Archive for the ‘Football’ Category
Becks retirement: Iconic football legend David Beckham deserves his special place in history of the beautiful game
There is no player in the history of the game who has done more to promote English football than David Beckham. And his retirement at the age of 38 will trigger tributes from around the world because his contribution to the sport has been unique.
Icon, celebrity, legend, superstar, ambassador. No one can bend it like Beckham. And no-one has given back so much to the beautiful game.
He may not be the greatest footballer who ever played the game. But Becks represents something special. Throughout his career he has made the most of his incredible talent, consistently revelled in proving the critics wrong when they have tried to write him off and brought glamour, dignity and pride to representing his country and a glittering array of the world’s most famous football clubs.
At Old Trafford he starred in the team that won an unprecedented Treble in 1999. But when Manchester United sold him to Real Madrid in 2003 after his infamous fall-out with his mentor and father-figure Sir Alex Ferguson, Becks was being outshone by a galaxy of stars.
It has been the same in Madrid, Milan, Los Angeles, Paris and during his long and illustrious England career. But there is no footballer who has worked harder to make the most of his god given talent, to defy the critics who regularly tried to write him off or to win over the fans who did not always love him.
There is no greater measure of the man than the way he turned around the obscene hatred he endured after being sent off in the 1998 World Cup for petulantly kicking out in that epic quarter-final defeat by Argentina.
The way he singled-handedly dragged England to the 2002 World Cup with an unbelievable performance in the decisive qualifying match against Greece was the stuff of legend, crowned by his remarkable injury time free-kick that completed the journey from villain of 98 to glorious hero.
Born on 2 May 1975, David Robert Joseph Beckham made his name playing for his boyhood heroes Manchester United. As a youngster he attended one of Bobby Charlton’s football schools in Manchester and won the chance to take part in a training session at FC Barcelona. After trials with Leyton Orient, Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur, he became part of a famous group of youngsters who won the FA Youth Cup for Manchester United in May 1992.
He went on loan to Preston in 1994/95 before returning to Old Trafford and making his Premier League debut for Manchester United in a goal-less draw against Leeds United on 2 April 1995. At United he went on to win six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the European Champions League with United in that famous Treble-winning year of 1999.
In 2003 he signed for Real Madrid where he spent four years winning the La Liga championship in his final season before joining LA Galaxy. His five-year spell in America included a mid-season loan spell with AC Milan in 2009. He finally left the States to join Paris Saint-Germain in 2013 where he bows out at the top after winning the French League.
Beckham’s international career saw him win 115 caps for England between 1996 and 2009, including six years as captain. Twice runner-up for the FIFA World Player of the Year, he was the world’s highest-paid footballer in 2004 when his commercial earnings boosted his salary at Real Madrid.
Wigan’s FA Cup giant-killing glory ultimate fairytale for David Whelan and vindication for sticking by Roberto Martinez
Never has there been a bigger upset in the FA Cup than Wigan’s last minute goal from substitute Ben Watson to win the world’s most famous domestic knockout trophy – and what a fairytale for much loved chairman David Whelan to see his minnows leave the planet’s richest club Manchester City trophy-less.
It was wonderful to see Whelan, who broke his leg playing in the 1960 FA Cup final defeat for Blackburn against Wolves, lead the team out at Wembley. And the Latics supremo could not have dreamed up a more romantic storyline than the Roy of the Rovers winner from Watson, six months after being ruled out for over half the season with a fractured shin.
Whelan has stood by his manager Roberto Martinez with the loyalty and pride of a father figure, despite season after season fighting relegation. There is no better manager-chairman relationship in British football – and it was pure theatre the way Martinez made the decisive substitution when he sent on Watson for his moment of destiny.
It was the stuff of legends the way Wigan defied all the odds and outplayed their mega-rich neighbours with a brand of swashbuckling football that is typical of their hugely talented manager Martinez. When Watson rose magnificently to head home Shaun Maloney’s corner that flattened 10-man City, minutes after Pablo Zabaleta has been sent off, it was no more than the Latics deserved.
City boasts of future domination looked lame as Roberto Mancini lost the tactical battle and failed to inspire his team
Beaten boss Roberto Mancini may have been given a bottomless budget to buy success since taking over from Mark Hughes in December 2009. But his team were again a pale shadow of the side that got lucky last May when they stole the Premier League title off Manchester United with the last kick of the season from Sergio Aguero.
