Premier League Rewind: 22nd-23rd September 2012

Results: Swansea City 0-3 Everton, Chelsea 1-0 Stoke City, Southampton 4-1 Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Reading, West Ham United 1-1 Sunderland, Wigan Athletic 1-2 Fulham, Liverpool FC 1-2 Manchester United, Newcastle United 1-0 Norwich City, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Queens Park Rangers, Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal

It was still early days in the 2012-2013 season but even at this stage, it was intriguing to see who was setting the early pace and who had radical improvements to make.

One team who had the latter feeling were Liverpool FC. New manager Brendan Rodgers was still awaiting his first Premier League victory as Reds’ boss and it wasn’t going to get any easier with Manchester United the visitors to Anfield. It was a highly-charged atmosphere as this was the first game since the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel which had cleared the Liverpool supporters of any blame whatsoever from the 1989 tragedy where 96 supporters went to an FA Cup semi-final and never came home. Both managers pleaded pre-match for the two sets of fans to put aside rivalries on this day and unite together in the wake of these groundbreaking and emotional revelations from the panel’s findings.

Jonjo Shelvey wasn’t listening. A rash challenge on Jonny Evans saw the Liverpool midfielder sent off before half-time and his foul-mouthed tirade in the direction of Sir Alex Ferguson as he left the field won him no fans. Despite playing with 10 men, Liverpool FC took the lead early in the second half through the inspirational Steven Gerrard. They were quickly pegged back by Rafael’s effort before Robin van Persie’s well-placed penalty nine minutes from time ensured United left with all three points. Liverpool were now in the bottom three and remained one of six sides without a victory so far.

The win kept Manchester United in second spot and just a single point behind early league leaders Chelsea. The Blues required an 85th minute winner from Ashley Cole to beat a plucky Stoke City side 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. Arsenal came into the weekend in third spot but dropped out of the top four after drawing 1-1 at reigning champions Manchester City. Laurent Koscielny equalised in the 82nd minute after another centre-back in Joleon Lescott opened the scoring.

Unlike their Merseyside rivals, Everton were in brilliant form. The Toffees were traditional slow-starters but not in 2012-2013. They took apart Swansea City at The Liberty Stadium, winning 3-0. With one goal and one assist, Marouane Fellaini was once again the star man. Completing the top four were a surprise package in West Bromwich Albion. Romelu Lukaku’s 71st minute goal was the difference between the Baggies and Reading. They won 1-0 to sit fourth and leave Reading second-bottom and struggling to find their feet back in the top-flight.

Fellow Premier League returnees Southampton had made a wretched start, losing their first four games but they tasted victory for the first time in the campaign against Aston Villa. They trailed 1-0 at half-time but enjoyed a sensational second half display to win 4-1. Rickie Lambert scored twice and there were also first goals of the season for Nathaniel Clyne and Jason Puncheon. The other newly-promoted side were West Ham United and they had been doing better. However, they did require a Kevin Nolan injury-time equaliser to salvage a 1-1 home draw with Sunderland. The Black Cats had drawn their first four matches and Steven Fletcher had scored all of their four goals so far.

What else happened in September 2012?

  • Andy Murray becomes the first British male tennis player to win a Grand Slam since 1936 when he beats Novak Djokovic in five sets to win the US Open at Flushing Meadows.
  • Maria Miller is appointed Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, replacing Jeremy Hunt.
  • Chris Moyles hosts his final breakfast show on BBC Radio 1 and is replaced by Nick Grimshaw.
  • The updated version of the US soap opera Dallas makes its British television debut on Channel 5.
  • Neurosurgeon and Formula One medical delegate Professor Sid Watkins passes away aged 84 after a heart attack.
  • Iran’s support for Syria and nuclear plans sees Canada officially cuts diplomatic ties with them. The Canadians close their embassy in Tehran and orders the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from Ottawa.
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Referees in the Middle: Andy D’Urso

Premier League Career: 1999-2005

First Premier League Match: Sheffield Wednesday 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur (21 August 1999)

Final Premier League Match: Fulham 3-3 Aston Villa (28 December 2005)

Andy D’Urso blew the final whistle on his professional refereeing career at the end of the 2014-2015 season. However, he hadn’t been involved in the Premier League since December 2005 and his career in the top-flight effectively ended in a similar way to Graham Poll’s international dreams – only he didn’t show three yellow cards, he just didn’t send a player off for two bookings.

Based in Billericay, Essex, he is a member of the Barking & Dagenham Referees Society and was promoted onto the Premier League officials list in time for the 1999-2000 season. When he received his promotion, D’Urso had gathered five years of useful experience in the Football League.

In total, he took charge of 119 Premier League matches; the first appointment was at Hillsborough in August 1999 when Tottenham Hotspur won 2-1 away at Sheffield Wednesday. Later that season, he was involved in his first major controversy when taking charge of a game at Old Trafford between Manchester United and Middlesbrough.

D’Urso bravely awarded the visitors a penalty when Juninho was fouled by Jaap Stam. It was the first spot-kick given to a visiting team in the Premier League at Old Trafford since December 1993. The Red Devils were furious and chased after D’Urso, led by skipper Roy Keane. Nicky Butt, Denis Irwin, Stam, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham were all seen to be using behaviour that even led Manchester United to question their own conduct. Andy stuck to his principles but the penalty was ultimately saved and United won the game 1-0. The media showed the incident on a regular basis in the weeks that followed and it was the first major sign that the ‘Respect’ campaign between players and officials had been placed into great scrutiny.

