Archive for November, 2009

England v Brazil: Our Top Five Moments

‘The English invented it, the Brazilians perfected it.’

As England and Brazil head east to lock horns in the Doha desert this weekend, we thought we’d run down the top five moments between the Seleção and Three Lions. All of these stories and a whole lot more can be found in our new book England On This Day, available here and in all good (and some bad) bookshops.

1970: The greatest save ever made

It may not have been immortalised in song form by Baddiel and Skinner like his skipper’s famous tackle that day, but Gordon Banks’ diving save from Pele’s first-half header in the pulsating 1970 World Cup clash is about as good as it gets. As the Santos striker nodded the ball down he began to turn away, shouting ‘Gooooal’, but Banks flung himself across his goal ‘like a salmon leaping up a waterfall’ as Pele himself later put it when the Stoke ‘keeper managed to tip the ball over the bar. ‘At that moment I hated Gordon Banks more than any man in soccer,’ explained Pele, before obviously remembering he never slags anyone off in case he risks losing a sponsorship deal. ‘But when I cooled down I had to applaud him with my heart for the greatest save I have ever seen.’

1984: Barnes Out-Brazils Brazil

Seasoned football spectators at the Maracanã are no doubt used to seeing players score after mazy 50-yard dribbles every other week, but not surely from young Watford midfielders. Having failed to qualify for Euro 84 England had nothing better to do than to turn up in Rio for an end of season friendly against the Seleção. Picking the ball up just inside the Brazil half Barnsey slalomed his way through the entire Brazilian defence before slotting past the ‘keeper to put England ahead. The Three Lions triumphed 2-0, handing Brazil their first defeat at the Maracanã for 27 years. Barnes said later: ‘I don’t remember much about my goal – I always liken it to an out-of-body experience. I look at it on TV now and I can’t remember doing any of it.’

1992: Lineker misses from the spot

England hosted Brazil at Wembley in a pre-Euro 92 friendly looking for a morale-boosting win before heading out to Sweden. Graham Taylor’s skipper Gary Lineker was eyeing up one last England swansong before his move to Japan’s Grampus 8 after the tournament, with the Spurs striker one short of equalling Bobby Charlton’s record of 49 England goals. When the Three Lions were awarded a penalty with the score at 0-0, up he stepped, but fluffed his chance to equal the record as his weak effort was saved by Carlos in the Brazilian goal. Things didn’t get any better for Lineker that summer, as he failed to find the net in England’s woeful Euro 92 campaign before being infamously subbed off against Sweden and being forever marooned on 48 international goals.

1962: Jimmy Greaves plays Dr Doolitle

England’s World Cup quarter-final against Brazil in 1962 wasn’t a particularly good day at the office, as a Garrincha-inspired Brazil team eased to a 3-1 win, but it did produce one of the more amusing on-pitch moments in England history. A stray dog ran on to the pitch and evaded everyone until Jimmy Greaves got down on all fours and beckoned the canine. He then grabbed the pooch who promptly urinated all over him. ‘I smelt so bad, but at least it meant the Brazilian defenders stayed clear of me,’ he said. Garrincha thought the whole thing was hilarious and kept the dog as a pet.

2002: Sven’s Half-time Team Talk

It was looking good for England. The nation had done the usual trick of being whipped up into a patriotic frenzy, convincing herself that 38 years of hurt was soon to be gone and England would romp to the 2002 World Cup title. As half-time approached England were 1-0 up against Brazil in their quarter-final clash in Shizuoka and keeping the Brazilians at bay. But in stoppage time Rivaldo popped up to equalise, and it was time for Sven-Göran Eriksson to start earning his money with a rip-roaring team talk. However, five minutes after the break England were 2-1 down thanks to a freak Ronaldinho goal, who lofted a 40-yard free kick over a flailing David Seaman after spotting the Arsenal stopper off his line. The lad had obviously done his homework. Even a 56th-minute red card for Ronaldinho didn’t stop the Brazilians, who held on to a 2-1 win on their way to winning a fifth World Cup. Gareth Southgate pointed the finger of blame solely at the Swede: ‘When we needed Winston Churchill, we got Iain Duncan Smith.’

November 8 – Coppell Quits City and Who’s the Pisshead in the Black?

A mid-’90s Manchester City show how not to run a football club and a referee in Germany has one or two too many pre-match jars.

1996 – Coppell Quits City

AS Mark Hughes wonders how many more points he can drop before the Abu Dhabi United group get an itchy trigger finger, it’s back to 1996 when the City job saw enough managerial changes to make even Jesus Gil blush. Find out what happened here.

1975 – Who’s the Pisshead in the Black?

FOOTBALL and booze have got a long history together. Whether it’s George Best lamenting that “I spent a lot of money on booze birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered,” England’s infamous Euro ‘96 dentist chair celebration or Paul McGrath turning out half-tanked, the two have always gone hand-in-hand. Most of the time though, football’s drinking culture doesn’t involve the referee, but today in 1975 German official Wolf-Dieter Ahlenfelder turned up to officiate a Bundesliga clash after a few too many pre-match shandies. Read more.


Let’s all laugh at referees.

November 7 – Hearts of Darkness and Spurs Derby Joy

Dodgy goings-on at Scotland’s most controversial club and the rarest of things – a derby win for Spurs!