For all his resources and his club’s boasts about future domination, City have under-achieved during his reign. It is ironic that a week in which the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement – prompting premature predictions from the Etihad that a shift in the balance of power in Manchester is on its way – that the Blues have blown their chance to make a statement on the pitch.
Yaya Toure made the mistake of taking victory against Wigan for granted and talking about a power shift when he highlighted the prospect of City benefitting from Ferguson calling it a day in the dugout. “He has built everything at United and the balance I hope will go to the City side now,” said the Ivory Coast midfielder.
Instead of celebrating their third trophy in three seasons, the talk now is whether or not Mancini will be allowed to carry on as manager, despite being rewarded with a new five year contract last summer. Rumours that the City boss will be replaced by Manuel Pellegrini will accelerate despite Mancini insisting such headlines are “rubbish.”
The truth is that while Champions United have restored sanity and promised continuity by giving outstanding British boss David Moyes a six year contract to succeed Ferguson, City are a club with owners who have previously demonstrated they have no patience when they discarded Hughes to bring in Mancini .
How significant is Mancini’s lament when asked about his future that he complained: “Why didn’t my football club do something to stop the rumours.” The uncertainty, whether intended or not, can only have distracted his players in their preparation for the cup final.
Meanwhile, it is the consistency of triumphant chairman Whelan who so richly deserved the glory of completing his “unfinished business in the FA Cup” that has been rewarded. No-one in football will begrudge the 76-year-old owner his finest hour. Huge credit too must go to Martinez, who has returned the loyalty shown by his chairman and battled on with Wigan despite previous offers from bigger clubs including Aston Villa
Not only is it a fairytale conclusion to a dream that began thirty five years ago for Wigan, when the club was in the Northern Premier League. But it is proof, if proof is needed, that a long term plan is more satisfying and rewarding than the populist demands for instant success.The final twist will come over the next seven days as the Latics fight for Premier League survival in their two remaining games, at Arsenal on Tuesday and then at home to Villa.
However the story ends Wigan’s FA Cup heroes have earned a unique place in football folklore.
Two days later . . . Mancini is sacked as United celebrate
13 May 2013 – A year to the day after leading Manchester City to their first League title in 44 years Roberto Mancini is sacked. In contrast, rivals Manchester United spent the evening parading the 13th Premier League title won by Sir Alex Ferguson who retires this week after an unprecedented 26 years in charge at Old Trafford.
This is the day that Manchester United fans have feared for so long that it feels like the end of the world. Sir Alex Ferguson is retiring as manager.
Most of his squad was not even born when Fergie arrived at Old Trafford from Aberdeen in November 1986 and set about “knocking Liverpool off their perch.”
To simply catalogue his achievements and a record breaking haul of 38 trophies in 26 years that have made him the most successful British manager of all-time is only part of this epic story.
The Governor from Govan is not just a man, not just a legend – but simply the best.
He has not merely won trophies. The Emperor has built a dynasty. He has restored pride and glory to the most famous football club in the world. He has created a never-say-die spirit that gives the Theatre of Dreams a mystical aura that is indefinable. During Fergie’s reign his successes on the pitch have been reflected in the transformation of Old Trafford into one of the world’s greatest stadiums – the Mecca for a global following who worship the Red Devils. He has made generations of players past and present feel a unity and a belonging that is unique in the game. He is the godfather who oversees the family that is Manchester United.
We all knew that this day would come. But that does not diminish the feeling of shock that is reverberating around planet football as United’s vast army of fans in every corner of the world come to terms with the news.
Peter Schmeichel - who won five domestic titles and the Champions League, in United’s Treble winning year of 1999 – summed up the feelings of many when he tweeted: ‘Disappointed, shocked, sad. Didn’t think THAT day would be today.’
The voice of MUTV, my old pal Paddy Crerand was audibly shocked when he went on BBC 5 Live and declared: ”I’m just stunned. God help the poor fellow that’s going to have to follow him because the standard he has set is incredible.”
United’s chief executive David Gill, who said working with the Scot had been the “greatest experience” of his career, paid tribute by adding: ”What he has done for this club and for the game in general will never be forgotten.”
Fifa president Sepp Blatter tweeted: ”His achievements in the game place him without doubt as one of the ‘greats’. It was an honour to present Sir Alex with award at 2011 Ballon D’Or. Will his longevity at the top ever be repeated?”
