough that I’d been sent to cover that Oh… I think it would have to be Mr Nay
match. So the nice thing about it is that Litter. I try to be tidy, although I’m not.
I got the right goalscorer and felt history My office is littered with notes. Very few
being made in front of our eyes. Luckily, commentators throw them away – we
30 years of experience helped me, and always think we might need something.
when I said it, it was purely instinctive. ‘Look, here’s a 1973 Sheffield Wednesday
Do you ever creep up behind members team-sheet!’ I know I’ll need it one day.
of your family, or pensioners, and then How do you think litterbugs should be
bellow “AGUEROOOOO!” in their ear? punished, Mr Nay Litter? Should they
Ha. It’s the absolute opposite of that, to be forced to eat whatever they discard
be honest. I get a lot of requests to say on the floor in a disgusting baguette?
it, particularly at the Etihad, because it I think they should be made to pick up
was epic – the 20th season, the last kick litter for a day or two and learn about
of all the games. But I don’t really want cleanliness. But I wish I could practise
to. I’ll tell them: ‘If you want it for your what I’m preaching here, to be honest.
ringtone, it’s still available to listen to.’ Former referee Howard Webb recently
I’d do it every day. “AGUEROOOOO!” confessed to committing some petty
after squeezing into a really difficult thefts in these pages. Have you ever
parking space, or “AGUEROOOOO!” nicked toilet rolls from hotels, Martin?
after finishing off a lovely cup of tea. Never. Although as a young Woking fan,
Unless Sergio can go out there and do it I did get involved in a pitch invasion. We
again, I’m not going to do it. It’s one of won the Amateur Cup at Wembley back
those things about football – it can take in 1958. I was about 10 and there were
you to a place as a commentator where 70,000 people there. It wasn’t a crime
you can find something, a moment, that then, but it would be a crime these days.
I wouldn’t be able to repeat right now. When did you last climb up a ladder?
Fair enough. Were you thinking, “Oh, Quite recently, actually. I’m a coach at
for Pete’s sake” when Everton signed Hampton & Richmond Borough FC and
the midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov? we kick balls up on the roof sometimes.
It’s tough. Some people like to anglicise We love the way that you can switch
names, others don’t. Antoine Griezmann almost any subject back to football…
pronounces his surname Gree-ezz-man. Ha, that is true. I just love football with
We always want to do it right, but I can’t a ridiculous passion, really.
imagine that one will get across the line. Good man. Now, finally, what is your
Do you ever warm up by saying “Dejan top tip when making a jacket potato?
Lovren’s 11 benevolent elephants?” Do it in the microwave, then finish it off
Not really, although I’ll certainly practise. with some grated cheese.
I was practising some Lithuanian names Tasty! And no football mentioned this
time. Thanks chatting to us, Martin...
A pleasure.

“I GET A LOT OF REQUESTS TO SAY IT. Sky Sports is the home of football, with
I’LL TELL PEOPLE: ‘IF YOU WANT IT FOR 126 Premier League games and 127 Sky
Bet EFL matches shown exclusively live
YOUR RINGTONE, IT’S STILL AVAILABLE’” over the course of the 2017-18 season.

26 February 2018



CAFE. THEY SAID: “You are the lucky guys
who saw the first game,” said Pep

EVER.” Guardiola after Foden’s first senior

appearance in July, a pre-season
game against city rivals Manchester
United. “It’s a long time since I’ve
When Ciro Immobile seen something like this, because
was sent off against his performance was another level.”
Torino in December, THE STORY SO FAR: Born in 2000,
Lazio’s fans vented in Stockport, Foden is a City fan who
their frustration by has been with the Blues since he was
bombarding a cafe eight. A playmaker with a wand for
250 miles away with a left foot and an eye for a pass, he
terrible reviews on shot to fame last in October as the
TripAdvisor. linchpin of England’s Under-17
Cafe Rossetti in World Cup triumph, scoring
Trieste was hit by twice in the final against
a sudden spike in Spain and named player
reviews branding it of the tournament. He’s
a “nightmare”, urging played in two Champions
diners to “stay far League group games this
away”. The reason? term, being deployed at left
The cafe was owned wing-back at Shakhtar Donetsk.
by Piero Giacomelli, HE SAID: “My Man City debut meant
the referee who’d everything – I’ve waited so long for
given Immobile his this opportunity and it finally came.
marching orders. It’s brilliant to be around players like
“The chef decided David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne
to send out a meal and learn from them every day.”
which was difficult IDOLISED: Silva. Small, technically
to choke down,” one excellent and a brilliant dribbler, it
review complained. is easy to see why. Has since been
“Despite numerous dubbed the English Andres Iniesta.
complaints from me SOCIAL MEDIA: Prolific retweeter.
and my friends, the CLUB MANCHESTER CITY POSITION MIDFIELDER Foden excitedly shares the City and
chef decided to send England squads that he is selected
us away while still in. Basically, he is living the dream.
making us pay the VALUE FOOT HEIGHT NATION AGE LINKED WITH: A loan switch to
large bill. Everything £20m L 1.71m ENG 17 Celtic, among others, but City are
was spoiled by the keen to keep hold of their prodigy.
person unfit to do
this job.”
None of it actually
happened though,
and TripAdvisor


swiftly removed the
bad reviews “due to
Talentspotter words Andrew Murray

a recent event that It’s a problem we’ve all faced: you’re pretending to be Jim

has attracted media Nail in the third series of Auf Wiedersehen Pet, but when y
attention”. Cafe staff prepare to dismantle the Middlesbrough Transporter Brid
were left bemused you can’t find a hard hat anywhere. Solution? Nip down to

by the whole thing: Riverside Stadium and grab an official Boro hard hat. One
Giacomelli doesn’t fits all and it’s just £35. Crocodile shoes are sadly not avail
own the place these
days anyway. February 2018 27



The Valencia defender has put
his Arsenal frustrations behind
him. Now bring on Diego Costa

You joined Valencia in August after 18 months

at Arsenal – how did the move come about?
When you’re at a club like Arsenal, it
isn’t easy to make the decision to
move on. But Marcelino was my
coach at Villarreal and I learned
a great deal from him. He helped
me get to Arsenal and accomplish
my dream of playing in the Premier
League. When he joined Valencia in
the summer, he called and asked if
I was interested in working with him
again. Arsenal didn’t really want to sell
me, but Marcelino fought hard for a deal.
What was the deciding factor?
I was suffering with a knee problem, and I realised FIGHT COSTA, BUT A FEW DAYS
I’d have no chance to play in London. I’d have lost
out on the start of the season, been left behind in
the competition for a place and been miserable, so
I decided to return to Spain. Now I am super happy
– not only because Valencia are winning games, but LIKE THE BEST OF FRIENDS”
also because my family were not happy in England.

Be honest – did you expect to be competing with

Interview Marcus Alves

Barcelona at the top of the table during 2017-18?

Honestly? No way, especially because Valencia went
through a rough moment last year and had to fight
to avoid being relegated. Initially, that did give me
some doubts about signing for them, but I couldn’t

Route to Europe
Moves to Villarreal from Brazil
in 2013, and in his first season
he helps the Yellow Submarine
return to European competition
following a three-season absence.
Top Gunners
His only goal for Arsenal is the
opener in a 2-0 victory at home
to Bournemouth, which sends
the Gunners top of the Premier
League table in December 2015.
Cup hero
Produces an excellent display as
Arsenal claim a shock win over
Man City in the 2016-17 FA Cup
semi-final at Wembley – injury
stops him playing in the final.

28 February 2018

HANDS OFF In Greece, goalkeeper Nikos Papadopoulos got
5 a five-match ban for celebrating a goal by hugging the ref.
“I didn’t know it was him,” he pleaded. “I just hugged him”

be happier with my decision – we have

had a good start and I’m playing more.

What do you see as Valencia’s main

target this season? A top-four finish?
Every match we’ve won, we’ve begun
to dream higher and higher. We have
an amazing set of players and a really
good manager, so we will definitely be
aiming for a Champions League place.

Why weren’t your family settled in

England when you were at Arsenal?
My wife struggled to speak the English
language – in order to do something,
she always needed help from people.
It annoyed her. The weather was also
a problem, but now she can take our
son to school – she can do everything.

Did you get frustrated with all of the
injuries that stopped you playing as
often as you’d have liked at Arsenal?

The injuries definitely didn’t help, but
I think I deserved more opportunities
at Arsenal. I felt down as the only way

I played was if my team-mates were
injured. I didn’t feel OK with that at all.

Was last season’s FA Cup semi-final

victory against Manchester City the

Michael Owen
highlight of your time with Arsenal?
I played one of my best games against
City that day and was very happy, but
then came the derby game with Spurs
and I gave away a penalty, and didn’t vs Argentina, 1998 World Cup
play again. I wasn’t happy but I’m not
mad. I’ll always be grateful to Arsenal.

What did you make of last season’s It is one of the most iconic England goals of all “I had pushed the ball to the side of him but then
fan protests against Arsene Wenger? time, and Michael Owen still remembers every spotted Scholesy in the corner of my eye trying to
The fans are always asking for him to split-second of it. “It’s etched in my brain,” the come in and steal it! I nipped in ahead of him and
leave, but he’s very nice and he always former frontman laughs. thought: ‘The goalkeeper’s spreading himself – I’ll
had his door open while I was with the Owen was only 18 when he collected the ball need to clip-finish it’. I was quite far out, so height
club. When I was not happy, I went to on halfway in Saint-Etienne and ut n land was the best wa to o. When it flew into the top
see him and explained how I felt – he ahead in the most dramatic ria.”
understood and gave me his opinion. Beckham passed me the ba at down to watch
facing my own goal, so I ha e doesn’t exactly
You know Alexis Sanchez and Mesut what was in the opponents’ s him the historic
Özil well – will they stay or move on? the BT Sport pundit explains be and say, ‘This
The team would lose a lot if they left. “I took a touch on the outsi ave to reluctantly
I would bet at least one of them stays. foot, wriggled free from my uckles. “The goal
Don’t ask me which, though! [Laughs] and just remember lifting m to the rest of the
up and seeing the next Arge e met the likes of
Interview Chris Flanagan; Illustration German Aczel

You’ve had some battles with Diego player – he seemed miles a o’ve mentioned it.
Costa – are you looking forward to “A few minutes before tha y was the goal of
facing him against Atletico Madrid? I had run at them and won e.”
My Villarreal home debut was against a penalty, so they’d droppe
Atletico Madrid and I had a good fight off. I built up a head of stea ake BT Sport your
with Diego that day – a very good one! and it was only at that point me of the Premier
[Laughs] Then there was the match at did I think, ‘I’ve got a great ague, Champions
Chelsea when I was sent off. I became chance of scoring here’. The League, Europa
‘blind’ and wanted to fight him – but defender had a standing st League and the
a few days later we were speaking like and when someone is runni FA Cup. Head to
the best of friends. People think Diego you like that, you’ve got no
is a bad person, but he has a big heart. February 2018 29

> <


The ’90s began with World Cup glory for the FFT columnist, but they ended with the biggest low
of his career – injury-time defeat to Manchester United in the 1999 Champions League Final

e were winning 1-0 against But maybe we didn’t lose only quality
Man United in the Champions with that substitution. Maybe we lost
League final when president personality. Maybe it was a wake-up
Franz Beckenbauer went into call to Manchester United to say: ‘Hey,
the elevator at the Camp Nou. Lothar Matthaus isn’t on the field any
A minute later, when he got out of the more, so now we can attack more as
lift and arrived down at pitchside, the they’re missing a personality in their
scoreboard said 2-1 to Man United. He defence – their captain’.
said to the security guy there: ‘What is We went too defensive. Maybe we
this? Is it a joke? It was 1-0 to Bayern were too sure that we would win. We
Munich. It’s a mistake.’ gave the ball away far too easily and
The security guy told him United had gave them corner-kicks. Maybe they
scored two goals. Franz said: ‘No, I don’t wouldn’t have got those two corners
believe this! They didn’t score any goals.’ if I was still on the pitch. Maybe they
Soon he realised that, yes, Man United wouldn’t have scored those two goals.
had scored two goals – they had scored But nobody knows.
them in the one minute that he was in For United to score twice in injury
the elevator. time was unbelievable. We’d also led
I never had a worse feeling in football in my only other European Cup final,


than that night in 1999. I lost a couple against Porto in Vienna in ’87, when
of titles in my career: you can lose and we lost 2-1. But back then, Bayern
it is never nice. But the way we lost that dominated only the first 45 minutes
Champions League final was a lot worse.
That was what made me angry. MEDALS BUT I TOOK IT OFF STRAIGHT and the right team won. Against Man
United we dominated 90 minutes, and


We respected Man United a lot. They for that reason it felt much worse.
had great players and a great coach. After the final whistle, everyone was
I had played as a sweeper that season upset. The players didn’t understand,


– we had played with three defenders, the fans didn’t understand – United’s
with me in the middle of Samuel Kuffour fans were celebrating and ours were
and Thomas Linke. But for the final we crying. We all went up to receive our
made a tactical change. David Beckham runners-up medals but I took mine off
was playing in the centre of midfield for straight away. I was too upset – what
United rather than out on the right wing, could I do with second place?
because Roy Keane and Paul Scholes were both suspended. Our manager, Ottmar That was my final chance to win the Champions League. I still had a contract at
Hitzfeld, asked me to play in midfield against Beckham. Bayern until 2001, but a few months after that match I wasn’t ready to play in the
Mario Basler put us in front, and we dominated the 90 minutes. United’s attack Bundesliga any more and I moved to the USA to join the MetroStars.
didn’t exist for those 90 minutes. They never had any shots on goal. I never won the European Cup and fans do talk about that. For me, my life doesn’t
Illustration David Mahoney

I was 38 then, and after 75 minutes I told the coach I was feeling tired. I’d been change with that title. I wouldn’t have a different life today with the Champions
making different runs in midfield than when I’d played sweeper, where I didn’t League or without it. I had a long career and I am very happy. It is nice when you
have to run as much. I didn’t tell the coach that he had to take me off – only that can win everything, but sometimes that is not possible. That night it was possible,
I was tired and if he did want to substitute me, I would agree. I had a really good but we – the team and myself – were too stupid to do it.
relationship with Ottmar and I think I had to tell him that. Then it was down to him. We had to congratulate Man United. It was the other side of the game. Football is
With 10 minutes left, he brought me off. Looking back, maybe it was a mistake a beautiful sport when the better team is winning. However, it is also a sport where it
– but if we’d won 1-0, it would have been correct. It always depends on the result. is possible to have a game like that one in 1999.

30 February 2018
WIN Adidas Copa 17.1 FG boots for
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FourFourTwoUK @NevilleSouthall
If people on Eggheads are
so clever, why aren’t they
FourFourTwo sorting out Brexit? Frauds.

Got jumped by five guys in
Barcelona last night trying
to grab my watch. If they
wanted to know the time,
THE REAL DEAL should have just asked!

On a recent getaway to @ClydeFC

Madrid, it struck me just There will only be goal
updates today, due to it
how expensive following being too cold to type.
a Premier League team SHAME ON NORTH KOREA I compared a few of those with the
Your piece on Mad Sackings [FFT 283] strikers in your feature. Derby hero
is becoming. I flew to the was eclectic and entertaining, but the Steve Bloomer hit 293 goals in 473
Spanish capital and saw sad story of North Korea’s World Cup games – a 61.9 per cent strike rate.

*If the current product is out of stock, a similar model of equal value will be sent instead
boss Kim Jong-hun gave me pause. Not Kidderminster legend Peter Wassall
Real Madrid play Malaga merely sacked, he was publicly shamed smashed 448 in 621 – 72.1 per cent
at a packed-out Santiago and made to do hard labour. It’s a little – yet as far as I can tell, no one beats
picture of the sheer inhumanity in that Brian Clough’s 204 in 222 games for
Bernabeu, for little more country. Was Kim given a choice about Middlesbrough. That’s 91.9 per cent!
than it would have cost being manager? I’m sure he wasn’t, yet Bas Vlam, Florvag, Norway @midoahm
the regime required a scapegoat for the #NewProfilePic
me to go and watch my unsurprisingly poor results of his team. FINE-TUNE xG FOR STRIKERS
beloved Man United play Reverend James Taylor, via email I read your recent article on Expected @FootballCliches
Goals [FFT 281]. As a mathematician, Hard to pick first-half highlight
an away game. I’d never CLOUGHIE WAS GOAL KING I’m pleased it’s now being used in the but think I will go for the guy
argue the entertainment I live in Norway, but when in the UK football media. But everyone needs to behind me telling nobody in
I often buy your magazine. It’s always remember that xG only represents the particular he “makes nuclear
that the Premier League a good read and this time even more quality of chance – it won’t take into weapons for a living” and his
provides, but it’s about so with the summary of the greatest account the quality of keeper. To truly “girlfriend’s a ballerina”.
Premier League strikers ever [FFT 282], assess how well a player has executed
time it gives something including my hero Dennis Bergkamp. a chance on goal, we need a new xG @juanmata8
back to those who create Several years ago I started to make metric – at the moment a player can Thank you FourFourTwo for
a book of all the teams in the Football look bad using xG, when goalkeepers helping to raise awareness!
such incredible support. League and National League, including have pulled off some amazing saves. #CommonGoal
Oli Smith, Cheshire goalscoring records, and just for fun Matt Williams, Wigan

The national team isn’t
so bare of options: look
In FFT 283, the Cowley
brothers said how much
Real Madrid have been
made favourites to beat
His reputation means
he’ll never get the credit
Leicester’s U21s fielded
six over-age players in
at the form of Callum FA Cup meant to them Paris Saint-Germain in he deserves, but Neil an EFL Trophy tie. Surely
Wilson, Ashley Young – the big clubs need to the Champions League, Warnock has done such that wasn’t the point of
and Fabian Delph. take it seriously again. but I think PSG will win. a fantastic job at Cardiff. allowing them to enter?
John Coulter Ben Grace Erik Eliassen Eleanor Reid Frank Blake

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THE 90 S

Words Huw Davies, Chris Flanagan,
James Maw, Andrew Murray, Gary Parkinson

AB U From John Barnes rapping

to avian mascots scrapping,
FFT recalls some of the
players, teams, goals,
matches, merchandise,
moments and ayhem
that made foot
THE 90 S
Dynamo Kiev began the ’90s by edging
out CSKA Moscow to become league
champions of the USSR, but it is the
Andriy Shevchenko-inspired side of
’99 who are remembered most fondly.

ROBBIE FOWLER’S They successfully adapted to life in the
EASY-BREATHE PLASTER newly-formed Ukrainian Premier League
In supposedly opening up after the break-up of the Soviet Union,
his airwaves for easier inhalation, winning nine successive league titles.
Fowler’s nose plaster became an Valeri Lobanovsky’s return as boss,
unwitting prop for his ‘cocaine coinciding with the emergence of
snorting’ goal celebration in the Shevchenko and strike partner Sergei
Merseyside Derby of April 1999. Rebrov, helped them flourish in Europe.
In 1998-99, Rebrov’s goal thwarted

TINY PLAYERS WEARING Arsenal at Wembley, before the north
MASSIVE SHIRTS Londoners were soundly beaten in
The 1970s had V-necks; Ukraine. Dynamo went on to reach
the ’80s had short shorts; the ’90s the Champions League semi-finals.
had elfin players drowning in tents.
Juninho never left Middlesbrough

between his three spells; he went
missing in his shirt every so often.

The objectively brilliant kids’
television show had loveable While television production company Chrysalis were filming Paul Gascoigne’s
underdogs, a Manic Street Preachers recuperation from a knee injury, the Geordie scamp noted it was a shame that
theme tune and big cameos from nobody in Britain would see him play for Lazio. A lightbulb popped, Chrysalis
the likes of Gianfranco Zola and Ian bought the rights to Serie A, then sold them to Channel 4. The original plan was
Rush. It was an underrated classic. for the coverage to be hosted by Gazza, but that was quietly shelved when they
realised quite what a loose cannon he was.

ALAN CORK’S BEARD Chrysalis instead promoted researcher James Richardson, and he was soon to
Alan, father of tragically be seen sipping cappuccinos outside an Italian cafe, gesticulating at a mysterious
unbearded Burnley pass pink newspaper. Regular Sunday afternoon servings of Baggio, Batistuta and the
master Jack, brought The Simpsons’ like meant Football Italia quickly had more than three million viewers – many of
Jasper to ‘life’ with a majestic beard whom were yet to bite the bullet and sign up to Sky Sports.
during Sheffield United’s 1992-93
campaign. What a time to be alive...

When BBC producers chose
to accompany Goal of the Month
with the Lightning Seeds’ 1992
mini-hit (it reached No.28 in the
charts), they soundtracked a decade
of football highlights. Utterly joyful.

Davies stood out during the
’90s for knowing when not
to speak. “Oh no!” was all that he
could muster as Gareth Southgate’s
penalty miss at Euro 96 killed English
dreams. Nothing more was needed.

While buttoned collars were
popular, lace-ups had retro
chic. One quick tug on the
drawstring of Aston Villa’s
1992-93 shirt and Dean
Saunders’ head would
have popped clean off.
THE 90 S

“I’m upset that people only
remember me for this,” the Georgian
has moaned. Unfortunately, seeing
a wild-eyed skeleton kicking advert

hoardings to celebrate a last-minute
winner does stick in the mind a bit.

“I’m worth it,” purred Ginola
as the first male face of L’Oreal.

McAteer, though, fronted Wash & Go,
FIFA 96 and Carlsberg, and played in

two World Cups. Have that, Dav-eed.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?
No, it’s Davor Suker wearing Any parent will tell you it is tricky to choose between their children. So
a natty tablecloth. Whether how do Parma fans manage to decide which ’90s vintage they prefer?
lobbing Peter Schmeichel at Do you go for the early-90s UEFA and Cup Winners’ Cup-winning team
Euro 96 or scoring six goals of Asprilla, Zola and Brolin, or the late-90s Serie A runners-up and UEFA
at France 98, the striker’s goals put Croatia Cup winners, which featured Buffon, Cannavaro and Crespo?
firmly on the map. The former eschewed Serie A’s stereotypical catenaccio pragmatism
Built on playmaker Robert Prosinecki’s for thrilling attacking verve and brio under manager Nevio Scala. Tino

The past five Championship
finals brought seven goals. In
1993, Swindon and Leicester did that
in 45 minutes. Then came Bolton 4-3
Reading and Charlton 4-4 Sunderland.

Serie B vs English randoms
sounds awful, but Gheorghe
Hagi vs Notts County and Gabriel
Batistuta vs Southend works for us.

Old Wembley rarely hosting
semis helped Sheffield and London
derby showdowns. Construction debt
means new Wembley hosts them all.

Who? Shrewsbury’s aquatic
ball boy. Gay Meadow’s spot
on the River Severn caused so many
lost balls, the club hired Davies and
his coracle to fish them back out.

Stockport beat third-tier rivals
Chesterfield en route to the League
Cup semis in ’97, before the Spireites
got to the FA Cup semis. Both lost to
Middlesbrough, who lost both finals. February 2018 37

With Estonia sulking over
floodlights, Scotland kicked
off unopposed in front of their
travelling support. Three seconds
later, the match was abandoned.
Scotland fans would probably still
take that result right now, right...?

Five years before his scorpion

kick at Wembley, Colombia’s
5ft 9in keeper conceded in a World
Cup knockout tie after being tackled
halfway to the centre circle by
Roger Milla. El Loco indeed.

As Bulgaria’s players caught a flight from

Dallas to Chicago after defeat to Nigeria at
the 1994 World Cup, the Lions’ finals record
read: P16, W0, D6, L10. Halfway through it,
There was always something of the underdog about Deportivo.
Their part in Gazza’s
‘dentist chair’ celebration
star striker Hristo Stoichkov stood up. On May 14, 1994, they were a 90th-minute penalty away from at Euro 96 made up for
“We are going to give the Greeks a real winning La Liga. Defender Miroslav Djukic would take it. Regular Lucozade bottles (often
hiding,” barked the Barcelona striker. The spot-kick-taker Donato had been hauled off and striker Bebeto had blue and huge) turning
talisman was right, too. Five minutes into a heart the size of a pea. Barely able to stand under the pressure, fresh water into more
the game, The Dagger scored and Bulgaria Djukic’s tame effort was saved and the title was Barcelona’s. “It of a plasticky sewage.
were on their way to a first World Cup win, was the worst moment of my life,” Djukic later admitted. “I had

triumphing 4-0. More victories followed, to stop thinking about it because I nearly drove myself mad.” GENUINELY EXOTIC
against Argentina, Mexico and, incredibly, Underpinned by defensive-midfield machines Mauro Silva and SIGNINGS
defending champions Germany. Donato, plus one-club left-midfielder Fran, Depor recovered to Pre-internet, Swiss defender
Trailing to a Lothar Matthaus penalty as lift the Copa del Rey in 1995. Marc Hottiger could join Newcastle
the clock struck 74 minutes, the unfancied Hitherto solid, the signing of squat Brazil playmaker Djalminha without armchair football scouts
Bulgarians – a team full of never-say-die added the creative spark in 1997, scoring 26 league goals in 87 pontificating about his YouTube
journeymen plus the quality of Stoichkov appearances in his first three La Liga seasons. Watching Spanish highlights to befuddled fans. In
and Emil Kostadinov – fought back. The football on Sky Sports, Djalminha’s was an otherworldly talent. many ways, it was a better time.
former, on his daughter’s birthday, curled In a bonkers 1999-00 season – in which Real Madrid lost eight

home a glorious free-kick, before a bullet times to finish outside the top four for the first time in 22 years – BLOND DYE JOBS
header by follicly-challenged Hamburg Javier Irureta’s squad of castaways, young tyros and experienced Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez
midfielder Yordan Letchkov. heads won the title that had eluded them six years before. must be a bit too young to
Throw in ‘Bulgarian Wolf’ Trifon Ivanov’s remember how bleach looked on
magnificent mullet and this was a team Robbie Fowler, Paul Gascoigne and
to love, as much as Stoichkov’s arrogance. Romania’s 1998 World Cup squad,
“No Bulgarian player will ever match my or he wouldn’t be spearheading
achievements,” the ’94 Ballon d’Or winner its alarming resurgence this term.
later said. He’s probably right.

