Premier League Rewind: 18th-19th August 2001

Results: Charlton Athletic 1-2 Everton, Derby County 2-1 Blackburn Rovers, Leeds United 2-0 Southampton, Leicester City 0-5 Bolton Wanderers, Liverpool FC 2-1 West Ham United, Middlesbrough 0-4 Arsenal, Sunderland 1-0 Ipswich Town, Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Aston Villa, Chelsea 1-1 Newcastle United, Manchester United 3-2 Fulham

The opening weekend of the 2001-2002 Premier League season saw 28 goals in its first weekend with a new title sponsor. Barclaycard had taken over sponsorship rights over the summer from Carling.

Fulham were welcomed into the Premier League family and they had a daunting first fixture too against reigning Premier League champions Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson was looking to achieve four titles in a row in what at the time we thought was going to be his final campaign in the dugout at Old Trafford.

They were pushed all the way by the newcomers, with Louis Saha making an immediate impression. The Frenchman scored twice as Fulham led twice but their best efforts were cancelled out by United’s new £19 million striker. Ruud van Nistelrooy helped himself to a debut double and the home side came away with all three points in a nervy 3-2 victory.

Unlike Fulham, Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers did boast previous Premier League experience. They both returned to the top-flight on this weekend, with mixed fortunes. Blackburn lost 2-1 at Derby County, as Fabrizio Ravanelli scored a trademark free-kick on his return to English football.

On the other hand, Bolton had a day to savour at Filbert Street, crushing Leicester City 5-0. The outstanding Per Frandsen scored two free-kicks and Kevin Nolan also scored twice as the pressure cranked up on Leicester boss Peter Taylor.

There was a bad-tempered match on Teeside as Arsenal travelled to Middlesbrough. Steve McClaren’s first game as a Premier League boss ended in a 4-0 home defeat as Arsenal began their extraordinary run of scoring in every single league match in the season. Both Ugo Ehiogu and Ray Parlour were sent off with two late goals by Dennis Bergkamp making the scoreline look more flattering than how the actual game developed.

Liverpool FC had Michael Owen to thank once again. Owen continued where he left off from the previous season in his dream year which saw him finish as the European Footballer of the Year. He scored twice as the Reds defeated West Ham United 2-1 at Anfield. Lastly, Chelsea and Newcastle United shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge. This match was more notable as it was the first game in the UK that was made available via a pay-per-view subscription model. Premiership Plus would be around on the Sky platform for the next five seasons.

What else happened in August 2001?

  • Former royal butler Paul Burrell is charged with theft of items that belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales. The prosecution collapses three months later.
  • A plane crash in the Bahamas claims the life of American R&B performer Aaliyah and eight members of her record company. She was just 22-years-old.
  • Law goes into effect in Germany legalizing same-sex registered partnerships.
  • Whitney Houston signs the largest contract in music history with Arista Records, a six-album deal worth over $100 million.
  • Michael Schumacher wins the FIA Formula One World Championship with victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest. It is the German’s fourth world title.
  • The BBC introduces a fourth weekly episode of EastEnders, to be broadcast at 8pm every Friday night.
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Shock Results: Arsenal 2-3 West Bromwich Albion (September 2010)

Goalscorers: Peter Odemwingie 50, Gonzalo Jara 52, Jerome Thomas 73, Samir Nasri 75, 90

Teams:

Arsenal: Manuel Almunia, Gael Clichy, Laurent Koscielny (Carlos Vela 66), Sebastien Squillaci, Bacary Sagna, Emmanuel Eboue (Jack Wilshere 56), Abou Diaby (Tomas Rosicky 56), Alex Song, Samir Nasri, Andrey Arshavin, Marouane Chamakh

West Bromwich Albion: Scott Carson, Pablo Ibanez, Gonzalo Jara, Jonas Olsson, Nicky Shorey, Youssouf Mulumbu, Paul Scharner (Steven Reid 71), Chris Brunt, James Morrison (Graham Dorrans 78), Jerome Thomas (Somen Tchoyi 83), Peter Odemwingie

Referee: Michael Oliver, Attendance: 60,025

West Bromwich Albion arrived at The Emirates Stadium in September 2010 on a real high. They had just beaten their local rivals Birmingham City in the Premier League and dumped big-spending Manchester City out of the League Cup in midweek. Nevertheless, their chances of overcoming Arsenal were seen as quite low. 19 top-flight matches had passed since they’d won away from The Hawthorns.

Arsenal were missing the injured Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott but started strongly and it took some desperate clearances to stop West Brom falling behind very early on. Russian playmaker Andrey Arshavin hit the post and the main forward, Marouane Chamakh, headed narrowly wide from a Bacary Sagna cross. However, Roberto Di Matteo’s side had taken some lessons from Sunderland having frustrated the Gunners a week earlier. Their high pressing style and ability to close down space meant Arsenal’s most influential players weren’t able to get the time and space they normally would to dictate the tempo of the match. Nine minutes before half-time, Albion had a golden opportunity to take the lead.

Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia charged off his goal-line and chopped down the Nigerian forward Peter Odemwingie. It was a poorly-timed challenge and Michael Oliver correctly awarded a spot-kick. Up stepped the captain of the club, Chris Brunt. However, his penalty was weak, not fully in the corner and Almunia guessed right to redeem himself for giving away the opportunity in the first place.

It was 0-0 at half-time but the visitors, who might have felt they’d squandered their best chance, would get a catalogue of charitable moments in the second half which was clearly unexpected. Five minutes into the second half, former Arsenal player Jerome Thomas escaped Sagna on the by-line and pulled the ball back for Odemwingie to finish smartly. It was his third goal in just five matches for the club.

Two minutes later, it was 2-0. Brunt’s back heel underneath Gael Clichy’s legs played Gonzalo Jara through. The full-back tried his luck and it somehow beat Almunia who made a feeble attempt to save the shot at his near post. The game was as good as over after 73 minutes. Brunt pounced on some hesitant goalkeeping from Almunia, squared the ball across the box and Thomas finished into an empty net.

Samir Nasri did pull two goals back late on but the damage had been done and West Bromwich Albion held on for a deserved victory. This was the highlight of Di Matteo’s West Brom reign. He was sacked in February 2011 after a run of 13 defeats in 18 games but under the guidance of Roy Hodgson, the club survived comfortably in 11th position.

Memorable Matches: Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-3 Blackburn Rovers (May 2011)

Goalscorer: Jason Roberts 22, Brett Emerton 38, Junior Hoilett 45, Jamie O’Hara 73, Stephen Hunt 87

Teams:

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Wayne Hennessey, Jody Craddock, George Elokobi, Kevin Foley, Michael Mancienne (Sylvan Ebanks-Blake 46), Stephen Ward, Karl Henry (Adlene Guedioura 85), Jamie O’Hara, Stephen Hunt, Matt Jarvis, Steven Fletcher (Christophe Berra 90)

Blackburn Rovers: Paul Robinson, Gael Givet, Phil Jones, Christopher Samba, Michel Salgado, Jermaine Jonas, Steven N’Zonzi, Martin Olsson, Brett Emerton, Junior Hoilett (Morten Gamst Pedersen 79), Jason Roberts

Referee: Howard Webb, Attendance: 29,009

‘Survival Sunday’ in 2011 was going to be a tense one for five clubs. Wigan Athletic, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackpool, Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers went into the final day of the season still not safe. It was going to be a remarkable afternoon full of twists and turns.

Two of these sides met at Molineux as Wolves hosted Blackburn. A point would be enough for Blackburn to survive, whilst Wolves really needed the three points as teams below had fixtures that they could easily win. Mick McCarthy’s side came into the match in good form, having beaten West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland in their previous two games, whilst Blackburn, who were sitting seventh in mid-January, had been dragged into the relegation scrap in the season’s closing months.

Steve Kean was a man under pressure. Not wanted by many of the club’s fans after the shock sacking of Sam Allardyce in December 2010, Kean needed his side to deliver a perfect performance and they were sensational in the opening 45 minutes. Their display just added to the nail-biting tension of the afternoon.

Rovers settled quicker and took the lead after 22 minutes. Michel Salgado, a former UEFA Champions League winner with Real Madrid, fired a shot across the face of goal which was turned into the back of the net by Jason Roberts. That lead was doubled 16 minutes later with the direct approach working for the ex-Premier League champions. Paul Robinson’s kick was only partially cleared by Jody Craddock. Brett Emerton took aim from distance and his strike flew into the back of the net. It was Wolves who were sinking towards the Championship by the interval. The dangerous Junior Hoillett skipped past tame challenges from Craddock and George Elokobi. Once again, Wayne Hennessey was left with no chance whatsoever and at half-time, Wolves were in big trouble.

They had to improve on their dreadful showing in the first 45 minutes and they did improve. With 18 minutes remaining. Stephen Hunt rolled a free-kick back to Jamie O’Hara and the Tottenham loanee managed to find the corner of the net from 20-yards out. However, the situation was constantly changing. Wigan took the lead away at Stoke and when Craig Gardner equalised for Birmingham at White Hart Lane, Wolves were going down on goals scored. They needed one more goal, even in defeat to survive.

It came dramatically with just three minutes of normal time remaining. Hunt received the ball on the edge of the penalty area and bent a riveting shot into the top corner of the net and send Molineux into ecstasy. Even though they were still losing on the day, it looked like they’d done enough. There were celebrations at the full-time whistle from both sets of supporters. Blackburn had got the result, Wolves the goal required to keep them up and everyone inside the ground was happy. Ultimately, it was Birmingham and Blackpool who would feel the pain of relegation on a see-saw afternoon of drama.

