Archive for October, 2008

October 31 – Halloween Horror Show in Madagascar

WHATEVER seasonal misfortunes befall you tonight, we’re sure it won’t be as scary as what fans of Madagascan side Stade Olympique de L’Emyrne (SOE) had to endure, as today in 2002 they saw side fall to a record-breaking 149-0 loss.

The Halloween clash between SOE and AS Adema, who had been crowned league champions the week before, was the final game of the Madagascan season and it didn’t take long for it to descend into farce.

Straight after kick off SOE began scoring own goal after own goal, whilst the Adema players stood and watched bemused by the whole thing. After 90 minutes SOE had managed to plant 149 goals past their own keeper as a protest against the Malagasy Football Federation (FMF).

SOE had finished as champions the season before and had been a surprise package in the African Champions League, reaching the second round. This season however, they had fallen short in a four team round-robin tournament to decide the Malagasy champions when, as they believed, several refereeing decisions had gone against them.

The subsequent 149-0 drubbing easily broke the world record for the number of goals scored in a senior match which was believed to have been Arbroath’s 36-0 win over Bon Accord in 1885. FA historian David Barber said: “I’ve heard of a local league game in Nottingham that finished 50-2 and there was a 43-0 in an Austrian regional game before the second world war – but nothing this big.”

The FMF were not impressed. President Jaques Benony claimed: “The sanctions have been put in place,” as they suspended SOE coach Zaka Be, who orchestrated the debacle from the stands, for three years also banned goalkeeper and national team captain Mamisoa Razafindrakoto and players Nicolas Rakotoarimanana and Dominique Rakotonandrasana until the end of 2002.

Sadly we’ve not got footage of the Malagasy own goal fest but have a gander at this own goal blooper reel – there’s a few good oggy’s in there. If you need some more footballing history then check out what else happened today here and come back tomorrow for more of the same.

October 30 – Lord of the Manor of Frodsham

WHEN Gerard Houllier was winding down his time as Liverpool manager, the club still allowed him to press on with one of their most expensive signings ever. Houllier had been casting flirtatious glances at Djibril Cisse for months and finally managed to negotiate a deal to bring the Frenchman to Anfield for around £14m in the summer of 2004.

Houllier was ‘mutually consented’ before he could see his new striker kick a ball with Rafa Benitez brought in as the new man. It seemed that Rafa was not quite as taken with Cisse as Houllier had been, and he was often used on the wing, rather than in his favoured role up front. Being played out of position was soon to be the least of his worries though and it was on this day in 2004 that Cisse’s leg was broken during a Premiership match with Blackburn at Ewood Park.

Late on in the first half Cisse was chasing a ball when he tangled with Blackburn Jay McEveley who caught the Frenchman’s left leg with his own. In the replay below you can see the leg bend the wrong way as it breaks in horrific fashion. Cisse immediately knew it was serious and was carried off the pitch.

As the fans clapped the stricken man off the pitch, they were not to know that Cisse was in grave danger of actually losing his leg altogether.

He said afterwards: “When I was taken from the field, what they did next was so important for my career, what they did in those first few moments was vital. If they had waited until I had got to the hospital I might have lost my leg, it was that serious.

“My bones were overlapping and I had no circulation in my foot. They had to give me drugs to help with the pain and then they had to pull my bones back into place with their hands.”

Luckily for Cisse, the injury was treated well and did not spell the end of his career like David Busst, although it was thought he would be out injured until the following season. However, his recovery went well and he returned at the end of the season, just in time to take a successful penalty against AC Milan in the European Cup final shoot-out.

It was also around this time that he became the Lord of the Manor of Frodsham when he purchased a home overlooking the Mersey that came with the title which was recorded in the Doomsday Book. He immediately caused controversy by banning the Cheshire Hunt from using his land. “I will not allow hunting on my land,” he said, possibly waving a pitchfork at the same time.

Despite Liverpool’s success in Europe, the 2005/06 season did not go that well for Cisse with Benitez often playing him out of position and it was widely speculated that he would leave the club. Amazingly, before that could happen he broke his other leg while playing for France against China in June 2006, to put him out of the World Cup.

Happily the break was not as bad as the first and he was back on the field by October, by now at Marseille on loan, where he would eventually move permanently, until Roy Keane and Sunderland came-a-calling this summer.

