Archive for July, 2009

July 31 – Meddling Politicians and Overpriced Midfielders at Old Trafford

No sarcy ‘Welcome to Manchester’ jokes here, as we head over to the Citizen’s poorer relations for today’s blast from the past.

1999 – Hoey Backtracks Over Man United FA Cup Absence

In the summer of 1999, as Manchester United were trying to bask in the glory of achieving an historic treble, a pesky row over their participation in the following season’s FA Cup kept niggling away at the club like an annoying yappy dog that won’t go away. Read on here…

2006 – Carrick Lands at Old Trafford

IN June 2006 Spurs manager Martin Jol was trying his best to make it plain that Michael Carrick would not be leaving the club.

“We are building something here and I can’t do without him,” he said.
“I told the chairman I want to keep him and the board don’t want to sell him. He’s got a contract for two years and that’s it.

“Spurs is a good club and Michael knows that. We will do a good job in the next couple of seasons and he will be happy at Spurs.”

Today in 2006, just a month after Jol’s words, Carrick signed for Manchester United. Click here for the whole story…

Just don’t mention the 2009 European Cup final…

July 30 – Tales From Two Finals – 1930 and 1966

Two big World Cup finals today from the OTFD archives…

1930 – The First World Cup Final

WHEN England won the World Cup at Wembley in 1966 their victory coincidentally fell on the same day as the first ever World Cup final in 1930.

On home soil Uruguay had made it all the way to the final thanks to victories over Peru, Romania and Yugoslavia. Their opponents were South American rivals Argentina, who defeated France, Mexico, Chile and the USA to reach the final. They had to play one more game that Uruguay because the odd number of entrants (13) meant Argentina’s group had four nations in it, rather than three.
Read more here…

1966 – Three Lions Roar to World Cup Victory

It was a match that had everything, two fiercely rival teams, plenty of goals, controversy, extra time and a pitch invasion. Oh, and it was the World Cup final at Wembley. It was on this day that the Three Lions roared their loudest and England reached the pinnacle of their footballing achievement by winning the World Cup in 1966. All you English get misty eyed and read the whole story here.

And while you’re at it, get our forthcoming book England: On This Day ordered for a day-by-day account of the Three Lions throughout the ages!

July 29 – Victory for Iraq and Happy Birthday Graham Poll

Here’s what we were bringing you back in ’07 and ’08

Iraq Win the Asian Cup

IF YOU were unlucky enough to have been an Iraqi international footballer during the Saddam Hussein era then a bad performance meant a whole lot more than a slating in the press. Under the auspices of Saddam’s eldest son Uday, who was the head of Iraq’s national Olympic Association, poor performances were punished by lashings, being pushed into vats of sewage or even spells in a prison that would make Midnight Express look like a stroll in the park. We wouldn’t even wish that on Joey Barton.

Today in 2007 the Iraqi side gave their fans something to smile about, as they beat Saudi Arabia to win the Asian Cup as their nation struggled to rebound from the American-led invasion four years earlier. Read the full story here.

Happy Birthday Graham Poll

Bad news for football fans everywhere. Graham Poll’s going to have cards in his hands again today. But don’t worry, they’ll only be birthday cards from the two (or maybe three – it’s so hard to keep count sometimes) people that the Thing from Tring didn’t annoy during his 26-year refereeing career. Read all about it…

July 28 – An Eastern European Split and Ruud Packs His Bags

Fresh from the OTFD achieves….

2006 – Serbia and Montenegro Go Their Separate Ways

OVER the last few years football has added yet another cliche to it’s ranks: “there’s no easy games in international football anymore.” We think that’s baloney when minnows such as Andorra, Guam and the Cook Islands are knocking around in the international game. Today in 2006 another side was added to Fifa’s numbers when Serbia and Montenegro split to become two separate sides. Read more here…

2006 – Van Nistelrooy Signs for Real

No matter how good you might perceive yourself to be, you can’t cross Sir Alex Ferguson. This is what Ruud Van Nistelrooy found out today in 2006, when Manchester United sold their leading goalscorer of the past five seasons to Real Madrid for £15 million. Read all about it…

Ruud hit it off pretty well in La Liga…

July 9 – Zizou Signs for Real

June 27, 2001: Juventus cheif executive Antonio tells Gazetta dello Sport star midfielder Zinedine Zidane is not going anywhere. “It’s not a question of figures. Zidane is not on the market because he has signed a five-year contract with us,” he said. “He’s an important man and we’re proud to have signed him when he was a promising player at Bordeaux for £2.25m.”