D’Urso later said: “It was my first season in the Premier League, my first time refereeing Manchester United and my first time at Old Trafford. With more experience I would have stood my ground. I kept saying ‘go away,’ but the further back I walked the more they walked on. A more experienced referee would not have retreated. But there are no grudges. I’ve refereed Roy Keane on a number of occasions since without a problem.”

His worst moment came in a game between Southampton and Blackburn Rovers in August 2004 which the Saints won 3-2. Blackburn skipper Barry Ferguson scored in the match but was shown two yellow cards by D’Urso during the contest. However, he wasn’t sent off. He acknowledged the error in his match report and a red card was later included onto Ferguson’s disciplinary record.

However, the FA took a dim view to this incident and suspended him from refereeing duty for 28 days. He vowed to carry on with his career and successfully won an appeal against his decision to be relegated from the Select Group of officials. However, his regular days in the Premier League were over. His last match in the top-flight was a 3-3 draw in December 2005 between Fulham and Aston Villa.

D’Urso continued his career back in the Football League and in his final professional season, he became the first official to referee at every club in the top four divisions of English football when he took charge of the League Two encounter between Newport County AFC and Morecambe at Rodney Parade.

Great Goals: Muzzy Izzet – LEICESTER CITY vs. Tottenham Hotspur (October 1998)

Going into this match with Tottenham Hotspur, it was widely believed this would be Martin O’Neill’s last match in-charge of Leicester City. He was heavily rumoured to be succeeding George Graham at Leeds United, who had just filled the vacancy at Tottenham Hotspur.

Leicester would win this match 2-1 which was Graham’s first at the helm with Spurs. It needed a lovely goal to settle the contest infront of a full house at Filbert Street and it most definitely got this from Muzzy Izzet.

Steve Guppy’s deep free-kick was cleared by Les Ferdinand. His clearance fell straight to Izzet who produced a tremendous volley from the edge of the penalty area that sped past Epsen Baardsen in the Tottenham goal. His 86th minute strike was a fitting way to settle the match in Leicester’s favour.

Two days later, the Leicester fans got what they wanted. O’Neill confirmed he would be staying as the club’s manager and the Foxes achieved a second successive top 10 finish. Tottenham did get their revenge though, beating the Midlands club in a drab League Cup final at Wembley Stadium in March 1999.

Seasonal Records: 2016-2017

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2016-2017 Premier League campaign. After their dreadful title defence in 2015-2016, Chelsea bounced back under new manager Antonio Conte to claim a fifth Premier League title, finishing seven points clear of Tottenham Hotspur who enjoyed an unbeaten home season in their last campaign at White Hart Lane.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Chelsea 38 30 3 5 85 33 +52 93
2 Tottenham Hotspur 38 26 8 4 86 26 +60 86
3 Manchester City 38 23 9 6 80 39 +41 78
4 Liverpool FC 38 22 10 6 78 42 +36 76
5 Arsenal 38 23 6 9 77 44 +33 75
6 Manchester United 38 18 15 5 54 29 +25 69
7 Everton 38 17 10 11 62 44 +18 61
8 Southampton 38 12 10 16 41 48 -7 46
9 AFC Bournemouth 38 12 10 16 55 67 -12 46
10 West Bromwich Albion 38 12 9 17 43 51 -8 45
11 West Ham United 38 12 9 17 47 64 -17 45
12 Leicester City 38 12 8 18 48 63 -15 44
13 Stoke City 38 11 11 16 41 56 -15 44
14 Crystal Palace 38 12 5 21 50 63 -13 41
15 Swansea City 38 12 5 21 45 70 -25 41
16 Burnley 38 11 7 20 39 55 -16 40
17 Watford 38 11 7 20 40 68 -28 40
18 Hull City 38 9 7 22 37 80 -43 34
19 Middlesbrough 38 5 13 20 27 53 -26 28
20 Sunderland 38 6 6 26 29 69 -40 24

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1064
European qualifiers Chelsea (UEFA Champions League)

Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Champions League)

Manchester City (UEFA Champions League)

Liverpool FC (UEFA Champions League)

Manchester United (UEFA Champions League)

Arsenal (UEFA Europa League)

Everton (UEFA Europa League)

Longest winning run 13 games (Chelsea)
Longest unbeaten run 25 games (Manchester United)
Longest winless run 16 games (Middlesbrough)
Longest losing run 6 games (Crystal Palace, Watford and Hull City)
Highest attendance 75,397 (Manchester United vs. West Bromwich Albion)
Lowest attendance 10,890 (AFC Bournemouth vs. Middlesbrough)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
PFA Young Player of the Year Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur)
Football Writers’ Award N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
PFA Team of the Year David de Gea, Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Danny Rose, Kyle Walker, N’Golo Kante, Dele Alli, Eden Hazard, Sadio Mane, Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku
Manager of the Year Antonio Conte (Chelsea)
Premier League Goal of the Season Emre Can (Watford vs. LIVERPOOL FC)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Romelu Lukaku Sunderland vs. Everton 0-3 12th September 2016
Alexis Sanchez West Ham United vs. Arsenal 1-5 3rd December 2016
Jamie Vardy Leicester City vs. Manchester City 4-2 10th December 2016
Salomon Rondon West Bromwich Albion vs. Swansea City 3-1 14th December 2016
Andre Gray Burnley vs. Sunderland 4-1 31st December 2016
Harry Kane Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Bromwich Albion 4-0 14th January 2017
Romelu Lukaku (4) Everton vs. AFC Bournemouth 6-3 4th February 2017
Harry Kane Tottenham Hotspur vs. Stoke City 4-0 26th February 2017
Josh King AFC Bournemouth vs. West Ham United 3-2 11th March 2017
Harry Kane (4) Leicester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur 1-6 18th May 2017
Harry Kane Hull City vs. Tottenham Hotspur 1-7 21st May 2017