Fans singing, “He’s got
a pineapple on his head”
meant that the Nottingham Forest
striker’s drastic tactic had worked:
he’d successfully drawn attention
away from his appalling goatee.

The Merlin Premier League
sticker books are ’90s time
capsules – and wall-to-wall curtains.
Warren Barton led
the charge, while
Ian Walker’s
acted as
a kind of
buffer zone
between two
lunatic fringes.

38 February 2018

THE 90 S
Let’s get the elephant in the room out of
the way. Yes, the thing you most associate
with Fernando Redondo took place in April
2000. No, that doesn’t matter.
The Real Madrid defensive midfielder’s

MITRE FOOTBALLS backheel nutmeg of helpless Manchester
Pep Guardiola may detest United defender Henning Berg was the tip
the Football League sphere, of an iceberg of moments so enormous
but it was a top-flight staple until it would have scuppered the Titanic in five
Nike took over from Mitre in 2000. seconds flat, instead of leaving Leonardo
DiCaprio’s curtains freezing in the water

CANS OF COKE for more than half an hour.
It can’t have taken a lot Redondo’s own flowing locks got him
of thought, but sponsors into nearly as much difficulty, with the
Coca-Cola deciding to produce authoritarian Argentina manager Daniel
club-themed cans for League Passarella brutally axeing him from his
Cup finals went down a treat. Celeste squad post-USA 94.
“He wanted me to have my hair cut,”

FIFA’S INDOOR MODE Redondo, who completed a law degree
Criminally, EA dropped the during his playing career, later revealed.
six-a-side mode from FIFA “I didn’t see what that had to do with
99 onwards. Nearly 20 years later, football, so I said no.”
FFT still isn’t over it. You can’t leg it Blessed with exceptional vision – and
from the referee to avoid picking technique to match – it mattered little
up bookings any more, either. Boo. that the two-time Champions League
winner was about as speedy as coastal

LEAGUE LADDERS erosion and not that strong.
Magnetic or paper, printed “What’s he got in his boots?” Alex
team names or shirt outlines Ferguson asked after that backheel.
in club colours, DIY league ladders “A magnet?” He was only half-joking.
were fun and useful: you could even
feed your team’s rivals to the dog.


Ultimate Teams be damned –

Sensi, that masterpiece of top-down
pixellated beauty, is still the pinnacle
of mankind’s achievements and we’ll
fight anyone who dares to disagree.
No player better defines ’90s football

THE MUSIC IN than Roberto Baggio. A playmaker of
PREMIER MANAGER ’97 rare technique for Fiorentina, Juventus
Featuring an original techno and both Milan clubs (among others),
soundtrack – sort of Leftfield meets Baggio could also be a pure goalscorer.
The Human League – meant the best When Carlo Ancelotti passed up the
part of this management sim was chance to sign him for Parma in 1997
having a rave to the menu screens. because he couldn’t play in a front two,
he went on to score a career-best 22

ZAMORANO’S 1+8 SHIRT league goals for Bologna.
When Roberto ‘big-time’ “The angels sing in his legs,” former
Baggio joined Inter from Fiorentina manager Aldo Agroppi once
Bologna and demanded Ronaldo’s commented.
No.10 shirt, O Fenomeno took No.9 He only secured four major honours as
from Ivan Zamorano. The Chilean’s a player and many choose to remember
response was wonderfully childish. the horrid penalty miss that cost Italy
the 1994 World Cup, but to question the
contents of Baggio’s trophy cabinet is to
dismiss Vincent van Gogh as he sold only
one painting in his lifetime.
“I have never told anyone this before,
but I still feel bad about that penalty,”
the 1993 Ballon d’Or winner told FFT
earlier this year. “It was the day football
broke my heart.” And millions more all
around the world, Roberto. February 2018 39

THE 90 S

A decade of European glory

for Manchester United (1991),
Arsenal (1994) and Chelsea (1998)
and then the untimely death of the
Kenny Dalglish’s success as Liverpool’s competition in 1999. Thursday nights
player-manager in the late-80s inspired just haven’t been the same since.
a splurge in pitch-dwelling gaffers over

the next decade. In 1990 Peter Reid was JACK CHARLTON’S
named player-boss of Manchester City. IRELAND
He started well, playing regularly as the Big Jack’s stint in charge was
Sky Blues twice finished fifth, but a sharp the golden era for the Boys in Green.
decline saw him sacked in 1993. They beat England 1-0 at Euro 88,
A year later, Bryan Robson took charge reached the quarter-finals of their
at Middlesbrough, where he guided the first World Cup in 1990 and famously
Teessiders into the Premier League and beat Italy at USA 94. The highlight?
signed the likes of Juninho and Fabrizio Jack and John Aldridge losing their
Ravanelli. His team famously combined s**t with a dithering fourth official.
reaching two cup finals with relegation

in 1996-97, at which point Robson opted CHILAVERT’S FREE-KICKS
to hang up his boots. Long, long before the days of
But the undisputed home of 1990s YouTube, stories were told of
player-managers was Stamford Bridge. a heroic (and bonkers) goalkeeper
First, Glenn Hoddle arrived, pissed off from a previously unheralded land
Tony Cascarino by being a show-off in smashing in some belting free-kicks.
training, signed Ruud Gullit, then left. The mystery that surrounded the
Gullit took up the baton, brought in Paraguayan icon Jose Luis Chilavert
Gianluca Vialli, won the 1997 FA Cup, was a significant part of his appeal.
then left. Next it was Vialli’s turn. He

won the FA Cup, but was sadly unable CLUBCALL
to sign a player capable of managing. There was little to rival the
excitement of flicking over
to Teletext and seeing the headline

“Brazilian superstar linked”. A long

premium-rate phone call later, and
you’d know your club were actually
going to appoint a chef from Rio de

Janeiro to the catering staff. Great...

“NO NET IS SAFE FROM THE MAN WHO With the greatest of respect
SHOOTS TO KILL!” bellowed the words to Graham Dorrans and Leigh Griffiths,
on the back of the video released in they aren’t quite in the same league
Tony Yeboah’s honour in the mid-90s. as Paul Gascoigne, Brian Laudrup,
The Ghanaian had only been at Leeds Henrik Larsson and Mark Viduka.
United for a year, but he had already

sent a wrecking ball crashing through GEORGI KINKLADZE
the Premier League. A star at Man City when,
Yeboah had impressed at Eintracht frankly, they were crap.
Frankfurt, twice becoming Bundesliga The Georgian schemer’s most
top scorer, but a fallout with manager memorable m
Jupp Heynckes saw him join Leeds for when he walt
£3.4 million in January 1995. the Southamp
Yeboah would net 12 Premier League before dinking
goals by the end of that campaign, and over sprawlin
then added eight more in the opening keeper Dave
two months of 1995-96. Beasant.
Two of those goals earned the striker

back-to-back Goal of the Month awards STEVE
– his ferocious volley against Liverpool, BULL
the club he’d supported as a youngster, Earned
and then a thunderbolt finish against caps for Engla
Wimbledon. Both were walloped in off despite havin
the underside of the bar: Yeboah knew played in the
how to make his goals look spectacular. Also scored ov
George Graham’s arrival resulted in goals for Wolv
Yeboah’s exit to Hamburg in 1997, but whom he sho
he remains a cult hero at Elland Road. unwavering lo

40 February 2018

Nessun Dorma at I
90 was the BBC’s high-wa
mark, with Auntie going v
classical again eight years
later with Faure’s Pavane.
It was from a Verona corner back in ’96
that Weah produced the moment which
defined his career. Defending at the far
post, George collected the stray corner

STRUGGLING eight yards from his own goal-line, and
COMMENTATOR just started running. He beat two men
These days, moder on halfway, then a third, and kept going
mic men are more or less until he reached the penalty area and
unanimous with their fired in one of the most incredible solo
pronunciations, but it goals of the decade.
wasn’t always that way. Weah helped Milan secure two Serie A
There were arguments titles during his time at the San Siro and
over Gus Poyet (Poy-et or was the first non-European to claim the
Poy-ay), Espen Baardsen Ballon d’Or – he remains the only African
(Bard-son or Bord-son), to receive both that honour and FIFA’s
and of course, Peter Ndlov World Player of the Year prize.
(Und-love and Und-lo-vu) Previously impressing under Arsene
Wenger at Monaco, and then for PSG,

AYLESBURY TOW the forward would move to England in
DUCK CELEBRAT 2000 with Chelsea and later Man City.
The Buckinghamsh A Liberia international, Weah is one of
is home to its own breed o the greatest footballers never to have
and the Isthmian League played at the World Cup.
waddling waterfowl-inspi

celebrations in reaching the FA Cup

Third Round in ’94 made headlines.
They must have been quackers...


Unleashed in Mexico’s 3-1
win against South Korea at France
98, the hefty forward’s two-footed Quiz question: how many games did
bounce helped to launch a political Roger Milla start at the 1990 World
and acting career that has included Cup? The striker became the face of
playing a randy fireman in a popular Cameroon’s run to the quarter-finals,
South American soap opera. Ole! but the answer’s none. He was a super
sub throughout. Thankfully, that did

FRANK LAMPARD JNR not stop the 38-year-old scoring four
Lamps’ old man was still the times and dancing by the corner flag
alpha footballer in the family, on each occasion – one of the most
hence the future Chelsea legend was iconic goal celebrations ev
suffixed ‘Junior’. Son aped father’s Not that it was the only f
17-year-old corner flag celebration celebration during the ’90s
at Elland Road in November 1997, Shearer’s simple hand in th
but West Ham ended up losing 3-1. Sharpe using the corner fla
it into a microphone stand

WORLD IN MOTION However, Jurgen Klinsma
Still the best football song ever stole the show in the Prem
made, New Order somehow League with his diving rout
turned a John Barnes rap – written lampooning his own antics
by his Liverpool team-mate Craig Italia 90. Who said Germa
Johnstone on a scrap of paper – don’t have a good sense o
into something really cool. We’re humour, eh?
singing for England – Eng-er-land!
THE 90 S

From local car dealerships
(Dagenham Motors) to

household DIY (Draper Tools) and
recently launched radio stations
(Classic FM), the Premier League’s
early kit sponsors were a superb
ragtag bunch. Anyone have any Many enjoyed the novelty of David Moyes transforming The decade also witnessed Bayern Munich’s worst season
idea what Dimplex actually made? Manchester United into a mid-table side, but in the ’90s, in recent memory, as FC Hollywood came a disastrous 10th
today’s elite clubs regularly stunk out the place. in the Bundesliga in 1991-92, also crashing out of the UEFA

MAN OF THE MATCH Chelsea were outside the top 10 in six straight seasons Cup and German Cup early on.
VOTING IN SKY GAMES from 1991 to 1996, while Tottenham had a particularly A pre-cash Paris Saint-Germain finished eighth in 1998,
Forget Strictly or X-Factor, forgettable decade, finishing in the bottom half four times and ninth the following campaign. Atletico Madrid were
this is where the democratisation (and enduring Alan Sugar in the boardroom), while Man relegated in 1999-00, having steadily regressed since they
of public voting truly flowered. You City were famously relegated from the Premier League in won La Liga in 1995-96, when city neighbours Real Madrid
haven’t lived until you have spent 1996 and from the second tier in 1998. finished a now-unthinkable sixth.
£3 on a premium-rate phone line
to vote for Stuart Nethercott as

man of the match against Bolton.


Alex Ferguson could only
pick three ‘foreigners’ from Peter
Schmeichel, Denis Irwin, Andrei
Kanchelskis and Roy Keane at the
Camp Nou in November 1994. Gary
Walsh started instead of the great

Dane in goal. Man United lost 4-0.

Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle –
a seesawing game so pivotal to the
1995-96 title race, Toon boss Kevin If Alessandro Del Piero had listened to his mother,
Keegan’s soul died on an advertising the history of Juventus would be vastly different.
hoarding. Stan Collymore’s camera- Worried that her youngest son would get injured
shaking late winner came to define playing outfield, she insisted little Alex would play
Sky Sports’ tragi-drama output. in goal, believing that sweating less would be good
for his health.

RYAN GIGGS vs ARSENAL Elder brother Stefano intervened and Del Piero
Picking up the ball inside his went on to score 290 goals in 705 matches for
own half during extra time of the Turin giants – including a hat-trick on his
the FA Cup semi-final replay at Villa full debut – in a 19-season, 17-trophy career
Park, Man United’s wing wizard beat with the Old Lady.
five Gunners defenders (including The definition of the Italian trequartista,
Lee Dixon twice) to keep their Treble so successful was Del Piero at cutting inside
hopes, and chest-rug lovers, alive. from the left edge of the penalty area to curl
perfect shots into the top corner throughout Juve’s

DIANA ROSS PENALTY 1995-96 Champions League-winning season, that
Belting out 1980 hit I’m such strikes are now regarded in Italy as a ‘Gol alla
Coming Out, the former Del Piero’.
Supreme steadied herself to take “When I arrived at Juventus and was introduced
a 10-yarder at the USA 94 opening to Alex,” said former Juve and Fiorentina forward
ceremony. She’d got the world to Ruben Oliveira, “it was like touching the heavens
show She missed And the goal with my finger.”
Many a wide-eyed teenager grew up marvelling
at Pinturicchio’s silky skills during ITV Champions
League nights, and frequently against Manchester
United, too.
THE 90 S

g bed Alex Ferguson by the arm. “Trust him,” commented
consigliere to capo as Fergie prepared to unleash the hairdryer at David

Beckham for shooting from the halfway line against Wimbledon on ‘SIR’ LES FERDINAND
August 17, 1996. These days very few players
“You’ve seen the Goal of the Season already,” claimed Ferguson at are universally respected,
full-time. “I have never seen it done before. Pele is the only one who but the London-born frontman was
came close to doing the same. Nayim? That was a miskick.” seemingly loved wherever he went.
Yet three words from Beckham’s captain, and idol, meant more than So much so that nobody has really
anything his manager said. “Good goal, David,” said Eric Cantona. He questioned his fictional knighthood.
was still smiling a week later.

At the time this was a promising 21-year-old who was nowhere near CORINTHIAN FIGURES
England’s Euro 96 squad. A central midfielder in the Man United youth FFT can neither confirm nor
team, Ferguson had eased Beckham into the first team on the right, deny reports that a staff
taking advantage of the ball striking and crossing that would become member hurled a tiny plastic David
his trademark. Seaman out of a first-floor window
He wasn’t even wearing his own boots. Look closely and you will see in the aftermath of England’s France
the word ‘Charlie’ stitched into his Adidas Predators. David had asked 98 defeat by Romania in Toulouse.
to try some, and the only size eights they currently had available were

a custom-made pair for Rangers’ Charlie Miller. FOOTIX
“That moment was the start of it: the attention, the press coverage, After USA 94’s half-arsed
the fame,” he penned in his autobiography, My Side. “When my foot doggy mascot Striker, and
struck that ball, it kicked open the door to the rest of my life.” Italia 90’s unnerving stick man Ciao,
He wasn’t wrong. Ferguson prevented Beckham from doing Match it was crucial France 98 had a decent
of the Day interviews in a vain attempt to shelter the youngster as he figurehead. Footix did not disappoint.
had with Ryan Giggs. King Canute had an easier job.

Within 12 months Becks had signed lucrative contracts with United, MATERAZZI AT EVERTON
Brylcreem and Adidas, become a Three Lions regular and met a Spice Look, it’s just amusing that
Girl. Goals change games, but this goal changed a life. the player who got himself
sent off three times in a nightmare

season at Goodison Park would later
win the 2006 World Cup with Italy

and the 2009-10 Treble with Inter.



The decade’s most famous
goal by a keeper was by Jimmy Glass
in 1999 (see p58), but the Sheffield
Wednesday custodian’s shootout
Some things are so bad, they’re good, and away kits cannonball against Wolves almost
in the ’90s were often gloriously dreadful. The most blasted the goal out of the ground.
infamous was the ‘invisible’ Man United change strip

of 1995-96 that Alex Ferguson insisted was to blame BONKERS KEEPER KITS
for a poor first-half showing at Southampton. United Jorge Campos (see p80)
trailed 3-0 at the interval, changed to blue and white, may have been the king of
then won the second half 1-0. So Fergie was right – the retina-blitzing keeper kits, but
until his side lost 6-3 at The Dell in blue and white even he would be proud to wear
six months later. Newcastle’s keeper top from ’96-97.
Other top-flight classics include Chelsea’s It featured a silhouette of the Toon
‘charcoal and tangerine’ monstrosity of skyline backdropped by a delightful
1994-96, Tottenham’s ‘yellow with a hint sunset. Then there was England’s
of birds**t’ (which somehow lasted from Euro 96 atrocity and Tottenham’s
1991 to 1995) and the Liverpool ‘ecru’ floral ‘Magic Eye’ shirt. Pure class.
number of 1996-97 (a colour so obscure,

the Reds’ use of it actually warrants a mention PREMIER LEAGUE
on its Wikipedia page). FOOTBALL STICKERS
There were some belters further down the league Nothing the 21st century
ladder, too. Bristol City’s purple and lime eyesore has thrown up can possibly rival
earned such a cult following, the club brought the the pain of forking over 25 of your
colour scheme back in recent seasons. Although we hardest earned pennies, only to
reckon Peterborough are unlikely to do the same with find yourself with a packet full of
their 1993-94 strip of red and, well, every other colour. Stig Inge Bjornebye. Got. Got. Got. February 2018 43

THE 90 S

It’s hard to imagine an age
when watching Tim Lovejoy
lark about on a weekend morning
wasn’t a sign you’d lost your mind,
but ‘back in the day’, Soccer AM These days Premier League players hire
was both amusing and original. publicity teams to manage their public
image, but back in the ’90s things were

BREAKFAST CEREAL a little more relaxed. So much so that
The good people at Kellogg’s when some cheeky little scamp asked
really missed a trick when Sheffield Wednesday’s Carlton Palmer
they released a Premier League- to don a Sonic the Hedgehog costume,
branded breakfast cereal – Strike! – he thought nothing of it.
and it didn’t come in the form of Years later, Wednesday’s Italian duo
tiny wheaty footballs. Tasty, though. of Benito Carbone and Paolo Di Canio
gamely tucked into an uncooked pizza,

BUZAGLO’S HAT-TRICK while down in London, Gianfranco Zola
Trailing West Brom 1-0 at the dressed up as Robin Hood, inexplicably.
halfway stage of their FA Cup On the tellybox, Gareth Southgate was
Third Round tie in 1991, non-league only too happy to laugh off (and cash in
Woking needed a hero. Enter estate on) his Euro 96 penalty miss by flogging
agent Tim Buzaglo, who netted three pizzas alongside Chris Waddle and Stuart
goals to inspire a 4-2 Hawthorns win. Pearce, while the self-depreciation level
cranked up another notch during Peter

SKY’S PLAYERCAM Schmeichel’s accordion-tooting promo
This short-lived feature gave for bacon, not to mention Ian Wright’s
the viewer a chance to focus Chicken Tonight ditty. But the daddy of
on a single player for 15 minutes at them all? Kevin Keegan teaming up with
a time – it was joyously pointless. the Honey Monster to finally put an end
to Newcastle’s trophy drought.



“Heeeeeeere we gooooooo,
heeeeeeere we goooo; here we go,
here we go, here we go, here we go;
THIS IS IT!” Great, great lyrics.

EMILE HESKEY’S KIT Football truly embraced the power of TV
MODIFICATIONS advertising, which actually treated fans
Even fresh out of Leicester’s as grown-ups. Reebok had Jarvis Cocker,
academy, Emile was a unit. So much Robbie Williams, Vic and Bob, Jimmy Hill
so that in 1996-97, he had to make and George Best dreaming they were in
a little slit in his shirt collar in order to Ryan Giggs’s boots.
accommodate his muscle-clad neck. Sky Sports went upmarket and hired
professional Yorkshireman Sean Bean

DREAM TEAM to kick off the 1996-97 season, talking
Sky’s soap was originally about all the “ecstasy, anguish, joy and
about the youth despair”. “Football,” said Major Richard
team of fictional Sharpe, “we know how you feel about it.
Harchester United, Because we feel the same.”
but later campaigns Nike were the market leaders, though.
focused on the first Whether it was David Seaman, Robbie
team, match-fixing Fowler and Ian Wright playing Sunday
and a coach League on Hackney Marshes, the Brazil
crash... squad having a kickabout in an airport
lounge or Eric Cantona and Luis Figo in
gladiatorial combat, the ads repeatedly
oozed playground cool.
Imagine O Fenomeno’s Real Madrid and
Portugal namesake crossed with Lionel
The team behind brilliant
’90s football podcast
Quickly Kevin, Will He Score?
share some memories
from the decade

Messi, and you are getting close to just W
how good peak Ronaldo was in scoring
47 goals in 49 games in his sole season

at Barcelona in 1996-97. DES LYNAM READING ‘IF’
“He’s the most spectacular player I’ve The Rolls-Royce of football
ever seen,” team-mate Luis Enrique later broadcasting silkily delivers
told FFT. “He was strong – a beast. We’re Kipling’s If to close France 98. Never


now used to seeing Messi dribbling past has the inevitable ignominy of an
six players, but not then.” England defeat seemed so poetic.
No goal proves Enrique’s point more

than the third Barça got in a 5-1 victory CENTRE-FORWARDS
at Compostela in October 1996. His It kicked off with jockeys and swans, and Franco Baresi was the background OR CENTRE-HALVES?
shins whacked throughout, the Brazilian concluded with kings and Zorro and for success, Milan could attack like no Dion Dublin, Paul Warhurst,
beat six defenders from inside his own counted on both Il Capitano and Billy other Serie A side. Chris Sutton – the ’90s was the last
half to score an impossible solo effort. throughout. “Sacchi changed Italian football,” bastion of this rarest of rare breeds,
Coach Bobby Robson, after more than Starting with Arrigo Sacchi’s European Alex Ferguson claimed. “The Italian who could switch between elbow-
five decades in football, put his hands to Cup-defending vintage, no side could mentality was to attack with caution. wielding centre-back to elbow-
his head in disbelief, utterly unable to combine such consistent success with Then all of a sudden there was no wielding centre-forward with ease.
comprehend what he’d just seen. misty-eyed affection as the Rossoneri more catenaccio, but a four-man

“Pele returns,” read the front page in in the ’90s. defence, with a side that attacked, LE TOURNOI
the following day’s AS. Dubbed Signor Nessuno (Mr Nobody) rather than wait to counter-attack.” France 98’s warm-up event
Ronaldo was now box office, and he by a sceptical Italian media because So good was the system – “they was notable for two things:
turned down a not insignificant sum of of his lower-league playing career – were tactically perfect,” said striker 1) England winning, and 2) A Roberto
money to appear in a photo shoot with famously responding, “I never knew Gianluca Vialli – that when assistant Carlos free-kick that defied physics.
Cindy Crawford because “they should that to be a jockey you had to be Fabio Capello replaced Sacchi in ’91,

have asked her to pose with me”. a horse first” – Sacchi’s system-first he won three Serie A titles in a row – KEVIN KEEGAN
“It’s awe-inspiring how good he is,” and high-press approach paid huge a streak that included a 58-match Newcastle’s manager would
Robson told FFT in 1997. “But you just dividends, despite a squad including unbeaten record. love it, LOVE IT if he made it
don’t know what’s going to happen to Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and the They even beat an overconfident onto this list. If you pause the clip of
people, do you?” ‘Swan of Utrecht’ Marco van Basten. Barcelona 4-0 in the ’94 Champions his TV rant you can see in his eyes the
Robson was right. After blazing a trail “It wasn’t just the Dutch,” Sacchi League Final thanks to Il Genio Dejan exact moment the title slipped away.
in Serie A following a world-record move told FFT. “The system was ultimately Savicevic’s playmaking genius, Zorro

to Inter, France 98 was supposed to be the leader out on the pitch – it never Zvonimir Boban’s industry and the VILLA’S BEVERAGES
Ronaldo’s consecration as the world’s got injured. It wasn’t the players who dynamism of Marcel Desailly. For reasons unknown, Aston
best player. won all those big games. It was the As the decade neared its end, there Villa captured their players
The seizure that he suffered on the way we played.” was still time for another Rossoneri awkwardly naming their favourite
morning of the World Cup final is now Though the aggressive offside line vintage, King George Weah leading beverages. Paul McGrath admits to
interwoven into ’90s football lore. He expertly deployed by Capitano Paolo Alberto Zaccheroni’s side to a ’98-99 enjoying Guinness; Dwight Yorke
m-sheet, but then Maldini, Alessandro ‘Billy’ Costacurta title in Milan’s centenary campaign. and Nigel Spink disagree on Ribena.
clearly a shadow

he suffered robbed In the ’90s, stadiums may not
so he remodelled all have had working toilets,
poacher. but boy did they have character. Best
at all, regardless of of all was the wonky stand at The Dell.
easure of the man.

Imagine being so confident of
World Cup qualification that
you invite a film crew over to capture
your moment of glory. Then imagine
your central midfield consists of Geoff
Thomas and Carlton Palmer. Oh dear.
Still, Graham Taylor comes across well.