Also on this day the world of football got a little bit smaller with the retirement of one of the biggest players the game has ever seen. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for another exciting installment of On This Football Day.

October 29 – Forgetful Ferdinand

WE’VE all been guilty of forgetting things once in a while, a friend’s birthday here, a wedding anniversary there, or even who you are and where you have been for the past six years (allegedly), but not many memory lapses can have been as costly as the one Rio ‘Memory like a sieve’ Ferdinand had in the autumn of 2003.

After a couple of hours of running around cones and wearing different coloured bibs at Manchester United’s Carrington training ground on September 23, the UK Sport drugs testing team turned up to randomly test some of the players.

Rio’s name was one of those selected but rather than have the test, Ferdinand had a shower and apparently forgot all about it. He left the training ground and was later photographed shopping in Manchester. Doh!

He did take and pass a test the following day but he was already in hot water for missing the first one and the FA begin to investigate. It was on this day that they formally charged Rio with misconduct, for a breach of rule E26, which refers to “the failure or refusal by a player to submit to drug testing as required by a competent official”.

Before the authorities could get around to charging him the FA decided he shouldn’t be selected for the England squad to face Turkey in a Euro 2004 qualifier. Rio’s England team mates were incensed at the decision and came over all Spartacus-like to show their solidarity with their comrade.

Led by ‘Red’ Gary Neville the players threatened to go on strike unless Rio was reinstated, and a stale mate emerged with the FA insisting they would not back down.

Eventually, Red Nev proved he was no Arthur Scargill and the players backed down and flew to Turkey for the match.

Meanwhile, Ferdinand denies the misconduct charge and attends a personal hearing at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium in December. He is found guilty and given a whopping eight month ban and fined £50,000. “I’m absolutely devastated at this verdict,” he told the Sun newspaper.

“The main thing keeping me going has been the possibility of playing again this season. This verdict has taken that hope away from me. I won’t feel happy until I’m back in competitive football. At the end of the day I am a footballer and I want to play football for a living.”

He lost an appeal and the ban stood meaning he missed out on Euro 2004 entirely and finally returned to the pitch in September 2004.

After alienating the authorities with his lax approach to drug tests and alienating most of his England team mates with his frankly hilarious World Cup Wind-Ups programme (you’ve been merked!), here is Rio offending the gay community when he appeared on the Chris Moyles show on Radio One in 2006.

We’ll be back tomorrow, but if you can’t wait until then, click here to see another drug-related story from this day in football history.

October 28 – The Joy of Cesc

A 1-1 draw in the League Cup between Arsenal and Rotherham today in 2003 doesn’t sound like the most exciting of occasions to base today’s nugget of footballing history on, but one of Arsene Wenger’s young charges was making his debut that day, and he’s proved to go on to be not too shabby at this football lark.

Cesc Fabregas was just one of six Arsenal players to make his debut in the clash, become Arsenal’s youngest-ever player in the process, aged just 16 years and 177 days, breaking Jermaine Pennant’s record.

The young Spaniard was snapped up by Wenger as a 16-year-old in September 2003 when the Barcelona youngster felt that his chances at Camp Nou would be limited. He didn’t have to wait long for his debut, when Wenger used the third round League Cup tie to do his usual trick of blooding the youngsters.

Alongside Cesc, Justin Hoyte, Jerome Thomas, Gael Clichy, Graham Stack and Ryan Smith all made their debuts and the young side took a early lead through Jeremie Aliadiere. It stayed 1-0 until the 90th minute, when Darren Byfield equalised to send the match into extra time. To be fair, it was past most of the squad’s bedtime at that point.

No goals followed in extra time and the match went to an eventful penalty shoot-out, where Arsenal eeked out a 9-8 win, after both sides went through an entire team of penalty takers, goalkeepers and all. It was one of the old men of the Arsenal side that sealed the win when Sylvain Wiltord put away his second penalty, after missing the first kick of the shoot-out.

In his first season Cesc would notch up two more appearance in the League Cup, scoring a goal against Wolves in the next round to become Arsenal’s youngest ever scorer.