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Harry Kane Tottenham Hotspur 29
2 Romelu Lukaku Everton 25
3 Alexis Sanchez Arsenal 24
4= Diego Costa Chelsea 20
4= Sergio Aguero Manchester City 20
6 Dele Alli Tottenham Hotspur 18
7 Zlatan Ibrahimovic Manchester United 17
8= Eden Hazard Chelsea 16
8= Josh King AFC Bournemouth 16
10= Christian Benteke Crystal Palace 15
10= Fernando Llorente Swansea City 15
10= Jermain Defoe Sunderland 15
13 Heung-Min Son Tottenham Hotspur 14
14= Philippe Coutinho Liverpool FC 13
14= Jamie Vardy Leicester City 13
14= Sadio Mane Liverpool FC 13
17 Olivier Giroud Arsenal 12
18 Roberto Firmino Liverpool FC 11
19= Theo Walcott Arsenal 10
19= Sam Vokes Burnley 10
19= Troy Deeney Watford 10
22= Pedro Chelsea 9
22= Michail Antonio West Ham United 9
22= Gylfi Sigurdsson Swansea City 9
22= Andre Gray Burnley 9

 

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Hull City 1-7 Tottenham Hotspur 21st May 2017
Leicester City 1-6 Tottenham Hotspur 18th May 2017
Liverpool FC 6-1 Watford 6th November 2016
AFC Bournemouth 6-1 Hull City 15th October 2016
Chelsea 5-0 Everton 5th November 2016
Tottenham Hotspur 5-0 Swansea City 3rd December 2016
Manchester City 5-0 Crystal Palace 6th May 2017
Watford 0-5 Manchester City 21st May 2017
Chelsea 5-1 Sunderland 21st May 2017
Liverpool FC 5-1 Hull City 24th September 2016

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
9 Everton 6-3 AFC Bournemouth 4th February 2017
9 Swansea City 5-4 Crystal Palace 26th November 2016
8 Hull City 1-7 Tottenham Hotspur 21st May 2017
7 Leicester City 1-6 Tottenham Hotspur 18th May 2017
7 Liverpool FC 6-1 Watford 6th November 2016
7 AFC Bournemouth 6-1 Hull City 15th October 2016
7 Chelsea 4-3 Watford 15th May 2017
7 Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool FC 14th August 2016
7 Watford 3-4 Southampton 4th March 2017
7 AFC Bournemouth 4-3 Liverpool FC 4th December 2016
6 Chelsea 5-1 Sunderland 21st May 2017
6 Liverpool FC 5-1 Hull City 24th September 2016
6 West Ham United 1-5 Arsenal 3rd December 2016
6 Chelsea 4-2 Stoke City 31st December 2016
6 Chelsea 4-2 Southampton 25th April 2017
6 Crystal Palace 2-4 Liverpool FC 29th October 2016
6 Everton 4-2 Leicester City 9th April 2017
6 West Bromwich Albion 4-2 West Ham United 17th September 2016
6 Hull City 4-2 Middlesbrough 5th April 2017
6 AFC Bournemouth 3-3 Arsenal 3rd January 2017

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Angel Gomes Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace 16 years, 8 months, 20 days 21st May 2017
Ben Woodburn Liverpool FC 2-0 Sunderland 17 years, 1 month, 11 days 26th November 2016
Joel Asoro Sunderland 1-2 Middlesbrough 17 years, 3 months, 25 days 21st August 2016
Jonathan Leko West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Everton 17 years, 3 months, 27 days 20th August 2016
Josh Tymon Sunderland 3-0 Hull City 17 years, 5 months, 28 days 19th November 2016
Dion Pereira Leicester City 3-0 Watford 18 years, 1 month, 11 day 6th May 2017
Aiden O’Neill Burnley 2-0 Liverpool FC 18 years, 1 month, 16 days 20th August 2016
Tom Davies Everton 1-0 Stoke City 18 years, 1 month, 28 days 27th August 2016
Trent Alexander-Arnold Middlesbrough 0-3 Liverpool FC 18 years, 2 months, 7 days 14th December 2016
Sam Field West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Middlesbrough 18 years, 3 months, 20 days 28th August 2016