Paul McGrath, who played under Ferguson during his early days at Old Trafford, simply tweeted: ‘Sir alex ferguson . Respect .!’
Michael Owen - who recently admitted his career would have lasted so much longer if he had started out at United and not Liverpool – said: ‘What a privilege to have played under arguably the best manager the world has ever seen.’
Paul Ince explained why the timing has been such a surprise: ”I was totally shocked. What he has done is unbelievable. You can’t explain winning all those Premier League titles not to mention the Champions League, FA Cups – he has done the lot and you will never see anyone of his kind again. Two weeks ago he was talking about staying on for another two years so it has come as a massive shock.”
The sense of shock was also reflected on by Dwight Yorke who said ”Is the timing ever right for Sir Alex Ferguson to retire? I don’t think so. I think he has really taken the football world by surprise.”
The tributes from around the world will be endless and #ThankYouSirAlex will trend on twitter for days to come.
When the great man walks out for the final home match of the season against Swansea City on Sunday, for the last time as Manchester United manager at Old Trafford, it will be one of the most emotional afternoons in the history of the club. It will be the day Fergie collects the Premier League title for an unbelievable 13th time, making it a record-breaking 20th League title in all for the Red Devils. It will be a day to reflect not just on the achievements of Sir Alex in winning trophies. But also to say a huge thank you to a man who has built an extraordinary Empire.
Why Sir Alex Ferguson must not walk away from Old Trafford when he vacates the Manchester United hot-seat
When Sir Alex Ferguson finally relinquishes the Manchester United hot-seat, and the frightening prospect for supporters of that happening in the next few days will be the biggest talking point in world football until the stock-exchange listed club make a formal statement, the greatest manager of all time must not be allowed to walk away from Old Trafford.
The Empire built by the Governor from Govan needs ongoing input from the man who created it, whatever the pundits and outsiders will have you believe. My firm belief is that there has to be a pivotal role for Sir Alex at the club once he steps down as manager.
The popular view among many so-called experts is that Ferguson will not want to replicate the disastrous scenario that followed the retirement of Sir Matt Busby. A catalogue of errors resulted in United being relegated to the old Second Division just six years after becoming the first English club to win the European Cup.
Not until well after Fergie’s appointment in 1986 did the Red Devils finally end a 26 year wait to become champions of England for the first time since Busby’s success in 1967.
But there is no comparison between the massive club that Manchester United have evolved into with the set-up that existed back in Sir Matt’s day. What Fergie has created is a complex multi-layered pyramid that is too big for any mere mortal to walk into and take over single-handedly overnight.
At United’s Carrington training ground Fergie has assembled a support system that is second to none. From the coaches and backroom staff to the top-secret medical science department that has helped guide players like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes to extended careers setting new standards in longevity.
The scouting network and youth academy that continually churns out youngsters with the pedigree, character and education to make the grade at the highest level are integral parts of the Empire that has consistently given United the edge in tackling all challengers, no matter how much money they invest in trying to conquer Fergie’s Kingdom.
There is also a big difference between the strength and depth of the current United squad assembled by The Boss compared to the ageing team in need of re-building handed over to Wilf McGuinness by Busby in May 1969. Even with George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton all still at Old Trafford, the squad that narrowly failed to retain the European Cup in 1969 was wafer-thin at a time when the club did not have the resources or the financial muscle that exists today.
Much will depend on whether Fergie’s successor is an established manager with the stature and aura of Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho, who the media have already told us is heading back to Chelsea, or an upcoming long-term leader with the potential to build a new era at Old Trafford.
Personally, I would like to see a former United legend like Ole Gunnar Solskaer, who understands how Old Trafford and Carrington ticks, to be moulded into the role for the long haul. Equally the highly rated David Moyes, once previously shortlisted as Fergie’s No.2 before he left Preston for Everton, has the pedigree and the potential to faithfully follow in Fergie’s footsteps.
But I also think there is an essential short-term role for a top coach with the high profile and experience of competing at the highest level to keep the ship steady while the apprentice is prepared for the top job.
Either way, there is a key role for Sir Alex to sit in the background and oversee the transition of power to the next generation because there is so much more to managing Manchester United than handing over the responsibility for coaching and team selection.
That is why, should the rumours turn out to be true that age has finally caught up with Sir Alex and the news that he faces a pre-season hip replacement will certainly restrict his involvement come August, I expect we will not be seeing The Boss walk away from his Empire – even if he does hand over the responsibility for managing the first team.