And his agent Alain Migliaccio conceded: “If Juve doesn’t want it Zidane won’t leave.”

On this day, just 12 days after Juve’s emphatic denial, Zinedine Zidane joined Real Madrid for £45.8m, making him the most expensive player in the history of football at that time.

“It is a great honour to come here to this great club,” Zidane said at Real’s presentation, before being handed the club’s famous all-white shirt by the club’s honorary president Di Stefano.

“I think that after five years at Juventus it was the right time to make a move and I hope that I will be able to do as well if not better than I did at Juventus.”

The Frenchman was club president Florentino Perez’s second ‘galactico’ signing after Luis Figo the year before, and the following summer the original Ronaldo also joined as Perez went on a spending spree that was unprecedented at the time.

Perez said: “Real Madrid was recently voted the best club in the world by Fifa and for that we must have the best players in the world.

“Zidane is one of those and we have no doubt that he will shine even more in Madrid than previously.”

He added: “Next year we want a great team for our centenary so that the fans can be both entertained and enjoy the football.

“We are building the Real Madrid of the 21st century. The arrival of Zidane is good for all Spanish fans who have the right to see the best players so that the Spanish league can be the best league in Europe.

“We are all happy, including the player, that Zidane is here and joining the great family that is Real Madrid.”

Perez and the Madrid fans were even happier at the 2002 European Cup Final when the investment in Zidane at least partially paid off when he struck the winner to give Real the trophy in their centenary season.

Zizou spent five seasons at the Bernabeu and also won La Liga in his time with the Spanish giants before he bowed, or butted, out from football altogether in 2006 – coincidentally, also on this day.


Well folks, after two years and more than 700 articles on football’s glorious and sometimes not-so-glorious history, we are going to take a break for the moment. Our content will still be available to search through if you want to look up your club or favourite player and see what we have on them (Newcastle fans – we have loads!), and we have some other ideas about fresh football-based fun we might be bringing you soon.

In the meantime, thanks for visiting and reading our ramblings everyday, without that we may as well have been sitting in the pub telling each other these tales.

Enjoy the summer, and we hope that next season your club gets promoted, doesn’t get relegated, wins the FA Cup/European Cup/Johnstone’s Paint Trophy or just avoids going bust.

We’ll leave you with one of our favourite football quotes ever, and surprising, it’s not from OTFD favourite Kevin Keegan. Instead we turn to the wise words of former Partick Thistle manager John Lambie. George Shaw, one of Lambie’s strikers, collided with an opposition player and was knocked out cold. When he came round the trainer said to the manager: “Boss he’s got concussion, he doesn’t know who he is.” Lambie replied: “Tell him he’s Pele and send him back on.”

Rob and Joe
July 2009.

July 8 – West Germany win Italia 90

ON this day in 1990 the biggest football match on earth, the World Cup Final, was played in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Just as four years previously at Mexico 86, Argentina faced West Germany, who had got past England on penalties in the semi-final to reach the show piece game.

While Italia 90 had plenty of great moments and enduring images, it had very few goals and with just a 2.21 goal-per-game average it is also the lowest scoring World Cup tournament in history.

Sadly, the final was in the same vein and never really got going, eventually being decided by just the one goal. Maradona, the hero of 1986 for Argentina, was no longer his win-a-match-single-handed old self and despite plenty of support from the Italian fans who worshipped him when playing for Napoli, he was not the same force he had been in Mexico.

After a pretty poor match it fell to Andreas Brehme to score the winner after 85 minutes from the penalty spot for the Germans to avenge their defeat four years earlier. And just when some excitement was threatening to break out with extra time or even a shoot-out. Spoil sport.

Still, for stat fans everywhere, the 1990 final did have a couple of ‘firsts’. When Pedro Monzón was sent off after 64 minutes he became the first player ever to see red in the World Cup Final.

He was followed shortly afterwards by his compatriot Gustavo Dezotti who was given a second yellow just three minutes from time.

ANother sorry stat for the Argentines was the fact that they became the first finalists not to score in the big game.

The Germans were managed by Der Kaiser himself Franz Beckenbauer. He became one of two men (with Mario Zagallo) to have won the Cup as player and as coach, and the only man to have won the title as team captain as well as coach.

Have a look at the key moments below, or check this out for one of the most shocking fouls and refereeing decisions in World Cup history.