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Shay Given Crystal Palace 4-1 Stoke City 40 years, 4 months, 29 days 18th September 2016
Gareth McAuley West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Chelsea 37 years, 5 months, 7 days 12th May 2017
Paul Robinson Swansea City 3-2 Burnley 37 years, 4 months, 17 days 4th March 2017
Artur Boruc AFC Bournemouth 2-1 Burnley 37 years, 2 months, 23 days 13th May 2017
Marcin Wasilewski Leicester City 0-2 Everton 36 years, 6 months, 17 days 26th December 2016
John Terry Chelsea 5-1 Sunderland 36 years, 5 months, 14 days 21st May 2017
Peter Crouch Southampton 0-1 Stoke City 36 years, 3 months, 21 days 21st May 2017
Heurelho Gomes Watford 0-5 Manchester City 36 years, 3 months, 6 days 21st May 2017
Gareth Barry Arsenal 3-1 Everton 36 years, 2 months, 28 days 21st May 2017
John O’Shea Chelsea 5-1 Sunderland 36 years, 21 days 21st May 2017

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Thibaut Courtois Chelsea 16
2 Hugo Lloris Tottenham Hotspur 15
3= David de Gea Manchester United 14
3= Fraser Forster Southampton 14
5 Petr Cech Arsenal 12
6= Joel Robles Everton 10
6= Tom Heaton Burnley 10
8= Simon Mignolet Liverpool FC 9
8= Artur Boruc AFC Bournemouth 9
8= Kasper Schmeichel Leicester City 9

Memorable Matches: Charlton Athletic 2-5 Manchester City (December 2005)

Goalscorers: Andy Cole 25, 84, Darren Bent 36, Trevor Sinclair 37, Joey Barton 69, Jay Bothroyd 73, Darius Vassell 79

Teams:

Charlton Athletic: Dean Kiely, Hermann Hreidarsson, Chris Perry, Jonathan Spector, Luke Young, Matt Holland (Jerome Thomas 45), Alexei Smertin, Danny Murphy, Darren Ambrose (Bryan Hughes 81), Darren Bent, Jonatan Johansson (Jay Bothroyd 53)

Manchester City: David James, Sylvain Distin, Richard Dunne, David Sommeil, Ben Thatcher, Sun Jihai, Joey Barton, Claudio Reyna (Stephen Ireland 86), Trevor Sinclair (Lee Croft 86), Andy Cole (Bradley Wright-Phillips 86), Darius Vassell

Referee: Phil Dowd, Attendance: 25,289

After a strong start to the 2005-2006 Premier League season, Charlton Athletic were going through a trough. They had lost their last four matches and slipped into the bottom half of the table, having been as high as second in late September. They welcomed Manchester City to The Valley in early December, who had experienced their own difficult period, with just one point gained from three matches.

Stuart Pearce made five changes to his starting line-up from their previous match and his tactics worked. They were completely dominant in the first 25 minutes and opened the scoring through Andy Cole. Sylvain Distin’s clearing header effectively turned into an assist. Darius Vassell did the hard work, teasing the Charlton central defenders and Cole raced onto the loose ball and found the back of the net with the outside of his right foot. It ended their goalless run that had stretched 250 minutes.

Charlton were being overrun but did find a surprising equaliser on 36 minutes. Darren Bent got in behind the City backline to find the back of the net with a neat volley from a rather hopeful pass by Luke Young. However, their parity didn’t last long. Just over 60 seconds later, the visitors were back infront. Cole held up play superbly and found Trevor Sinclair. The midfielder held off the attentions of Jonathan Spector and drilled a powerful shot across Dean Kiely’s bows to restore the Citizens’ advantage.

With just over 20 minutes to go, Hermann Hreidarsson unnecessarily grappled with Vassell in the penalty area. Phil Dowd spotted the infringement and gave the penalty. Joey Barton’s penalty was poor and Kiely guessed right to save it. Unfortunately for the goalkeeper, Barton was fastest to the rebound and ensured Pearce’s side established a two-goal lead they could defend.

In a see-saw contest, Charlton once again gave themselves hope when Jay Bothroyd struck on 73 minutes, 20 minutes after his arrival from the substitutes bench. Danny Murphy rolled a free-kick into his path and his shot was too powerful for David James to stop.

However, Pearce’s lively side took the game away from Charlton in the last 11 minutes. Cole played Vassell through and the former Aston Villa man showed his speed to beat Kiely in a one-on-one situation. There was still time with six minutes to go for Cole to get his second of the afternoon. Barton punted a ball up the field and Chris Perry’s dreadful backward header allowed the predatory forward to get in-between the former Wimbledon defender and Kiely to add another goal to his collection.

Manchester City won this game but they finished two places below Charlton in the final standings.

Great Goals: Anton Ferdinand – WEST HAM UNITED vs. Fulham (January 2006)

In January 2006, West Ham United were enjoying a decent first campaign back in the top-flight after two seasons in the Championship. They played Fulham in a London Derby and produced a corking opening goal from Anton Ferdinand.

From a set-piece, Antti Niemi fisted the ball away but not far enough from danger. Marlon Harewood managed to win an aerial duel with his marker and next to him was centre-back Ferdinand. Watching Harewood’s movement, he swivelled on the edge of the penalty area and produced a cracking volley which left Upton Park in complete awe. It was the kind of finish you would expect from a creative midfielder, not a tough-tackling central defender.

Anton’s brother, Rio Ferdinand had scored a stoppage-time winner for Manchester United against Liverpool FC 24 hours earlier. Rio’s goal might have been more crucial but Anton’s was definitely the better goal of the weekend.