Since then Fabregas has graduated from Wenger’s League Cup finishing side, cementing his place at the heart of the Arsenal midfield after the departure of Patrick Vieira to Juventus in 2005 and become one of the most exciting young talents in the world.

See a Cesc highlight reel that looks as though it’s been put together by the producers of 24 below and also see what else was going on today here.

October 27 – Pressley’s All Shook Up

IT’S up to Scotland today for a look at one of the maddest characters in the game, Hearts chairman and former Soviet submarine commander Vladimir Romanov who was at the mercy of a player revolt, lead by captain Steven Pressley today in 2006 when threatened to sack the whole squad if they failed to win their next match.

As we’ve bought you before, Romanov’s reign has had it’s fair few flashpoints with the fans, media and authorities, but today it was the turn of his squad. Despite lying in second place in the SPL, Romanov was frustrated by his team’s start to the campaign, and told his players that if they failed to beat Dunfermline then the entire first team squad would be put up for sale. Following that, the next part of his masterplan would be to play a team of teenagers against Celtic the week after.

This was the last straw for several members of the first team squad, who – led by the club captain, Steven Pressley – snapped and held a press conference damning their chairman.

Pressley, flanked by fellow Scotland internationals goalkeeper Craig Gordon and midfielder Paul Hartley, let his boss have it. “I have tried, along with the coaching staff and certain colleagues, to implement the correct values and disciplines, but it has become an impossible task.

“There is only so much a coaching staff, a captain and certain colleagues can do without the full backing, direction and coherence of the manager and those running the football club. Due to the circumstances, morale, understandably, is not good and there is significant unrest within the dressing-room.”

Refusing to comment any further, the trio left and the assorted hacks went looking round Tynecastle for Romanov. When asked if the trio would play against Dunfermline he refused to answer. “Who’s going to play?” he was asked. “I play,” was his characteristically flippant answer.

The game with Dunfermline finished 1-1, as a sold-out Tynecastle showed their backing of Pressley and his fellow rebels. There was only one way this story was going to end though, and by November Pressley was stripped of the captaincy and left the club a few weeks later to join Celtic.

Romanov continues to rule the roost at Hearts and has been relatively quiet in recent months. We’ll see how long this lasts for though. See Pressley’s press conference below and check out what else happened today here.

October 26 – Saints Humble the Red Devils

SIR Alex Ferguson has turned Manchester United into such a consistent winning machine over the past 20 years that it’s always nice to watch them get beaten once in a while, especially when they get a very rare hammering.

While United have dominated the Premier League since its formation in 1992, Southampton spent most of their time just trying to stay in it, ultimately losing their battle in 2005. Over the years the Saints did make a habit of being something of a thorn in side of the top teams, particularly United.

Today in 1996 the Saints recorded one of their most impressive results ever when they trounced Fergies team 6-3 at The Dell.

This match came just seven months after Southampton had beaten United 3-1, a result Ferguson blamed on the infamous grey away strip.

This time there were no kit-related excuses as United lined up in their blue and white strip and in confident mood.

Graeme Souness had been brought in as manager at The Dell in the summer and had brought several important players to the club, notably Eyal Berkovic and Egil Ostenstad.

Berkovic netted after just six minutes to give the home side the lead, with Matt Le Tissier doubling the lead on 34 minutes. Beckham pulled one back for United on 41 minutes but Egil Ostenstad grabbed Saints’ third on the stroke of half time.

The second half carried on where the first left off. David May gave Fergie hope of a come back with a goal on 56 minutes but Berkovic and Ostenstad each added another. In the final minutes Ostenstad scored again to complete his hat-trick, although the mysterious dubious goals panel later decided it was an own goal by Gary Neville. Paul Scholes added United’s third in the final minute to cap an extraordinary game.

The game proved to be the highlight of the season for Saints under Souness, who had yet another season of struggle and survived only on the final day of the season before Souness resigned. He did find time before he left to give Ali Dia his famous run out at The Dell though.

Meanwhile Manchester United put the defeat behind them and went on to win the League for the second year in a row.

Have a look at Le Tissier’s lob over Peter Schmeichel for Saints’ second goal, and come back tomorrow for some player power from north of the border. Also on this day: this.

October 25 – Jol’s Last Stand

FANTASTICALLY wide ranging and descriptive though the English language can be, there are occasions when it falls short and emotions it cannot quite express succinctly.