1999 – Spurs Derby Joy

Tottenham have enjoyed little success over Arsenal recently and you have to go back to this day in 1999 for the last time Spurs came out on top in a League match. Read more here.

2005 – Hearts of Darkness

EVER heard the one about the Lithuanian banker, title-challenging Scottish club and a convicted sex offender? Welcome to Heart of Midlothian, Scotland’s most colourful club, where today in 2005 former Portsmouth manager and convict, Graham Rix took over the table-topping side. Click here for more.


Team bonding, Romanov style.

November 6 – Fergie Storms In and Kidnap!

Manchester United hit the jackpot and the dodgy side of South American football raises it’s ugly head in today’s journey into the OTFD vaults.

1986 – Fergie Storms In

IN the history of good decisions, this one was a belter. You have to tip your hat to the big cheeses at Old Trafford because it was on this day in 1986 that Sir Alex Ferguson was appointed Manchester United manager. Read more.

2004 – Kidnap!

Today in 2004 the mother of Brazilian superstar Robinho was kidnapped by bandits who then demanded a ransom from the player for her release and ordered him not to play football while they had her. Read on here.


A young Robinho showing he’s got the skills to pay the (in this case very gritty) bills.

November 5 – Mind the Gap and Huddersfield Shanked

Herbert Chapman gets the better of the London Underground and Bill Shankley’s managerial career gets a leg up in Yorkshire.

1932 – Mind the Gap

IF you had to pin down Arsenal’s current position at the sharp end of football to just two men, one would have the be Arsene Wenger. The other, without a doubt would be Herbert Chapman. Read what he was up to today here.

1956 – Huddersfield Shanked

WITH Huddersfield wallowing around in the third flight of English football it’s easy to forget that two of the greatest managers of all-time have sat in the dug-out at their former Leeds Road home. The first was Herbert Chapman, who led them to three successive titles in the 1920s and the other was Bill Shankly, who was appointed today in 1956. Read more.


“All good pals and jolly good company.” Quite.

November 4 – Guardiola’s Pepped-up and the Russians are Coming!

A bad day for Pep and post-war England is treated to some rather talented visitors in today’s trip down memory lane.

2001 – Guardiloa’s Pepped-Up

SINCE Barcelona legend Pep Guardiola took over the managerial reigns at the Camp Nou last summer he’s not done a bad job, with trophies and goals galore. It was a different story today in 2001 though, as the Spanish midfielder failed a drugs test. Read more here.

1945 – The Russians are Coming

CROYDON airport, November 4th 1945. As war-ravaged England struggles to get over the hardships of six years of conflict an aeroplane touches down from Moscow bringing some much needed excitement to the capital as Dynamo Moscow became the first Soviet club to visit the UK. See how they got on here.


Hyperbole-tastic Pep Guardiola video

November 3 – The Life of Brian and Lights, Camera, Corruption!

Dodgy dealings in London town and Brian Kidd finds out that it’s tough at the top in today’s football history round-up.

1999 – The Life of Brian
HE’S not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy! Well, perhaps not naughty, but certainly not the managerial messiah.

It was on this day in 1999 that Brian Kidd proved what Steve McLaren is proving daily, namely that good number twos very rarely make good number ones, when he was sacked as Blackburn Rovers manager. Read on here.

1997 – Lights, Camera, Corruption

TODAY in 1997 West Ham United were hosting Crystal Palace in an evening Premiership fixture between the two London sides. Find out what dodgy dealings went on here.


Just because you can do this, doesn’t mean you’ll be a good gaffer…

November 2 – Watch Out Alfie, Keano’s Back and Game, Set, Match

Some cross-sport shenanigans in Hull and Keano’s back on the prowl in our footballing round-up.

1997 – Game, Set, Match

CROSSING over from one professional sport to another is rarely a good idea. Think Dwain Chambers and Sir Clive Woodward for recent examples, but today we are looking at a match made in Hull between football and tennis. Click here to find out what happened.

2002 – Watch Out Alfie, Keano’s Back

“I’d waited long enough. I fucking hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you c***. And don’t ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries.”

And so it was proved that the pen was mightier than the sword, as Roy Keane’s autobiography got him in a spot of bother with the FA, who invoked a five match ban that ended today in 2002 following his x-rated challenge on Alf-Inge Haaland in the 2001 Manchester derby. Read more.


Roy v Alf, rounds one and two.

November 1 – Out With Ossie and Milan Hits the Midlands

A dodgy character in at Leicester and Spurs in more managerial maneuvering.

2006 – Milan Hits the Midlands

LEICESTER City fans have been put through the mixer a fair bit the last few seasons, having to endure administration, relegation and even a strike force led by Adi Akinbiyi. Today in 2006 another dodgy character came onto the scene as Milan Mandaric bid to take over the Foxes. Read more.

1994 – Out With Ossie

PINCH punch, first of the month and here at OTFD we’re kicking November off with another managerial casualty.

Despite losing his job in the most underhand way, poor old Martin Jol can at least console himself with the fact that it was ever thus at Tottenham. It was on this day in 1994 that Spurs dispensed with the services of Osvaldo Ardiles as manager, just 16 months after giving him the job. Read the whole story here.


Ossie and the Spurs team in happier days