Premier League Files: Nikica Jelavic

Premier League Career: Everton (2012-2014), Hull City (2014-2015), West Ham United (2015-2016)

Still playing in the Chinese Super League for Guizhou Zhicheng, Nikica Jelavic’s career has taken him to many different countries. The Croatian may not be the fastest forward or strongest attacker in any squad but he has a proven goalscoring record which he demonstrated with great efficiency at Everton and Hull City in the Premier League.

A former Croatian international who represented his country at the 2012 European Championships, scoring against the Republic of Ireland in the group stages, Jelavic played in Croatia, Belgium, Austria and Scotland before his time in English football began with Everton in January 2012.

He was just 17 when called into the senior side of his first club, Hajduk Split but injuries restricted his league appearance record for them to just 34. In July 2007, he was sold to Belgian top-flight club Zulte Waregem but his spell with them was unproductive, managing just three goals in 23 appearances.

Jelavic’s goalscoring instincts started to bear fruition at Rapid Vienna in the Austrian Bundesliga. He scored 27 goals in 71 league appearances for them before completing a £4 million move to Rangers in August 2010. Having featured in Rapid’s early qualifying matches in the UEFA Europa League, Jelavic was cup-tied from UEFA Champions League action but he was one of the leading stars in what currently stands as Rangers’ last title triumph before their financial meltdown.

He scored 19 goals in just 27 starts, ending with a better goal to game ratio than any other striker in the league, scoring the winning goal in the League Cup final against Old Firm rivals, Celtic. Jelavic’s strike to defeat Aberdeen in April 2011 was also voted the SFA Goal of the Season.

After scoring another 14 goals in the first 22 games of the 2011-2012 season, Jelavic moved to Everton for a fee of £5 million in January 2012. That was despite the Glasgow giants rejecting a bid from Championship side Leicester City that was higher than what they actually sold him for six months earlier.

David Moyes introduced him slowly into the starting XI but he became a regular starter when he scored in his first start for the club in March 2012. It also turned out to be the only goal of the game against Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park. In April, he struck in the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool FC and also scored twice in the epic 4-4 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford. That meant, he became the first Toffees player to score in five successive away games since Duncan McKenzie in the 1977-1978 season.

His exploits meant Jelavic became the first-ever Croatian to win the Premier League Player of the Month award, picking up the prize in April 2012. Despite being an Evertonian for less than six months, he finished as the club’s top scorer for the season with 11 goals. He started the 2012-2013 season in impeccable form, scoring goals in victories over Aston Villa, Southampton and a late winner against Tottenham Hotspur. However, his form took an alarming dip in 2013 and as the season reached its conclusion, Moyes often used the Nigerian forward Victor Anichebe as his first-choice striker.

Moyes left Everton in the summer of 2013 for Manchester United and although Jelavic initially won the main striking position back when Roberto Martinez took over as manager, the loan signing of Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea changed that statistic. Jelavic failed to score in the Premier League again for Everton and although he did score twice in an FA Cup third round win over Queens Park Rangers, he submitted a transfer request shortly afterwards, desperate to go and play some first-team football with a World Cup finals around the corner in Brazil.

In mid-January 2014, he signed for Hull City for an undisclosed fee and made an immediate impression. Jelavic formed an excellent understanding with fellow January striking recruit Shane Long and the pair scored enough goals to keep the Tigers away from relegation danger. Four goals came from Jelavic, including a double in a 4-0 away victory at Cardiff City. He made 16 appearances for Hull and on a personal perspective, it was mission accomplished. He was selected for the Croatian squad for the 2014 World Cup finals, starting the first match of the tournament against Brazil.

He finished as Hull’s top scorer in 2014-2015, scoring eight goals in 26 appearances but despite his best efforts, Hull were relegated on the final day of the season. On transfer deadline day in the summer of 2015, he switched to West Ham United and figured 13 times for the Hammers, scoring once in the Premier League in a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United. However, he was behind the likes of Diafra Sakho, Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia in the pecking order and when the money arrived from the Chinese Super League, Jelavic moved to Beijing Renhe in February 2016.

After a year with them, he transferred again, this time to current club Guizhou Zhicheng and with 30 goals already under his belt in 55 appearances in China; he continues to produce the goods, even into the latter period of his pretty productive career.

Memorable Matches: Liverpool FC 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur (February 2015)

Goalscorers: Lazar Markovic 15, Harry Kane 26, Steven Gerrard 53 PEN, Mousa Dembele 61, Mario Balotelli 83

Teams:

Liverpool FC: Simon Mignolet, Alberto Moreno, Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel, Emre Can, Steven Gerrard (Dejan Lovren 68), Jordan Henderson, Jordon Ibe, Lazar Markovic (Adam Lallana 79), Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge (Mario Balotelli 74)

Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris, Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Jan Vertonghen, Kyle Walker, Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason (Paulinho 69), Mousa Dembele (Roberto Soldado 85), Christian Eriksen (Nacer Chadli 81), Erik Lamela, Harry Kane

Referee: Phil Dowd, Attendance: 44,577

Both Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur were experiencing campaigns of contrasting fortunes ahead of this meeting in February 2015. Having come so close to landing the Premier League title a season earlier, Liverpool were down in seventh this time round but enjoying their best run of the campaign – unbeaten in eight matches. Tottenham had recently beaten Chelsea and Arsenal at White Hart Lane and looked to be the more serious challenger for a finish in the top four.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers had to deal with the absence of Raheem Sterling because of injury but it meant Daniel Sturridge could start a league match for the first time since the corresponding fixture in August. The England international looked dangerous throughout, hitting a post and forcing Hugo Lloris into a smart early save as the home side enjoyed the better start.