Premier League Files: Gheorghe Popescu

Premier League Career: Tottenham Hotspur (1994-1995)

A former captain of Barcelona, Gheorghe Popescu was one of the key players from the bright Romania team that was one of the most thrilling international sides to watch in the 1990s. The brother-in-law of fellow Romanian great Gheorghe Hagi, Popescu featured in several top European leagues, including Serie A, La Liga and the Bundesliga.

He only had one season in the Premier League but it was an impressive campaign in north London with Tottenham Hotspur. Plus, he will always have a positive spot in the hearts of Tottenham fans for scoring a winning goal in a North London Derby.

Before his Tottenham spell, Popescu had reached the semi-finals of the European Cup with Steaua Bucharest in 1988 at a time when Romanian clubs enjoyed greater success in European competition. He was signed by Sir Bobby Robson in 1990 for PSV Eindhoven and spent four years of largely qualified success in Dutch football.

After his excellent performances at the 1994 World Cup finals in the United States, he was signed by Tottenham’s flamboyant manager, Ossie Ardiles in September of that year for £2.9 million. Ardiles was known for his attacking flair and his lack of defending principles. However, Popescu’s signing was seen as a potential change in his thinking. His experience and tactical knowledge would see him operate mainly in a defensive midfield role, shielding central defenders Colin Calderwood and Sol Campbell.

On New Years’ Day 1995, Popescu scored the only goal as Tottenham beat Arsenal 1-0 at White Hart Lane. By now, Gerry Francis had succeeded Ardiles as manager and he helped maximise the potential of Popescu, who added another two further strikes as Tottenham finished seventh and above the Gunners in the table for the last time until the 2016-2017 campaign.

The lure of Barcelona though was too much for Popescu and he moved for £3 million in the summer of 1995 to replace the ageing Ronald Koeman in the team. He was reunited again with Robson, who made him his captain and helped Barcelona to a Copa del Rey and Cup Winners’ Cup double in 1997.

Deemed surplus to requirements by Louis van Gaal, Popescu’s next move was to Galatasaray. He spent four years in Istanbul, winning more trophies and the UEFA Cup in 2000, when Galatasaray defeated Arsenal in a penalty shootout. Further spells followed with Leece in Italy and an eight-game stint with Dinamo Bucharest in his homeland. He retired in 2003 after one season in the Bundesliga with Hannover 96.

He won the Romanian Footballer of the Year award six times and won over 100 international caps for his country.

However, in 2014, Popescu was sentenced to a three-year sentence in jail after being found guilty of tax evasion and money laundering in connection with the transfers of football players from Romania to other countries. At the time, he was the favourite to become the next president of the Romanian FA.

It was an unsavoury conclusion to a life in football which made him an idol in his home country and a key figure for some of Europe’s most senior clubs.

Referees in the Middle: Steve Dunn

Premier League Career: 1995-2005

First Premier League Match: Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Aston Villa (23 August 1995)

Final Premier League Match: Fulham 6-0 Norwich City (15 May 2005)

In May 2005, Steve Dunn took charge of his 199th and final Premier League match. It was an afternoon Norwich City supporters would rather forget, as they went down 6-0 at Craven Cottage to Fulham to ensure their relegation from the top-flight.

Dunn would fall just one game short of the magical 200 number. Injury meant he missed the entire 2005-2006 campaign which led to a premature retirement. From Bristol, Mr. Dunn had started refereeing local matches in 1978. He progressed through the ranks and became a linesman in the Football League in 1986. He spent six years running the line before becoming a Football League referee in 1992.

In 1995, he joined the list of Premier League officials and made his debut in the first midweek round of matches, at the same time his colleague Jeff Winter made his top-flight bow. Ugo Ehiogu scored the only goal as Aston Villa won away at Tottenham Hotspur 1-0. His first red card came in January 1996, dismissing Wimbledon’s Mick Harford in a tasty London derby between Wimbledon and Queens Park Rangers. Wimbledon won 2-1 in a match that saw a staggering 10 yellow cards.

603 yellow cards were given out by Dunn during his Premier League career but only 19 red cards, which shows that he did all he could to ensure 22 players finished on the field of play by the full-time whistle. His last red card was actually rescinded by the FA. El-Hadji Diouf was sent off after a silly tangle with Adrian Mutu in a match between Chelsea and Liverpool FC in January 2004 but after Liverpool appealed the decision, it was overturned.

Steve Dunn reached the FIFA list of referees in 1997 and completed six years at this level. He became the first English official to achieve the “double” of appearing on FIFA referees and assistants’ lists. This was a feat that was later matched by fellow colleagues Matt Messias, Steve Bennett and Graham Barber.

His highest-profile appointment came in the 2001 FA Cup final which was the first to be played in Wales. Arsenal dominated but were beaten 2-1 by Liverpool FC as Michael Owen scored twice in the last 10 minutes to ensure the Reds claimed their second trophy of the season. Arsenal fans could complain about a blatant handball on the goal-line in the first half by Stephane Henchoz which was missed by the officials.

He would go onto referee League Cup semi-finals in both 2002 and 2004. His last professional match was West Ham United’s 2-0 win against Ipswich Town in the 2005 Championship play-off semi-final 2nd leg with both goals coming from Bobby Zamora.

