A trip through the history books this week sees big-money transfers, England’s most famous result since 1966, the birth of the most addictive football computer game ever and Phil Babb making every football fan wince.
Ever since the introduction of the transfer window in 2002 today has always brought about big money deals amidst the bleeping and whirling of fax machines across the football world. In 2004 it was the turn of Wayne Rooney, who ditched Everton for Manchester United in a £29m move, despite once rocking a t-shirt that proclaimed he was ‘Once a Blue, Always a Blue’. In 2006 West Ham shocked everyone by snapping up two of the best performers from that summers’ World Cup, Argentinean duo Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano.
Brothers Paul and Oliver Collyer have a lot to answer for. Today in 1992 they unleashed the first edition of Championship Manager to the unsuspecting public. The years since have seen the nation’s productivity drop, exams failed, relationships ended and lives ruined due to the addictive nature of the beast. In a result that sounds like it had come straight out of a computer game, England went to Munich and beat German 5-1 in what was the high-point of Sven-Goran Eriksson’s reign as manager.
Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier made his debut today in 1986 in a 2-0 win over Spurs at the Dell. Le Tiss would go on to become one of the finest players England has ever produced, staying loyal to Saints for his whole career, but was criminally overlooked by a succession of England managers. Two of England’s most iconic stadiums opened today, as Molineux made its bow in 1889 and another Archibald Leitch creation, Hillsborough opened its turnstiles for the first time ten years later.
Freddy Shepherd made one of his rare wise decisions as Newcastle chairman today in 1999 as he appointed Geordie native Bobby Robson as Toon boss. A year earlier a group of Europe’s biggest clubs met in London to discuss the formation of a European super league, but nothing became of it, although it has since become one of those stories that never goes away for too long.
Sheffield Wednesday were created today in 1867, famously starting life as a vehicle for a local cricket club to keep it’s players fit during the winter on the day of the week where their members only worked half a day. Fast forward to 1998 and fans everywhere were all grimacing together when Liverpool defender Phil Babb went in for a last-ditch clearance and only succeeded in clattering into the goal post, legs akimbo. Ouch.
Paul Gascoigne was called up to the England squad for the first time today in 1988 ahead of the Three Lions friendly against Denmark. The 21-year-old had just moved to Spurs in £2.3m deal, ditching Fergie’s overtures at Manchester United to hook up with Terry Venables. Staying at White Hart Lane, today in 1998 Spurs chairman Sir Alan Sugar stabbed his finger at his Swiss manager Christian Gross and uttered those familiar words ‘You’re Fired!” This came after a disastrous ten-month tenure for the former Grasshoppers boss who famously waved a London Underground ticket at his unveiling saying: “I want this to become my ticket to dreams.” Bonkers.
Rupert Murdoch looked to extend his and Sky Sport’s dominance over British football by entering talks to buy Manchester United today in 1998. A fee was agreed for the Salford giants, but the British government stepped in and the move was blocked by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. Back on the pitch in 1995 Colombian mentalist Rene Higuita wowed the football world with his famous scorpion kick, saving a Jamie Redknapp strike in a friendly at Wembley by jumping on his hands and acrobatically clearing the ball with his feet.