This was rewarded by the opening goal after 14 minutes. Sturridge played his part, winning an aerial challenge against Jan Vertonghen. He brought Lazar Markovic into play. The Serbian ran at the defenders and his shot trickled into the corner of the net. Lloris’ reaction afterwards confirmed his disappointment at not being able to keep this effort out. Liverpool’s lead lasted just 11 minutes. Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela combined to play Harry Kane through. Kane made the most of a slip at the crucial moment from Mamadou Sakho to score his 23rd goal in all competitions during his breakthrough season. Tottenham were winning the midfield battle and fully deserved to go into the dressing rooms at half-time having achieved parity.

The Reds regained their advantage in the 53rd minute. Sturridge was involved again, winning a penalty after committing a clumsy tackle from Danny Rose. Steven Gerrard made no mistake from 12-yards with his penalty taking the skipper into double figures once again for goals in what was his final season as an LFC player. This match always threatened to be one of the most exciting duels of the season and the fans at Anfield were not being disappointed. Tottenham drew the game level on the hour mark. Eriksen’s terrific free-kick was kept out by Simon Mignolet. Kane was sharp to the rebound and he squared the ball across the face of goal for Mousa Dembele to tap-in from close-range. Mignolet pleaded for an offside flag but replays showed Sakho had played Dembele onside.

The final twist in a match that had 30 shots on-goal came seven minutes from full-time. Adam Lallana’s brilliant cross was thrashed into the net by substitute Mario Balotelli. This was Balotelli’s 13th Premier League appearance for the Reds. Luck was shining on him although the Italian didn’t show any emotion in ending his goalscoring drought for Liverpool. It would turn out to be his only league goal for the club.

The win ensured Liverpool were now unbeaten in seven home league matches and took them to within a point of Tottenham in the table. They finished sixth and fifth respectively at the end of the season with Spurs finishing ahead thanks to the Reds’ final day capitulation away at Stoke.

Premier League Rewind: 20th-22nd December 1997

Results: Aston Villa 1-1 Southampton, Blackburn Rovers 3-0 West Ham United, Derby County 0-0 Crystal Palace, Leeds United 2-0 Bolton Wanderers, Leicester City 0-1 Everton, Liverpool FC 1-0 Coventry City, Sheffield Wednesday 1-4 Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Barnsley, Newcastle United 0-1 Manchester United, Wimbledon A-A Arsenal

This was the final round of matches before Christmas 1997, so the 1997-1998 Premier League table was beginning to take shape.

Defending champions Manchester United came into this round of fixtures four points clear. Whatever happened over the course of the weekend, they would spend Christmas Day on top of the table. They visited Tyneside to take on Newcastle United, who had been their closest challengers for the title in the last two seasons.

Newcastle though were not a factor this season and were beaten by their former hero, Andy Cole, whose second half header was enough to ensure a fifth successive victory for Alex Ferguson’s side since their November loss at Highbury to Arsenal. Peter Schmeichel though played a major part in them claiming the three points. His amazing save from a John Barnes header would earn him the ‘Save of the Decade’ at the Premier League 10 Seasons Awards in 2002.

Newcastle were 17 points off the pace and languishing in ninth spot having not won a single game in December. Instead, the nearest challengers to the Red Devils were the only other former Premier League title winners in Blackburn Rovers. Roy Hodgson’s side had lost just twice all campaign and responded brilliantly to a 4-0 loss at Old Trafford three weeks earlier. They consolidated second spot in the table, as they swotted aside West Ham United 3-0 at Ewood Park. Young prodigy Damien Duff scored twice for the home side whilst West Ham had Steve Lomas sent off.

Chelsea were enjoying their best run of form in the season and Ruud Gullit’s side would complete the top three on Christmas Day. They won 4-1 at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday. Former Owls player Dan Petrescu, Gianluca Vialli, Franck Leboeuf from the penalty spot and Tore Andre Flo all scored in another impressive away display from the Blues. It was Ron Atkinson’s first home defeat since returning to Wednesday for a second spell as manager.

Leeds United were having a good campaign in George Graham’s first full season in the dugout. They beat Bolton Wanderers 2-0 at Elland Road to remain in the top four. Liverpool FC edged out Coventry City 1-0 to move into fifth and above Arsenal, who were now trailing United by 13 points in the table. The Gunners had lost four of their last six Premier League games and their title hopes looked slim at this point in the season. However, they couldn’t respond to all their rivals winning earlier in the weekend.

13 seconds into the second half of their Monday Night Football match with Wimbledon at Selhurst Park, the floodlights failed with the scoreline at 0-0. The lights didn’t come back on and incredibly, a third Premier League match in the season had been abandoned because of floodlight failure.