Saturday April 10, 1993. Steve
Bruce crashes in a trademark
header deep, deep, deep into injury
time for victory at home to Sheffield
Wednesday. Fergie Time was born... February 2018 45

In the ’80s, football was at an all-time low – but Gazza’s tears helped to usher in
an era that saw the game return to its place at the heart of British popular culture
Words Gary Parkinson
THE 90 S

istory’s rarely neat, but the great dividing point seems

clearer in football than elsewhere. Old Football gave
way to Modern Football in the summer of 1992, with
the simultaneous inauguration of the Premier League,
rebranding of the Champions League and prohibition
of the backpass.
The accelerated changes since then haven’t all been
for the better, however. Although only an obstreperous
few would argue that the world’s finest players should
not earn well during their short career, the trickle-down
economics of post-Bosman wage structures have meant
that football now devours a vast amount of money from
its fans, via tickets, merchandise or pay TV.
Alongside the resentment is an understandable distaste for the idea
that records began in 1992, a data-driven selective memory which at
the same time legitimises the questionable founding motives of the
Premier League and eradicates all that went before.
These and other problems lead to the catch-all complaint known as
#AgainstModernFootball, an umbrella for the usual variety of worried To the amazement of amateur sociologists, it turned out a generous Top In the 1980s, fans
citizens, reactionaries and young fogeys. In several cases, they’ve got proportion of the ‘hooligans’ were simply bored middle-class blokes were herded like cattle
a point. But as usual, the case is overstated when oversimplified and emasculated by their office jobs. Strange how they never mentioned to crumbling terraces,
transmuted into its natural corollary: If Now Is Bad, Then Must Have it at cocktail parties... hemmed in by fences
Been Better. As New York Times writer Carl Wilson puts it, “Nostalgia Meanwhile, a small but still influential number of supporters on the Opposite John Barnes
tends to neuter critique”. Thus we find the 1990s reductively blamed terraces were having their brain chemistry changed by a popular new became a rapper with
for everything wrong with the modern world, by digital natives who street drug: it’s difficult to kick off a riot when you’re mellowed out by New Order ahead of
were not around to witness what went before. Ecstasy. Following the Second Summer of Love in 1988 and the rise of Italia 90; which ended
Nobody who attended games in the 1980s could sanely wish to turn Madchester in 1989, New Order had wanted to call England’s official in tears for Gascoigne
back the clock and regularly experience it all again. Yes, the changes Italia 90 single E for England. The FA were not that naive, but World in (below) and England
wrought by the ’90s were commercial but they were also cultural and Motion – widely lauded as the best football single ever – still contained
social, while creating big advances in communication, entertainment, some none-too-subtle references in “one on one”, while the words in
quality, availability, accountability and choice. the chorus (“Love’s got the world in motion and I know what we can
What follows, then, is not a denigration of what went wrong, rather do”) were hardly the stuff of Chopper Harris and Norman Hunter.
a celebration, and an explanation of how and why the ’90s made the While it would be patent nonsense to claim every fan was suddenly
game we love so much better than it used to be. And for that, we need necking MDMA like Smarties, the drug’s growing popularity certainly
to go back to the late-80s to see how bad it had become. helped to chill the vibe. Trouble had been widely expected at Italia 90,
especially when England were drawn to play the Netherlands, Ireland
UNACCEPTABLE IN THE ’80S and Egypt on the island of Sardinia. Thatcher’s Government had even
You are scum. You are assumed to be a criminal, if not in deed then in considered withdrawing the England team from the tournament. But
intent. You are herded, like cattle to the slaughter, from heavily policed instead of testosterone, the headline-making display of male emotion
railway stations to crumbling, uncovered terraces or ancient stands in came when the team’s young star, Paul Gascoigne, cried on the pitch
which you are hemmed in by lethal fences. during the semi-final against West Germany, after an overenthusiastic
In 1985 – the year of Heysel, the Bradford disaster, the Luton-Millwall challenge brought a yellow card that would rule him out of the final.
riot, of English teams being banned from European competition – The It broke millions of English fans’ hearts, just as surely as the pen lt
Times described the game as “a slum sport played in slum stadiums shootout defeat that soon followed.
and increasingly watched by slum people”. And this wasn’t an unusual As the final credits rolled, the BBC’s theme music – Luciano Pav
opinion; many would merely alter “slum” to “scum”. singing Nessun Dorma – suddenly seemed entirely fitting for wha
As the economic hardships of the ’80s continued to bite, the football immediately gone before: a properly operatic tragedy, with the h
fan became a lightning rod for societal ills. 1985 was also the year of demise stemming from a fatal character flaw. In such circumst
riots away from football stadiums – in Brixton, Toxteth, Peckham and the aria’s thrice-repeated climactic word “Vincero” – “I will win” –
Broadwater Farm. But somehow it was all football’s fault. When Prime heightened the emotion.
Minister Margaret Thatcher hauled various dignitaries to a No.10 crisis Whatever their knowledge of Italian, the wider English public f
summit after Heysel, she asked what football was going to do about Gazza, and by extension for football. For Gary Lineker, it was a se
its hooligans. Football Association chief Ted Croker dared to challenge moment. “Lots of different kinds of people got interested in footb
the Iron Lady: “These people are society’s problems – we don’t want all different classes of people,” he said. “It had a significant effe
your hooligans in our sport, Prime Minister.” Croker became the first FA on the growth of football.” We were no longer scum.
secretary in a century not to be knighted.
The assumption that football supporters were hooligans-in-waiting HERE COMES JOHNNY FOREIGNER
became ingrained. The Thatcher government’s attempts to introduce The ways in which the ’90s dragged football up from its nadir are
compulsory ID cards were only shelved after the outcry following the many and various, but let’s start in the middle of everything: on
1989 Hillsborough disaster. pitch. Anyone who thinks English football did not improve in the
The resultant Taylor Report ended the medieval conditions inside the decade of the last millennium needs their bumps felt.
grounds but, just as importantly, British society acknowledged it had Again, the comparison is with the late-80s. Banned from Europ
been treating a subculture as an underclass. Having had its ultimate shunned by most compatriots, English football became insular
low, it was time for football to start looking up. Division clubs winning six consecutive European Cups around the
Around the same time, incidences of hooliganism waned sharply – of the decade hadn’t helped to dispel the notion that the denize
particularly at matches. Those in search of combat thrills might still Albion had nothing to learn from across the water.
meet up for a tear-up, but it tended to happen away from the ground As a result, overseas footballers – excluding the Irish – continu
and away from the public gaze, which was just fine by the real fans. be a rare species. Those who had been here were sporadic and e February 2018 47

THE 90 S


outliers like Newcastle’s Chilean siblings, “George” and “Ted” Robledo, of fiscal solidarity. Designed to wrestle control away from the Football
broken-necked Bert Trautmann, Ossie and Ricky at White Hart Lane or League, the Blueprint was quickly approved by the bigger outfits who
erratic Villa winger Didier Six. The idea appeared to be that foreigners had helped to guide it, knowing they could guarantee a greater share
weren’t to be trusted to make their way through a muddy winter: the of the earnings.
Wet Wednesday Night in Stoke is not a new concept. Nor did Sky ignore the rump of the Football League. As early as 1995,
There were some imports in the English game as the ’90s dawned, Sky outbid ITV for the rights to what was then the Endsleigh League,
though they were few and far between. As an indicative example, the and they also picked up the pieces when the March 2002 collapse of
Arsenal 1989-90 squad contained just the one player born outside the ITV Digital threatened to bankrupt many lower-league clubs.
British Isles – Icelandic bit-parter Siggi Jonsson, who’d spent five years That wouldn’t have been necessary had the Football League chosen
at Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday before moving to Highbury. Few to accept a 1995 offer from the Premier League to grant the 72 clubs
Gooners were complaining: George Graham’s well-drilled yeomen had between 20 and 25 per cent of any future joint TV deal in perpetuity.
won the 1989 title in rather exciting fashion. But fewer still pined for Instead the Football League opted to go it alone with a much weaker
those times after a decade of Arsene Wenger, Dennis Bergkamp and hand. The most recent live deal – Sky again – is worth £180m a season;
Thierry Henry. It was, safe to say, a bit better. 20-25 per cent of the Premier League contract would have been worth
Top England peaked It wasn’t only Arsenal who benefited: just about every team decided more like £428m.
at Euro 96 when they that maybe we could learn something from Johnny Foreigner, and he What Sky did for English football was to make it rich. This attracted
hammered the Dutch was largely welcomed. Even the most zealous of xenophobes couldn’t far better participants, and eventually the cream of the global market.
Below Boro’s Juninho carp when his side was immeasurably improved by a Gianfranco Zola, These players enriched the product, in turn making it more desirable
was one of many stars Georgi Kinkladze, Eric Cantona or Juninho. By the midway point of the and sellable. Besides, while largely footing the wage bill, Sky serviced
from foreign shores to decade, Champions League-winning strikers were joining clubs such you, the football consumer. Before Sky, apart from on the morning of
add glitz and glamour as Middlesbrough (see page 78), which is a bit like Watford bringing the FA Cup final, there was no in-depth coverage: a weekly episode of
to the Premier League in Karim Benzema from Real Madrid. Football Focus was as good as it got.
Far right New mags Increasingly, these brothers from another culture encouraged our Even live games were pitifully bookended by minimal analysis. Check
fed the intelligent fan; previously closed-minded coaches to adopt new tactics: split strikers, out YouTube for the clash between Manchester United and Liverpool
Baddiel and Skinner trequartistas, ball-playing central defenders and formations outside on New Year’s Day ’89, televised live on The Match. The chucklesome
did the jokes; Britpop the traditional 4-4-2. The beautiful game was starting to evolve before intro graphics make way to reveal the two teams coming out onto the
added the soundtrack our very eyes, especially with the backpass abolition making the game pitch, leaving less than four minutes before kick-off.
much more free-flowing. Perhaps wary of dedicating too much time from their schedules, the
y voices raised against the new arrivals. terrestrial TV channels were notorious for short-changing supporters.
e was met with Little Englander disdain Sheffield Wednesday’s fanzine War of the Monster Trucks was named
hes, writing in the Daily Mirror, said that after the programme for which Yorkshire TV curtailed coverage of the
foreigner” and a “panic buy”, who could Owls’ 1991 League Cup Final celebrations.
ething this season, or cost him his job”. By contrast, Sky had time and space to give each live game plenty of
fair few things, including his first four build-up (two hours!) and analysis. Moreover, they quickly did it better
oming the world, the English top flight than anyone else in the business, while always displaying a willingness
coming the globe’s preeminent league. to improve the ‘product’.
As a specialist channel, Sky could also allow for a much higher level
of assumed knowledge. To hit a mass audience on ITV, explains Clive
use Sky speculated. The story of Rupert Tyldesley, a commentator “must communicate with the back row of
ble – popularising his bin-lid TV start-up the class”; a sports channel can expect a little more savvy. In its own
coverage of Premier League football in way, this helped to grow the intelligence of the audience: we were no
stratospheric £304 million (the previous longer being ‘dumbed down to’.
had cost ITV just £44m) – is well-known. Sky Sports managing director Vic Wakeling briefed commentary duo
ce is also both divisive and intrusive: ask Martin Tyler (himself a former forward for non-league side Corinthian
o’s schlepped to and from a rearranged Casuals) and Andy Gray to “tell me the things I don’t know that only
r watched his or her lower-league side’s a player would”. This subtle advice raised the bar for in-game analysis,
f-decent player get plucked away to rot while the passionate Gray and smooth Tyler proved the perfect pairing
club’s reserves. for the big games.
s worth going over a few of the benefits Soccer AM first aired in 1995, afternoon-filler Soccer Saturday and the
ruling out a few half-truths that appear hangover remedy Goals on Sunday both arrived in 1996, and in 1998
ave hardened into dogma. First, Sky did along came Sky Sports News with its hours and hours of rolling reports,
split” football. The FA did that thanks to interviews, speculation and (eventually) Deadline Day correspondents
91 Blueprint for the Future of Football – being assailed with giant purple sex toys. It’s all a long way from the
a breakaway league following a century days of Elton Welsby...
THE 90 S

BANTS AND BRITPOP Gibbons in When Football Came Home: England, the English and Euro
As the decade progressed and football became more popular, it found 96. “But a generation that had emerged from the rubble of the 1980s
other niches in the television schedule. From 1991 to 1994 BBC Two’s in Britain helped to send an undeniable wave of optimism through the
‘yoof’ producer, Janet Street-Porter, sanctioned four series of Standing country. For a short while, anything seemed possible.”
Room Only – an entertaining attempt to make a TV fanzine. Touring the Lobbing disdain from a distance, some pour scorn on the Britpop era
country’s grounds, its Supporterloo mobile studio gave fans a chance – there’s a limit to anyone’s taste for inter-Gallagher squabbling and
to vent opinions to camera. Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell produced lager-vomit. The denser end of lad culture tarnished the whole with an
a comic strip, Rory Bremner added voices, and David Baddiel and Rob ever-lower common denominator: boobs, booze and bants. It wasn’t
Newman contributed comedy. always thus. Founding Loaded editor James Brown often highlights the
Chelsea supporter Baddiel then joined up with West Brom fan Frank fact that early cover stars included Gary Oldman, Airplane! star Leslie
Skinner for Fantasy Football League. Perfectly timed to surf across the Nielsen and a young ‘Prince’ Naseem Hamed.
mid-decade zeitgeist of Britpop, Loaded and laddism, the show oozed “I never thought Loaded was sexist at all,” stated one contemporary
affectionate self-mockery – did anybody really care which manager’s magazine editor, who happens to be a woman. “The writing was great,
fantasy team won? – while providing perfect post-pub entertainment. it was inventive and crazy.” The woman was Karen Buchanan, and the
In time for Euro 96, the hosts wrote and recorded vocals for a joint mag she launched was called FourFourTwo.
single with The Lightning Seeds. In contrast to every previous ‘football
song’, the lyrics to Three Lions managed to strike the perfect balance AN ALTERNATIVE VOICE
between head-hung despair and misty-eyed optimism that generally The mighty organ you hold in your hands was first unleashed in 1994.
characterises the fans’ experience. No wonder it went to No.1, and did Modesty prevents a full solo on the bugle of self-promotion, but FFT
so again two years later ahead of the 1998 World Cup, with updated was always designed to appeal to intelligent, thoughtful football fans.
lyrics reflecting England’s latest near-miss. Newsstand options for the savvy supporter had been limited during
Euro 96 was peak ’90s. Soundtracked by Britpop and a sociologically the ’80s, but from October 1990, with Gazza’s tears barely dry on his
neat foreshadow of the impending New Labour revolution – high hopes cheeks, you could enjoy 90 Minutes, set up in a Blackheath bedroom by
of happier times, and eventual ennui or anger at things ending up the Dan Goldstein and Paul Hawksbee. The affordable weekly’s irreverent
same as they always do. And with Scotland drawn in the same group, nature was somewhat akin to Harry Hill’s TV Burp, in which Hawksbee
it also prompted England fans to start waving the George Cross rather was also involved.
than the Union Jack, a faltering first step along the road to a separate As the decade wore on, other magazines appeared and disappeared:
English identity and, arguably, the UK’s dissolution. Tony Blair’s 1997 Goal lasted from 1995 to ’98, Total Football from ’95 to 2001, Match of
manifesto included pledged referendums on a Scottish Parliament and the Day from ’96 to 2001, while 90 Minutes bit the dust in 1997. That
Welsh Assembly, and the 1999 Good Friday Agreement created several left just three monthly magazines remaining on the newsstand: this
institutions bridging the north and south of Ireland. one, World Soccer and When Saturday Comes.
Back on the pitch, though, football was coming home. Redeveloped Established in the mid-80s, WSC had adopted the punk movement’s
stadiums were buffed and polished, the flags fluttered expectantly and use of fanzines: self-published mags and used as a platform for views
England played a blinder by demolishing the Dutch and battling past unmediated by the journalism industry, frequently hyper-local in focus.
Spain, with Stuart Pearce enjoying the personal exorcism of his penalty Fans leapt upon the idea, and fanzines flooded in to fill the gap in the
demons at Italia 90 before reprising the ‘heroic losers’ market: in-depth coverage of single teams, not all of it positive.
routine from six years earlier. Previously, the only writing about many small teams had come from
In truth it was not the greatest of tournaments – the trite match programmes or local press coverage neutered by the need
attendances were iffy everywhere but Wembley and the to nurture good relationships with the club. Now, fans could read – and
goal rate was low – but Euro 96 felt like a football party write – honest opinions about their favourite bunch of idiots. As Peter
with Britpop banging on the stereo. It might sound trite, Hooton – later the lead singer of The Farm, but before that the editor
but it’s rather fun to stage an international tournament of influential Scouse fanzine The End – says: “Fanzines gave people an
– it’s probably a sign of just how much the FA is despised outlet which they didn’t have at that time. Nowadays everyone has a
he world that despite the Premier League riches voice on Twitter.”
helping to build arguably the finest collection The increasing depth and breadth of fanzines could be determined
of stadiums on the planet, England have only monthly by one of the movement’s forebearers, WSC. Its circulation
been allowed to host one major tournament in peaked at around 40,000 in the early-90s, though it played a vital role
half a century. in the cross-pollination of ideas by the simple but crucial provision of
ngland’s semi-final exit from Euro 96 didn’t stop a fanzine directory. In the back of every issue it printed a nationwide
he momentum of what became known as Cool list of titles and addresses. That list then expanded from 22 in 1988 to
tannia, though as is the way with fads, it quickly a double-page spread, and as fanzines multiplied – by some estimates,
voked a backlash. For a minute there, everything 600 titles came and (largely) went – the list became so big that it was
looked tremendously exciting. “Hindsight often split over three consecutive issues. Visiting supporters could now hunt
dges the era unfavourably,” writes Michael down the home side’s latest issue, or order via the postal service. An
nderground networ was later established, with echoes of the
indeed, issues were often available
nence in the 1980s and dwindled as
st-millennial spread of the internet,
1990s thanks to the proliferation of
ams such as PageMaker. Previously,
ooked like the amateur productions
often annotated typewritten pages
d on photocopiers, having been put
r using a process in which “cut and
te” meant using scissors and glue.
y contrast, the affordable availability
of slick computer software, and the February 2018 49

THE 90 S

improving processing power of home PCs, meant fans could produce crucially, empathy. Not bad for a book that Davies had only started
content to match, or even better, official output. This democratisation researching as an explainer for the American market, in an attempt
of the means of production allowed thousands of frustrated creatives to get a publisher to pay his way around USA 94. “The biggest sport
to excel – for Sunderland fans, A Love Supreme was leagues better than on earth was a complete and utter mystery to them – I thought,
the official programme. ‘Let’s explain it to them’.”
Even after the advent of DTP, many fanzine aficionados (readers and That desire to elucidate the reasons for fandom drove the book,
editors alike) preferred the rough-and-ready look, but this just created which in turn turbo-boosted football’s crossover into acceptable
more choice. Clubs now produced more than one fanzine: an enviably coffee-table conversation. Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch was a pivotal
glossy mag like The Gooner alongside a typewriter-and-Tippex affair reference for the non-believers, a book that took the game from
like The Arsenal Echo Echo. And whatever the end product, the editors the pub to the coffee table and helped millions to understand
were grounded in the full gamut of production: writing, commissioning, how we fans function.
editing, illustrating, typesetting (of some sort or other), design (ditto), Fever Pitch sold a quarter of a million copies within three years.
reproduction, sales, distribution and planning. Fanzines created a new John Gaustad, the New Zealand-born owner of the Sportspages
generation of journalists, including this writer. bookshop in London’s Charing Cross Road, says: “It transformed
The 2001 launch of the platform – which was swiftly aped the game and persuaded a lot of publishers, who’d previously
by and among others – allowed fanzines to not been convinced, there was a market for an intelligently
move online en masse, supported by centralised advertising revenue. written book on football.” Top to bottom Pete
Not long afterwards, Blogger and Wordpress arrived to assist anyone In fact, the market already existed before Hornby or Davies. In 1983 Davies had access all
with a keyboard and a viewpoint. The golden age of print fanzines was Simon Inglis managed to convince a publisher into a 4,000 print run areas for his book on
over, but from now on fans would never be silenced. of stadium-architecture investigation The Football Grounds of England Italia 90; Arsenal fan
and Wales. Four years later, it was updated with Scottish additions as Nick Hornby took the
‘FEVER PITCH’ FLINGS OPEN THE DOORS The Football Grounds of Great Britain. The two versions sold more than game from the pub to
If the ’90s witnessed football writing spreading ever further across the 120,000 copies – not bad for a fairly academic study published at the the coffee table; Danny
breakfast table, it also made the huge leap to the coffee table and the nadir of attendances: back in 1985-86, the average crowd among the Baker was the pioneer
bookshelf. Before 1990, most football books were just pulp nonsense: 92 Football League clubs was 8,130 – a little over a third of the post-war of the rabble-rousing
quick-buck memoirs or Christmas cash-ins. Notably, of FourFourTwo’s peak of 22,333 in 1948-49. football phone-in 606
50 Best Books (available online, folks), five pre-date the ’90s. But the crossover success of Fever Pitch flung open the doors, and as
Among the literati and book publishers alike, football fans were not publishers scrambled from looking down their noses to looking at the
expected to read much. In reviewing Bill Buford’s Among the Thugs for possibilities, they found writers who were capable of contextualising
The Independent on Sunday in 1991, Martin Amis described them as football in everything from intelligent sociology (Simon Kuper, Football
“a solid mass of swearing, sweating, retching, belching sub-humanity” Against The Enemy, 1994) to vibrant local humour (Harry Pearson, The
who “all had the complexion and body-scent of a cheese-and-onion Far Corner, 1994).
crisp, and the eyes of pitbulls.” Publishers could repackage the heritage works of supremely talented
Amis’ hateful tirade was an unarguably prevalent public view. When writers such as Hugh McIlvanney (McIlvanney on Football, 1994) and
Saturday Comes writer Ed Horton labelled the review “class snobbery” Eduardo Galeano (Football in Sun and Shadow, 1997). They could also
and “a poisonous display of ignorance and bigotry aimed at the scum commission new takes at legendary tales (The Robin Friday Story, 199
of the earth – you or I, the football fan”. He was correct, but the Amis and they could confidently distribute some niche works, such as Jo
rant – published in a new Sunday paper that was aimed squarely at the McGinniss’ The Miracle of Castel di Sangro (1999). Come the end of th
educated middle class – showed how acceptable it was to demonise decade, they could even pay Alex Ferguson a seven-figure sum for h
football fans, and how low opinions of them had sunk. autobiography. As usual, not everything they pushed to market prove
“Prior to Italia 90, football in England was perceived as a squalid and to be gold or even good, but at least we crisp-faced, swearing, belchin
hooligan-ridden embarrassing sump of gormless violence,” says Pete sub-humanity had the choice.
Davies. “You did not talk about it over dinner. Whereas now it’s hard to The Observer said that Fever Pitch caused “the emergence of a ne
go anywhere without people talking about it. It simply wasn’t a polite class of soccer fan – cultured and discerning”, but that’s a somewh
topic of conversation, as it was an embarrassment. Therefore nobody arrogant dismissal of the fans who went before. Kuper was an Oxford
ever wrote about it – there was no such thing as a good football book alumnus roughly a decade after Hornby had attended Cambridge.
back in 1989.” Football had never been simply for the thicko plebs. It had always
Davies knows whereof he speaks, as nobody did more to effect that attracted followers of all intelligences and backgrounds – it just
change. His seminal book All Played Out covered a 1990 tournament ceased to be a dinner-party bete noire.
at which he’d been granted a level of backstage access unprecedented As Kuper puts it: “Hornby didn’t get the middle classes involved
before or since. Although he wrote it in 56 frantic days in order to hit in foo
the Christmas market, this was no rush job: Davies had spent the year
before the finals speaking to the players and manager.
He had quickly earned Bobby Robson’s trust when the talkative boss
blurted out that he was possibly going to drop Gary Lineker. This was
tabloid gold (”You could get fifty grand for that”, Robson told Davies)
but the author’s silence earned him the trust to gain all the access he
wanted: pre-match, post-match, at hotels and training camps.
The players, too, trusted him enough to openly discuss the need for
Robson to change his tactics. He also mixed with the press pack and
their alter-egos, the hooligans. Lesser hands would have mixed those
ingredients into a shock exposé, but Davies had higher ideals in mind.
“I wanted football to have a proper place in popular culture. I thought
someone should say, ‘Not all of us are lunatics. We’ve got legitimate
reasons for watching this game, which is incredibly important culturally
and matters to everyone in the world.’”
Albeit helped by circumstance – Gazza’s tears, England’s heartbreak
and Robson’s dignity – he succeeded brilliantly through his ability and,

50 February 2018

THE 90 S


and newspapers.” Even so, the somewhat sudden embrace by society’s
middle orders caused some resentment in the working-class bedrock.
Kuper had noticed an attitude of “‘People shouldn’t write literate stuff
about football, football’s an honest working-class game and all these
Johnny-come-lately middle-class poseurs should get out.’ Nick Hornby “A MASS OF SWEARInG, BELCHInG
got a lot of that, but it’s gone away now.”



