This week’s trip through the history books sees England toiling, the birth of one of football’s great rivalries, controversial ‘keepers, clashing egos and some dodgy dealings in Yorkshire.
England booked their place at the last World Cup today in 2005, when Frank Lampard volleyed home a late winner against Poland to ensure the Three Lions topped their qualifying group. A summer of metatarsal drama and penalty shootout woe awaited for Sven’s men. Staying with England, in 1993 the man that won the World Cup for them in 1966 popped his clogs. No, not Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore or even Alf Ramsey, but Tofik Bakhramov, the so-called ‘Russian Linesman’ (he actually hailed from Azerbaijan) that awarded England’s controversial third goal.
One of the sports greatest derbies kicked off today in 1894 when Liverpool and Everton met for the first time. Everton took the spoils on that day, winning 3-0 at Goodison Park and it would take another five attempts before Liverpool notched up their first win, a 3-1 win at Anfield. One of football’s iconic catchphrases was uttered for the first time today in 1993 as Graham Taylor’s England team lost their vital World Cup ’94 qualifier to Holland. Tracked by a Channel 4 documentary crew, the former Watford boss uttered the famous words “do I not like that” and then thanked the linesman for getting him the sack after the referee had failed to send off the Dutch goalscorer Ronald Koeman earlier in the game.
A mixture of eccentricity and a love for the high-life prevented Mark Bosnich from ever reaching its full potential. His antics from today in 1996 are a prime example of this, when the Aston Villa ‘keeper performed a Nazi salute in front of 40,000 Spurs fans at White hart Lane – many of them Jewish. He was punished with a paltry £1,000 fine from the FA. Two ‘keeper that were having an even worse day than Bosnich were Chelsea’s Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini who were both seriously injured as Chelsea took on Reading today in 2006. Cech’s injury was especially serious and he still wears protective headgear after colliding with Stephen Hunt.
Stan Collymore’s career has taken more ups and downs than Jordan’s knickers and today in 1999 he was reassign his future as he returned to Aston Villa from an unsuccessful loan spell at Fulham. Villa boss John Gregory had no time for Collymore’s well-documented mental health issues, claiming “we probably spend 10 hours a week on the training pitch and are paid vast sums of money. I find it very difficult to see how anybody could be stressed.” Needless to say he was soon on the move again, this time trying his luck at Leicester City. Two of the biggest egos in 1970s football finally got the better of each other today in 1973 when Brian Clough left Derby County. As documented in The Damned United, Derby chairman Sam Longson continually tried to assert his influence over his maverick manager, and the Baseball Ground, it seems, wasn’t big enough for the both of them.
The planet’s greatest player took a bow today in 2004, as Lionel Messi made his debut for Barcelona. The Spanish giants were taking on their cross-city rivals Espanyol, and the 17-year-old Messi became the third-youngest player to turn out for the team, as they enjoyed a 1-0 win. It’s fair to say he’s kicked on since. There was a typically frustrating England performance two years earlier, as Macedonia held the Three Lions to a 2-2 draw at St Mary’s in Southampton. The game contained all of your favourite England shortcomings: a gaff from a dodgy ‘keeper (David Seaman lets a goal in direct from the corner), untried player struggling on the left of midfield (Wayne Bridge in an unfamiliar attacking role) and a hot head striker receiving a red card (step forward Alan Smith).
More woe for England today in 1973 as they failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup, thanks to the heroics in goal of Polish ‘keeper Jan Tomaszewski. Labelled a ‘clown’ by Brian Clough in the TV studio, he made a string of outstanding saves to secure a 1-1 draw for the Poles and marked the beginning of the end of Sir Alf Ramsey’s tenure as England boss. Pre-dating Peter Ridsdale and his goldfish by a good 80 years, financial mishaps put a stop to Leeds United’s forerunners, Leeds City. The club was expelled from the Football League following an illegal payment scandal today in 1919 and its players and other assets were auctioned at the city’s Metropole Hotel, with striker Billy McLeod fetching the biggest fee of £1,250.
Fulham and England legend Johnny Haynes died aged 71 today in 2005. As well as being one of the most gifted players of his generation, Haynes was a trailblazer off the field, being one of the games first real celebrities, advertising Brylcreem and was also the first player to earn £100 a week. Also on that day, Arsenal’s Thierry Henry bagged a brace against Sparta Prague to secure his place in the Arsenal record books as their leading goalscorer, having overtaken Ian Wright.