After two heavy losses, there was some relief for new Tottenham boss Christian Gross as his side comfortably beat Barnsley 3-0 at White Hart Lane, ensuring the Tykes would be bottom of the table at Christmas. Despite the win, Spurs remained in the bottom three as did Everton, who recorded their first win and goal in five matches. Gary Speed’s 89th minute penalty beat Leicester City 1-0 at Filbert Street.

What else happened in December 1997?

  • There is a political wedding as the leader of the Conservative party, William Hague marries Ffion Jenkins.
  • Football legend Tom Finney and singer Elton John are among those knighted in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
  • After 44 years in service, the Royal Yacht, Britannia is decommissioned.
  • Inside Long Kesh prison in Northern Ireland, Ulster loyalist paramilitary leader Billy Wright is assassinated.
  • The highest grossing film of all-time, Titanic makes its premier in the United States.
  • The Kyoto Protocol is adopted by a UN committee.
  • The capital of Kazakhstan is moved from Almaty to Astana.

Referees in the Middle: Philip Don

Premier League Career: 1992-1995

First Premier League Match: Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 Nottingham Forest (19 August 1992)

Final Premier League Match: Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Newcastle United (8 May 1995)

Former school headteacher Philip Don was one of the Premier League’s stricter referees during its early inception. He wouldn’t take any verbal jousting from players and despite some notable achievements, his approach to the game after retirement from the middle in 1995 led to conflicts with other officials.

Originally from Sheffield, Don’s teaching career took him to Middlesex and this came at a time when referees were not considered to be a full-time occupation. By the age of 28, he had become a Football League linesman and became a referee in the top-flight in 1986.

He was promoted to the FIFA list in 1992 and his progress meant Philip often got the top matches or the most intensely scrutinised games in the Football League. In the same year, he took charge of the FA Cup final as Liverpool FC defeated Second Division Sunderland 2-0 at Wembley Stadium in what turned out to be Graeme Souness’ only honour as Reds manager.

Don got an even bigger milestone in 1994 when despite only having two years’ experience at international level; he was awarded the UEFA Champions League final. Dutchman John Blankenstein was initially the chosen individual to take charge of the showpiece in European club football which would take place in Athens that season between AC Milan and Barcelona. When he withdrew, Don stepped in and coped brilliantly in such an intimidating atmosphere. AC Milan didn’t mind the appointment, as they put in a riveting display to defeat Johan Cruyff’s team of superstars 4-0.

A few weeks later, he was England’s representative at the World Cup finals in the United States. With the national team having failed to qualify, Don was one of only a few Englishmen to be at the tournament (alongside coaches Jack Charlton and Roy Hodgson). He got two matches in the finals, which included Sweden’s penalty shootout triumph in the quarter-finals against Romania.

The 1994-1995 season would be his last, retiring five years earlier than he needed to. With full-time refereeing still a while away, he had to make a choice and his commitments as a headteacher meant the final whistle was blown on his refereeing career earlier than what many would have anticipated. In his final campaign, he took charge of the 1995 League Cup final between Bolton Wanderers and Liverpool FC.

Whilst teaching was his main passion, Philip was keen to change the way referees earned their living. He became Head of Refereeing at The FA towards the end of the 1990s and was the main man behind the new Select Group in 2001 which allowed referees to turn professional full-time and give up their other commitments. His persuasion and determination to ensure the job became a full-time role deserves widespread praise. It has made life easier for many upcoming youngsters. However, not everyone was happy with the change.

David Elleray, who had his own teaching career at Harrow preferred to maintain this and not turn professional leading to a series of disagreements with Don. His hard-line guidelines such as goalkeepers not being allowed to move off the goal-line during a penalty situation didn’t go down well with many officials. An example of this came in September 2003 when Leeds United goalkeeper Paul Robinson made a brilliant save against Birmingham City. However, for moving an inch off his line, the penalty was retaken and Birmingham scored from the second opportunity. Dermot Gallagher who gave the controversial decision looked uneasy when surrounded by Leeds players. He was following Don’s guidelines but it was clear he wasn’t comfortable with them. Don was eventually replaced in his role as Head of Refereeing by Keith Hackett with the general feeling that he’d gone as far as possible in the job.

He might have only taken charge of 60 Premier League matches but Philip Don was an outstanding referee and had it not been for him, referees might not have ever had the option to go full-time. However, his authoritative approach to the game wasn’t always appreciated by his fellow compatriots.

The Clubs: Bradford City

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
76 14 20 42 68 138 -70 62 2

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Stuart McCall 71
Dean Windass 62
David Wetherall 56
Andy O’Brien 54
Peter Beagrie 52
Gunnar Halle 51
Robbie Blake 50
Wayne Jacobs 45
Dean Saunders 44
Jamie Lawrence 39

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Dean Windass 13
Peter Beagrie 8
Robbie Blake 6
Benito Carbone 5
Lee Mills 5
Jamie Lawrence 4
Ashley Ward 4
Eoin Jess 3
Dean Saunders 3
David Wetherall 3

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Bradford City 3-0 Wimbledon 30th April 2000 1999-2000
Bradford City 3-1 Leicester City 23rd October 1999 1999-2000
Bradford City 2-0 Newcastle United 18th December 1999 1999-2000
Bradford City 2-0 Chelsea 22nd August 2000 2000-2001
Bradford City 2-0 Charlton Athletic 13th April 2001 2000-2001
Bradford City 2-0 Derby County 21st April 2001 2000-2001
Bradford City 3-2 Watford 22nd January 2000 1999-2000
Bradford City 2-1 Arsenal 5th February 2000 1999-2000
Bradford City 2-1 Coventry City 2nd December 2000 2000-2001
Leicester City 1-2 Bradford City 1st January 2001 2000-2001