At the beginning of the ’90s, the radio played a prominent part in the
travelling supporter’s life. Every Saturday teatime, faced with miles of
mirthless motorway and an annoying wait of a few years before cars
habitually sported CD players, away fans would religiously listen to as
much of Sports Report as was left when they reached the motor from
the terrace, and then… well, to start with, that was pretty much it. For
the first year after its launch in August 1990, the new Radio Five (not Coded Line Electronics) was replaced in 1993, having been outbid for
yet known as “Five Live”) was a mongrel beast that covered the news, the franchise by Teletext. The limitations of the platform were obvious:
sport, education, children’s programmes and, from 6pm on Saturday no pictures, apart from ones laboriously formulated from alphabetical
evenings, The European Chart Show. characters like a full-screen emoji. No video: a maximum of 24 lines on
Clearly this was madness, and in ’91 they made an inspired signing each screen, with a maximum of 40 characters per line.
– or rather, a tactical switch. A chatty Millwall fan called Danny Baker If it sounds rubbish, that’s because it was, but if it was the best way
was proving popular on the lunchtime phone-in Sports Call, and so got of keeping in touch, that’s what you did. At the beginning of the ’90s,
asked to pop back from The Den in time to reprise the show just after a phone was something that sat on a side table in your house and the
the six o’clock news. Thus was born 606. internet was something you may have heard fleetingly mentioned on
From the off, Baker was determined that this would not be a boring Tomorrow’s World. Though Radio Two might carry match commentary
dissection of tactics. One topic on the maiden show, signposted ‘Just sometimes, sports stations didn’t exist on the radio, let alone TV.
How Crooked Are Referees?’, attracted a call from Chelsea’s midfielder So the best way to keep up with developing sports stories – like, say,
Andy Townsend, who was only too happy to reel off a few decisions latest scores – was to watch Teletext. On the BBC, you’d tap in 303 for
from that afternoon’s match that he believed were questionable. As the First Division matches and then be presented with
Baker notes: “Andy’s remarks made the Sunday back pages, and 606 alphabetised latest scores, split up over three pages
was instantly declared to be the only place to go for all football fans (more as the pages clogged with the goalscorers and
when in transit each weekend.” sendings-off). If your team’s score didn’t show up on
Baker’s bubbling stew of offbeat topics and rabble-rousing roped in that page, you just had to wait while the technology
a huge audience, who somehow were not put off when he stood down scrolled through, like a vindictive Vidiprinter. This mute,
after a season to be replaced by David Mellor, a Conservative MP best pixellated, bare-bones information was the way that
known for a lurid tabloid splash detailing (falsely) how he’d persuaded millions of armchair fans discovered their team were
his mistress to let him wear a Chelsea strip during sex. going to Wembley, or getting relegated.
The phone-in format was hardly new – one is mentioned in a 1925 As the decade progressed, so did fans’ ways to ke
edition of the Radio Times, and BBC Radio Sheffield had been hosting in touch. Along came the internet, with the stuffy
the football-themed Praise or Grumble for four years – but supporters Daily Telegraph becoming a surprise early adopter
flocked to put their two pennies’ worth across. The 1995 launch of Talk founding the Electronic Telegraph (no, really) in 19
Radio (later refocused and renamed TalkSport) offered an alternative, Soccernet, set up with assistance from the Daily Ma
and across the dial phone-ins proliferated – a prototype social media. launched for the start of the 1995-96 campaign, an
As with any social medium now, at worst it can end up becoming bar others soon followed suit, including the BBC’s webs
bores shouting at each other, but at best it can provide some genuine joint venture and Football365, helm
insight and entertainment. NME editor Danny Kelly and at one point valued at h
The ’90s also gave us video games that weren’t bobbins. Yes, some And these sites began to reach wider audiences lat
existed before – Dino Dini’s deathless Kick Off 2, various management particularly around the time of the 1998 World Cup
sims – but in came the mega-franchises (Championship Manager first minute-by-minute coverage.
appeared in 1992, FIFA in 1993) and a variety of other games such as But while primitive browsers such as Internet Expl
the popular Sensible Soccer. Navigator might connect you to cyberspace via a dial m, the scores you had to wait
Games also helped to broaden the minds. FourFourTwo contributor information trickled towards you at a maximum theoretical speed of as the Ceefax service
turned Blizzard editor Jonathan Wilson has suggested that the growth 56 kilobits per second, which was, in practice, usually more like 20kb. scrolled through like
of supporters’ scope from parochial insularity to global awareness can (For comparison, service providers now provide up to 300 megabits per a vindictive Vidiprinter;
be partly ascribed to the massive success of Football Manager. Sports second). And that was until someone wanted to use the phone, which so some people used
Interactive studio director Miles Jacobson notes how: “When Hatem shared the line with the modem: you couldn’t call someone and surf a pager to get their fix
Ben Arfa signed for Newcastle and Alan Shearer said on Match of the the Net simultaneously. And obviously there was no such thing as the
Day that he’d never heard of him, loads of people went on Twitter to mobile internet. What a time to be alive.
say, ‘He obviously doesn’t play Football Manager’.” No, in the mid-to-late ’90s the average fan was more likely to keep
abreast of football scores with a pager. Much more cheaply available
CEEFAX, CEEFAX WHAT’S THE SCORE? than a mobile phone (which would not supply scores anyway, unless
If anyone ever says to you that “snackable content” is a new-media you expensively rang someone who was watching Teletext), a pager
development, typical of a new generation’s short attention span etc, featured a single-line screen, across which would scroll score updates
feel free to smack them over the head with a remote control. It’s now and latest news, provided for a subscription fee.
more than 40 years since the UK’s TV broadcasters started sending out It was a very different time, and it brought rapid, seismic changes –
80-word bulletins – which told you all you needed to know. football would never be the same again. Not everything new was to be
Stumbled upon when technicians were trying to find a way to send applauded or welcomed, but the vast majority of it was. We had never
subtitles over the airwaves, the BBC’s Ceefax service had launched in had it so good, and to be alive in that time was heaven.
1974. ITV’s service Oracle (Optional Reception of Announcements by Its like may never come again, but its influence lives on forever. February 2018 51

In THE 90 S
The Cruyff-inspired 1970s
team may have been their
greatest in history – but in
the early-90s a new golden
generation helped to make
Amsterdam the capital city
of Europe for a second time

Words Alec Fenn

In THE 90 S

t was the night before the 1995 Champions League Final, and next clip shows a young Edwin van der Sar jumping sideways across
the biggest day of her son’s life, but Lidwina Kluivert slept well. a sequence of five long wooden boxes. Thirty seconds in, Wormhoudt
In her slumber, she saw young Patrick come on as a substitute appears wearing blue shorts and a white T-shirt, leading what seems
and score the winning goal. Her premonition was so vivid that to be a step aerobics session to Eurobeat dance music. Frank Rijkaard,
she felt compelled to tell him the following day, as she gave him Ronald and Frank de Boer, along with the rest of that famous team, all
a hug and wished him good luck. Hours later, her dream came march on the spot before shimmying to their left and right and kicking
true, when the 18-year-old emerged off the substitutes’ bench the air with their opposite foot. The players then spin 360 degrees and
to fire Ajax to a 1-0 win over Milan in front of 50,000 supporters clap to the beat of the music, with the class coming to an close with
at Vienna’s Ernst Happel Stadium. a range of football-related movements, including leaping and heading
On paper, the victory seemed as unlikely as Lidwina’s dream. an imaginary ball. Whoops of celebration and high fives greet the end
Ajax’s team that night had an average age of 23, while 13 of the 18 of the workout.
players involved, among them Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf and Jari “While I was working for Amsterdam Admirals, I noticed a greater
Litmanen, had been schooled in the academy. The Rossoneri, on the number of athletes in that sport compared to football,” Wormhoudt
other hand, were the reigning European champions, having thrashed tells FFT. “When I joined Ajax I felt that we could gain an advantage
Barcelona 4-0 a year earlier, and had won the cup three times in seven by training in a more specific way physically, so I invented something
years. Only one player was under 26 and their squad – featuring big called soccer aerobics which we did for four years to improve speed,
signings Marcel Desailly, Zvonimir Boban and Gianluigi Lentini – had agility and flexibility.” The sessions were a hit with players. “I thought
been assembled at great expense. it was great fun,” Ronald de Boer recalls to FFT. “The exercises made
But the biggest surprise was the manner in which Ajax’s Class of ’95 us more flexible and quicker on our feet. I felt it also helped the speed
conquered Europe. They weaved beautiful patterns as they performed of our reactions and aided our coordination. It all fitted in nicely with
choreographed attacking moves. Every pass, sprint, shimmy and shot the technical stuff we were doing.”
had a purpose and was carried out at breakneck speed. The seamless Wormhoudt also noted the physical benefits gained by players who
blend of elegance and athleticism was summed up by the Real Madrid had played different sports. “Jari Litmanen had wonderful balance and
coach Jorge Valdano. “Ajax are not just the team of the ’90s, they are we thought it may have come from his diverse sporting background,”
approaching football utopia,” he admitted. “Their concept of the game he says. “He had to choose between ice hockey and football when he Clockwise from bottom
is exquisite, yet they have physical superiority as well.” Ajax’s golden was 14. We encouraged young players to play more sports and created Boys to men: LVG points
boys had overthrown football aristocracy and nobody knew quite how sessions which weren’t specific to football.” the way during training;
they’d done it. To measure the efficiency of every practice, each player had to wear each session was studied
The reality was the club were ahead of their time, and so was their a heart-rate monitor, while body fat was assessed repeatedly. These to evaluate its efficiency;
boss. When Louis van Gaal replaced Leo Beenhakker in September ’91, were Ajax’s first steps into sports science, and their approach was in Kluivert slips past Baresi
he faced resistance from fans and the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, contrast to methods of the era when endurance was thought to be the before settling the 1995
which called him “arrogant” and launched a campaign for the return key physical quality required to compete at the top level. Champions League Final;
of Ajax icon Johan Cruyff. The 41-year-old had relatively little coaching It was a mechanical approach to developing players, and Van Gaal’s sparking ecstatic scenes
experience, aside from a three-year spell as their assistant manager, list of tactical demands also read like an instruction manual. In Louis’
but his vision for the club was crystal clear. world, every player was a number on the pitch, who had to carry out
Louis’ philosophy was based on a turbo-charged version of the Total a specific set of tasks in and out of possession. To do this successfully,
Football style pioneered by Ajax’s legendary coach Rinus Michels. The they needed to surrender individual desires for the benefit of the team.
system required players to be able to occupy any role on the pitch, so “Football is a team sport and members of the team are dependant on
the players maintained their structure at all times. Out of possession, each other,” he said at the time. “If certain players don’t carry out their
they would be instructed to hound opponents collectively, to retrieve tasks properly on the pitch, then their colleagues will suffer. This means
the ball as quickly as possible. It was a style that demanded technical each player must carry out his basic tasks to the best of his ability, and
quality, tactical intelligence and supreme athleticism. Only the most this requires discipline.”
talented and selfless players could thrive in Van Gaal’s system and he Those tasks varied depending on each position. The goalkeeper had
set about forming his football factory, to put together a production line to be adept at playing with his feet as well as his hands, so he could
of players who would be a perfect fit for his tactical jigsaw. start moves and feed the most creative centre-back. The whole team
His initial step was a new approach to developing Ajax’s youth and moved in set patterns; if one player dropped back to receive the ball,
first-team players. He created an innovative three-man performance another had to make a run towards the opposition’s goal. The wingers
party, designed to make recruits fitter, faster and stronger than their were instructed to repeatedly make forward runs to open up space for
rivals. He brought in experts from different sports whose knowledge he a long ball from the back, while midfielders were told to stay behind
believed could be applied to football. Physiologist Jos Geysel, whose the wingers at all times. If an attack couldn’t be forged down the one
methods had enjoyed success in hockey, dispensed with long-distance
running training and developed more short-distance, multi-directional
sprinting sessions and tests. Running coach and ex-basketball player
Laszlo Jambor was hired to improve running technique, footwork and
co-ordination, and was held in such regard that he sat in the dugout
during games. But it was the last of this trio who contributed the most
colourful methods to their ambitious project.

In a quiet corner of Amsterdam’s Palladium bar, away from a group

of city-dwellers drinking early afternoon espressos, Rene Wormhoudt
is sat tapping away on his laptop. A stocky figure with a shaven head,
he was appointed the club’s strength and conditioning coach by Van
Gaal after a spell working with American Football team, Amsterdam
Admirals. He remained at Ajax until 2012 prior to taking up the same
role with the national team. On his screen he watches a grainy video
of the club’s famous side undergoing a training routine, many months
before their European triumph.
The players, in matching red shirts, navy blue shorts and black Nike
trainers, perform skipping exercises in unison inside a sports hall. The

54 February 2018

In THE 90 S

In THE 90 S

side, they then had to switch the ball to the opposite flank as quickly league, but lifted the UEFA Cup after an away-goals win over Torino.
as possible. All of this was to be played out in the confines of a 4-3-3 The side consisted largely of academy players, but the success came
or 3-4-3 formation. at a price as he watched his star men being cherry-picked by wealthy
To ensure his players carried out his demands to the letter, Van Gaal Serie A clubs. Dennis Bergkamp and Wim Jonk both signed for Inter,
insisted on relentless rehearsals of basic exercises. “We would focus John van ’t Schip and Marciano Vink joined Genoa and Michel Kreek
on drilling balls to everyone’s right foot over and over again,” explains was picked up by Padova.
Ronald de Boer. “It became a kind of underlying challenge to move the Van Gaal was forced to start from scratch. But it proved a blessing
ball from foot to foot as fast as we could. We would also practise our in disguise as he opted to place his faith in the club’s next generation
long-distance passes over 30 metres repeatedly, so we could switch of talent, who he believed were even better than those who had left.
the play at speed. After about three months we had mastered those Out of the ashes of one gifted group, a great one was formed over the
exercises really well. I can remember other sessions as well, where we following three seasons.
played six against three and the team with six would only be allowed Ajax’s youngsters had spent three years being schooled in the Van
one or two touches. After a while, the position games were executed Gaal talent factory and now there was a unique bond between them.
at such a high level, and when new players arrived they would watch There were, of course, the De Boer brothers, while Patrick Kluivert and
with open mouths.” Surinam-born Edgar Davids were childhood friends who grew up on
neighbouring streets in Amsterdam. Davids was even scouted by the
Those who failed to digest the Van Gaal manual were soon shown the club on the personal recommendation of Lidwina, who had noticed
door. Fan favourite Jan Wouters was flogged to Bayern Munich after his talent while he was playing with her son. Another skilled starlet,
losing his place to promising youngster W as born in the same region of Surinam as Davids,
months after being crowned Dutch Playe the homecoming of legend Frank Rijkaard – back
Bryan Roy’s individual brilliance got supp a successful five-year spell at Milan – offered vital
seats, but his apparent lack of football in as well as a father figure for the younger players
left his coach unimpressed. “I no longer ok up to in the dressing room.
Roy,” he said after deciding to sell him to any of them still looked like schoolboys, but they
in 1992. “I have tried everything with him re streetwise beyond their years and their coach
individual training. He didn’t mind runnin eager to listen to any creative ideas. During one
the team, but he couldn’t think for the te ng session, Ronald de Boer suggested borrowing
Right and below Dutch It was impossible to improve him.” from basketball, known as ‘picking’, to enhance
delirium: Marc Overmars Van Gaal was dead set on creating a p from set-pieces. At the moment a corner-kick was
and Frank Rijkaard savour team in his image. After a lacklustre start would sprint towards an opposition player who
the Vienna triumph over yielded 20 points from their opening 16 ne of his team-mates and deliberately block him.
Milan; Frank de Boer and his revolution began to gather pace. At t not, this left a forward free, as De Boer’s marker
Winston Bogarde lift the of his debut season in 1991-92, Ajax fin p of tracking him as he made his dart across the
trophy as Ajax fans party three points short of PSV Eindhoven in t an Gaal loved it and swiftly added it to his team’s



56 February 2018

In THE 90 S

repertoire. In listening to his players, he created an environment which

encouraged innovation and creativity.
Their first season together was one of transition, as holders Ajax were
knocked out in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals by Auxerre and then came
third in the Eredivisie. But they did at least end the 1992-93 campaign
by lifting the KNVB Cup, hammering Heerenveen 6-2 in the final. The
following year they won their first league title in three years, but it was
in 1994-95 that Van Gaal’s work really came to fruition with the smart
acquisitions of Nwankwo Kanu and Finidi George proving to be the last
pieces in his puzzle. In the league, Ajax were unbeatable, retaining the
title with a record of 27 wins, seven draws and no losses. They scored
an incredible 106 goals at an average of 3.12 per game.

In Europe, it soon became clear they were ready to disrupt the status
quo. Holders Milan were beaten twice in the Champions League group
stage, 2-0 in Amsterdam and 2-0 at the San Siro a couple of months
on. After the first contest, the youngsters queued up outside the Milan
changing room to swap shirts with their heroes, but after the second
there had been a mindset shift. “It’s quite embarrassing when I think With their dominance growing, Van Gaal – perhaps influenced by his Above “His foot was this
about it now,” says Ronald de Boer. “Ruud Gullit gave us access to the knowledge of Lidwina’s premonition – introduced Kluivert for Litmanen high!” Van Gaal protests
away dressing room and we were like little kids when we met up with after 70 minutes. It was quite possibly the best decision of his career. to the fourth official over
the players after – but after the second match, we didn’t ask them for Fifteen minutes later, a flowing passing move saw Overmars pick the a tasty tackle in the final
their shirts!” ball up on the left wing and feed Rijkaard on the edge of the penalty
For Frank de Boer, it was the moment when he and his team-mates area. His pass found Kluivert, who slipped past Baresi with one touch
began to believe. “Something happened at the start of that season,” and stabbed the ball past Sebastiano Rossi with his second. Ajax were
he has previously told FFT. “There was an incredible chemistry between champions of Europe for the first time since 1973.
the youngsters and more experienced players. Everything just felt right It was an astonishing accomplishment, turning most members of
inside the team. There was a solid core of roughly a dozen players who the team into household names. Upon their return to the Amsterdam,
could be in the first XI, and this core was then supplemented by three Kluivert was filmed greeting his mum at the airport and bursting into
or four substitutes who accepted they weren’t in the starting line-up. tears – at 18 he was the darling of the Dutch media. However, in the
I remember after we beat Milan, we all realised we didn’t need to fear days that followed, Van Gaal was consumed by a sense of deja vu as
anyone any more.” Europe’s biggest clubs started to circle his leading lights. Of particular
Another advantage was the number of players comfortable playing interest was Litmanen, but after he committed his future to Ajax the
in multiple positions. Davids – nicknamed ‘Pitbull’ by Van Gaal thanks rest of their new generation (with the exception of Seedorf, who opted
to his tenacity – was the perfect fit for his fluid system. to sign for Sampdoria) followed his lead, as they recognised they had
“I started as a left-winger and second striker – a No.10,” Davids once an opportunity to dominate Europe for years to come.
told FFT. “It was Van Gaal’s idea to move my position. Marc Overmars
began playing out on the left and was really good, but he felt I had the They ought to have done so, but behind the scenes things were slowly
qualities to play in central midfield. On the left wing I felt isolated, but unravelling. Four months after that famous night, Kluivert was found
in the middle I was more part of the game.” guilty of causing a fatal car crash, souring his image and causing him
After romping through the group stage unbeaten, Hajduk Split and to suffer from depression as he battled his guilt. Finidi George also had
Bayern Munich were hammered 3-0 and 5-2 in the quarter-finals and to contend with personal problems after his brother was shot dead in
semi-finals respectively. Those victories set up a third encounter with Nigeria. Results papered over the cracks, as Ajax added the European
Milan in the Vienna showpiece, much to the delight of Van Gaal, who’d Super Cup to their growing list of honours.
feared a clash against Paris Saint-Germain. “Milan play as Ajax play,” The decision to make a mid-season trek to Tokyo to compete in the
he commented. “They want to win the game, but PSG hang back and Intercontinental Cup – largely to satisfy commercial demands – was
are primarily interested in avoiding defeat.” The finalists had the same another source of unrest, and was blamed for a serious injury suffered
ambitions, but the players from the two teams could not have looked by Overmars against Gremio. Still, that didn’t stop Ajax from winning
more different as they arrived at Vienna Airport within minutes of each the trophy and romping to another league title. In Europe, Van Gaal’s
other the night before the game. Ajax’s bashful youngsters looked on players were applauded off the pitch by Real Madrid fans after beating
as Milan’s stars strolled through the arrivals lounge with their array of Los Blancos 2-0 at the Bernabeu in the group. After overcoming both
stunning girlfriends. Borussia Dortmund and Panathinaikos, Ajax reached the Champions
Fabio Capello had also hatched a cunning plan to catch their Dutch League final for the second consecutive season. Football immortality
foes by surprise. Marcel Desailly, operating in a holding midfield role was in sight, but their efforts over the previous three years appeared
in a diamond formation, was tasked with man-marking Jari Litmanen. to catch up with them on the night. Ajax produced their worst display
Striker Daniele Massaro was handed the task of stopping Frank de Boer in almost two terms as they lost to Juventus on penalties after a 1-1
from spraying his forward passes into midfield and forcing him to feed draw in Rome.
right-back Michael Reiziger, who was then pressed in possession. For Their bubble had burst, and the Bosman ruling – introduced in 1995
the first 45 minutes the ploy worked to perfection as Van Gaal’s men and allowing players to leave for nothing at the end of their contract
struggled to keep the ball in an untidy contest. – eventually reduced Ajax’s house to rubble. Both Davids and Reiziger
At half-time, Rijkaard had the first word. “I want the ball to be played announced they were to join Milan on free transfers at the conclusion
around faster and a number of you need to play better in possession,” of their contracts, while George and Kanu were sold to Real Betis and
he said. A heated debate soon followed between Danny Blind, Clarence Inter respectively. Kluivert moved to Barcelona for nothing a year later
Seedorf and Ronald de Boer. Van Gaal happily let them go at it before at the end of a dreadful 1996-97 campaign, when Ajax came fourth in
making a key tactical tweak, which saw Rijkaard drop back five yards the Eredivisie to finish the season trophyless. The glory days were over
to give him more space to play key passes. and a dispirited Van Gaal turned the lights out on a glorious era when
The tide began to turn in Ajax’s favour. Eight minutes after the break, he announced his decision to become Barça manager. The Class of ’95
Kanu was introduced in place of Seedorf, with his pace forcing Franco had been consigned to the history books.
Baresi and Milan’s defence to retreat to the edge of their 18-yard box. Gone, but certainly not forgotten. February 2018 57




The Carlisle keeper’s 94th-minute winner to keep the club in the Football League is the stuff of legend –
but he ended up driving a taxi. Now back in the game at Bournemouth, he tells FFT about that crazy day
Interview Chris Flanagan Illustration Paul Lacolley

t was my first day at Carlisle United He said: “No, in the league – they’re second from bottom.” I asked him
which league. “The Third Division,” he replied. Swindon were in the First
and I was jogging round a pitch with Division, but my career had been faltering. Having done quite well for
Bournemouth, I went to Swindon thinking I was going to play. When
a young keeper called Paul Heritage. I didn’t, it was a big shock. If I’m honest, I had an indifferent career –
I played in the FA Youth Cup final for Crystal Palace, against the Class
“We’ve been crap all season – if we go of ’92, but then I had injuries. In my previous two games for Swindon
in the 1998-99 season, we’d conceded 10: four against QPR and then
down, it won’t be your fault, and if we six against Ipswich, when I turned my ankle and had to hobble around
for 80 minutes because we had no goalie on the bench.
stay up, you could be a hero,” he told Carlisle had sold their keeper, Tony Caig, on deadline day and then
signed Richard Knight on loan, only for Derby to recall him with three
me. “What if I got the winning goal?” games left. So they were given special permission to bring in another
keeper. I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t get on with Swindon manager Jimmy
I said, tongue in cheek. Three weeks Quinn and I wanted to play. We drew the first two games I played for

later, it happened. Carlisle – I was man of the match in a 0-0 draw at Hartlepool against
Peter Beardsley, playing one of the last games of his career.
When I agreed to sign for Carlisle on But in the midweek before the final match, Scarborough won their
game in hand to go above us. Only one side went down to non-league
loan from Swindon, I didn’t even think and Carlisle were now bottom for the first time all season. They were
a sleeping giant – they’d been in the First Division during the ’70s – but
about where they were in the league. there was a despondency. No one would say it, but everyone thought
Carlisle were virtually down. They’d been in the Football League for 71
I phoned my dad to tell him about the years so dropping into non-league would have been massive. Michael
Knighton owned the club and was hated by the supporters. He asked
move, but 30 seconds later he called for a police escort to help him get to the last game against Plymouth,
but the police refused it.
me back. He’d put Ceefax on and said, The day before the match, we played five-a-side in training. I played
outfield and scored a hat-trick. For a long time during my youth career,
“You do realise where they are, don’t I was torn: I never knew if I was a better forward or goalkeeper. At 16
I’d be running around upfront in training next to Ian Wright and Mark
you?” I said, “Yeah, they’re up north.” Bright at Palace, with Steve Coppell cheering me on. Sometimes I think

maybe I made the wrong decision by becoming a keeper – whenever

I played outfield, I had this habit of being able to sniff out a goal. Even
when I had my gloves on, I was always looking to score goals – I’d be
pinging free-kicks and trying to catch the keeper off his line. I went up
for a couple of corners when I was playing for Bournemouth but never
got anywhere near them – my manager would be swearing at me and
telling me to get back.
. ..
The players were nervous in the dressing room ahead of the Plymouth
game. Nigel Pearson was in his first job in management and started to
hand around a bottle of brandy. The players were taking a swig from it
– unbelievable when you look back now, but the manager was trying
to settle everyone down.
It was 0-0 at half time, but our game got delayed due to Paul Gibbs
breaking his leg for Plymouth. Scarborough were drawing at home to
Peterborough: we had to win to stay up. Soon into the second half, we
went 1-0 down. There was real dismay around the ground and people
were thinking: ‘We’ve struggled to score all season, so the chances of
getting two are slim’.
But David Brightwell scored from 25 yards just after the hour, which
gave people hope. The guy on the Tannoy tried to get the crowd going
– shouting things he probably shouldn’t have been – but it didn’t look
like we were going to get a winner.
It all came down to the last 10 seconds in the fourth minute of injury
time. I lumped a ball forward and it went out for a corner. I looked to
the manager and he waved me up. I was galloping up the pitch trying
to get there in time – you look like a right plonker if you get there and
the corner’s already been taken. Scott Dobie managed to get a header
on target and the goalkeeper parried it straight out. I’d headed for the
six-yard box, knowing that whenever I dropped the ball as a keeper, it
usually fell to someone who’d toe it over the line. As I arrived into the
six-yard box, I was the only one in there. The ball fell to me perfectly.
I blasted it in.
The first thought that flashed through my head wasn’t, “I’ve scored
and saved Carlisle”, or “I’m a goalkeeper and I’ve just scored”. It was
just, “I’ve scored” – the same as when I scored in a park on a Sunday
morning. My hand went up in the air, the classic celebration, then I got
pole-axed. The boys jumped on me, David Brightwell pulled me to the
ground and 50, 60, 100 fans piled on top of us. We genuinely couldn’t
breathe. We were shouting, “Get off! Get off!” Someone even jumped
on the ref, too.


There were thousands of fans on the pitch, I was getting grabbed by
people as I ran back towards my goal, and my nose was pissing blood
– I think I must have got kneed in the face as I was on the floor. I got

On ME AnD 50, 60, 100 FAnS PILED On TOP

to my goal and thought, ‘Where’s my towel?’ Someone had nicked it!
The referee blew for full-time as soon as Plymouth kicked off again.
I ran across the pitch with my arms outstretched, and everyone was
clawing at me. Someone shouted, “Lift him up! Lift him up!” Suddenly
I was surfing a sea of thousands of people, and they all carried me off
the pitch.
When I got back to the dressing room, I phoned my mum. I was 25
and I’d turned into a giddy schoolboy. I said, “Mum, I’ve just scored!”
She said, “I know, I’ve been watching the TV!” Michael Knighton spoke Left Glass wheels away in I didn’t really see footage from the Scarborough match until a few
to me and said, “If that ain’t entertainment, I’m a banana!” delight after his dramatic days afterwards – the clips of their fans on the pitch, devastated about
We went to a nightclub that night and when I opened the doors, the strike keeps Carlisle up and their relegation. Even then, I didn’t really take it on board. It was only
whole place erupted. People were cuddling me, kissing me... and that sends Scarborough down later I started to realise the effect I’d had on another club. Relegation
was just the blokes! to the Conference Above essentially pushed them out of business five or six years later. You do
I drove back to Swindon the next day and I kept hearing snippets on
all of the local radio stations. I thought, ‘Are they talking about me?’
Owner Michael Knighton
gives United’s hero a hug . ..
feel guilty. It’s the fans that suffer.