David Beckham – Derby County v Manchester United, 1996/1997
production company: VSI TV for VISIONSPORT
Born on 2 May 1975, David Robert Joseph Beckham is an iconic footballer who made his name playing for his boyhood heroes Manchester United. As a youngster he attended one of Bobby Charlton’s football schools in Manchester and won the chance to take part in a training session at FC Barcelona. After trials with Leyton Orient, Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur, he became part of a famous group of youngsters who won the FA Youth Cup for Manchester United in May 1992.
He went on loan to Preston in 1994/95 before returning to Old Trafford and making his Premier League debut for Manchester United in a goal-less draw against Leeds United on 2 April 1995. He went on to win six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the European Champions League with United, and was in the team that won the Treble in 1999.
In 2003 he signed for Real Madrid where he spent four years winning the La Liga championship in his final season before joining LA Galaxy. His five-year spell in America included a mid-season loan spell with AC Milan in 2009. He finally left the States to join Paris Saint-Germain in 2013.
Beckham’s international career saw him win 115 caps for England between 1996 and 2009, including six years as captain. Twice runner-up for the FIFA World Player of the Year, he was the world’s highest-paid footballer in 2004 when his commercial earnings boosted his salary at Real Madrid.
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Why Liverpool must make the sacrifice of punishing ‘Cannibal’ Luis Suarez with a minimum of a 10 match ban
Talk of banning Luis Suarez for life or making criminal charges against him for biting Branislav Ivanovic in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea is the over-reaction of a witch-hunt being whipped by by a media frenzy. There are many things that happen on a football pitch that are just as dangerous or outrageous that are not dealt with in such a brutal manner. But the Merseyside club must take the lead and hit the Uruguayan hard with a punishment that has real teeth.
It does not matter how much it hurts Liverpool. But to protect the good name of one of the world’s most famous football clubs, the owners and the management must send out a message that spells out how much shame serial offender Suarez has inflicted on the Merseysiders and the beautiful game.
Unless Liverpool come out and categorically reprimand Suarez and serve him with a minimum of a 10-match ban there is no doubt in my mind that the club’s reputation and image will be tarnished beyond repair. The timing of this latest moment of madness by a player who was being considered for the honour of footballer of the year is beyond embarrassment.
This is the week of the preliminary legal hearing which will set out parameters for new inquests for the 96 Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough. It is another big step on the 24-year road to justice led among others by Anne Williams, who refused to accept the establishment lies about the death of her son, Kevin, and whose own death, four days ago, was remembered with a minute’s applause before the match at Anfield.
Suarez is probably too stupid to recognise the damage he has inflicted. The reality is that he probably needs professional help from a shrink because he has not learned from his previous outrages which include a similar biting incident at his previous club Ajax. That offence three years ago earned him a seven-match ban and he never played for the Dutch club again.
It will be hard for Brendan Rodgers to give up on the outstanding player in his squad. And I believe there is still a future for Suarez at Anfield. But for the good of the game and Liverpool Football Club, how this matter is dealt with in the next 24 hours by the club itself will be crucial on so many levels. Speaking on Sky Sports former manager Graeme Souness spelt it out for the decision makers when he said: “It is about safeguarding the good name of the football club.”
There are few transformations in sport that can match the way Craig Bellamy has turned from a foul-mouthed rebel to a charmingly passionate footballer who has dedicated the twilight of his career to making history with his hometown club Cardiff City.
It is ironic that Bellamy has matured into an inspirational character and proved that people can change, just like the club he supports has reinvented itself and swapped its colours in the process of claiming a glorious promotion to the Premier League.
When Bellamy completed his return to Cardiff last summer he said taking his boyhood heroes to the top flight would be his greatest achievement. The way Bellamy has played such a pivotal role in making that dream become a reality crowns a fairytale promotion for the Bluebirds, who last played in the top league in 1962.
Promotion for Malky Mackay’s Cardiff comes 53 years to the day since they last won a place in the elite of English football. It completes a remarkable transformation for a club that controversially rebranded from blue shirts to red before the start of this promotion winning campaign.
Malaysian owner Vincent Tan has even suggested he may change the club’s name to Cardiff Dragons in his quest to maximise marketing and revenue potential back in Asia, where red is deemed a lucky colour and dragons are regarded as more impressive than bluebirds.
There is something quite poetic about the way Cardiff’s success in changing their identity and their fortunes is mirrored by the impressive way Bellamy has changed his own character and his image.