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July 7 – Shilts and Bobby Bow Out

THE third-fourth play-off match is a curious beast. It tends to be one of the more pointless games in international football, although we were treated to a humdinger by Spain and South Africa in the Confederations Cup last month. The FA even gave it a try for the FA Cup in 1970, but when only 15,105 turned out to watch Manchester United defeat Watford at Highbury, the idea was wisely curtailed.

Today in 1990 England took on the hosts in the Italia 90 bronze medal match, in what marked the end of two England greats’ international careers.

Bobby Robson, who had been appointed England manager exactly eight years earlier to the day, was taking charge of the Three Lions for the last time, having finally won over a sceptical press and public alike during the tournament.

Uncle Bobby’s national team service had begun way back in 1957, when he made his playing debut as sprightly 24-year-old, when the West Brom right-half pulled on the England colours against France, scoring twice in a 4-0 win.

He would go on to gain 20 caps, scoring four goals before moving into management. After Robson brought success to Ipswich Town, the FA hoped for a similar result from last time they plundered Portman Road and came back with a certain Alf Ramsey.

One of Robson’s key players through his tenure in the England hot-seat was Peter Shilton, who won his record 125th, and final England cap against Italy.

Shilton made his league debut way back in 1966, and first turned out for England in 1970 in a friendly against East Germany. Had it not been for Ray Clemence who won 60 caps during Shilton’s era, the former Leicester, Stoke, Forest, Southampton and Derby ‘keeper could have closed on a ridiculous 200 caps.

The game itself was fairly unremarkable affair, with the two sides knackered from their penalty shoot-out semi-final losses.

England were missing Paul Gascoigne after his tear-inducing yellow card against Germany and fell behind to a goal from Roberto Baggio, who became the world’s most expensive player days afterwards when he joined Juventus from Fiorentina for £8m.

David Platt, one of the English revelations of the tournament who later returned to Italy as a player, equalised with ten minutes remaining, but Golden Boot winner Toto Schillaci slotted a penalty past Shilton with four minutes remaining to give Italy the bronze medal.

For some more World Cup action from today click here, and join us tomorrow as we keep the footy history coming.

July 6 – Sven Returns

AFTER England were knocked out of the World Cup in 2006, Sven-Goran Eriksson fancied a bit of time off. For a year Sven chillaxed, no doubt taking time to get acquainted with Loose Women (steady now – we mean the television show, obviously) while he picked up his hefty severance cheque from the FA.

Today in 2007 Sven decided to get off the sofa and head back to work, taking charge of Manchester City.

The times were a-changing at Eastlands. Stuart Pearce had been dispensed of at the end of a lacklustre 2006/07 campaign and in June 2007 City were taken over by former Thai Prime Minister Thaskin ‘Sinatra’ Shinawatra, who set about spending his way to the fans’ hearts, as questions over his human rights record whilst in office arose.

Sven was signed up to a lucrative three-year contract, becoming City’s first manager from outside the British Isles in the process and didn’t take long to splash Sinatra’s cash.

Following Sven into the City of Manchester Stadium were the likes of Rolando Bianchi, Geovanni, Martin Petrov, Vedran Corluka and Elano as Sven set about building a new team.

Sven’s men hit the ground running, hitting the top of the table after a derby win over Manchester United in August. The Citizens remained in the Champions League places for much of the first half of the season, completing a double over United when they won at Old Trafford in February, as Sven became the first City manager to achieve this since the 1969/70 season.

Eventually though, their challenge faltered and City finished the season in ninth place, although they managed to blag a backdoor Uefa Cup spot through the Premiership’s fair play ranking.

This achievement was overshadowed by developments in the boardroom as the season reached its climax. With two games remaining rumours were abound that Sven was going to be sacked by Shinawatra at the end of the season. This off-field turmoil had an obvious effect on the players, as they ended the season with a humiliating 8-1 trashing at the hands of Middlesbrough.

Sven then took his team on a PR jaunt across the Thailand and Hong Kong, but was effectively a dead man walking, as he would be sacked on his return.

Mark Hughes was installed as the new City boss and before you feel too sorry for the Swede, he got over his poor treatment by picking up another cushy compensation package and walking into the Mexico national team job the next day.

See Sven dressing down Jonathan Pearce for his inane questions below and read about what bumbling gaff his former task masters at the FA were up to today here.