I didn’t know how football had reacted to that goal, that they’d talked Two days after my goal, Jimmy Quinn told me I could leave Swindon.
about me on Match of the Day on Saturday night. And the day after that, I split up with my girlfriend of 18 months. I was
I got to Swindon halfway through their last game of the season, and slightly unstable at that point. We were coming to the end of our time
as I went in the stand, the photographers taking pictures of the game together and it all got a bit too much for me. She had been moaning
turned round and started photographing me instead. I thought, ‘This about something and I just said, “That’s it, I’ve had enough”, and got
is weird’. I was invited over to Sky’s studios in London, and then I got in my car.
a phone call from the Daily Mirror. I went there and met Piers Morgan I was driving back to London, where my family lived, but the phone
– they had some crazy ideas and wanted to make a double page with wouldn’t stop ringing with more journalists. I got to London and kept
me as a kind of ‘Magical Man’, doing silly things like getting Mohamed driving. At Dover, I got on the ferry to Calais, but Calais was a s**thole
Al-Fayed his British passport. It was surreal. so I didn’t want to stay there. It was either turn right to Spain, which February 2018 61


seemed like a long way, or turn left and go to Belgium. I checked into Bottom Glass got mobbed less desirable. I signed for Oxford United in 2000 as cover but it wasn’t
a hotel in Brussels for two or three days, went to the cinema, went for by his Carlisle team-mates going well. I woke up one day and realised it wasn’t for me any more.
a couple of meals, then came back. As soon as I got back to England, before pitch-invading fans I phoned the manager and said, “I’m not coming in.”
I turned my phone on and had so many messages. piled on the gloveman and Should I have given up? Probably not. I was 27. But there are only so
It was a crazy time. I was quite immature and as exciting as it was, left him with a bloody nose many hits you can take in life – and as much as that Carlisle goal was
my career had not been going that well and I had gambling debts of a phenomenal moment, it wasn’t enough to keep me afloat mentally.
about £25,000. I had so many different emotions going on. Football is a harsh world and if you’re not mentally strong, it can leave
Michael Knighton was under pressure to offer me a permanent deal you broken.
at Carlisle, but I don’t think he wanted to. Having said I could leave for I didn’t straighten myself out. I lost £100,000 gambling in two years
free, Swindon asked Carlisle for £20,000 and Knighton didn’t want to after leaving Swindon. Sometimes I would spend 14 hours in a casino.
pay my wages – although in some ways it was a good thing as I didn’t I’d go in when it opened and was kicked out when it shut.
go back. Had I gone back and not done so well, maybe I wouldn’t have I got to the point where I decided that football just seemed so unfair.
been remembered by the fans in the way I am. I thought: ‘The real world can’t be unfair, it must be more logical. You
I went straight back to being a backup keeper at Swindon – playing see all these people in business making money’. So I said, “That’s it”,
reserve games with the cameras watching me because I was still big got a job in IT and played Sunday League. I was upfront and loved it
news. Every time there was a corner, the fans would shout, “Come on – I scored six goals for two games running, one from the kick-off after
Jimmy!” It turned into a bit of a circus, and when you’re struggling in
your head already – because I wasn’t the most confident of people and
now you’ve got this added thing to deal with as well – it was a strange
period for me.
I played for Swindon at Bolton. It was 0-0 and I’d made save after
save, but we got to the 89th minute and I let in a soft goal. I walked
into the dressing room afterwards and said, “Sorry fellas”. But Jimmy
Quinn went to town on me. At that point I’d had enough of the bloke,
so I told him what I thought of him – then he went out to talk to the
newspapers and crucified me. That was my career with Swindon done.
I still had a year and a half left on my contract, but Roy McFarland at
Cambridge United wanted me so I said to Swindon, “Give me £25,000
and I’ll tear up my contract.” I left and we
Roy said, “I’ve just got to offload this keepe
a Dutch fella, Arjan van Heusden.
The day Swindon were supposed to pay
into administration. Suddenly I had no mon
offload the keeper so they couldn’t sign m
on trial at Exeter City – I’m driving into the c
Dutch keeper, the one from Cambridge. I s
said, “Yeah”, and I got back in the car!
I went to train at Crystal Palace, too – the
goal so they didn’t need me, so I signed fo
I was on the bench there and Fraser Digby
days later, so I would have got games for P
I went, it went wrong. It was so frustrating
time for me. Although I wasn’t the most c
in the world, I knew I was a good goalie.
You’d have thought the Carlisle winner m
springboarded me to a better career, but it
opposite effect. It became an albatross – E
football wasn’t ready for goalscoring keep
I thought the goal would have made me
desirable to managers, but it possibly mad

the goalie who scored for Carlisle.” He knew who I was. Moments like
that were enjoyable, when people like Gazza knew me. It was strange
though: I’d be listening to a World Cup match – Brazil vs Colombia or
something. The keeper would go up and the commentators would say,
“He’s doing a Jimmy Glass” – while I’m sat at a taxi rank in Wimborne.
I was a footballer for 13 years, and even though I was driving a taxi
for a long time, I still saw myself as a footballer. But the closer I got to
13 years as a taxi driver, I thought: ‘If I’m a taxi driver for longer than
I was a footballer, does that mean I’m a taxi driver?’ That was when
the opportunity presented itself with Bournemouth a couple of years


ago – as player liaison officer under Eddie Howe, a former team-mate
at Dean Court.
Some of Bournemouth’s players knew who I was, but although the


others knew I’d been a player, they didn’t know much about me. We
do a thing at Bournemouth where you talk about the best moment of
your life, and it was my turn in the hotel before we played Manchester

CHASInG A ‘RUnnER’ AROUnD A CAR PARK” United at Old Trafford last season. I told the boys the story of my goal.
Some of them were really amazed.
We’d lost four league games in a row but we drew 1-1, even though
we were down to 10 men for the entire second half. Our goalie, Artur
Boruc, had a phenomenal game and I got excited, so I went onto the
about three seconds. All these poor blokes were turning out for a nice Top Carlisle’s players drink pitch at the end to give him a big hug. He looked at me and said: “You
easy game and there was me, charging around like a lunatic, slapping to survival thanks to Glass, inspired me last night. I wanted to score!” That was a nice moment –
in goals like some goal-hungry 15-year-old. but the iconic goal wasn’t I don’t get involved in the coaching, but things I’ve experienced in my
But I didn’t enjoy sitting at a desk all day long. I’d scored this goal for a springboard for a better life can benefit players.
Carlisle that was famous and I couldn’t work out why, only a few years career. It was an albatross After having no interest in football for years, I’ve reconciled with the
later, I was working in IT. Rodney Marsh helped to put it in perspective game now. And no matter how bad it got, I never wished the Carlisle
for me. He’d been my agent for a little while and I remember asking goal hadn’t happened. You could never take it away from me and the
him once, “Am I a legend?” He told me, “No, you’re not a legend, but glory that came with it. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it back
your goal is legendary.” over the years. Sometimes I’ve watched it because someone sent me
I quit my job in IT and went back into non-league for a short period. a link – other times, during my time as a taxi driver, I watched it again
I was earning the same as in IT and thought I’d get a taxi, do a bit of to remember I was a footballer once. I still feel something every time
work in the week and earn some more money. But I felt the pressure I watch it – the emotion and pure excitement is still there.
in non-league: everyone thought I was still a professional goalkeeper It doesn’t surprise me that my goal’s lived on, as sometimes things
and expected me to be perfect. I wasn’t going to be, because I wasn’t like that can happen in football – moments like Ronnie Radford’s goal
training like I was before. for Hereford or the Russian linesman in 1966. It wasn’t my goal, it was
It took me a very long time to come to terms with it all. You go from football’s goal. I just happened to be in the middle of it.
scoring a goal and being famous, all the way down to driving a taxi at Now I’m back in football, I get to enjoy the goal even more because
4am, £2.50 a fare, chasing a ‘runner’ around a supermarket car park. I can enjoy football again. The game didn’t give me a phenomenally
I struggled, wondering how I was going to pay my next bill. long career or a lot of money, and maybe I didn’t really deserve that.
I’d never really divulge too much to my passengers about who I was, But I loved playing, and football gave me my moment – a moment as
but one day I picked up Gazza in my taxi. I’d never met him but he’d a goalscoring goalkeeper. I had a career that you don’t forget, and in
been at the dentist’s and, poor old Gazza, he’d just had two implants some ways that’s just as valuable. Every time the goal is played, I still
so he wasn’t talking that well. I said to him, “Gazza, I’m Jimmy Glass, feel proud. February 2018 63



From Barcelona’s Johan Cruyff disciple to a tortured Juve star, a German journeyman and
a La Liga enforcer, FFT looks back at the playing careers of four top Premier League bosses

At 7pm on Sunday April 30, 1989, a ‘drunk’ 18-year-old went into
a disco on Gran Via Carles III, a tree-lined street north-west of
downtown Barcelona. He’d not touched a drop of alcohol, but two
things intoxicated the gangly teenager.
First was Barcelona’s 7-1 demolition of Real Oviedo he’d watched
that afternoon, a stone’s throw away at the Camp Nou. Second was
the brunette at the bar.
“As soon as the slow songs started, I would ask her for a dance,”
the youngster later recalled. “Then someone from La Masia came to
tell me that I had to travel to Banyoles with the first team. I could no
longer dance with the brunette. I now had my mind on other things.”
The next day, with many regulars rested ahead of the Cup Winners’
Cup final against Sampdoria a little over a week later, he lasted until
half-time of a 6-2 friendly victory. But manager Johan Cruyff was not
impressed. “You played slower than my grandmother,” was the Dutch
legend’s verdict. Pep Guardiola thought his Barcelona career was over
before it had even begun.
“I later learned Johan used that phrase as part of his motivational
strategy with everyone,” he explained in La Meva Gent, el Meu Futbol
(My People, My Football), his 2001 autobiography. “Cruyff used to pour
water on the fire when you were hot, and praise you when the press
were against you. If the same journalists dedicated successive reports
about you, Johan used to strangle you until you choked.”
A year after that inauspicious start, in the summer of 1990, Cruyff
needed a midfielder to replace the departing Luis Milla, someone to
direct play from deep. He dropped in on the B team keen to see Pep,
about whom scout Oriol Tort had claimed: “I’ve found someone who
plays like the gods.” He didn’t make it off the bench.
“He didn’t even warm up,” he shouted at the coach, Charly Rexach.
“Why not, if he’s the best?”
Cruyff was told that Pep, though luxuriously skilled with supreme
vision, wasn’t particularly strong or dynamic. “A good player doesn’t
need a strong physique,” huffed Cruyff, who immediately promoted
Guardiola into his first-team squad.
In session after session, the pair worked on using as few touches
as possible until the manager had the pivote he desired. “Two feet,
you’ve got two f**king feet!” Cruyff frequently shouted.
Words Andrew Murray

“Those sessions were hard,” Guardiola said. “Cruyff used to ask me

what I was doing there, because I was doing things so badly. But the
explanation is simple. When you are older, it’s almost impossible to
improve any detail, no matter how small. Luckily, that hasn’t been my
case. I learned from very young under Cruyff. Constantly.”

64 February 2018




Gradually, that skinny kid became the key piece of Cruyff’s Dream
Team, who won four La Liga titles on the spin and the 1992 European
Cup (Barça’s first) at the old Wembley.
“Guardiola could control the ball quickly and pass it quickly,” Cruyff
revealed. “He could deliver the ball in good condition so that another
player could do something with it.”
Only 21, so nervous was Guardiola, a keen football student, he had
spent much of the day before the Wembley final arguing with striker
Julio Salinas over how many steps up there were to receive the cup.
“How about,” snapped keeper Andoni Zubizarreta, “we win the thing
first, then we can count the steps?”
When Ronald Koeman’s extra-time free-kick secured a 1-0 victory
against Sampdoria, Zubizarreta stopped in front of Guardiola at the
top of the Wembley stairs before going to lift the trophy. “There are
33, you know,” winked the vice-captain. “I just counted.”
Further success followed only two months later at the Barcelona
Olympics, but it was the 1994 Champions League Final against Milan
in Athens that was to prove most instructive. “Go out there and enjoy
yourselves,” Cruyff had told his team a couple of years earlier against
Sampdoria – but now the Dutchman’s message was different: turn
up, and you win.
Fabio Capello’s Rossoneri won 4-0. “Their superiority was so great,”
Guardiola conceded, “I just wanted it to be over.” That balmy night
in Greece is entrenched in Guardiola’s psyche.
“I’ve no doubt Pep thinks about Milan before any game he expects
to win as a coach,” Eusebio Sacristan, Guardiola’s then team-mate
and now Real Sociedad manager, tells FFT. “He knows what we were
missing in the 1994 final: hard work and respect for the opposition.”
Cruyff was sacked in 1996, although Pep continued as the on-pitch
lieutenant for first Bobby Robson, then Louis van Gaal. It was under
Guardiola, the embodiment of Catalan seny, or common sense, that
Barça recovered from a disastrous start to Robson’s only campaign to
bag the Copa del Rey, Cup Winners’ Cup and Spanish Super Cup.
“Robson made us see that you win more matches – and therefore
trophies – when the players and coach are all working in the same
direction,” Pep later wrote, an attit
when he stepped aside for skipper
Winners’ Cup, despite the Romania
Yet it was with Van Gaal that Gu
into tactical minutiae. “Of all the c
one with whom I most talked abo
he said. “Often we talk about tact
To submit yourself to the disciplin
a team. That’s what Van Gaal did.”
He soon became captain, aged 2
pros like Miguel Angel Nadal and G
“You’re the only one I can speak t
Van Gaal told Guardiola. “You’re m
By the end of the decade, mana
to edge captain towards the exit, w
generation well on the way. Xavi h
become a first-team regular by 19
Pep spent nearly 18 months out b
a persistent calf injury.
“Guardiola was my reference,” Xa
FFT. “My coaches always told me t
at him. One or two touch, all of th
Bakero, Koeman and Stoichkov, to
Guardiola was in my position.”
In 2001, Guardiola departed for
in Serie A with 16 major honours.
club of his heart six years later – a
under 4-2-3-1 inventor Juanma Li
coach, to restore the style he so a
“I’ll watch the match from my
84,533, but when I see that Barç
imprint left by Cruyff, I’ll stop,” he w
them play the same way in which
Manchester City fans are very gl

66 February 2018 FourFourTwo.c


workaholism and tactical nous, holding him up as an example to the

ANTONIO CONTE squad. Yet for the first, but not last time, Conte realised his technical
ability was just a degree or two below the mark. Of Italy’s famously
heartrending campaign, he started only the quarter-final tie against
Spain and had to come off after 66 minutes, suffering in 90 per cent
It was a strange way to sum up a truly remarkable career. When humidity and from an unusual attack of nerves.
Antonio Conte hung up his Bianconero shirt in 2004, he nodded to In 1994 Juve appointed Marcello Lippi, a less ardent Conte fan than
his 1996 Champions League triumph and namechecked a few club Trapattoni. That season witnessed a UEFA Cup final defeat – but also
figureheads. Then he recounted the finals he’d lost, the injuries he’d Conte’s first scudetto and a Coppa Italia. Fate was merely feeding him
suffered and his disappointments with the Italy national team, before a few tasty morsels, however, before pulling the rug from underneath.
thanking the club doctor. Conte was not even allowed to enjoy what remains the high point of
Through the mists of time, you might recall Conte as the bedrock of his playing career: the 1996 Champions League Final triumph against
the glamorous 1990s Juventus featuring Roberto Baggio, Alessandro Ajax. Just before half-time, Edgar Davids’ granite pelvis bludgeoned
Del Piero, Gianluca Vialli, Zinedine Zidane et al. But the reality of his 13 into Conte’s thigh. It ruptured a blood vessel, which began pumping
seasons in Turin is more of a horror movie, complete with gore. out into the muscle. Conte retired to the bench, thinking it was merely
“He’s suffered so much on his footballing journey but he’s never lost a knock. As the final whistle sounded, he leapt up in jubilation and was
heart,” said his mother Ada in 2000. Maybe there was a smidge of the skewered with pain – the worst he had ever felt.
worshipful Italian mamma in her portrait, but even La Gazzetta dello When Juve’s plane landed back in Turin that night his team-mates
Sport once canonised Conte as Sant’Antonio, after the saint who was headed out to party, while Conte can’t even remember which hospital
famous for miracles. he was taken to. Too much blood had pooled to extract with a syringe.
Conte had broken his tibia as a 17-year-old with his hometown club, He was bedbound for days. One night he attempted to get up to go
Lecce, yet at 22, in November 1991, he sealed his prize switch to Juve. to the bathroom, prompting another setback and lots of leisure time
He then topped off his first season with a red card near the end of the to watch the Euros he now wouldn’t be playing in.
1992 Coppa Italia Final second leg, as the Old Lady chased a one-goal But Conte clawed his way back and joined new signing Zidane for
aggregate deficit to Parma. pre-season. Playing blithely through several lingering symptoms, he
His response would have made Ada proud, and won the approval of earned a call-up for a pair of World Cup qualifiers in October. Against
Giovanni Trapattoni, who has called Conte one of his godsons. Conte Georgia in Perugia, with nary an opponent nearby, he planted his left
kept up his fitness levels and returned with such focus that he became leg awkwardly.
an increasingly necessary regular. Trap looks back on him as “flexible This time he had done his anterior cruciate ligament. After a month
and intelligent. A force of nature both defensively and going forward”. of physio failed, he underwent a reconstruction, only for an infection
That campaign brought a UEFA Cup win for Juve, and a first dose of to almost wreck the surgeon’s handiwork.
sideline sickness for Conte: he was suspended for the second leg of the The 1996-97 season whizzed by Conte’s window: Juve’s scudetto,
1993 final as Juventus sealed a record 6-1 aggregate victory over European Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup triumphs, and another
Borussia Dortmund. But his decision to watch it with the club’s Champions League final. He gave up the captain’s armband that he’d
fans at the Stadio delle Alpi at least planted the just been awarded, plus the central midfield spot he had coveted and
seed for what would be a recurring source finally earned after years spent out wide.
of comfort in future years: his undying Again, Conte’s misfortune acted like rocket fuel. When he scored in
love of the Bianconero tifosi. August 1997 against Lecce, he was too hysterical to think about the
By the of summer 1994 he had wisdom of celebrating wildly against his hometown team, whose fans
earned a call-up to Italy’s World have had it in for him ever since. Against Brescia, Antonio even scored
Cup squad. Azzurri coach Arrigo a bicycle kick that Del Piero termed a “gol alla Van Basten”.
Sacchi was a sucker for Antonio’s But by the second half of the season he was stuttering, starting less
often as Juventus won Serie A and on the bench as they lost to Real
Madrid in the Champions League final. By July, it was reported he was


joining Middlesbrough, then Marseille, then Blackburn.
He stuck around, which was useful for Juventus given his newfound
habit of scoring gol pesanti – ‘heavy goals’ or decisive strikes. “Only

YEARS AT GLAMOROUS ’90S he could have done a thing like that,” admitted Carlo Ancelotti after
one against Olympiacos that saved the club from Champions League


elimination. La Gazzetta likened Conte to Winston Wolfe, the ultimate
fixer in Pulp Fiction. Ancelotti, Conte’s football soulmate, succeeded
Lippi in February 1999 and called Antonio “fundamental, whether he


plays in the middle, on the left or the right”.
Conte continued to lurch from misfortune to disaster. He endured
Manchester United’s devastating 1999 Champions League semi-final
comeback, and scudetto woe the following season after a final-day
defeat at Perugia, in part thanks to his defensive error. He rounded off
the decade with an overhead kick in Italy’s Euro 2000 opener against
Turkey, before Gheorghe Hagi thudded into his ankle in the last eight,
ending his tournament.
Before he hung up his boots, Antonio still had time to lose two more
Coppa Italia finals and a Champions League final (in which he missed
a golden opportunity), get left out of Italy’s 2002 World Cup squad and
make a rancorous departure from his life’s club.
Words Alison Ratcliffe

When he finally returned in May 2011 as an imperious coach, Conte

spoke about how his playing days had left him riddled with the fear of
defeat. “When someone reminds me that I’ve won so much, I always
reply, ‘I’ve lost so much’. It’s a way of thinking which always helps you
improve yourself.” February 2018 67


One of the biggest reasons so many people love Jurgen Klopp is
his self-deprecating humour. In 2008, when he became manager
of Borussia Dortmund, a reporter asked him why he’d never made
it to the Bundesliga as a player. Klopp replied: “I had fourth-division
talent and a first-division head. That resulted in the second division.”
He repeated the line four years later, after he’d led Dortmund to
a league title triumph, with a telling twist. He told a Berlin newspaper:
“I had fourth-division feet and a first-division head.” That same year,
when Mainz’s business manager Christian Heidel was honoured for
20 years’ service, Klopp remembered a match between Mainz and
Homburg in said second division. At one point, a Homburg player was
badly let down by his first touch. According to Klopp, Heidel quipped:
“Look, they have a Kloppo, too!”
Klopp wasn’t fishing for compliments, he was simply being honest.
According to Raphael Honigstein’s excellent new biography about the
Liverpool boss, Bring the Noise, Klopp would tell his BVB players they
were better footballers than he had ever been, saying: “I have never
played at your level, therefore I’ll never pretend to you that I know
everything – but I will always try to help you.”
Klopp made a club-record 325 appearances for Mainz in the lower
leagues, something you can’t achieve without at least some decent
attributes in your locker. As Klopp has hinted, his head – meaning his
attitude and his intelligence – was one of them. He also possessed
the unusual combination of aerial prowess and pace, which explains
why Klopp was most commonly used upfront until his late twenties
before drifting back in the latter years of his career.
Legend has it that a 19-year-old Klopp repeatedly left the lightning
Thomas Berthold – a future World Cup winner – in his wake during
a friendly between Klopp’s provincial team and Eintracht Frankfurt in
the summer of ’86. It earned him a move to the Bundesliga club, but
he never progressed beyond the reserves.
Still, it’s tempting to think his experiences on the pitch taught him
that you can overcome problems – and mask limitations – with pace.
He is certainly fond of fleet-footed players. When a journalist asked
him if his tactics had been “decoded” in his final campaign with BVB,
he sarcastically replied, “Can you decode pace?”
Klopp’s greatest day as a player was August 13, 1991, when Mainz
won 5-0 away at Erfurt. He scored four goals – another club record
that would not be equalled for more than 20 years. After that game,
coach Robert Jung predicted: “Next year, Klopp won’t be here.” The
player felt the same, telling Kicker magazine that he was hoping for
a transfer to the Bundesliga. But it never happened. Klopp stayed at
Mainz for the rest of his career, often fighting relegation.
First he was remade into a midfielder, then switched to defence. In
a way Klopp had come full circle, because even as a striker he’d worn
the No.4 shirt to honour his favourite player – Stuttgart centre-back
Karlheinz Forster. Klopp once explained his obsession with Forster by
saying: “I have always been interested in attitude more than talent
– his mentality was exceptional.” These lines could describe Klopp’s
own career, both as a player and a coach.
Another thing Klopp learned as a player – and would put to great
use as a manager – was the value of combining the correct attitude
with organisation and tactics. The man who taught him, and the club,
was Wolfgang Frank, who first became Mainz’s coach in 1995. Frank,


a devotee of Arrigo Sacchi, examined the player’s qualities and then
decided what he needed most was Klopp’s “head”. He made Klopp
the right-back in one of Germany’s first functioning systems based
on zonal marking, pressing and a flat-back four. In the homeland of
the sweeper, Frank’s 4-4-2 was revolutionary. AnD A FIRST-DIVISIOn HEAD. THAT
Using Frank’s innovative approach, Mainz excelled. In early 2001,
Words Uli Hesse

the club needed a new coach. Heidel was looking for someone who
would carry on in Frank’s tradition, who knew the system inside out.
He found him at right-back. Heidel asked Klopp to be player-manager.
The rest, as they say, is history.