Premier League Files: Dane Whitehouse

Premier League Career: Sheffield United (1992-1994)

Dane Whitehouse was a one-club man throughout his career. He figured for Sheffield United in the very first two seasons of Premier League football and continued to play for them until 1997. A committed left-winger, Whitehouse also filled in regularly at left-back and often gave sterling performances.

He signed professionally for the Yorkshire side in July 1987 and a year later, made his professional debut against Blackpool aged just 18. It wasn’t until the 1991-1992 season that Whitehouse became a regular figure in the starting XI at Bramwall Lane. He scored three goals that season in the FA Cup. Unfortunately, injuries restricted him to just 14 appearances in the very first season of the Premier League. His debut came in a win over Liverpool FC in September 1992 and he still scored five goals, including a double on the final day in a 4-2 victory against Chelsea.

Despite collecting 10 yellow cards in 1993-1994, Whitehouse was one of the Blades’ key players that season. He only missed four league matches, scoring five times including in a crucial win against relegation rivals Oldham Athletic. In March 1994, Dane struck a genuine contender for Goal of the Season against West Ham United. Trailing 2-0 early on in a game they needed to win to stay in touch with the other relegation scrappers, the ball dropped to Whitehouse outside the penalty area. He launched a blistering drive that flew into the net from nearly 30-yards out. Sadly, that was to be his last goal at this level. An agonising 3-2 loss to Chelsea on the final day sent Sheffield United crashing out of the Premier League as results went against them.

Although several Premier League sides were interested in recruiting Whitehouse, he stayed loyal to the team he had supported from birth. In November 1997, Whitehouse’s career came to a shuddering halt against Port Vale. He was victim to a crude challenge from Gareth Ainsworth which left him with a serious knee injury. Despite attempting to regain full fitness, he had to admit defeat in his battle to return to the pitch and retired at the start of the millennium. Ainsworth has since admitted: “I sent him a letter when I knew it was a serious injury. There was no reply. Obviously, I do feel bad it was me in the tackle. But you never mean to end anyone’s career.”

Premier League Files: Mikael Forssell

Premier League Career: Chelsea (1998-1999, 2001-2002, 2005), Birmingham City (2003-2004, 2007-2008)

Still playing in his home country for HIFK Fotboll, Mikael Forssell didn’t win any major honours in the English game but he was a talented forward who knew where the back of the net was. He was an example to how fruitful the loan system can be when he scored 17 goals for Birmingham City in the 2003-2004 campaign.

Although he was born in Germany, Forssell came through the youth ranks with Finnish team HJK Helsinki and he made his professional debut for them in 1997. Just when it looked like he would continue his education in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen, Chelsea were quick to bring him into their team a year later. Managed at the time by Gianluca Vialli, he was the perfect mentor for Forssell to learn his trade, given Vialli’s experience at the highest level. He made his Premier League debut in January 1999 against Arsenal as a substitute and scored his first top-flight goal later that season away to Nottingham Forest.

Vialli’s expensive purchase of Chris Sutton for the 1999-2000 season pushed Forssell down the pecking order. He would go out on-loan for the next two seasons to Crystal Palace, scoring 16 league goals in just over 50 appearances. He returned to Chelsea and figured around their first-team squad in 2001-2002. Now managed by Claudio Ranieri, he featured 22 times that season and scored four Premier League goals. However, he was still largely a substitute with the likes of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Gianfranco Zola often selected ahead of this raw talent.

He went out on-loan again in the spring of 2003, scoring seven times for Borussia Monchengladbach in just 16 matches and keeping them clear of relegation danger. He returned to England that summer and made another temporary move, this time to Birmingham City. It was here where Forssell really sparkled. He scored 17 times in the Premier League and only Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer, Louis Saha and Ruud van Nistelrooy managed a higher goal tally that season. Birmingham finished in the top 10 thanks to his predatory instincts infront of goal. One criticism was his lack of team play at home to Leeds United in March 2004. Birmingham were already 3-1 up and Bryan Hughes had scored twice. When the Blues were awarded a penalty, Hughes wanted to take it to complete the first hat-trick of his club career. Regular penalty-taker Forssell was not interested and Hughes was seen storming away in frustration at not being given this opportunity. Luckily, Forssell converted the spot-kick.

He returned to Birmingham for another loan campaign in 2004-2005 but sustained a serious knee injury away at Middlesbrough in September. Steve Bruce had little choice but to cancel the loan agreement due to the lengthy spell he was going to experience on the sidelines. He returned to Chelsea to recuperate and even played a part in the club’s final home match of the season, a 1-0 victory over Charlton Athletic. Although he could take part in the team’s celebrations of winning their first top-flight title in 50 years, this was his solitary league appearance for Chelsea, so he didn’t qualify for a championship-winning medal.