July 5 – Chelsea Splurge £10m on Sutton

THE only time the Premier League title has been wrestled away from one of the ‘Big Four’ clubs was of course when Blackburn Rovers won it in 1995.

One of the reasons they were able to do it was the prolific strike partnership of Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton, both signed for record fees from Southampton and Norwich respectively.

Sutton scored 15 Premiership goals that season as his ‘SAS’ striek duo ran defences ragged up and down the country.

But the following season was a complete contrast for Sutton as he failed to score even one league goal and had a succession of injuries.

In 1996 he lost his strike partner when Alan Shearer left for Newcastle in a £15m deal, and on this day in 1999 Sutton got his own big money move when he signed for Chelsea for £10m.

“It’s very important coming to Chelsea now,” said Sutton. “There was a feeling about the place when I first joined Blackburn five years ago and there’s a similar one here.

“I was keen to get signed as quickly as possible. Chelsea have got some very experienced players and hopefully I can blend in here.”

In a reference to revered Chelsea forwards like Peter Osgood and Charlie Cooke, Sutton said: “There’s been many cult figures over the years and I just hope I can emulate those who have come here. This is a new start for me. I couldn’t have come to a better club.”

Chelsea boss Gianluca Vialli said: “He can be a tough player on the pitch, which is something sometimes that we missed last season and he’s got a great personality.

“Sutton is not a cheap player – £10 million is a lot of money – but I think sometimes you have to spend money if you want to improve the team. When Casiraghi got injured we were playing great football, but sometimes we were not scoring enough goals and I think we were lacking some aerial ability.”

At Blackburn, the chief executive John Williams said Rovers had been “determined to secure the best possible financial deal for the club. We now feel we have achieved that goal, the £10 million doubling the then British record fee we paid to Norwich City for the player some five years ago.”

The move would turn out to be a shrewd one . . . for Blackburn. Sutton never looked at ease in the Chelsea team, or with his massive price tag and it soon became a millstone around his neck as he struggled in the team. In 28 appearances for the Blues that season he scored just one solitary league goal.

Chelsea decided to cut their losses on him and amazingly found a club willing to pay £6m for him in the summer of 2000 when Celtic took him to Glasgow.

He had a much happier time north of the border and the goals started to come back. In 2004 he was even voted SPFA Player of the Year. But he will always be remembered by the Stamford Bridge faithful as a £10m flop.

Given that his best moments in a Chelsea shirt were few and far between, we’ll leave you with some footage of his time with Celtic. Until next time folks….

July 4 – The Miracle of Berne

THE legendary Mighty Magyars Hungary team of the 1950s was undoubtedly the best team in the world. They had come to England and humiliated the hosts in their own backyard, tearing the Three Lions apart 6-3 at Wembley.

In the return leg, they won 7-1 just to prove it was no fluke.

They went into the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland as heavy favourites for the crown and they marched through the early group games with ease, and disposed of Brazil and Uruguay in the quarter and semi-finals respectively to reach the final, on this day.

Waiting for them was West Germany. The Hungarians had already beaten the Germans 8-3 in the group game, but not needing to win, the Germans had fielded a reserve side. The result lulled the Hungarians into a massive false sense of security over the true strength of the German team.

Even so, the Magyars were still expected to turn the Germans over with relative ease, and it looked like it would become embarrassing for the Germans when Ferenc Puskas, playing despite not being fully fit, and Zoltán Czibor put the Magyars 2-0 up in the opening eight minutes.

But then the Germans hit back and were level before 20 minutes had been played. The two sides went in for half time at 2-2.

After the break the Hungarians poured forward looking for the winner, but each time they were foiled by the German defence, especially goalkeeper Toni Turek who pulled off a series of excellent saves.

With six minutes left and the Hungarians still desperately trying to score, the Germans produced a sucker-punch when Helmut Rahn scored from 20 yards out.

Puskas thought he had equalised just two minutes from time but the goal was ruled out for offisde.

The Germans held on to win and seal one of the biggest upsets in international football. So stunned were the Germans they still call the match ‘the miracle of berne’.

Much like Kenneth Wolstenholme 12 years later, commentator Herbert Zimmermann captured the moment perfectly and became something of a celebrity in his own right. “Call me crazy, call me nuts! Rahn has to shoot from the background, Rahn shoots – goal, goal, goal! Over! Over! Over! The game is over! Germany are World Champions, beat Hungary 3-2!”

More tomorrow folks, so keep it real, keep it OTFD.