68 February 2018

Two men approach the door of farm labourer Hector Pochettino’s
family home in Murphy, a nondescript town of barely 4,000 people
in the Santa Fe province. It’s 2am on a chilly morning in early 1985
and Marcelo Bielsa and Jorge Griffa – in charge of scouting for Newell’s
Old Boys’ academy – have driven more than three hours in a battered
Fiat 147 to find Hector’s 13-year-old son, Mauricio.
They’re convinced the province contains some untapped gems for
the next generation of Newell’s. Though a defender, Pochettino Jr has
been scoring freely as a makeshift striker for his local club.
They knock at the door. A sleepy Hector answers. “Can we speak to
your son?” they excitedly ask, almost in unison.
Pochettino’s parents hurriedly wake up little Mauricio. “Look at him,
Jorge!” says Bielsa to Griffa. “He has the legs of a footballer.”
Seven years later and now the first-team manager, Bielsa gave his
protegé – who had graduated to the senior side as a strapping central
defender – some homework.
“For next Thursday, I’ll need your dossiers on San Lorenzo,” he told
the 20-year-old. “And remember: read three newspapers about their
last game, and whatever El Grafico publishes on Tuesday.”
The Newell’s stopper studied the strengths and weaknesses of San
Lorenzo, set-piece routines and how hard their forward Alberto Acosta
was to mark. Then, two days before the match, Pochettino presented
his findings – in front of the whole squad.
“It helped you find answers on the pitch,” Pochettino later recalled.
If anyone was destined to be a coach, it was Poch, and Bielsa knew
it. He was the latter’s most trusted on-field sidekick as the unfancied
Newell’s – underpinned by youth-team graduates and high-pressing
tactics – beat Boca Juniors to the Argentine title in 1991 and reached
the Copa Libertadores final the following year.
Pochettino joined Espanyol in 1994, the transfer fee initially funded
by local newspaper proprietor Jose Manuel Lara. “I’m grateful to Lara
for giving me the chance to play for a club as important as Espanyol,” HE LED A BACK-LInE WHICH SHUT OUT
revealed Mauricio at his unveiling. “I’m strong, but I never dive in with
bad intentions.”
That comment proved to be prescient. In 10 campaigns across two


spells with Los Pericos, Pochettino picked up 13 red cards. Only eight
players have been sent off more in La Liga. But when not suspended,
Pochettino impressed. In 1996-97, the Argentine led a back-line which
shut out a Barcelona team fronted by 47-goal Ronaldo, and in 2000
Espanyol won the Copa del Rey – a first major honour in 60 years.
“Pochettino had great charisma in the dressing room,” his manager
Paco Flores later explained. “There was also a powerful communion
between players and fans. He saw the importance of that.”
He left for Paris Saint-Germain in January 2001, losing the Coupe de
France final in 2003 before spending six months at Bordeaux. At the
turn of the year, he took a big wage cut to return ‘home’ to Espanyol,
who were rock bottom of La Liga. They didn’t lose another game with
Pochettino at the heart of the defence.
Injuries and a bust-up with his coach Miguel Angel Lotina gradually
diminished Pochettino’s influence and he hung up his boots at the end
of the 2005-06 season, almost on a whim. However, within three years
he was back as boss, after coaching Espanyol’s women’s side.
Bielsa – who once yelled at Pochettino, “You’re a s**t of a defender!”
after he was voted La Liga’s best – couldn’t be prouder of having gone
to Murphy that early 1985 morning. “I have a profound admiration in
every aspect from footballing to personal,” said master of apprentice.
Pochettino came to English football partly to exorcise some demons.
He had fouled Michael Owen at the 2002 World Cup to help the Three
Words Andrew Murray

Lions seal a 1-0 victory against Argentina.

“There are some things that are so obvious, there’s no point talking
about them,” he sighed, always maintaining it wasn’t a penalty. “Take
Maradona’s Hand of God. Do you think Peter Shilton’s going to ask him
if it was handball? Everybody saw it. Owen knows it wasn’t a penalty.
There’s no point asking him about it.”

70 February 2018


Words Chris Flanagan, Andrew Murray, James Maw

Lavish yachts, a crooning

Venables and some very
dodgy jokes – we rewind
to the ’90s to review VHS
classics, recovered from
attics and car boot sales.
Errrr, anyone got a VCR...?


An astronaut (who turns out to be Dave
Ex-pros reveal stories from their playing
Hughes presents World Cup bloopers –
Beasant) goes to Baddiel and Skinner’s careers. Football’s funniest after-dinner he does the links from Wembley in his SYNOPSIS
flat and instructs them to create a time speakers have been assembled to “give shirt and jeans, while some other chap George Best and Rodney Marsh chat to
capsule that comprises 14 Phoenix from you the evening of a laugh-time”, it says tells lame jokes over the clips. Garry Richardson with a live audience
the Flames sketches. on the box. Rating 18, of course... WHO’S IN IT? watching. Best is the better storyteller
WHO’S IN IT? WHO’S IN IT? Rene Higuita, Alan Hansen and Jurgen and turns it into a one-man stand-up
George Best, Cyrille Regis. Kenneth Wolstenholme, Peter Osgood. ‘Klinsman’ (as written on the box), plus show by reeling off gags, most of them
STRANGEST MOMENT and Nobby Stiles, as well as Dave Bassett rugby-tackling keeper Ramon Quiroga. pretty funny. He chugs on champagne
Vinnie Jones sings his rendition of Louis channelling his inner Bernard Manning STRANGEST MOMENT throughout, obviously.
Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World... by telling the kind of ‘gags’ you wouldn’t Hughes sports a Guinness moustache WHO’S IN IT?
BEST LINE get away with today. while holding an umbrella on Wembley Special guests include Malcolm Allison,
Celtic legend Tommy Gemmell is asked STRANGEST MOMENT Way, as some other bloke douses him Sam Hammam, John Virgo and Bobby
to recreate chasing Helmut Haller and Tommy Docherty comically roaring at with a watering can. Nope, didn’t make Davro. Wait, Bobby Davro?
then kicking him up in the air. “Scoring the beginning as he pretends to be the any sense to us either. STRANGEST MOMENT
in the European Cup final was one of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion. BEST LINE George makes an ill-advised joke about
greatest moments of my career, Haller BEST LINE For football’s hardest men “it’s not the Ghana and cannibalism.
was one of the lowest,” he says. “But it Frank Worthington on failing a medical winning but the taking someone apart BEST LINE
was a lot funnier,” replies Skinner. with Liverpool, thwarting his hopes of that counts.” Richardson: “Were you surprised when
replacing John Toshack. “If that move the phone rang and Manchester United
had gone through, it could’ve been me wanted to sign you?”
managing in Spain and him stood here Best: “I was very surprised – we didn’t
making a c*** of himself.” have a telephone…”


72 February 2018 FourFou



“Ron presents a collection
of the funniest moments SYNOPSIS
in football. He takes a look The Wiltshire outfit’s only
at own goals, bad misses, Premier League dalliance,
upsets, transfer errors and forever commemorated in
commentator blunders.” Hang on. Commentator the form of a goal-haemorrhaging Shakespearean
blunders, you say? tragedy. For never was a story of more woe, than
WHO’S IN IT? this one of the Robins and a defence that leaked
Ron Atkinson, Dave Bassett, Andy Gray, Barry Fry 100 times in a single season.
and Terry Venables – proper football men, so we WHO’S IN IT?
are told. Gaffer John Gorman, Jan Aage Fjortoft, Luc Nijholt,
STRANGEST MOMENT Nicky Summerbee, Andy Mutch, Adrian Whitbread,
The sporadic and unexplained appearances of the Martin Ling, John Moncur and keeper Fraser Digby.
‘comedian’ Stan Boardman – the worst of which Lots of Fraser Digby.
sees him and Ron chuckle at their unquestionably STRANGEST MOMENT
racist jokes about the names of Chinese players. Ending with “a final look at a contest which proves
Oh, the mirth. that on their day Swindon, had the skill to match

BEST LINE any club”. Fjortoft nets after a scramble in a draw
Dave Bassett, bantering with Big Ron: “I remember with champions Man United.
seeing you at a Toyota dealer and you said, ‘We’re BEST LINE
getting a Toyota Supra for Carlton Palmer.’ I said, “It was a season jam-packed with goals,” teases

‘That’ll be a good swap.’” the voice-over, early doors. “But the problem was
We’re only slightly ashamed to admit we laughed. Swindon often conceded more than they scored.”


Giggsy boards the Florida yacht Almost Heaven in ’96

SCOTLAnD to audition for a Rio recreation, 14 years after Duran

Duran’s hit. A series of talking-head interviews follows,
interspersed with shots of Manchester United’s starlet
on holiday with his pals playing volleyball, riding a jet
SYNOPSIS ski, fishing, cooking a barbecue, going on a night out SYNOPSIS
Scotland beating England to a can-can bar, visiting Disneyworld, having a game The cover points out that
over and over again... for of football with Mickey Mouse and Goofy, and nearly this is “The official story
more than an hour. From buying a car. of Tottenham Hotspur’s
the Wembley Wizards to WHO’S IN IT? new chief executive” but
1967’s world champion- Ryan Giggs, yacht captain Fred Allen, business adviser what we get is Venables
beating heroes and beyond, a fresh-faced Dougie Harry Swales MBE (whose moustache blends into both narrating the life story of Venables, interspersed
Donnelly presents from behind a tartan-covered his sideburns and his hair), mates Chris Lomas, Bernie with Venables’ best mates telling you how great
table. Sack whoever forgot to bring the bagpipes. Taylor and Stuart Grimshaw, United youth-team boss Venables is.
WHO IS IN IT? Eric Harrison, Alex Ferguson, Berti Vogts, Bobby Gould, WHO’S IN IT?
Snooker and Ski Sunday supremo Donnelly, plus fishing boat captain Richard Howard, and sports car Er, Terry Venables, plus George Graham, Eric Hall,
the legendary Tartan Army skipper John Greig and salesman Greg Crist. Joe Kinnear – all your old favourites.
journalist John Blair, wearing a Scottish FA jumper. STRANGEST MOMENT STRANGEST MOMENT
In case you hadn’t already worked out the video’s Being photographed, glamour model-style, frolicking A full-length, full-blooded version of I’ve Got You
target audience... on a Florida beach while wearing budgie smugglers. Under My Skin by Frank Sinatra, first recorded for
STRANGEST MOMENT “The Claudia Schiffer shot,” pants the photographer Spanish television during El Tel’s spell in charge
Why bother making a massive deal of filming in at the young winger. “Looking good. Oh, wow!” of Barça. But the music magic doesn’t end there,
Hampden Park’s Club Room if you can’t see owt? BEST LINE with the faux-sax backing track which runs from
Unless you’re lying, of course, and it was shot in “He realises that a lot of the young girls chasing him start to finish helping to bring a ‘film noir comes
Barnsley after all… are doing it to promote themselves and they soon get to Dagenham’ vibe.
BEST LINE kicked into touch,” says Swales, shortly before Giggsy’s BEST LINE
“The biggest upset since Bannockburn,” says the ‘Gorgeous Gals’ graphic pops up on the screen. Ryan’s “I would say a football stadium with no one in it
plum-voiced British Pathe commentator, as the five: Helena Christensen, Princess Diana, Demi Moore is a bit like a graveyard – except that would be an
managerless Scotland beat the Auld Enemy 3-1 and the Hollywood royalty of Julie Christie and Lauren insult to some of the more exciting cemeteries in
at Wembley in 1949. Nothing like a war reference Hutton. It seems that both tastes and attitudes have London. It is not exactly spooky, but some of the
to lighten the mood, eh? changed... memories still seem to be in the air.” How poetic.



Introducing “a hilarious
SYNOPSIS collection of goofs and
In-vogue impressionist Al gaffs by football referees
“presents a collection of footballing action, with from around the world.” The Geordie hero talks
his outstanding impressions of those within the us through a succession of controversial calls
game”. Icons from the game include Gary Lineker, that several slow-motion replays prove to have
Kevin Keegan, Eric Cantona... and Victor Meldrew been incorrect. The best bit, though, is Gazza’s
from One Foot in the Grave. laboured reading of a truly awful script. We’re
WHO’S IN IT? not overly convinced he got the gag about the
Alistair McGowan, Alistair McGowan and Alistair International Monetary Fund...
McGowan. WHO’S IN IT?
STRANGEST MOMENT Paul Gascoigne, a faulty autocue.
Impersonations of Geoffrey Boycott, Tim Henman, STRANGEST MOMENT
and Prince Charles appearing in something called The narration of Maradona’s Hand of God goal
Alistair McGowan’s Football Backchat, presumably against England at Mexico 86 in an accent akin

because they were other famous voices McGowan to Speedy Gonzales. “This is hand I score goal
could actually mimic. with. Next time I use two hand.”
Paul Gascoigne telling Les Ferdinand (two terrific “We’ve all made mistakes, said the hedgehog

impressions) a rambling bedtime story featuring climbing off a scrubbing brush. Even me.” This
a one-armed man fighting a giant and a little old crude joke is followed by Gascoigne’s infamous
lady dropping a big jar of pickled onions. You had yellow card against West Germany at Italia 90
to be there. – the first clip of the whole video.

“An intimate journey behind the scenes” that features RATING
“dressing-room team talks, the players at home and
United as you’ve never seen them before.” Or, if you’d
prefer, ‘Manchester United captain Steve Bruce larking
about with a camcorder during the final weeks of the

DAnnY BAKER’S 1992-93 season, as his team march towards their first
league title in 26 years’.


Alex Ferguson, Paul Ince, Ryan Giggs and the famous
gonzo journalist Steve Bruce.
SYNOPSIS Bruce, Ince and Peter Schmeichel playing along with SYNOPSIS
Arguably the beginning of a quiz on the car radio as the skipper drives the trio to This festive cheer from
a brand new genre. Danny a United match. Bafflingly, the first question is: “What the Hammers contains
takes a break from the Daz is the average age of a bride in Jamaica?” Even more “interviews, goals and
Doorstep Challenge to put on full England kit and bafflingly, Ince suggests the answer could be 55. The funspots”. All the “thrills and spills” of the first
narrate the first of his videos honouring football’s endearingly enthusiastic England midfielder then goes half of the 1990-91 campaign, which would see
greatest crackpot moments – from Peter Devine’s absolutely bonkers upon realising he’s only a year out the Irons eventually return to the top tier.
worst penalty of all time to Bobby Moore knocking when guessing Hollywood blockbuster King Kong was WHO’S IN IT?
out a referee (accidentally of course), then using released in 1934. Even more puzzling is a segment in Manager Billy Bonds, plus Alvin Martin, Jimmy
his victim’s whistle to halt play. which a bored Lee Sharpe decides to spend an empty Quinn and Trevor Morley, who looked like Blur’s
WHO’S IN IT? Friday afternoon intentionally wasting the time of the Alex James, alarmingly.
Stuart Pearce, Hans Segers and ‘Razor’ Ruddock, staff at various retail establishments, including a bed STRANGEST MOMENT
as well as Peru’s crazy goalkeeper from the 1978 shop and a musical instrument supplier. It’s a bit too Julian Dicks nonchalantly stroking a spot-kick
World Cup, Ramon Quiroga. Alan Partridge, quite frankly. against Watford into the bottom corner, rather
STRANGEST MOMENT BEST LINE than belting it down the middle in expectation
Gazza inexplicably sniffing a referee’s armpit. Not Bruce, upon walking in on Ryan Giggs and Paul Ince as of the terrified keeper leaping out of its path, as
once but twice. they try to relax in an implausibly low-rent hotel room would later become his hallmark.
BEST LINE in Coventry (and watching some Wildlife on One from BEST LINE
“One thing Neil Pointon doesn’t need at this point the comfort of their single beds): “Right, get onto the To a prematurely impressive Alvin Martin: “Well
is a lecture, especially from a goalkeeper with an bed. I’ve got a proposition for you and it’s on camera.” Alvin, you’re usually a slow starter to a season,
equally preposterous moustache.” Crikey. but this season you went off like a bomb!”


74 February 2018



Review of disastrous first half of Bolton RICHARD LITTLEJOHn’S PREMIERSHIP 1995-96 HOWAY 5-0
Wanderers’ ’95-96 season, their maiden
Premier League campaign. Bolton pick WE WOZ ROBBED SYNOPSIS
Back when he was popular, Andy Gray
Every kick of the Toon’s famous 5-0 win
up only eight points: the film starts off SYNOPSIS narrates highlights of the season when over Manchester United in October ’96.
with flaming graphics over clips of Sasa The Daily Mail’s Littlejohn bemoans “the Fergie’s mind games caused Newcastle “Forget last season, forget the Charity
Curcic and Alan Stubbs playing football. dirty tricks which have stolen England’s to implode. In hindsight, Kevin Keegan Shield – this was the game Newcastle
Billed as “a video no Wanderers fan will soccer glory”. A raging Richard shouts, doing an interview in front of a poster fans will remember for the rest of their
want to miss”. “Remember we’re English, not foreign!” saying ‘Don’t Crack Under Pressure’ was lives,” reads the back cover. “Revenge
WHO’S IN IT? as he dissects where it all went wrong not the best idea. has never been sweeter.”
All the stars like Fabian de Freitas, Mixu for the Three Lions over years gone by. WHO’S IN IT? WHO’S IN IT?
Paatelainen and Richard Sneekes... the Very Brexit. Jason McAteer gets out of bed in his full Peacock, Ginola, Ferdinand, Shearer and
latter pictured on the front cover during WHO’S IN IT? Liverpool kit, Ray Wilkins rules himself Albert, among others.
a game against Everton in which he was The guests include Peter Shilton, David out of the running for the England job, STRANGEST MOMENT
sent off. Seaman and Jan Tomaszewski, but not Big Dunc goes to the slammer. Analyser Gray trying to make the most
STRANGEST MOMENT everyone seems to warm to Littlejohn. STRANGEST MOMENT of the rather basic on-screen graphics.
Reporter approaches fan before match STRANGEST MOMENT Supporter asks Eric Cantona to sign her A seemingly random series of squiggly
at Manchester City, and asks what they Littlejohn conducts an ‘interview’ with knickers on his return from suspension. lines suggests that Peter Beardsley will
are eating. “Caribbean parrot.” Antonio Rattin. “The Argentinians aren’t “My boyfriend’s a City fan, so I’m going be pushing on from midfield, with Rob
BEST LINE natural fighters,” Rattin says. “We saw to go home and annoy him,” she says. Lee coming inside, while Karel Poborsky
Journalist: “Was the Arsenal game the that during the Falklands,” Dick snorts. BEST LINE will apparently be heading off down the
highlight so far?” BEST LINE Keegan insists: “Talk of a press blackout shops at some point.
John McGinlay: “It’s been the only one Terry Butcher: “I asked Diego Maradona is not accurate, that will never happen BEST LINE
so far...” whether it was handball and he said it at Newcastle.” Give it a few years, Kev... Martin Tyler: “Here they are, looking for
was with his head. He was a lying little number five... here’s Philippe Albeerrttt!
t**t really.” Ohhh, absolutely glorious!”

RATING RATING February 2018 75


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nd we’ve hunted down a few of our
rem legends, scorers of iconic goals, a
a “Scottish bastard” and lived to tell February 2018 77

The Italian striker’s arrival at Middlesbrough in 1996 was a huge
surprise – and not just for the North East club’s giddy supporters...

Joining Juventus in 1992 was incredible, but I knew of football, but in England I found it a lot more physical.
my place. When I first arrived, we had Roberto Baggio, I preferred playing in England – it was fast-paced and
Paolo Di Canio, Gianluca Vialli and Pierluigi Casiraghi in the atmosphere was great. After the game, sometimes
attack. Once, we were winning a cup game 4-0 and got we would go to the pub and have a beer with the fans.
a free-kick. I wanted to take it but Baggio wasn’t having I loved it!
any of it. “It’s impossible, Fabrizio – the only person who People gave me funny looks when they spotted me
takes free-kicks at Juve is me,” he said. I looked at him on the treadmill at a local David Lloyd fitness club,
and said: “OK Roberto, no problem, you’re the best.” It but that was where we had to go when I wanted to do
was a year before I tried to take another one! extra gym work. I believed in the club’s vision, but when
I played in the best Juventus team ever. The one that I arrived there things weren’t so great – we had to train
won the Champions League against Ajax in 1996 is the in the park or at a nearby prison.
best in the club’s history, because Marcello Lippi came I didn’t see much of the nightlife in Middlesbrough,
in and changed everything – the attitude, the mentality but only because my wife and I had a young baby. We
and the training. Before that we’d worked mainly with had a nice house in Hutton Rudby, just down the street Clockwise from above He
the ball, but Lippi had us in the gym. That team would from Gordon McQueen. And yes, I did try parmo. won the European Cup in
match up to teams like Real Madrid or Barcelona today. I got on well with every player at Boro. Well, almost. ’96 before Teesside move;
We weren’t scared of anyone. I did have a disagreement with Neil Cox. He thought he never short of aggression,
My first thought after scoring in the 1996 Champions should be playing every match, but he couldn’t play in as Leicester defender Mike
League Final in Rome was my family. I knew my dad the Premiership. The technical and tactical levels were Whitlow discovered; the
was watching in the stands, going crazy with the rest of too high for him – he didn’t have enough quality. What Italian hit 16 goals in 33
them. After the game it was like I was king of the world. happened between us was not important, though. It’s Premier League matches
The party when we returned to Turin was crazy: music, OK if there are some problems between players, as long for Boro; accompanied by
dancing and champagne. as you put your body on the line on the pitch. his trademark celebration
Being sold to Middlesbrough was a massive surprise. We should have turned up for the game at Blackburn
It was like Karim Benzema going to Watford! When in December 1996. There were a lot of people ill at the
Vialli left Juventus, I spoke to the owners and training ground, but to not play the
they told me I would be captain, so I didn’t game was wrong and I couldn’t I loved my time there so much. If I could change one
think for a second I would be leaving. Juve believe it. It was so strange. thing about my time with Middlesbrough, it would be to
wanted to do a deal with Boro, and soon I knew it was a really bad make sure they signed some top-class defenders when
enough I was meeting with idea – everyone thought we needed them!
Bryan Robson. The Juve it was crazy. There may By the time I returned to England with Derby County
fans couldn’t believe it have been quite a few in 2001 the Premier League was the best league in the
and nor could I. rows in the squad but world. It had become more professional, though it was
I had the perfect start at the incompetence of a difficult time for me. Jim Smith had signed me, but he
Boro. Three goals on my the club was worse. left after a couple of months.
Words Steve Brenner

debut against Liverpool, and I only left Boro for Marseille in 1997 My aim now is to manage in the Premier League one
I was already being compared with because I was so desperate to play day. I’ve worked with the youth team at Juventus and
Robbie Fowler and Alan Shearer. I was on a hot at the World Cup the following spent time in France managing Ajaccio. I’m determined
streak early on and it helped me to settle fast. In year. If it wasn’t for that, I think to get a job in England and become a top manager, like
1996, Italian clubs specialised in a very tactical style I would have stayed at Boro, as my good friend Antonio Conte.

78 February 2018 FourFourT

The Mexico shot-stopper – renowned for his dazzling shirts and prowess as
a striker – still can’t believe FIFA banned goalkeepers from playing outfield
I designed all of my goalkeeper shirts with a friend I can remember the first goal I scored so clearly. We
in Acapulco, and then we ordered them to be made. were losing 3-1, I scored and celebrated like crazy, but
I wanted to do something a bit different but I am not suddenly I realised I was alone. My team-mates yelled
a cartoonist, so I asked him to take some of my ideas at me, “We’re still losing!” but I didn’t care – I’d scored!
and put them down on paper. Then the brands started I played in both positions after that. It was difficult to
showing interest, I signed with Nike and we made them train for both. In an ideal world, I’d have liked to play as
with their brand designer. a goalkeeper in the first half of matches and a striker in
Colours were what I liked most. Shirts generally have the second half. Normally it was when we were losing
more colours now – perhaps that was all thanks to me. that they changed my position. I enjoyed it, and there’s
I was ahead of my time! I never dressed colourfully in no one else in history who’s done it.
normal life, though: sometimes I went to parties of my I was very short for a goalkeeper – only 5ft 9in. But The first Nike advert I was part of was for the 1994
friends’ children and they didn’t recognise me because playing as a striker helped me as a keeper, too, because World Cup. There was Eric Cantona, Bebeto, Romario,
I wasn’t dressed like on the pitch! I knew what my opponents were going to do. It allowed Paolo Maldini, Tab Ramos and me, and they projected
I often played as a striker – as a child, a teenager me to be quick and reduce angles – the more you us on walls. Then I took part in the Good vs Evil advert
and then for the first team at Pumas, because for rush out, the smaller the goal is for strikers. Some in the Colosseum. They were the first ever commercials
two years I was a full-time striker. Adolfo Rios coaches told me that I took too many risks, but it made like that, involving players from across the world.
was the goalkeeper there so I asked to play worked really well for me. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many stars, and
as a striker and started scoring goals. The I played 130 times for Mexico. Representing my to realise that they knew who I was, because I’d never
coach always told me that I shouldn’t country was the most beautiful thing. I once played in Europe. It was special to share the experience
forget that I was a keeper. I used to heard a story that the coach [Miguel Mejia with them, with the Colosseum full of people chanting
laugh, because I was the top scorer Baron] thought about playing me upfront our names.
at that time. Eventually he put me against Bulgaria in the last 16 at USA 94, I couldn’t move to a European club because the price
back in goal – it was funny, as first but that didn’t happen. Then at the 1998 that Mexican teams put on me was too high. Luckily,
they criticised him for putting me World Cup, they banned goalkeepers from I was always invited to the Rest of the World matches
upfront, then they criticised him for playing outfield. Unbelievable! I’m going to – it was incredible to be inside that dressing room. But
moving me away from the front-line! talk to FIFA about that some day. we all spoke different languages, so the manager didn’t
know how to communicate with us!
I never thought I’d have so many fans all around the
world. In Mexico I’d travel through neighbourhoods and
Left Denying Paolo Maldini I always saw children wearing my goalkeeper top. And
at USA 94. Mexico topped everywhere I went around the world, people knew who
their group which featured I was and asked me for my autograph – the ’90s were
eventual runners-up Italy something special for me.
Above left Jorge sported I’d pretend that I wasn’t Jorge Campos sometimes.
slightly more conventional When people recognised me, they were so surprised to
kit at France 98 Top But he see me on the street and would tell me, “Hey, you look
was back in garish garb at like Jorge Campos”. I’d answer, “Yes, people always tell
the 1999 Confederations me that”, and then they’d say, “Only he is much taller
Interview Martin Langer

Cup – host nation Mexico and stronger.” I’d reply, “And uglier, too!” But when they
beat Brazil 4-3 in the final heard me talk, they realised it was me.
I was assistant to Ricardo La Volpe during the 2006
World Cup and I have thought about being a coach.
Now I’m a TV commentator. I like doing it a lot because
you’re never wrong! February 2018 81

A star in everyone’s second-favourite side, the Belgian defender
recalls what went right – and wrong – for Keegan’s Newcastle

I remember David Platt’s winner for England against We didn’t blow the title when we lost
Belgium at Italia 90 well. I was sat watching from the 4-3 at Anfield. People say it all the time
bench. We were unfortunate. We were the better team but I don’t agree. We were also winning
on the day until Platt popped up and ruined everything. at Blackburn, and then Graham Fenton
We had more chances and hit the post twice – I don’t scored twice for them to turn it around.
think England could have had any complaints if we had There were a few matches we should’ve
won that and gone through. won, but it’s that 4-3 game that people
The maddest match I played in was Werder Bremen always remember.
5-3 Anderlecht in the Champions League. It was crazy, The atmosphere when Shearer signed
absolutely crazy. We were 3-0 up with 20 minutes to go was off the scale. Everyone was thrilled
and it should have been five or six. But as soon as they when Alan arrived. He was a real leader
got the second goal we knew we were in trouble. They on and off the pitch. As a goalscorer I’ve
steamrollered us. never seen anyone like him.
USA 94 helped me to join Newcastle. I’d scored twice I’d planned to chip Peter Schmeichel.
at that World Cup – the winner against the Dutch, which I knew he would be off his line, because
is always a heated game, and one against Germany in that’s what he always did to reduce the
the last 16. I had a good tournament and Kevin Keegan angle. I got the ball and immediately hit Top to bottom Celebrating
had been watching as a pundit with the BBC. He’d seen it – people never believe me but it’s true. one of two goals he scored
me in those two matches and liked what he saw. A few I scored some great goals for Newcastle in a 3-3 draw with Man City
weeks later he got in touch, and I travelled to Leeds to but that’s the only one people talk about. in 1996; Denis Irwin can’t
meet him. We chatted for half an hour and I signed the It shows you the impact of beating Man keep out Newcastle’s first
next day. It was great to move on because I had won United 5-0. goal in the 5-0 demolition
everything possible in Belgium at Anderlecht. I was 27 We hammered Spurs 7-1, then Keegan of Man United, capped by
and it was time to go somewhere else. quit. I remember driving to training Albert’s chip; seeing the
I had never heard of Rupert the Bear before, but the and there were loads of journalists funny side when Juninho
Newcastle fans liked singing my name to the theme around, and I didn’t know why. asks, “You want some?!”
tune. The English players showed me a video and I was Everyone was shocked – for
really happy – I felt like an adopted Geordie as soon as us, it was unthinkable that
they started singing it. he could leave Newcastle.
Newcastle under Kevin Keegan were never boring to Kenny Dalglish came in
watch. He liked his defenders to play football and we’d and we managed to we only had 10 men on our team. It
always attack. When Freddy Shepherd and Sir John Hall finish second before was frustrating.
travelled to Spain to bring him back to Newcastle, it was reaching the FA Cup I had problems with Ruud Gullit. His
probably the best thing that ever happened to the club. final. We were so close methods were a long way off those of
People adored him in the North East – he was probably to winning a trophy, but Keegan and Dalglish. After I left, he also
the most loved manager in England. When he talked to that’s football. fell out with Alan Shearer and Duncan
you, you knew that you were a better player than your Tino Asprilla was such an Ferguson, which tells you everything you
opponent. You would run onto the pitch knowing that unpredictable player. He need to know. One of the worst decisions
you were going to win. could play Barcelona in the that Newcastle ever made was appointing
Manchester United weren’t a better team than us in Champions League and put Ruud Gullit as manager.
Interview Richard Edwards

1995-96 – they just had one player who could make us 3-0 up inside an hour. But Newcastle United’s a club that stays in the
the difference in Eric Cantona. If he’d been banned for a few weeks later, if we were blood. I don’t get back there very often these
a few more months we would have walked the league. playing someone like Derby, days, but theirs is one of the first results I’ll
He was a genius. It’s a shame for us that he came back he was nowhere to be seen. look out for. When I retired I went to work for
slightly too soon. With a bit more experience we would One week he was a god, but a friend’s business. Then I became a pundit,
have won the league. No question. the next it could feel like which is what I primarily do now.