Back in 2005 we saw the worst of Bellamy when he sent abusive text messages to Alan Shearer after Newcastle’s FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester United. Bellamy was on loan from the Magpies at Celtic at the time and was universally shunned for insulting the Geordie legend.
For years the Welsh international divided opinion throughout a colourful and controversial career that took him from Newcastle and Celtic to Manchester City and Liverpool. His regular bouts of surly arrogance often overshadowed his undoubted talent and he did himself no favours when he infamously confronted Liverpool team-mate John Arne Riise with a golf club.
But there is another side to Bellamy, who has dedicated much of his time in recent years to his charity work with the Craig Bellamy Foundation, which educates disadvantaged youngsters through a football academy in Sierra Leone. Cardiff fans have seen the best of the Welshman who first caused genuine disbelief in 2010 when he started his campaign to get his hometown club promoted and initially went there on loan from Manchester City.
Three years later Cardiff City’s promotion remarkably means that 10 percent of the Premier League is now Welsh. Rivals Swansea having also celebrated this season by winning the Capital One Cup at Wembley.
Meanwhile, Bellamy’s reformation has coincided with a change in lifestyle influenced by Dr Steve Peters, author of mind-management book The Chimp Paradox, who helped the 33 year-old come to terms with the death of his friend and mentor Gary Speed.
Forget politics Paolo Di Canio will be judged by results on pitch – and odds favour clubs loyal to managers
BY JOHN GUBBA
The spotlight on the Premier League is so intense that it was no surprise that Paolo di Canio (above) stepped into a media frenzy when he controversially replaced Martin O’Neill at Sunderland. David Milliband guaranteed that when he cited the Italian’s self-confessed admiration of the former Fascist leader Benito Mussolini for his resignation from the board.
The big mistake Di Canio made was being slow to unequivocally declare that he is not a racist. Now that we have all moved on and the battle for survival on the football pitch enters its final countdown, the big question is ‘Has Sunderland’s outrageous gamble on a manager unproven at the highest level been a huge error or a stroke of genius?”
The odds are that Di Canio will fail. My guess is that Ellis Short was banking on the new manager syndrome producing a rapid reaction and a couple of wins to reverse his club’s fall like a stone down the League. But the Black Cats were silenced at Stamford Bridge after taking a surprise lead, and next up is Sunday’s biggest north-east derby in years when Di Canio takes on Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United at St James’s Park.
This is the pivotal battle that could make or break Di Canio’s quest for survival. While a surprise win would give Sunderland hope, defeat would leave them on the same points as third bottom Wigan having played two games more, with only five matches remaining.
Queens Park Rangers and bottom placed Reading are as good as relegated already and what they have in common with Sunderland is that all three clubs have sacked their managers this season. Of the other teams in the mix, Wigan, Aston Villa, Stoke City, Norwich, Newcastle and West Ham United have all remained loyal to their managers and that is why I believe they will all finish above Sunderland.
Only Southampton in 11th place have prospered since ditching Nigel Adkins in favour of Mauricio Pochettino. Personally I believe Adkins deserved more loyalty after two successive promotions, and it is testimony to the good job he has done that the Saints have marched clear of relegation.
In my book, any team that panics and sacks their manager during the course of a season deserves to be relegated above a club that stands by their man. The mere fact that sacking the manager does not guarantee survival, and the later that happens the longer the odds of success, is good for the game. That is why I hope that Di Canio fails in his mission to save Sunderland. Any political view he may or may not have is irrelevant.
But Benitez and Chelsea challenge theory sacking boss makes it harder to succeed
Meanwhile, there is one club that continually defies logic. Chelsea have made a habit of winning trophies after sacking managers. The longer this continues the more damage billionaire owner Roman Abramovich is inflicting on the beautiful game. But you have to admire Rafa Benitez for the way he has persevered despite being the most unpopular manager in the history of the club. The Spaniard has worked wonders since deciding he had nothing to lose by standing up against the fans and the owner.
With two trophies still on his radar after guiding Chelsea to the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and the Europa League, the additional prize of a top four finish to qualify for the Champions League could yet produce an unlikely treble that would put Benitez in danger of becoming popular with Chelsea fans.
While his opposite number Roberto Mancini will feel under pressure to deliver silverware when Chelsea take on Manchester City on Sunday for a place in the FA Cup Final, there is a feeling that Benitez has nothing to lose because he is out of a job whatever happens in the final month of the season. If that gives Rafa the edge, it will be another hammer blow for job security in football management.