Today I am forced to turn to the German language for the emotion Martin Jol must surely be feeling at present: Shardenfreude. It means to delight in the misfortune of others, with a hint of the ‘others’ getting their just desserts.

After being sacked as Spurs boss because of a poor start to the season in favour Juande Ramos, his successor has clocked up the worst start to a season for the club ever. Meanwhile Jol’s new team Hamburg are top of the Bundesliga.

After two very good seasons and consecutive fifth-placed finishes in the Premier League, Martin Jol’s Spurs side started the 2007/08 season in wretched form, despite heavy spending over the summer, and the tag of favourites to break into the top four monopoly.

They picked up just seven points from their opening ten games and rumours began to surface that the club were not happy and were making eyes at other potential coaches. Ramos was touted as the man the board had identified as the man to replace Jol.

In August Ramos let the cat out of the bag and said he had been offered the job over the summer but Spurs chairman Daniel Levy denied it and offered the dreaded vote of confidence to Jol.

Still the rumours persisted however, and things all came to a dramatic head on this day, when Getafe were in town to play a Uefa Cup tie at White Hart Lane.

Jol led the team out on to the pitch with the Star Wars theme tune accompanying their arrival and the game got underway in promising fashion for Spurs when Jermaine Defoe scored just 18 minutes in. Getafe equalised through Ruben de la Red just three minutes later and the teams went in all square at half time.

It was about this point in the night that rumours began to sweep around the ground that Jol had been sacked before the game had kicked off. As the match went on, with Getafe taking a lead they would not surrender, the news spread like wildfire that Jol had been given the boot by Levy and then taken charge of his team for one final hurrah.

Incredulous Spurs fans sang chorus after chorus of “Stand up for Martin Jol” to show their support for the popular Dutchman who stood on the touch line for the last time.

Many had thought the club had already treated Jol badly by sneaking off behind his back to court Ramos, but the way he was sacked and how it came out – right in the middle of a big European tie – was a new low for the board. It was reminiscent of when another great Tottenham manager, Keith Burkinshaw, left the club over disagreements with the board. As he left White Hart Lane he pointed over his shoulder to the stadium and said: “There used to be a football club there.”

Also on this day in football history, an unlikely figure was restoring Saturday night highlights to their proper time. We will be back tomorrow with a tale of a famous Manchester United defeat. Happy days.

October 24 – Pizzagate!

OVER the sixteen seasons since the inception of the Premier League one clash has regularly stood above the rest. Whether it’s tunnel bust-ups, on-the-pitch brawls or Martin Keown’s goading, Manchester United and Arsenal clashes are always entertaining.

Today in 2004 the two rivals served up another tasty clash that took the animosity between them to new, evermore amusing levels: a food fight!

By the mid-noughties Sky Sports were really getting the hang of this over-hyping business, dubbing this the ‘match of century’. Arsenal were coming off the back of their unbeaten 2003/04 season and had not lost in 49 games having played some of the best football ever seen in the British game.

United meanwhile had just splashed the cash on Wayne Rooney as they were forced to take on the challenge of not only Wenger’s Invincibles but also the now super-rich Chelsea that had shaken up the Premiership thanks to Roman Abramovich’s billions.

The match itself was full of the usual controversy and bad blood. There was yellow cards, diving, arguing with the ref, but no goals until the 72nd minute, when Rooney won a dodgy-looking penalty after he was felled by Sol Campbell. With no Martin Keown around to put him off, Ruud van Nistelrooy slotted home. Rooney would add a second in the last minute and Arsenal had lost a Premier League game for the first time in 17 months.

It was the explosive aftermath where it all kicked off though, as Campbell refused to shake Rooney’s hand when the teams were leaving the pitch. Tempers boiled over in the tunnel and the “battle of the buffet” began. Players and staff from both teams broke into a scuffle and various foodstuffs such as pea soup, coffee and the infamous slice of pizza went flying.

Ashley Cole described the incident in his autobiography: “This slice of pizza came flying over my head and hit Fergie straight in the mush… all mouths gawped to see this pizza slip off this famous, puce face and roll down his nice black suit.”