82 February 2018

The Romanian midfielder made the all-star team at the 1994 World
Cup before agreeing to dye his hair blond for a bet during France 98
We dominated our last 16 game against Ireland at I scored a goal from near the touchline in
Italia 90, but it didn’t end well for us in the penalty the first match against Colombia. I always
shootout. We had a talented side and played well when tried the impossible when I was on the pitch.
we beat the Soviet Union and drew against Argentina I looked at the keeper, noticed his positioning
in the group stage. We didn’t have enough international and had the crazy instinct to shoot – I knew
experience at that level, though. I could score from outside the box.
I was invited to Pele’s 50th birthday match. We had It was fantastic to knock out Argentina in
dinner with him and I asked him for an autograph for the last 16. We made people proud. I played
my friend in the national team. His name was ‘Pele’ as for Romania, not myself, and with players like
well, because his father loved the Brazilian maestro. As Ilie Dumitrescu and Florin Raducioiu, we had
a Romanian, I felt very proud to be invited. During the the feeling that nobody was superior to us –
celebratory game there was a free-kick and everybody it was an extraordinary tournament.
wanted it, but I stepped up – and scored! We would have been very, very dangerous
The Real Madrid president came to see me after the if we had beaten Sweden in the quarter-finals. That Top to bottom Gheorghe
1990 World Cup and the move from Steaua Bucharest was when we showed we lacked a little something to goes blond after beating
happened very fast. There were other teams interested become world champions. Sweden were a man down England in 1998; running
– in Italy, Germany and France – but Real Madrid really and carrying injuries during the dying minutes of extra amok against Argentina
wanted to sign me. time. We were winning 2-1, but conceded a goal. How at USA 94; he played for
Communism had only just fallen in Romania and life can that happen?! Unfortunately we lost on penalties. both Barcelona and Real
was very different for me in Spain. I also had to adapt to I played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid and I’m Madrid during his career,
a change of mentality, as Real Madrid had been league proud to be among the very few foreign players to have taking the opportunity to
champions for five seasons in a row. I needed to fight done that. Because I’d already played for Madrid, there work with his ‘idol’ Cruyff
to become the best player in the world. I was educated were problems for a couple of months when I first went at the Camp Nou in 1994
into that mentality in La Liga. It gave me the idea that to Barcelona. Once, the fans were booing me, so I put
I could be the best. my hand onto the club crest. They understood in that
I don’t regret leaving Real Madrid in 1992. I wanted moment I was one of theirs.
to taste Italian football – it was the best league in the Romario was unique – he was both a nine and a 10 at
world at the time. I had a clause in my contract stating the same time. He had everything – he scored, he had
it would be renewed if we won the league, but it didn’t vision, he created, he was strong. He was the ideal No.9 We all dyed our hair blond for the final group game
happen and I signed for Brescia. I learned about match and the first of his kind. against Tunisia for a bet. We told our manager, Anghel
preparation in Italy. They looked at every detail. Johan Cruyff was my idol, so I was honoured when he Iordanescu, we’d have six points after two games, but
I played at Wembley in the Anglo-Italian Cup against said I was his favourite No.10 of the ’90s. I had fallen in he didn’t believe it. We said: “OK then, if it happens, you
Notts County, but I never played for an English club and love with football with Ajax’s great team shave your head and we’ll dye our hair
I don’t really know why. The people in England seemed of the ’70s and he influenced me blond.” We won the first two matches,
to respect me, and it would have been extraordinary to a lot as my coach at Barça. and Iordanescu didn’t leave the hotel
play there. I had a soft spot for England and I’d always England didn’t underestimate us for three days because he didn’t want
play well against them! when we beat them at the 1998 anyone to see him with a shaved head!
Words Emanuel Rosu

I knew Romania were going to do well at USA 94, and World Cup. We really believed We lost to Croatia in the last 16 because
I even told the media we were going to do something in ourselves and felt we were we didn’t really believe we could be world
big before we left for the tournament. I felt it. Many of favourites to win that group champions. Maybe that’s our problem. I believe
the players were with good teams abroad and we were ahead of both England we can be world champions one day. I’ll believe
more experienced than in 1990. and Colombia. it until the day I die!

84 February 2018

The flying winger was one of the decade’s earliest foreign
imports – he tells FFT about topping the music charts with
Manchester United and the time he swore at Alex Ferguson

I didn’t know which Manchester club I was joining. really fit properly. I played really badly in
When I flew to England in 1991, no one told me which a friendly, but fortunately they still gave
club I was going to. I asked my agent and he just said, me a contract!
“To Manchester”. I asked, “Which club?” and he replied, United weren’t a big deal in the USSR.
“I don’t know”. When we landed, we were driven to Old There wasn’t a lot of information about
Trafford. It was only then that I realised it was United. English football when I was younger. Of
I had to buy emergency boots. When I first met Alex course I knew about Manchester United
Ferguson he said, “Tomorrow, you’re training.” Nobody – Denis Law, Bobby Charlton, Matt Busby
told me that I’d be training. I hadn’t brought my boots! and George Best – but in ’91 most people
I went to buy some, but they were terrible. They didn’t spoke only about Liverpool because they
had been dominating. That changed in
the ’90s – soon everyone spoke about Man United and I have recorded a No.1 record. Teams would release
I was very proud to be part of that change. their own songs back in those days. We did it at Everton
England was like school. There was so much to learn: and Rangers. At United, our song Come On You Reds got
the mentality, the food, the language, having to drive to the top of the charts in 1994.
on the other side of the road – it was a very big change. I played for three countries during the ’90s – USSR,
The football was similar, though. I’d played for Dynamo the CIS and Russia. At Euro 92, the USSR had broken up
Kiev under Valeri Lobanovsky – one of the best coaches and I played for the CIS – there was no national anthem
around – and he liked playing 4-4-2 with two wingers, and it was very strange. Afterwards I chose to play for
just like Ferguson. Russia rather than Ukraine – people in Ukraine said bad
I once called Fergie a “Scottish bastard” – although things, shouting that I was born in Ukraine but played
not on purpose. My new team-mates taught me to say for Russia. But I wasn’t the only one – Ukraine couldn’t
that to Ferguson at training, but I didn’t realise what it play at the 1994 World Cup, and six players born there
meant. That sort of thing happens if any player goes to chose to play for Russia instead. All of the people saying
a different country – when I played in Russia, everyone those things were just stupid.
taught a Brazilian player to say, “F**k off” to the coach Fergie tried to persuade me to stay at United in ’95.
in Russian. When I called Ferguson a “Scottish bastard” Deciding to leave was a mistake, but when I left David
everybody laughed! Thankfully, he did too… Beckham started to play. If I’d stayed, maybe nobody
We should have won the league in 1991-92. We were would have heard the name David Beckham!
top all season, but towards the end we had too many Arsenal wanted to sign me but Man United said, “No
matches and dropped points against Luton, West Ham chance” because they were fighting them at the top
and Liverpool. We won our last game, against Spurs at of the league. So I went to Everton and my first goals
Old Trafford. Ferguson came into the dressing room and were the two I scored against Liverpool when we won
said: “Great season. Don’t worry, next season we at Anfield. That was very special because we won a big
will win it”. He was right. derby. I was lucky, as I got to score in all the big derbies
We also should have won the Treble in – the Manchester derby, the Merseyside derby and the
1994. We won the Double, but we lost Old Firm derby, too.
the League Cup final against Aston We won the league at Celtic Park during my time at
Top to bottom A Russia, Villa at Wembley – I remember it Rangers, in 1999. That was absolutely brilliant – a big
CIS and Soviet player in very well because I got sent off celebration. The fans were happy about it!
the ’90s, Andrei was not for handball! I stood on the ball and put my hand to my forehead
aware which of the two After Eric Cantona kicked the during a Scottish Cup semi-final against Ayr in 2000,
Manchester outfits were fan at Crystal Palace in 1995, everyone was quiet in as if I was looking into the distance. I was looking for
Interview Chris Flanagan

keen on signing him; he the dressing room. It was probably better not to shout my forward. Where’s my forward? Straight after that we
was a huge hit at United, at a moment like that. It was a bad situation, especially scored a goal: I looked up, put in a good cross and Billy
helping them win a first for Eric, because he was suspended for a long Dodds scored. My forward!
title for 26 years; in 162 time after that. He lost control, but it can
appearances for the Red happen sometimes: Zinedine Zidane lost Russian Winters: The Story of Andrei Kanchelskis, is now
Devils he netted 36 goals control in the World Cup final, after all. available to buy at
He may not have cracked Europe quite like Romario or Ronaldo, but few
players have crammed as much into their career as the Brazilian forward

I actually liked being called ‘The Animal’. A famous about was money. It may sound odd, but that was one Carlos was lying in the bed right next to him, but didn’t
Brazilian radio commentator used to name his man of of the reasons why I refused to go to Real after winning realise what was happening because he was watching
the match his ‘Animal’. Not everyone was happy with it two Brazilian titles with Palmeiras. They offered me the television with his headphones on. I ran off to find the
– Cafu wasn’t a fan – but it wasn’t an insult. Palmeiras same wage that I had in Brazil, so why would I leave my doctors. It was such a shock to see him that way – his
fans then started to use it as my nickname. It ended up country to have the same salary? I could have gone on skin had turned purple.
carrying a double meaning because of the things I did, to become a much bigger name than I was. I was told I was going to start against France in the
but I have no problem with it. I’m not a doctor, but Ronaldo clearly wasn’t well on final. Everyone knew that Ronaldo wasn’t in a fit state
My life has been different since my car crash in 1995, the day of the 1998 World Cup Final. I’ll usually joke to play. It was hard to focus given what had happened,
in which three people died. I was young, had a fancy with him that he owes me part of his fortune, because but then he arrived at the stadium and said he wanted
car and women all around me – everything that could I saved his life [Laughs]. I was the one who found him to play, which he obviously then did. I don’t blame the
lead you to such a mistake. I got to know the families having convulsions in the middle of the night. Roberto coaching staff – it was a decision that had to be taken
of the victims years later. It felt good to have a chance by the doctors, and they were not there when Ronaldo
to show them I’m not a bad guy. I remember this every was having convulsions.
night. What I learned from my dad was to take lessons Playing Manchester United was a dream come true.
from the bad moments. Now I drive my car at 20 km/h. I played against them in the Club World Cup with Vasco
I was furious when Romario took my armband. When in January 2000. I was nursing an injury and needed to
I was with Vasco da Gama, I had received an offer from have treatment day and night in order to be ready. The
Lazio, but the president refused to let me go. The only Manchester United game was like a final for us, as they
reason I stayed at Vasco was out of my respect for our were our strongest opponent in the group. I scored an
coach, Antonio Lopes. When I got to the dressing room amazing goal, which was very special to me as it came
for the following match, I noticed Romario wearing the on the same day as the funeral of one of my childhood
captain’s armband. I freaked out and rushed over to the friends. I wanted to honour him, so there was no better
director to ask what had happened – he told me that it way. The goal actually seems to be better remembered
was the president’s decision. in England than in Brazil, which is a bit strange because
I had a Rio Carnival clause put in my contract. When it was great!
I first flew to Italy to sign for Fiorentina, I said I wanted
a few clauses added, one of them permitting me to go
to the Rio Carnival. I was amazed when they accepted!
When I arrived there in 1998 I wasn’t playing, but the
coach, Giovanni Trapattoni, told me I would when I got
back from the national team. He didn’t honour his word.
I was furious and went to Brazil for the carnival. Mario
Zagallo then warned me he wouldn’t call me up to the
World Cup if I wasn’t playing for my club, so I flew back
to Italy and had a superb time. Top Edmundo dismissed
Ronaldo wasn’t better than me. I have no doubt that talk of animal cruelty in
if FIFA had considered players from Brazilian football in ’99 after giving a chimp
the ’90s, I would’ve been close to winning World Player his pint at a party for his
of the Year. I did better than Ronaldo in ’97 – actually, son Above and far right
not only in ’97, and I had a longer career. But Ronaldo The striker won 39 caps
had a big advantage over me because he was fantastic for Brazil – one of his 10
for Brazil and the whole world saw it. He had a positive goals came at Wembley
Interview Marcus Alves

image and was charismatic. But that doesn’t mean he in the 1995 Umbro Cup
was better than me – he wasn’t. Romario was, though. Right His 29 goals in just
Real Madrid offered me an eight-year contract, but 28 games helped Vasco
I said no. I could have spent much more of my career seal a league title in ’97
abroad, but I was too dumb back then – all I thought February 2018 89

They may have lost a lot of their talent in recent years,
but there was a time when Southampton’s main man
stuck around – and could win most matches on his own

The mid-90s was the best time of my career. Early on

I was hell-bent on having a football career, but by then Right Le Tissier in full flow
I was just enjoying myself. You were able to have a life for Southampton against
outside football without it being splashed all over the Manchester City in 1994
newspapers and social media. Bottom The outrageously
Even for the ’90s, my diet was s**t. I’d eat what tasted talented one-club man –
good instead of salad all week to make me play one per Xavi’s favourite growing up
cent better on a Saturday. Granted, having Sausage & – savours one of his 100
Egg McMuffins on the way to training wasn’t exactly my Premier League goals, at
best idea, but it’s difficult to turn them down when you home to Middlesbrough
drive past McDonald’s on the way to work.
The baggy kits suited my body shape perfectly. Much
more so than today’s skin-tight shirts. One season, we
played in a ‘homemade’ kit thanks to chairman Rupert
Lowe. The less said about that, and him, the better.
I did whatever I pleased under Alan Ball. As long as
I was doing the business on the pitch, he’d turn a blind
eye, and I scored 45 goals in 64 games for him. On one
pre-season tour to Northern Ireland, the players had an Ali Dia was a pub player who has a Premier League me and Gary Lineker wore them before they soon died
unscheduled trip to the pub with Bally. He went to bed appearance to his name, somehow. That would never a death, quite rightly.
early, so we took full advantage. He woke up before we happen now. It was so bizarre and I still can’t believe it. Xavi has great taste. I was amazed when he said that
got in and was waiting for us in the lobby. The lads got The worst part is, the worst player in history came on for I was one of his favourite players. I was on holiday and
an absolute rollicking, but Bally took me to one side and me! I’d felt my quad the day before during training, but my mate went to get ‘Xavi loves me’ T-shirts made. He
said: “Don’t worry about it. The way you’re playing, you still thought I could get through the full game. After 20 will be a great manager one day. I’d love to meet him.
can do whatever you want.” Happy days! minutes against Leeds I was struggling. If I’d seen him I would have won more international caps if I’d been
The goal at Blackburn in ’94 was definitely my best. warming up I’d have stayed on, because after watching Spanish or French. In Europe, there’s an acceptance of
The degree of difficulty tops it. I remind old team-mate him a day earlier, I knew I’d be better on one leg! that sort of player. My style and England’s didn’t really
Tim Flowers about it most times I speak to him – he’s Quasar were the s**ttest football boots you’ve ever suit each other.
sick of it after 23 years. Straight away I thought, ‘That’s seen but they paid all right. It was an odd brand. Just Glenn Hoddle didn’t think I was fit to lace his boots.
Goal of the Month’. Even the home fans applauded it... When I scored a hat-trick for England B against Russia
I didn’t notice until after the game that Manchester at Loftus Road, I thought I’d done enough to make his
Interview Andrew Murray

United had changed their kit at half-time in April ’96. 30-man France 98 squad, but I don’t know why he even
We played brilliantly in the first half and were smashing bothered going to the game. It felt like a waste of time.
the champions to pieces 3-0, and all we read about the When I got to know him at Southampton, I realised he
next day was the bloody kit change. The didn’t like the comparisons people made between us.
hated The Dell. It was such an intimate We never got on, which was a shame as I was a Spurs
ground, and that motivated you. fan growing up and he was my hero.
A local group called the Valley Slags wrote this song
about me including the line: “Bring him on for England”,
which was a plea to get me some more game time. It
obviously fell on deaf ears so the song must have been
pretty s**t!
At the back end of the ’90s, the relegation-survival
blowouts got better. We’d go to a local Jumpin Jaks,
sink a ridiculous amount of alcohol and then a kebab at
3am. Players were more approachable back then.
No matter where I go, people respect that I stayed
at Southampton. My personal happiness always came
first. I was playing in the Premier League and never too
fussed about winning lots of medals. I got into football
to entertain.
Champions League was incredible, but given I was only
on loan and not playing regularly, I didn’t ever feel 100
per cent part of it.
The ’90s were a golden era for Rangers, and the Danish superstar passed I really did reject Barcelona for Rangers. I had never
spent more than two years at a club and needed some
up a move to Barcelona to stay and play a huge part in the Gers’ success stability in my life, particularly for my family. About two
or three months after I’d signed for Rangers, my agent
Being a Laudrup was not easy. When your father and I was sad my brother missed out on Euro 92. We had phoned to say, “Barcelona want to buy you.” But I said,
older brother are both famous internationals, everyone both left the national team after a disagreement with “No chance”, and went to tell Walter Smith I wanted to
has high expectations and that was tough. I wanted to the manager in 1990, but I returned in February 1992, stay at Ibrox for several years. He looked me in the eye
make my own name. I didn’t want to be ‘son of Finn’ or having patched things up. Michael was perhaps a little and said, “So you would rather play Falkirk on a Tuesday
‘brother of Michael’. more stubborn. He was on holiday in New York during night than join Barça?” and I said, “Definitely!”
The German press were ruthless. At 21 years of age, the tournament. After we beat Holland in the semi-final Gazza once came into training with dreadlocks. It was
moving to a club like Bayern Munich in 1990 was a big he phoned saying, “What the hell’s going on?” I would hilarious. You never knew what to expect with guys like
step. There was some added pressure because the fee have loved for him to be there, but he made his choice. Paul Gascoigne and Ally McCoist around.
[DM 6 million] was a Bundesliga record – now it seems Serie A in the ’90s was the place to be. It was like the My goal celebration against Brazil at France 98 was
like a signing-on fee! If I played well the papers would Premier League or La Liga now – all the best players in not planned. My son would say, “Dad, when you score,
say: “Well that’s what you expect for so much money” the world were there. Having had a difficult season with what you do is so boring.” I had seen Roberto Di Matteo
and if I played badly they said I was a flop. Bayern Munich it was an easy decision to join Fiorentina score a goal for Chelsea and pose lying on the floor, so
I wasn’t on the beach when I heard Denmark would in 1992. We had great players like Gabriel Batistuta and I copied that. His version was much better, though. He’d
be going to Euro 92. I was actually still in Munich when made a good start – by January we were fourth. Then obviously rehearsed it with the team, because they all
I got the call. I had stayed behind for a couple of weeks we lost 1-0 to Atalanta and suddenly the manager was posed with him. Brazil were a great team but we really
to try to get fitter after an injury. One afternoon I went sacked. Things quickly went downhill and we ended up felt we could beat them. It was a great quarter-final –
home and found my wife stood in the hallway. She said: getting relegated. we lost, but we left the competition playing our part in
“Yugoslavia have been kicked out so you have to report Milan were probably the Real Madrid or Barcelona of one of the best matches of that World Cup.
to the training camp tomorrow!” I had no idea that was that time – they were without doubt the best team in I could have joined Manchester United. Just after I’d
coming. My first reaction was, “No chance” – I couldn’t Europe. I went there on loan in 1993, but the problem shaken hands on my move to Chelsea in ’98, I had Alex
even play 90 minutes in a friendly, so how could I play was that we had six foreign players and only three were Ferguson on the phone. I told him it’d be morally wrong
in a European Championship? allowed to play at a time. Winning both Serie A and the of me to go back on my word and not join Chelsea. He
was just a bit too late.
Chelsea never felt quite right. There were lots of great
guys at the club, but something inside me was saying it

Interview James Maw

was time to go back home to Denmark. I was frustrated
with the squad rotation system there. It’s not very nice
leaving a club after four or five months, but I’d tried my
etimes you have to do what’s