Jose Mourinho decided the forward did not fit into his long-term plans and when Everton withdrew from a potential deal because of concerns over his fitness, Birmingham paid Chelsea £3 million to sign him in the summer of 2005. Unfortunately, more knee problems meant he was never quite the same player that scored all those goals in his first loan season in the Midlands. He did score his first hat-trick at club level against Tottenham Hotspur in March 2008 and scored nine times in 2007-2008 but couldn’t stop Birmingham sliding to a second Premier League demise in just three campaigns.

He has since played for Hannover 96, Leeds United and VfL Bochum along with two separate spells back at HJK Helsinki. He won 87 caps for his country, scoring 29 times between 1999 and 2014.

There was talent in Mikael Forssell’s game and it is impressive to see him still playing at the age of 36 but his career could have gone better if it hadn’t been for his constant knee problems.

The Clubs: Swindon Town

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
42 5 15 22 47 100 -53 30 1

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Shaun Taylor 42
John Moncur 41
Kevin Horlock 38
Nicky Summerbee 38
Jan Aage Fjortoft 36
Adrian Whitbread 35
Martin Ling 33
Paul Bodin 32
Luc Nijholt 32
Andy Mutch 30

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Jan Aage Fjortoft 12
Paul Bodin 7
Andy Mutch 6
Shaun Taylor 4
John Moncur 4
Keith Scott 4
Nicky Summerbee 3
Craig Maskell 3
Adrian Whitbread 1
Martin Ling 1

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Swindon Town 3-1 Coventry City 5th February 1994 1993-1994
Queens Park Rangers 1-3 Swindon Town 30th April 1994 1993-1994
Swindon Town 2-1 Southampton 18th December 1993 1993-1994
Swindon Town 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur 22nd January 1994 1993-1994
Swindon Town 1-0 Queens Park Rangers 24th November 1993 1993-1994

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Newcastle United 7-1 Swindon Town 12th March 1994 1993-1994
Swindon Town 0-5 Liverpool FC 22nd August 1993 1993-1994
Aston Villa 5-0 Swindon Town 12th February 1994 1993-1994
Swindon Town 0-5 Leeds United 7th May 1994 1993-1994
Everton 6-2 Swindon Town 15th January 1994 1993-1994
Southampton 5-1 Swindon Town 25th August 1993 1993-1994
Swindon Town 0-4 Arsenal 27th December 1993 1993-1994
Wimbledon 3-0 Swindon Town 6th November 1993 1993-1994
Leeds United 3-0 Swindon Town 27th November 1993 1993-1994
Manchester United 4-2 Swindon Town 25th September 1993 1993-1994

 

Managers

Player Seasons in charge
John Gorman 1993-1994

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Swindon Town 2-2 Manchester United 19th March 1994 18,102 1993-1994
Swindon Town 0-4 Arsenal 27th December 1993 17,651 1993-1994
Swindon Town 0-5 Leeds United 7th May 1994 17,539 1993-1994
Swindon Town 0-5 Liverpool FC 22nd August 1993 17,017 1993-1994
Swindon Town 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur 22nd January 1994 16,563 1993-1994

 

Intro

Swindon Town graced the top-flight of the Premier League in 1993-1994. The Wiltshire-based club broke many records – for the wrong reasons. The Robins conceded 100 goals in their 42 matches during the season, the most by any side in a Premier League season. They were relegated three games from the end of the campaign with just five wins. Nevertheless, they did provide plenty of entertainment and recorded the occasional eye-catching result.

 

1993-1994

Having defeated Leicester City 4-3 in the play-off final, Swindon reached the top-flight and were hoping to have a successful spell with Glenn Hoddle in-charge. The former Tottenham Hotspur playing legend was in a player-manager capacity and had been instrumental in helping Swindon to promotion. However, he left the club to take the managerial vacancy at Chelsea and offered his assistant manager, John Gorman the chance to join him.

Swindon chairman Ray Hardman was desperate not to lose Gorman as well, so offered him the managerial position, something which he accepted. The fans were delighted as he was a popular figure in the area when he arrived on the coaching staff in 1991.

Life would be tricky for Gorman and he found out pretty quickly how tough life at the highest level of English football would be. Swindon lost their first four matches, shipping five goals in back-to-back games against Liverpool FC and Southampton. They didn’t get their first point until 28th August, when they earned a 0-0 draw away at Norwich. This was one of only four clean sheets they kept all campaign.

Swindon were winless for the first 16 matches of the season and were quickly rooted to the foot of the table. They had just six points on the tally until beating Queens Park Rangers at the County Ground 1-0 in late November. Keith Scott, a recent arrival from Division Three side Wycombe Wanderers scored the only goal. This victory gave the Robins some confidence. Scott scored again at Anfield in mid-December as Swindon came mighty close to shocking Liverpool FC on Merseyside. Mark Wright scored a late header to ruin what would have been one of the biggest shocks in Premier League history.