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Manchester United 6-0 Bradford City 5th September 2000 2000-2001
Leeds United 6-1 Bradford City 13th May 2001 2000-2001
Bradford City 0-4 Sunderland 2nd October 1999 1999-2000
Manchester United 4-0 Bradford City 26th December 1999 1999-2000
Coventry City 4-0 Bradford City 18th March 2000 1999-2000
Bradford City 0-4 Manchester United 25th March 2000 1999-2000
Everton 4-0 Bradford City 15th April 2000 1999-2000
Bradford City 1-4 Sunderland 26th December 2000 2000-2001
Bradford City 0-3 West Ham United 28th August 1999 1999-2000
Leicester City 3-0 Bradford City 6th May 2000 1999-2000

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Paul Jewell 1 18th June 2000
Chris Hutchings 1 6th November 2000
Jim Jefferies 1 24th December 2001

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Bradford City 0-2 Liverpool FC 1st May 2001 22,057 2000-2001
Bradford City 1-1 Middlesbrough 5th May 2001 20,921 2000-2001
Bradford City 0-3 Manchester United 13th January 2001 20,551 2000-2001
Bradford City 1-2 West Ham United 24th February 2001 20,469 2000-2001
Bradford City 1-4 Sunderland 26th December 2000 20,370 2000-2001
Bradford City 2-2 Newcastle United 31st March 2001 20,160 2000-2001
Bradford City 0-3 Aston Villa 3rd February 2001 19,591 2000-2001
Bradford City 2-2 Manchester City 17th March 2001 19,117 2000-2001
Bradford City 2-0 Derby County 21st April 2001 18,564 2000-2001
Bradford City 2-0 Newcastle United 18th December 1999 18,286 2000-2001

 

Intro

Bradford City were one of the more unlikely clubs to reach the Premier League when Paul Jewell guided them to promotion in May 1999. The Bantams were tipped by many to go straight back down but a final day victory over Liverpool FC ensured survival for a second top-flight campaign. A messy 2000-2001 season saw relegation follow and the club have experienced tough times since, including a spell in the fourth-tier of English football and administration but they did reach the League Cup final against the odds in 2012-2013.

 

1999-2000

Bradford made a wonderful start to their maiden Premier League campaign as Dean Saunders’ late winner saw them defeat Middlesbrough on the opening day of the season at The Riverside Stadium. They were gifted another away victory a month later at Derby County by a Horacio Carbonari own goal but they managed just two more victories before Christmas. As anticipated, Bradford spent most of the season at the wrong end of the table and also lost a thrilling contest at West Ham 5-4, despite leading 4-2 at one point. However, they unexpectedly beat Arsenal and three wins from their last four games saw them edge out Wimbledon and maintain their place in the top-flight.

Dean Windass finished as top goalscorer, having also netted in the win over the Gunners and David Wetherall’s header beat Liverpool FC at Valley Parade on the last day to create unbridled joy at the ground. The win was tempered a month later when Paul Jewell walked out on the club to take charge of relegated Sheffield Wednesday.

 

2000-2001

It was Jewell’s assistant, Chris Hutchings who would take charge of the club in 2000-2001 and they spent money to bring in the likes of Benito Carbone, Dan Petrescu and David Hopkin to the club. They beat Chelsea 2-0 in their first home match of the season but that would be the only victory Hutchings would experience as manager.

He was sacked after a 2-0 defeat to Charlton Athletic in early November and replaced permanently by Jim Jefferies, who moved down from Scottish football. Bradford had dropped into the bottom three in mid-September and they would not escape the drop zone again for the remainder of the season. Jefferies only oversaw four victories in his 24 matches’ in-charge and their relegation was confirmed after defeat to Everton on 28th April.

He wasn’t helped by the departure during the season of Andy O’Brien to Newcastle United, Hopkin back to Crystal Palace and Dean Windass to Middlesbrough.

Great Goals: Maynor Figueroa – Stoke City vs. WIGAN ATHLETIC (December 2009)

Honduran international Maynor Figueroa was a slightly underrated player. He put in some great displays during his time as a Premier League player for both Wigan Athletic and Hull City. At Wigan, he produced an eye-catching moment in December 2009 at Stoke’s Britannia Stadium which ended up deservedly winning the 2009-2010 Goal of the Season award.

Wigan’s on-loan winger Scott Sinclair won a free-kick just inside his own half. There didn’t look like to be any danger for the Stoke defenders to seriously worry about. Figueroa though had other ideas. Quick-thinking and spotting Thomas Sorensen off his line, he launched the free-kick at goal from 50+ yards. He judged it absolutely perfectly as the ball flew over Sorensen and into the net. Some goals from the halfway line are considered to be lucky. This one was all about judgement and perfection. Figueroa clearly meant this and it worked to perfection.

The points were shared on the day between the sides in a 2-2 draw but the headlines were all about this brilliant moment from an unlikely goalscoring source.

25 years of the most envied league in the world!