Clockwise from above The

Dane enjoyed unexpected
success with Denmark at
Euro 92; Hearts struggled
to contain him; especially
in the ’96 Scottish Cup Final
when Laudrup scored two
goals himself before teeing
up three more for Gordon
Durie (right, next to Gazza) February 2018 93









editor An
n Re

yril the S 0
Club: ion p
Fight the L THE STORY


It’s hard moving to a foreign country. It’s even harder if your first
few months are spent in a Hamburg hotel room with your two Old
English Sheepdogs energetically relieving themselves at will. Just
ask Kevin Keegan in 1977. “It was no kind of life for Jean,” Mighty
Mouse admitted. So when the Keegans moved into a rustic abode
on the outskirts of Germany’s second city, it was no surprise they
invited a photographer along to mark the big occasion. Walkies!
With the countdown to the
2018 World Cup now well
underway, FFT recalls how
Sergei Baltacha – the first
Soviet international ever to

play in the Football League
– took Blighty to his heart

n June 25, 1988 the Netherlands
met the Soviet Union in the final
of the European Championship. It
was a heavyweight bout with the
two best coaches, Rinus Michels
and Valeri Lobanovsky, going toe-to-toe
in a game forever associated with Marco
van Basten’s balletic volley in Munich’s
shimmering Olympic Stadium.
It was also a significant day for Soviet
defender Sergei Pavlovich Baltacha. By
the end of that year, as an integral part
of four Dynamo Kiev league crowns and a party, where many were disappointed
their 1986 Cup Winners’ Cup glory, he’d to learn the host drank nothing stronger
swap the Soviet Union for Suffolk based than lemonade.
on the 22 minutes he’d played in the 2-0 More cultural differences followed.
defeat to the Dutch – he just didn’t know “I used to fly everywhere for games in
it yet... the Soviet Union, sometimes to Georgia
Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev or somewhere,” recalls Baltacha.
was ushering in the new era of Glasnost, “I remember all the lads complaining
a Cold War-thawing policy of increased about a five-hour bus journey up to Hull.
openness and transparency behind the I said to them: ‘Only five hours? You try
Iron Curtain. For the first time, the best a seven-hour flight with another couple
and most experienced Soviet footballers of hours either side waiting.’
could leave the motherland to showcase “I actually ended up seeing my family
their talent abroad. There was even a list more when I moved to England. It was
of players who were permitted to depart enjoyable. Also, the dressing room was
for the West. Deemed worthy of reward a lot different to what I’d been used to –
for services to their country, all were 30 everybody was focused and the players


or over and regular internationals. wouldn’t talk too much beforehand. The
“There were a couple of other players move abroad allowed me to see a totally
we were interested in but Sergei was the different mentality.”
one we wanted most,” Ipswich manager
John Duncan revealed in his newspaper
FROM IPSWICH, I WANTED TO PLAY IN On the pitch, though, Sergei struggled
to adapt, with gaffer Duncan persisting
column. “I was impressed with him and
had seen video tapes – his record spoke
ENGLAND –THE HOME OF FOOTBALL” with him as a wide midfielder, instead
of the cool sweeper that he’d recruited.
for itself.” A fiery Scot who was sacked by Ipswich
In December 1988, after three days of in 1990 and became a teacher, before
intense negotiation in Moscow involving highest earner, but did provide a house Kiev. For a mid-table second-tier outfit leading Second Division Chesterfield to
Duncan, director David Sheepshanks and and car – fittingly a Russian-made Lada recovering from their early-80s success the FA Cup semi-finals in 1997, Duncan
Baltacha, the Tractor Boys got their man. Samara 1300 courtesy of a local dealer under Bobby Robson, this was something couldn’t have been more different in his
Ipswich transferred the £200,000 fee to in Bridlington. of a coup for the Tractor Boys. approach to Lobanovsky.
Sovintersport – the government agency The 30-year-old was huge news in East So keen were Ipswich fans to get a first “When he came into the dressing room
responsible for deals – who in turn paid Anglia. “When my interpreter translated look, more than 1,000 turned up to see at half-time, I think I was expecting it to
Dynamo Kiev and then Baltacha. the first question at my press conference Sergei’s maiden run-out for the reserves be quite like Lobanovsky’s style,” reveals
Bound by maximum wage regulations, – ‘Sergei, are you a communist?’ – I just against Southampton – more than three Baltacha. “I thought he would be talking
Town weren’t able to make the Football thought it was a joke,” he explains to FFT. times the average attendance. How did tactics, but he came in and swore loudly
League’s first Soviet footballer the club’s “The Ipswich chairman, Patrick Cobbold, the Second Division’s rough-and-tumble sometimes. I couldn’t speak English so
then intervened and said: ‘Ipswich Town measure up to Lobanovsky’s passion for didn’t understand what he was saying
is a football club, Sergei is a footballer – intricate passing and computer-based at first. People in Russia didn’t swear in
if you want to talk politics, please leave approach to statistics? public. People talk about pressure forcing
and go elsewhere.’ “I knew a little about Ipswich because it, but Lobanovsky managed at a World
“I appreciated it – the Cobbold family I’d faced Scotland and John Wark at the Cup and also for some big teams, and he
made Ipswich such a special club, and 1982 World Cup and, in 1981, Ipswich never did.”
that particular gesture from him made had lifted the UEFA Cup,” says Baltacha. Keen to play as a sweeper once again,
me feel very welcome.” “After Euro 88, Lobanovsky phoned me Baltacha moved north of the border and
It was a strange time for a footballer and said there were several clubs from joined St Johnstone in 1990, retiring at
to emerge from behind the Iron Curtain. Italy, Switzerland and England interested Inverness Caledonian Thistle, whom he
“When I arrived at Heathrow airport in in signing me. also briefly managed.
early 1989, it was the same time as the “I was 30 and had been with Dynamo The Baltachas stayed in Blighty. Sergei
European Figure Skating Championships Kiev for 12 years. As soon as I’d heard of became a PE teacher and now works for
and I thought all the television cameras the interest from Ipswich, I wanted to go Charlton Athletic’s academy, easing the
were there for the Soviet team arriving. and play in England. It was the home of graduates’ pathway into senior football.
“I thought I’d wait for all the skaters to football, and although I didn’t speak any His son, Sergei Jnr, featured for St Mirren
go on ahead of me to clear the way, but English, I knew that was where I wanted and Scotland U21s, and daughter Elena
the TV cameras stayed very close to me to be.” was British tennis No.1 before her death
and I didn’t understand why. I’d go one Baltacha could demonstrate football’s from liver cancer in 2014. She was only
way and then the other, and each time universal language. He found the net on 30, the same age as her father when he
the cameras would follow.” his debut in a 5-1 home win over Stoke swapped Soviet Russia for Suffolk.
Sergei agreed an 18-month deal with in January 1989, despite having to play His crossing of the Iron Curtain paved
a six-month break clause inserted into it in an unfamiliar right-midfield role in an the way for others including goalkeeper
– something the club told reporters was injury-hit side. Dmitri Kharine, who moved to Chelsea in
because of “possible social differences “With Dynamo Kiev I’ve played in front 1992, and Andrei Arshavin, a club-record
and the uniqueness of the situation”. of a crowd of 100,000,” he commented signing for Arsenal in 2009.
Words Richard Woodall

Not that it really mattered – Baltacha after the emphatic victory. “But for me, “It’s interesting to look back at my own
had big pedigree, winning the Under-20 the 15,000 Ipswich crowd made just as move from the USSR and to now see how
World Cup in 1977, the U21 Euros three much noise today.” the other Soviet players have followed,”
years later and bronze at the Olympics, To celebrate the debut heroics, Sergei says Baltacha. “It’s nice to have opened
in addition to his sackful of honours with invited his team-mates to his house for up a way for that.” February 2018 97

Stanley Matthews became football’s first knight
He was the first playing ‘Sir’, but former international
Charles Clegg was titled in 1927 while FA president

Running on empty Swings and (maybe) roundabouts with the Gows

Dear Kevin Mabbutt (right). Why One lovely winter’s day in 1979, moustachioed Scottish midfielder Gerry Gow
baby blue chinos for pre-season? wanted to show off his swings and rockery, so invited the Robins’ programme.

The most wonderful time of year

Nothing says ‘It’s Christmas’ quite
like handing out Mars bars to the
Ashton Gate public on horseback.


“Did I tell you that I’m Scottish?”
You’d never guess it, but Donnie
Gillies is from north of the border.

Programme master
Miles McClagan finds
Mars bars, swings and
kilts in the Robins’ vault
Pearce Family Inc
Commentator Jonathan Pearce
and his dad flog video cameras.
Walking on air
Geert Meyer (front) and Trevor
Tainton (rear) take to the skies
as part of a pre-season session.

“Give us a smile, Jim...”

Voted the best programme in the Introducing Kevin Mabbutt PLC
land, surely commercial manager In front of his Lotus Esprit, Robins striker Kevin Mabbutt – older brother of future
Jim Evans could at least grin a bit. Spurs defender Gary – explains why he’s made himself a public limited company.

Follow Miles on Twitter @TheSkyStrikers or on Flickr

98 February 2018


Robust, blond-haired
winger who made 37
league appearances
for Blackburn in their
1994-95 title-winning
season. He’d already
featured in excess of
1 ROTHERHAM a training game, as you could hear every
300 times for boyhood October 29, 2002 shout from the goalkeeper at the far end,
team Middlesbrough, Division One all the effin’ and jeffin’ from the dugouts
and won two England and each thud of boot to ball.
caps before retiring in I tried to count every home fan, and I’m
2002 at Southampton. Rotherham fan, Andy Peel pretty sure the final attendance included
the stewards, ball boys and kitchen staff.
Back to school “As a Rotherham fan in the South East, We were ticketless but we needn’t have Rather brilliantly, our manager Ronnie
“The only thing I knew getting to many games as a teenager worried. After struggling to locate the box Moore blamed the lack of atmosphere on
I wanted to do when wasn’t really an option for me – unless office – only the London-based away fans our performance. Ironically, we were back
I retired was go to we played Crystal Palace or Wimbledon were in the queue – we had the freedom at Selhurst a week later to play the Dons in
university,” said the away. As soon as the fixture list came of the Whitehorse Lane end. There were a League Cup tie. The crowd was 664 and
winger, who is now out that summer, my brother and I had just 227 supporters in a stand that holds we won 3-1. So much for that excuse.

Ripley words Joe Nicholson

a qualified solicitor. this one earmarked. around 2,000. I’ve watched us stay up on the last day
He got nine O-levels The build-up to the match was strange, The home side’s 23,000 seats contained of the season with a 0-0 draw and come
prior to signing for as Wimbledon were playing their last full 622 backsides, so I formed part of the First from behind to win a League One play-off
Boro at 16, and after season at Selhurst Park before moving to Division’s lowest-ever crowd – 849. final, but nothing will top the bizarreness
hanging up his boots, Milton Keynes. So we knew it was going We lost 2-1. I don’t remember much of of a Sunday League gate inside a Premier
Ripley enrolled at the to be an interesting atmosphere. the match, more the event. It felt a bit like League-sized stadium.”
University of Central
Lancashire to study
French, criminology
and law. Impressive. B I Z A R R E H I S T O R Y O F. . . F L A M E N G O
seeing Stu in court?
Probably not. After Founded in November Among many credited Club great Zico almost The club’s group-stage They may have around
missing out on his 1895 as a rowing club, inventors of the bicycle never made it as a pro. first-place play-off with 39.1 million supporters
later education, he Flamengo welcomed kick, forward Leonidas Considered ‘too small’, Atletico Mineiro in the in Brazil alone, but the
is making up for lost 10 fed-up Fluminense – leading scorer at the Flamengo put the teen 1981 Copa Libertadores Estadio da Gavea (their
time and training to players over Christmas 1938 World Cup – was talent – who went on lasted only 37 minutes official home) houses
be a law lecturer in 1911 to create a team dubbed ‘Rubber Man’ to score 508 Mengao after five Mineiro men only 4,000 people. The
Lancashire. He still that trained on Russel and ‘Diamante Negro’ goals – on a special were shown red cards. club play most games
Words Barney Lane

supports the career beach. One of Brazil’s (the Black Diamond). nutri lamengo were given at the 78,000-capacity
of son Connor (24), most intense The latter is now one gym op spot in the group Maracana and also use
who is a goalkeeper club rivalries of Brazil’s best-selling to i y default en route to Estadio Luso Brasileiro,
for Middlesbrough. was triggered. chocolate bar brands. his si eir sole Copa to date. which can seat 20,000. February 2018 99

? ??
DID YOU KNOW? In 1926, QPR became the third (and
last) club to fail to participate in the FA Cup because
their office staff forgot to post the application forms

A Game Of
Three Halves
A young Manchester Northern Echo
City fan with magic September 3, 1894
in his football boots
rises to bully-beating “Sunderland vs Derby
stardom in this Ray County. In beautiful
Winstone-endorsed weather and before
2000 flick. You slag! 8,000 spectators.
The visitors had all

of the early play with
Sunderland unable to
break. Donald Gow –
relieving splendidly –
enabled them to get
through and Johnny
Campbell, from Peter
Meehan’s long pass,
opened Sunderland’s


The Anglo- Jimmy Hannah got
number two, Tommy
Italian Cup SWANSEA CITY MILLWALL Hyslop following with
Lower-league clubs
the third. Half-time:
– the zebra-kit clash
between Ascoli and VETCH FIELD, FEBRUARY 2001 Sunderland 3 goals;
Derby County none.
Notts County proved
Faced a disciplinary hearing after kicking Saintly by comparison. Around since the Tom Kirkham – the
a particular highlight
1920s, he once stacked it while running appointed referee –
a ball at a Millwall player during a 1998 FA
– took on their Italian
Cup match. He also collided into Norwich’s out with the players, to much mirth, but had missed his train
counterparts. Often
Bryan Hamilton and a code of conduct for enhanced his reputation by finishing the connection, but then
literally, as Serie B’s
mascots was later introduced. Yes, really. London Marathon. Has a Facebook page. turned up during the
most fervid hooligans
interval and ordered
faced off against the
With 300 armed police seizing weapons During the break, Zampa emerged from the game to restart.
firms of English foes.
(including an axe and a “Chinese martial the Millwall end and made a beeline for The hosts pressed
arts flail”) Cyril spent the first half of the
third-tier showdown firing up the home
BUILD-UP his 9ft avian rival. Instead of a standard
spot-kick shootout, the Londoners were
strongly and Hannah
soon scored. James
fans, after advice to “keep a low profile”. bent on revenge following the ’98 frolics. Gillespie scored the
second, finely, while
“They’d put someone in the costume to Zampa’s jabs failed to land with enough Jimmy Miller added
fill me in,” Cyril – aka groundsman Eddie force, before an accurate Cyril uppercut the third. Half-time:

Colombia Donne – said after his ’98 capers ended

with that Welsh FA rap. Beak to snout, the
HANDBAGS detached the former’s head. The swan
then drop-kicked Zampa’s bonce into the
Sunderland 3 goals;
Derby County none.
1990 kit pair traded blows, roared on by the fans. crowd as the headless Lion hobbled off. Campbell then got
Never better worn the fourth and Hyslop
than by playmaker “Don’t f**k with the Swans,” Cyril shouted, “Rip his head off, Zampa!” bellowed the followed a grand shot
Carlos Valderrama
before diving into a nearby dressing room. Millwall fans. The club stayed silent, but that hit the post with
at the 1990 World As police officers banged on the door, he Swansea dismissed the shenanigans as a magnificent goal,
Cup. This splendid got changed, snuck out of the ground and “a good-natured affair. You’ll see nearly before supplying the
shirt was as much went home, leaving the outfit on the floor. everyone has got a smile on their face”. sixth. Miller provided
of a star as Carlos’ the seventh goal and
mop of crazy curls. Gillespie the eighth.


Fight Club words James Ayles

Final: Sunderland 8
goals; Derby County



An actual account of
Nice one Cyril, who made front-page news. Arrested in December 2001 for assault at the Mascot Grand National, a Division One game
but charges were dropped. Married Cybil the Swan in 2005 and has mellowed, with Donne leaving the suit behind. that ended (3+)8-0

100 February 2018




The Palace playmaker on passing, the French The French

pass master
production line and his admiration for Stevie G averages one
goal or assist
Hi Yohan. Which midfielders did you How do you control a game without working constantly. Free-kicks are really
in every four
admire when you were growing up? being blessed with blistering pace? important because they can win a game
I used to love watching Patrick Vieira and All three of the players I just mentioned in a second. If you’re involved in a tight Prem outings
Claude Makelele play for France, as they weren’t particularly quick, but they were match and it’s tough to score a goal in
were amazing together in midfield and able to make up for it with the speed of open play, a quality free-kick can be the
controlled everything. I can remember their brain. Firstly, it’s all about being in difference sometimes. That’s why it’s so
the 2006 World Cup in Germany – they the right position when you receive the important to work on all your individual
were fantastic in helping France reach ball from your team-mate, preferably in skills – they can give you an extra edge.
the final. It’s very rare that a country is space, and then having the ability to play
able to produce two great midfielders in a forward pass or a quick ball which will You have been deployed in defensive
the same generation, but France did it – affect the opposition. You need to start and offensive midfield roles – what is
they complemented each other so well. by honing your passing range every day. the difference between the positions?
Once you possess the technique to play When I play deeper I can touch the ball
France have got a wealth of midfield a variety of quality passes consistently, more often, but I also have to focus on
talent at the moment – how do they and the intelligence to occupy the right the overall balance of the team. I can’t
keep finding so many top midfielders? areas, then you can start to run a game. get forward and join in with an attack if
It’s very hard to say. We have fantastic there are too many men committed up Age
strikers and wingers as well. In general,
the French academy system is of such
“The best passer
the pitch. I always have to look around
me before making a decision – you have 31
an extremely high standard. It’s really to use your brain in this role. When I’m
Shirt number
difficult being a young player at a club
I’ve played against playing as an attacking midfielder I can

in France, but in a good way. There are take more risks and make more runs into
so many talented players, meaning the was Gerrard. He the penalty box, trying to score goals. In
competition is difficult. But that forces this position there is more responsibility
you to raise your game, otherwise you
could look up and on me to affect things in the final third, First club
pick someone out
won’t break through to the first team. which means attempting through-balls
and crosses, and having shots at goal.
Passing has always been your biggest from 60-70 yards
strength. Were you a naturally gifted
passer or was it perfected over time?
– straight to feet” Is good chemistry throughout a team
essential to playing passing football?
Premier League apps

For me, the most important part of the

game is passing the ball – it’s all about
I think it’s important to be open with the
other players and socialise with them, so
taking one touch and then making the You’ve scored some great free-kicks that you can build up friendships. I think
right pass with the right weight. A killer during your career. Can you tell us the you need to speak not only to the senior
pass, breaking the defensive lines, can
send a team-mate through on goal and
secret to curling in a killer dead ball?
It’s another part of my game, which I’ve
players at a club, but those in the youth
team as well. If and when they progress 26
help your side to win the game. This is tried to develop a lot since I was young. to the first team, there will already be an
a part of my game that I’ve continually If you want to become a great free-kick established connection in place, so you Assists
tried to develop over the years and I’m
proud of the passer that I’ve become.
taker, you ha
every single d
icate better on the
nd speak the same 15
what I do. I fi all language. And if
Who are the best passers that you’ve setting mysel now someone well, Free-kicks

played against in the Premier League? individual nt to fight for them
In my opinion, the best passer that I’ve challenges ch, too. You will also
played against and watched was Steven helps me w to speak to them
Gerrard, as I loved seeing him strike the to improve. a game, to get the Total passes

ball. I could say many other players too, I might have best out of them in
for example Xabi Alonso at Liverpool or 10 balls and certain situations.
Paul Scholes at Manchester United, but say to myself
Interview Alec Fenn

Gerrard [right, facing Cabaye’s France at that I want to te the play just like Passes per match
Euro 2012] is my favourite. His range of hit the top lef n Cabaye in the New
passing was fantastic – he could look up
and pick out a team-mate from around
corner with fiv
them. It keep
ce Visaro. For more
, follow @nbfootball
60 or 70 yards, and straight to their feet. brain thinking it
*Up to December 11, 2017 February 2018 103


PRO 1 2

3 4

Brentford strength coach

Tom Perryman offers FFT
his expert opinion on pro
players’ workout photos

Toby Alderweireld @spursofficial
“Toby is attempting the deep squat
test as part of the FMS (Functional
Movement Screen),” says Tom. “Seven
exercises evaluate movement quality.”

Victor Moses @victormoses
“An ‘AlterG’ anti-gravity treadmill
enables players to run at a lighter
bodyweight and speeds up recovery.”

Danny Welbeck @dannywelbeck
“Ice-water immersion flushes blood
out of the limbs, helping to remove
waste products from the legs. It eases
the soreness after training or a match.”

Dani Alves @matchfit_conditioning
“The squat mobility drill keeps your
hips and lower back healthy, while
maintaining a good movement pattern
reduces the chance of injury drastically.”

Javier Mascherano @mascherano14
“Javier’s practising his jumping and
landing mechanics. I use warm-ups
to teach the players how to create and
absorb force in a number of directions.”
5 6

Adam Lallana @officiallallana
“Good pelvis control and the ability 7 8
to move both hips independently is
a great trait, lowering the risk of injury.”

Antonio Valencia @antoniovalencia2525
“The Normatec Recovery device will
compress different parts of the leg,
promoting blood flow and tissue repair.”

Manuel Neuer @manuelneuer
“Yoga boosts body awareness and
general mobility. Low-level yoga is
great for recovery. You’ll feel refreshed
and energised, physically and mentally.”

104 February 2018



V Football Manager
The iconic simulation
is celebrating 25 years
at the top – here’s to
the next 25 years of
FFT test-drives some slip-free socks designed to keep you grounded all year long
ace gaming. Cheers! What are they? Who uses them?
If you were given a pair of budget Chelsea’s speedster Victor Moses
V Valencia supermarket socks by your dear was the first high-profile Premier
Los Che have become old Nan on Christmas Day (again) League footballer to wear Trusox
Barcelona’s main title then bad luck. Trusox have been after being sent a sample by the
rivals after a fantastic designed specifically for football, company. Since then, dozens of
first half of 2017-18. to prevent your feet from slipping top players such as Arjen Robben
inside your boots while you glide Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez (left)
V Fabian Delph around the pitch. At FFT we need have been spotted with them on
The midfielder’s made all the help we can get, so we put – even risking their endorsement
a seamless switch to some on ready for our next game. deals by sporting a rival’s brand.
left-back since filling
in for crocked French How do they work? Why are they
flier Benjamin Mendy. A series of rubber pads run down using them?
the back and along the bottom of A build-up of sweat or rainwater
the socks, gripping onto the inside can cause footballers’ feet to slip
of the boot and locking your foot around inside their boots, which

HERO in place. Trusox can be worn over

the top of your football socks, or
isn’t ideal when they are bearing
down on goal in the 90th minute.
TO just on their Many players even cut off

ZERO own if you’re

taking part in
e bottom of their regular
cks and substitute them
a non-contact Trusox. Someone fetch
training session a pair of scissors, please.
FFT gave the
WPrem wages socks a go ow much do
The average salary for for some they cost?
a top-flight footballer (apparently You won’t have to break
has reached £50,000 much-needed) open the piggy bank and
a week. That’s £7,143 target practice. end all of your Christmas
a day. Somebody give ey to get your hands (or
these guys a raise, eh? on some leading player
apparel. At £25-30 a pop, they’re
WMilan a little more expensive than your
The San Siro giants are standard ankle socks, but if they
going backwards this allow you to stay on your feet in
season, handing gaffer all-weather conditions, surely it’s
Vincenzo Montella his worth splashing out? We’re sold.
P45 after five defeats
in eight league games.

WJoey Barton
The Talksport co-host
is proving to be just as
Words Alec Fenn February 2018 105


Petr Cech’s
The record-breaking Gunners YOU ASK
gloveman uses an unorthodox How can I improve
routine to sharpen his reactions my finishing?
Dan Jones

ping pong via Twitter



Ryan Giggs swore by yoga for helping him

play until he was 40, but for Petr Cech, an
unusual ping pong workout is fending off
the effects of Father Time.
The 35-year-old recently uploaded a video
to his Instagram page showing him catching
balls fired at him from close range, dropping Allan Russell
them into a box and then touching coloured
Superior Striker
cones sat on poles either side of him.
elite striker coach
“I’ve been using a table tennis robot which
shoots ping pong balls out,” the keeper told
the Evening Standard. “You catch them with “Movement is very
one hand to give you a completely different important. Don’t
hand-eye coordination. When you have both stand in front of
hands facing one football, it becomes easier. the defender – you
He continued: “If you are a pro goalkeeper need to make sure
for 20 years and somebody keeps shooting you’re out of their
the ball at you, just catching it from 15 yards line of sight. It will
won’t make you progress.” force them to keep
Out of 31 deliveries, Cech caught 25 balls, switching between
fumbled five and allowed just one to fly past looking at you and
him. Not bad for a veteran, but who came up where the pass is
with the cutting-edge session and how has it coming from. When

Interview Ben Welch; Cech words Alec Fenn

been helping his game? it arrives, give them
The ex-Chelsea custodian revealed in 2016 a nudge to knock
that Christophe Lollichon – his coach with the them off balance.
Blues and at Rennes – devised the approach Then you’ll receive
to boost shot-stopping brain power. the ball in space,
“We catch different shaped balls,” said the facing goal, rather
man who’s kept a record number of Premier than shielding it
League clean sheets. “You’re adapting your with your back to
hand-eye coordination every time. Suddenly goal, allowing you
your brain starts working again, and working to get a shot off.”
harder than it does with a simple catch.”

Upgrade your social Bootylicious footwear Innovative analysis Freestyle champion
Love traditional black boots? Ogle at Technical and tactical expertise from Watch him make a fool of opponents
media game thanks hundreds of slick pairs or get some the Charlton Athletic academy coach, with mind-boggling tricks and flicks –
to this tip-top trio customised by the blackout gurus. who is a dab hand with a drone, too. then try to add them to your game.
from FFT’s feeds Instagram: @customblackoutsuk Twitter: @david_powderly Twitter: @seanfreestyle

106 February 2018


Make these five muscle-building moves from Nike trainer Courtney Fearon
part of your workout routine, and soon you’ll be throwing players off the ball

Pull- Bent ov
Sets: 4 Re Sets: 4 Reps: 5
To put your muscle to Spending all day hunched
good use around the the laptop affects posture
pitch, first you’ve got could hinder your perform
to be able to control on the pitch, but this nifty
your own bodyweigh will soon straighten you ou
“Pull-ups are a great targets the major muscle g
exercise for increasin in your back, helping to co
upper-body strength posture and reduce the ri
says Courtney. “If yo sustaining injuries in the fu
can’t do them, try an
assisted pull-up or la
pull-down machine
that will help to build
your base strength.”

Pallof press
Sets: 4 Reps: 10-15
Developing a strong core will enable
you to hold off opponents and keep
the ball. “Rotate and pull the band
cable towards you until it’s just in
ont of your chest. Then press it out
front of you before slowly bringing
towards your body again. Working
gainst resistance mimics a player
ying to pull you back in a match.”

Sets: 4 R
To leap like a salmo
bullet headers, you
pair a strapping upp
powerful pins. “It’s Bench press
full-body exercise, w Sets: 4 Reps: 5
quads and calves a If you’re jostling for possession with
shoulders and tricep a defender, a robust upper body will
to transfer force qui allow you to come out on top.
lower body to the u “A dumbbell press is better
your jumping heigh than using a bar because
it ensures you establish
balanced upper-body
strength. Doing four
sets of five reps will
improve your power
without making you
big like a bodybuilder.”

Maximise your workout with SiS whey protein

powder. Buy for £30 from February 2018 107




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The Colombian picks the very best he shared a pitch with in a career
that featured World Cups, fur coats and a hat-trick against Barcelona

“He was crazy but he gave
the squad confidence and
had exceptional ability with
the ball at his feet. Everybody knows he
could come out of his penalty area and
dribble past two or three opponents, but
what people forget is that Rene was also
a great shot-stopper. Yes, he made that
error at the World Cup [vs Cameroon in
1990] but show me a player who hasn’t
ever made a mistake. We never worried
that he would lose the ball because he
gave us something no other team had.”

“He’s the captain, not only
because he’s the greatest
player I ever faced, but due
to his temperament and determination
to always win. He would never say: ‘Well,
we lost today but we’ll win the next one.’
With ‘Pibe’ you had to win every match.
He was a big influence on the side both
on and off the pitch – his personality was
contagious and inspired his team-mates
to believe that anything is possible. But
most importantly he helped the world to
recognise Colombia as a football nation.”

“Every great team requires
a gladiator, and in Alvarez,
Colombia had a player who
would never stop running and scrapping
for the ball. He’d defend, he’d attack and
he’d sacrifice everything for the benefit
of the team. He was a real nightmare to
play against because he would hack at
erview Carl Worswick

you and make your life hell for the whole

match. But when you needed someone
to get stuck in and give everything, Leo
was your man. That’s why he ended up
winning more than 100 Colombia caps.”


“My coach at Atletico Nacional and with Colombia.
He’d make changes at the right moment, or when
things were going against us – a great strategist.”




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