Back-to-back home victories were recorded in early 1994 over Tottenham Hotspur and Coventry City and there was a thrilling 3-3 draw at Hillsborough with Sheffield Wednesday where Craig Maskell scored twice. Maskell would leave though in late January to join Southampton and it was left to Jan Aage Fjortoft to come up with the goals. The Norwegian scored 12 times and his treble against Coventry was the first hat-trick from a Scandinavian player in the Premier League.

There was a fighting 2-2 draw with champions Manchester United in March but still, Swindon took some heavy beatings. They lost 5-0 to Aston Villa and caved in 7-1 at Newcastle United. Five points from their last eight games sealed their fate. Despite completing a league double over Queens Park Rangers with their only away win of the season on the penultimate weekend, Gorman’s men were already down. A 4-2 home loss to Wimbledon a week earlier had proved to be the final blow. A final day 5-0 defeat at home to Leeds ensured Swindon became the first – and so far – only side in Premier League history to concede 100 goals in a season.

The Robins are now in League Two so they are some way away from achieving the heights of playing Premier League football again but their one-season stay in the top-flight will be one fans from the County Ground will remember.

The Managers: Brian Horton

Premier League Clubs Managed: Manchester City (1993-1995)

Brian Horton spent nearly two seasons in the Premier League, managing Manchester City. He is one of the few managers in English football to have taken charge of over 1000 games. Successes included winning the LDV Vans Trophy with Port Vale in 2001 and taking Hull City to promotion in the 1980s. He has managed for over 20 seasons in the professional game and specialised in taking control of struggling clubs and stabilising them.

Horton has managed seven clubs in his career and achieved a win ratio of more than 30% with all the sides he managed.

He did well as a manager but he was a decent player too in his playing days. Brian played for five clubs, most notably for Port Vale and Brighton & Hove Albion. He spent five seasons with each side and made over 200 appearances for both teams. Promoted out of the Second Division with both Brighton & Hove Albion and Luton Town, he was named in the PFA Team of the Year three times and ultimately played a total of 610 league matches. He retired in 1986 from playing but by then, he was already into management with Hull.

A tricky beginning at Hull

Success didn’t follow on the move into permanent management with the Tigers. He was sacked in 1988 after a 4-1 home defeat to Swindon Town, extending a terrible run which had seen the club slip out of promotion contention with just one win in 17 matches. The players accepted responsibility for their alarming dip in form and urged owner Don Robinson to reconsider his decision to dispense with Horton. He did and asked Brian to come back but feeling betrayed he refused the offer. Eddie Gray would ultimately be his successor.

His next move would be in a no.2 capacity at Oxford United, assisting the former Liverpool FC defender Mark Lawrenson who was experiencing his first role in management. In October 1988, Oxford star player Dean Saunders was sold to Derby County without the consent of Lawrenson. He left and the club elected to appoint Horton as his replacement. This came at the time where both Derby and Oxford were owned by members of Robert Maxwell’s family.

Horton kept Oxford safe from relegation in Division Two but they never launched a serious play-off challenge. 10th was the highest position he managed to finish in and after Robert Maxwell’s mysterious death in November 1991, Oxford were plunged into financial trouble. Top players Paul Simpson and Martin Foyle had to be sold to balance the books and replacements had to come from the club’s academy. Relegation to Division Three was only avoided on the final day of the 1991-1992 season with a win against Tranmere Rovers.

His solid work was noted by Manchester City who took a huge gamble on him in the early weeks of the 1993-1994 campaign.

Exciting football but lacking results at City

Four games into the season, Peter Reid was sacked by Manchester City. There were issues at boardroom level with a power struggle between Peter Swales and Francis Lee being played out in the media. Horton’s appointment came with plenty of trepidation from supporters, especially as the Citizens had just a single point to their name from those opening four games. This was definitely the biggest challenge of his management career.

Results were decent to start with. He began with an away win against the whipping boys of the season in Swindon Town, followed by a 3-0 home win over Queens Park Rangers. In fact, he lost just one of his first 10 games. His first setback was the Manchester Derby in November 1993. Two Niall Quinn goals had City 2-0 ahead against the runaway league leaders at half-time but they would end up losing the game 3-2.

A poor run followed and the club were flirting dangerously with relegation. Quinn picked up a cruciate knee ligament injury and the previous season’s top scorer, David White was sold to Leeds United in exchange for David Rocastle – a deal which definitely worked better in favour of Leeds. By mid-February, City were 20th and desperately needed a lift in their fortunes.

On transfer deadline day in March 1994, Paul Walsh joined the club from Portsmouth. Peter Beagrie arrived from Everton and German striker Uwe Rosler came in too. Horton’s late market moves paid off. The club collected 12 points from their final seven games and scrambled to safety, finishing in 16th position.

Bright start turns sour

In the summer of 1994, Horton added Nicky Summerbee to his ranks from relegated Swindon and a very exciting side was starting to emerge. Big victories were recorded over West Ham United, Everton and Norwich City. In October 1994, an attacking Tottenham Hotspur side turned up at Maine Road containing the likes of Jurgen Klinsmann, Ilie Dumitrescu, Nick Barmby and Darren Anderton. City simply blew them away, winning 5-2 in what was Horton’s finest 90 minutes as manager of the club.

