The Week In Football #3

by Joe Mewis

A trip though the ages, as we take you from lunatic South American goalkeepers to the lower leagues of England via deluded chairmen and football’s most famous theme tune.

August 17

With a speculative swing of that now-famous right foot, David Beckham announced his arrival today in 1996. Manchester United were taking on Wimbledon in their season opener when the 21-year-old midfielder saw Dons ‘keeper Neil Sullivan off his line and shot from inside his own half. The rest, as they say, is history. Four years later, everyone’s favourite neighbourhood watch resident, Duncan Ferguson, was moving back to his beloved Everton in a £4.4m move.

August 18

A tale of two chairmen today, with very little in common except a passion for north east football clubs. Jack Walker has gone down in Blackburn Rovers folklore as the man that brought the good times back to Ewood, and sadly passed away today in 2000. On this day in 1989 Manchester United were the targets of an outlandish takeover bid by UFO-enthusiast and general nutter, Michael Knighton. Despite appearing on the Old Trafford pitch prior to a United game to wow the crowd with his keepy-uppy skills, Knighton’s takeover failed when his financial backers pulled the plug.

August 19

As bad predictions go, this one was a doozy. Today in 1995 Alan Hansen dismissed Fergie’s young Manchester United side, proclaiming ‘You’ll never win anything with kids.’ Whoops. The Scot would be proved emphatically wrong next May when United picked up the Premier League title. Today in 1999 Robbie Keane was on the move, undergoing his first big-money move when Coventry swooped for the teenage Wolves striker for £6m.

August 20

Jonathan Woodgate completed one of the most leftfield transfers in recent years today in 2004, swapping St James’ Park for the Bernabeu as Real Madrid picked up the injury-prone centre back for £13.4m. Meanwhile, in 1991, the Football League’s newest team Barnet were proving to be the most exciting, drawing 5-5 with Brentford, days after losing a 7-4 goalfest to Crewe under the assured stewardship of Barry Fry.

August 21

Patrick Vieira was one of three players to pick up a red card today in 2000 in a stormy Arsenal-Liverpool clash, and threatened to quit the Premier League as he felt he was being targeted by refs. Back in 1965 a little football history was being made, Keith (Gavin’s dad) Peacock became the first substitute to come on a league match as his Charlton side took on Bolton.

Jose Luis Chilavert of Paraguay

August 22

The familiar Match of the Day theme tune was heard for the first time today in 1964, when the BBC One flagship football programme was broadcast for the first time, showing highlights of Liverpool’s 3-2 win over Arsenal. Fast forward to 2007 and England were losing their first ever game at the new Wembley Stadium, Steve McClaren’s men going down 2-1 to their old foes Germany.

August 23

Today in 2006 Spurs’ Ben Thatcher laid down his challenge to Maggie for the title of ‘hardest Thatcher’, elbowing Pedro Mendes in the face, leaving the Portsmouth midfielder needing hospital treatment. In 2001 Paraguayan ‘keeper and general lunatic Jose Luis Chilavert was keeping those South American stereotype alive, spitting at Roberto Carlos in his country’s World Cup qualifier against Brazil.

To read more on all these stories, and countless others, go to www.onthisfootballday.com or buy the OTFD book by clicking here.

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