From Adolf Hitler to the birth of the Premier League, here’s what’s been going down this week in football!
Believe it or not, but realtiy TV star Lee Sharpe was once actually a footballer. And a very fine one too, who jostled with Ryan Giggs and John Barnes for the Manchester United and England left-wings respectively. However, today in 1996 Alex Ferguson was running out of patience with his injury-prone party animal and sold him to rivals Leeds United for £4.5m. Meanwhile in 2003 Fergie’s charges took on Arsenal in the Charity Shield at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, lifting the trophy after a penalty shoot-out.
More Charity Shield action in 1996, as Alan Shearer made his Newcastle United debut against Manchester United. Brought in that summer by fellow Geordie messiah Kevin Keegan for a world record £15m, Shearer had a day to forget, as the Toon went down 4-0. Fast forward 10 years to 2006 and Steve McClaren announced his first England squad. Wanting to stamp his authority on the team he left out former skipper David Beckham for the friendly against Greece.
The door was opened for the Arsene Wenger-era at Arsenal today in 1996, as the Gunners sacked Bruce Rioch. He has gone down in history as one of Arsenal’s forgotten men, sandwiched between Wenger and George Graham, but did leave a legacy to the club in the shape of Dennis Bergkamp, who he signed in the summer of 1995 for £7.5 from Internazionale. Another striker on the move today was Darren Huckerby who moved from Coventry City to David O’Leary’s Leeds United in 1999, as the Elland Road club began to start splashing the cash.
It’s back to 1936 today, as Adolf Hitler tried to cash in on the beautiful game, applying for Germany to host the 1942 World Cup. Although he was not a football fan – he had seen the effect hosting the 1936 Olympics had had on his nation, but the outbreak of the Second World War meant that after the 1938 edition the tournament was suspended until 1950. Back in England, Chelsea took on Liverpool in the Community Shield today in 2006, with their new £30m man Andriy Shevchenko taking a bow. Shevers managed to score one of his rare Chelsea goals that day, but couldn’t prevent Peter Crouch roboting his way to a late winner, as the Reds triumphed 2-1.
Kevin Keegan made his Liverpool debut today in 1971 following his £35,000 move from Scunthorpe United that summer. It didn’t take him long to open his account for ‘Pool, slotting home a Peter Thompson pass after 12 minutes against Nottingham Forest. Keegan’s predecessor in the England hot-seat Glenn Hoddle was in trouble today in 1998, as he published his infamous World Cup diary, spilling dressing room secrets and the story of Gazza smashing his hotel room when he discovered he had missed out on a place in the World Cup 98 squad.
The Premier League kicked off today in 1992, as Rupert Murdoch’s new venture changed the face of football forever. The honour of scoring the first goal in this brave new world was Brian Deane who struck for Sheffield United against Manchester United in a 2-1 win. The Red Devils would have the last laugh through, winning the first title nine months later. Back in 1987 Liverpool kicked off their season against Arsenal with two Anfield legends making their debut. John Barnes and Peter Beardsley helped Liverpool to a win over the Gunners and became two of Dalglish’s shrewdest signings.
Denis Irwin was unlucky enough to be injured in his own testimonial today in 2000, when the Old Trafford fans’ favourite was floored by Manchester City’s George Weah. Staying at Old Trafford, the Steve McClaren-era began for England there today in 2006 as he lead the Three Lions to a 4-0 romp over European Champions Greece.
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