Despite a 5-0 battering at Old Trafford, Manchester City sat sixth in the table in early December and an attacking line-up of Quinn, Rosler and Walsh would finish with 47 goals between them. However, the bright start turned sour, winning just four matches in 1995 and finishing just four points clear of relegation.

An Easter double over Liverpool FC and Blackburn Rovers was crucial and if they’d won their final day match against Queens Park Rangers, City could have still finished a solid 12th in the table. Ultimately, it was a 17th-place finish and Horton was sacked. His departure wasn’t a huge shock. Francis Lee had won the boardroom battle and taken over during Brian’s reign. He wanted a bigger name in the role and eventually acquired Alan Ball from Southampton. Manchester City were relegated a season later.

Despite this disappointment, Horton dusted himself down and would spend more time as a manager in the Football League with Huddersfield Town, Brighton & Hove Albion, Port Vale and Macclesfield Town. He has also worked as an assistant to Phil Brown at Hull City and Paul Dickov at Doncaster Rovers. He was most recently involved in a football coordinator role at Southend United; a role he held from August 2015 to January 2018.

Brian Horton’s results at Manchester City were mixed to say the least but he did promote an exciting, attractive brand of football to the suffering supporters in the mid-1990s and considering what would follow after his departure, they would have appreciated his spell in the aftermath of their decline which saw them playing Second Division football by 1998.

Iconic Moments: A devastating LFC start (February 2014)

Arsenal travelled to Anfield in February 2014 looking to cement their place as the title favourites. Liverpool FC were fighting for a top-four finish but still harboured an outside shot of a title challenge. After all, they had been top on Christmas Day. However, a 1-1 draw a week earlier away at struggling West Bromwich Albion had seen the Reds slip further behind the top three of Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea.

They needed to make up for the dropped points at The Hawthorns and they did so in the most spectacular fashion with one of the most devastating spells ever seen in Premier League football. Less than a minute had been played, when Arsenal failed to deal with an early Steven Gerrard free-kick and Martin Skrtel headed the ball past Wojciech Szczesny.

Nine minutes later, the same duo combined, this time from a corner with Skrtel guiding a brilliant header into the net from distance despite Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s best efforts to keep the ball out. Liverpool ran riot and had further opportunities to extend their lead. Daniel Sturridge missed a great chance and Luis Suarez smashed a strike against the post as Arsenal wilted under the intense pressure.

Goal number three arrived in the 16th minute. Raheem Sterling finished from close-range, guiding in Suarez’s cross. Then, four minutes later – Philippe Coutinho robbed a woeful Mesut Ozil of possession before playing the perfect pass for Sturridge to add his name onto the scoresheet. It was simply breathtaking stuff. Four goals in the first 20 minutes that made a mockery of Arsenal’s title challenge.

Sterling added a fifth goal in the second half and the final scoreline of 5-1 didn’t flatter Liverpool. They closed the gap on Arsenal to five points and would begin an 11-match winning run that would take them within an ace of the title. It was one of those moments which get the purists so excited about ‘The Beautiful Game.’

Seasonal Records: 2003-2004

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2003-2004 Premier League campaign, as Arsenal became the first side since Preston North End in 1888 to go through an entire top-flight campaign without losing.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Arsenal 38 26 12 0 73 26 +47 90
2 Chelsea 38 24 7 7 67 30 +37 79
3 Manchester United 38 23 6 9 64 35 +29 75
4 Liverpool FC 38 16 12 10 55 37 +18 60
5 Newcastle United 38 13 17 8 52 40 +12 56
6 Aston Villa 38 15 11 12 48 44 +4 56
7 Charlton Athletic 38 14 11 13 51 51 0 53
8 Bolton Wanderers 38 14 11 13 48 56 -8 53
9 Fulham 38 14 10 14 52 46 +6 52
10 Birmingham City 38 12 14 12 43 48 -5 50
11 Middlesbrough 38 13 9 16 44 52 -8 48
12 Southampton 38 12 11 15 44 45 -1 47
13 Portsmouth 38 12 9 17 47 54 -7 45
14 Tottenham Hotspur 38 13 6 19 47 57 -10 45
15 Blackburn Rovers 38 12 8 18 51 59 -8 44
16 Manchester City 38 9 14 15 55 54 +1 41
17 Everton 38 9 12 17 45 57 -12 39
18 Leicester City 38 6 15 17 48 65 -17 33
19 Leeds United 38 8 9 21 40 79 -39 33
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 38 7 12 19 38 77 -39 33