Now there’s some CCTV footage we’d love to see. Disciplinary charges fired out from the FA over the next few days, with Ruud van Nistelrooy being censured for a challenge on Cole and Arsene Wenger for his post match comments about the referee. For once, Wenger did see what went on and damned Mike Riley’s performance: “Riley decided the game, like we know he can do at Old Trafford.”

This game proved to be a turning point in Arsenal’s season, as they aura of invincibility was cracked and Chelsea would romp to the title. United meanwhile, would finish third as both sides struggled to cope with the Special One’s revolution at Stamford Bridge.

Sadly we can’t show you Fergie being slapped in the face by a meat feast, so you’ll have to make do with Ruud exorcising his demons from a year earlier at Old Trafford. See what else was going down today here and come back tomorrow for more footballing tales from days gone by.

October 23 – Kanu Believe It!

THIS season Liverpool might have monopolised the late comeback, but they haven’t yet left it quite so late as Arsenal did today in 1999. With 15 minutes left the Gunners were 2-0 down to rivals Chelsea and it was looking like all three points were lost.

Arsenal’s summer signing Kanu had different ideas though, bagging one of the most dramatic hat-tricks ever seen in the Premiership.

Chelsea had been in a rich vein of form when they hosted their London rivals, having put five past both Manchester United and Galatasaray in their last two games. Thanks to headed goals from Tore Andre Flo and Dan Petrescu it was looking like another big scalp for the Blues.

The match had been a scrappy affair, with eight yellow cards being issued by referee Alan Wilkie. Sitting in the stands were representatives from Fifa that were assessing England’s bid for the 2006 World Cup. Lord knows what they saw in Germany to sway them, because in the second half this match exploded into action as Arsenal awoke from their slumber.

Kanu bagged his first after 75 minutes with a predatory strike, then with seven minutes remaining he latched onto a Marc Overmars cross and slotted past Ed De Goey.

Like all good showmen the Nigerian saved his best until last. Deep into injury time he received the ball by the corner flag and was met by De Goey who was going on a bizarre walkabout. After dribbling past the Dutch keeper Kanu struck from an almost impossibly acute angle, firing into the roof of the net.

Arsenal had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, and moved to joint top of the early Premiership table, level with Leeds United.

See Kanu bagging his hat-trick below and see what else happened in the world of football today here. We’ll be back tomorrow for one of our favourite bust-ups in recent years, so join us then.

October 22 – Triple Vision

SOUTHAMPTON FC was always described as a ‘family club’ but during the 1980s it was literally true as the Wallace brothers came up through the youth system into the first team.

First came Danny Wallace (not that one) who first came to prominence when he became Saints’ youngest ever player when he came on in place of the injured Kevin Keegan at Old Trafford aged 16 years and 313 days in 1980 (a record he would hold until Theo Walcott came along).

The young forward turned pro in 1982 and over the next few years he became a mainstay in a Saints team that was doing well under Lawrie McMenemy, finishing second in the League in 1984.

In 1986 twins Rod and Ray Wallace, younger brothers of Danny, joined the club as apprentices and would soon make their mark.

The proudest moment in the Wallace household was on this day in 1988 when all three of the brothers lined up for Southampton in a match against Sheffield Wednesday at the Dell which ended 1-1.

The Wallace dynasty was soon broken up however when Danny was lured to Manchester United the following year, and in 1991 the Rod and Ray were sold to Leeds in a bizarre job lot transfer.

Rod went on to have a successful career at Elland Road, scoring the goals that helped them win the League in 1992, while Ray, a right-back, only made seven appearances before eventually settling at Stoke City where he played for five years.

Danny helped United win Alex Ferguson’s first trophy: the FA Cup in 1990, but thereafter he started to have more and more injuries and lost his form. A loan move to Millwall failed to help and a transfer to Birmingham City was little better. He moved to Wycombe Wanderers in 1995 but was soon forced to retire because of painful and consistent injury problems.

In 1996 he discovered the root of his injury problems when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. These days he runs the Danny Wallace Foundation which raises money for research into the condition.

Sadly no footage we have been unable to find any footage of the historic match that all three brothers started, so instead here is a clip of Rod scoring a lovely solo effort for Leeds against Spurs. More tomorrow folks so don’t miss that, and check this one time for more from this day in football history.