Captain Rooney, Goldenballs on bench and Rio at the back spells a winning formula for Wenger’s United England
Let’s be honest. It is hard to tackle Gary Lineker’s defeatist attitude when he declares: “England do not have an earthly of winning the World Cup.”
So how about thinking outside the box and doing something radical. Cue the professor of football, Frenchman Arsene Wenger, who champions the idea of building the national team around the country’s most successful team. Add the influence of England’s most loyal servant David Beckham, the leadership and vision of Wayne Rooney, the panache and style of the world’s best footballing defender Rio Ferdinand and the new crop of kids from Old Trafford.
In other words let’s build the next England team around Manchester United – past and present – and put Wenger in charge to see if he can turn his vision into reality with the help of players who still know how to win trophies. No.2 Gary Neville will make sure the Frenchman does not neglect his defence – and Roy Hodgson can be the player liaison officer. During matches he can sit with the suits. Just don’t ask him to make any team talks because his Plan B is the same as his Plan A
Much that I admire Steven Gerrard, his leadership in Montenegro was undermined by a performance littered with sloppy mistakes. Like Frank Lampard his best days are behind him. But these golden oldies have an important supporting role to play on the bench along with Mr Golden Balls himself David Beckham.
Becks is back in the frontline with Champions League quarter-finalists Paris St-Germain. He’s the only English player still in the competition. And Carlo Ancelotti has made it clear he still thinks Beckham can deliver at the highest level by offering him another season’s contract that will take him up to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Let’s remind Stuart Pearce what an idiot he was by leaving the former Manchester United star out of his Team GB squad for London 2012 and make him Wenger’s assistant player-manager. We all know that Wenger loves Becks and he struck up a friendship with the Essex boy when he invited him to train with Arsenal.
Becks is an admirer of England’s great Arsenal protege Jack Wilshere having watched him at close quarters in training. He knows the boy will be magical supporting frontmen Rooney and Danny Welbeck, in a midfield surrounded by Ashley Young, Tom Cleverly and Michael Carrick, the most consistent performer at Old Trafford this season.
Everyone can see that Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are the future rocks at the back for England and even Roy Hodgson admits he got it wrong backing John Terry instead of Ferdinand. So how about Ferdinand and Smalling as centre backs with Jones pushing forward from the rightback berth. That leaves a space for Ashley Cole on the left. I am sure he can kiss and make up with his old pal Rio. Even the Chelsea man must have seen the tongue-in-cheek humour of that choc ice twitter jibe.
The goalkeeper has to be Joe Hart- an advocate of a United Manchester and good friends with Ferdinand and other players at Old Trafford – so there is no reason he will not fit into a United England. Former Reds keeper Ben Foster, meanwhile, is an outstanding deputy for the No.1 shirt.
So who will the captain be? I thought that was obvious. Rooney will revel in the role. Judging by the way he is starting to find his form again for England and the confidence boost he will receive from such a vote of confidence will bring out the best of a player yet to fulfil his true potential on the world stage.
It may be April Fool’s Day, but am I really joking here? Think about this formation and you tell me . . .
ENGLAND (4:1:3:1:1) – Hart; Jones, Smalling, Ferdinand, A.Cole; Carrick; Cleverly, Wilshere, Young; Rooney; Welbeck. Subs: Foster, Baines, Cahill, Beckham, Lampard, Gerrard, Defoe. Manager: Wenger. Assistant: Neville
This is the story of Ipswich Town’s brilliant promotion winning campaign that earned the Super Blues a place in the inaugural season of the Premier League. For manager John Lyall it was a glorious achievement, in only his second season in charge. And winning the old Second Division Championship meant Town stormed into the top flight in glorious fashion.
This official review of the season includes all the goals and all the highlights, including the celebrations on the promotion-clinching day at Oxford. The crowning of the champions followed with unprecedented scenes of jubilation at Portman Road, when Town beat Brighton in the season’s final match. And the party continued with a triumphant civic reception at the Town Hall.
Re-live the goals and the glory. Featuring Jason Dozzell, Chris Kiwomya, Neil Thompson, Mick Stockwell, Paul Goddard, Phil Whelan, Craig Forrest, David Linighan, player of the season John Wark and the rest of the Blues heroes who made it a season to remember.
Approximate duration: 104 minutes