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1012
European qualifiers Arsenal (UEFA Champions League), Chelsea (UEFA Champions League), Manchester United (UEFA Champions League), Liverpool FC (UEFA Champions League), Newcastle United (UEFA Cup), Middlesbrough (UEFA Cup)
Longest winning run 9 games (Arsenal)
Longest unbeaten run 38 games – THE ENTIRE SEASON (Arsenal)
Longest winless run 14 games (Manchester City)
Longest losing run 6 games (Leeds United)
Highest attendance 67,758 (Manchester United vs. Southampton)
Lowest attendance 13,981 (Fulham vs. Blackburn Rovers)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
PFA Young Player of the Year Scott Parker (Charlton Athletic & Chelsea)
Football Writers’ Award Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
PFA Team of the Year Tim Howard, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole, Lauren, John Terry, Patrick Vieira, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy
Manager of the Year Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)
Premier League Goal of the Season Dietmar Hamann (LIVERPOOL FC vs. Portsmouth)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Teddy Sheringham Portsmouth vs. Bolton Wanderers 4-0 26th August 2003
Nicolas Anelka Manchester City vs. Aston Villa 4-1 14th September 2003
Ruud van Nistelrooy Leicester City vs. Manchester United 1-4 27th September 2003
Kevin Lisbie Charlton Athletic vs. Liverpool FC 3-2 28th September 2003
Steve Watson Everton vs. Leeds United 4-0 28th September 2003
Robbie Keane Tottenham Hotspur vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-2 6th December 2003
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Chelsea vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-2 27th March 2004
Thierry Henry Arsenal vs. Liverpool FC 4-2 9th April 2004
Thierry Henry Arsenal vs. Leeds United 5-0 16th April 2004
Yakubu Portsmouth vs. Middlesbrough 5-1 15th May 2004

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Thierry Henry Arsenal 30
2 Alan Shearer Newcastle United 22
3= Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United 20
3= Louis Saha Fulham & Manchester United 20
5= Mikael Forssell Birmingham City 17
5= Nicolas Anelka Manchester City 17
7= Michael Owen Liverpool FC 16
7= Juan Pablo Angel Aston Villa 16
7= Yakubu Portsmouth 16
10= Robert Pires Arsenal 14
10= James Beattie Southampton 14
10= Robbie Keane Tottenham Hotspur 14
13= Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Chelsea 13
13= Kevin Phillips Southampton 13
15 Les Ferdinand Leicester City 12
16= Andy Cole Blackburn Rovers 11
16= Paul Dickov Leicester City 11
16= Mark Viduka Leeds United 11
19= Frank Lampard Chelsea 10
19= Jason Euell Charlton Athletic 10
19= Hernan Crespo Chelsea 10
22= Paul Scholes Manchester United 9
22= Darius Vassell Aston Villa 9
22= Youri Djorkaeff Bolton Wanderers 9
22= Luis Boa Morte Fulham 9

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Portsmouth 6-1 Leeds United 8th November 2003
Arsenal 5-0 Leeds United 16th April 2004
Chelsea 5-0 Newcastle United 9th November 2003
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-5 Chelsea 20th September 2003
Leicester City 0-5 Aston Villa 31st January 2004
Manchester City 6-2 Bolton Wanderers 18th October 2003
Portsmouth 5-1 Middlesbrough 15th May 2004
Blackburn Rovers 5-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 16th August 2003
Manchester City 5-1 Everton 15th May 2004
Middlesbrough 0-4 Arsenal 24th August 2003

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
8 Manchester City 6-2 Bolton Wanderers 18th October 2003
8 Middlesbrough 5-3 Birmingham City 20th March 2004
8 Tottenham Hotspur 4-4 Leicester City 22nd February 2004
7 Portsmouth 6-1 Leeds United 8th November 2003
7 Chelsea 5-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 27th March 2004
7 Tottenham Hotspur 5-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 6th December 2003
7 Everton 3-4 Manchester United 7th February 2004
7 Blackburn Rovers 3-4 Bolton Wanderers 10th January 2004
7 Tottenham Hotspur 4-3 Portsmouth 7th February 2004
7 Fulham 3-4 Blackburn Rovers 12th April 2004
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-3 Leicester City 25th October 2003
6 Portsmouth 5-1 Middlesbrough 15th May 2004
6 Blackburn Rovers 5-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 16th August 2003
6 Manchester City 5-1 Everton 15th May 2004
6 Arsenal 4-2 Liverpool FC 9th April 2004
6 Chelsea 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur 13th September 2003
6 Newcastle United 4-2 Everton 3rd April 2004
6 Charlton Athletic 4-2 Chelsea 26th December 2003
6 Charlton Athletic 2-4 Tottenham Hotspur 11th February 2004
6 Portsmouth 4-2 Manchester City 10th January 2004

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Aaron Lennon Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Leeds United 16 years, 4 months, 7 days 23rd August 2003
Ricardo Vaz Te Middlesbrough 2-0 Bolton Wanderers 17 years, 6 months, 23 days 3rd April 2004
Luke Moore Newcastle United 1-1 Aston Villa 17 years, 8 months, 19 days 1st November 2003
James Milner Leeds United 0-1 Manchester United 17 years, 9 months, 14 days 18th October 2003
Wayne Rooney Arsenal 2-1 Everton 17 years, 9 months, 23 days 16th August 2003
James Morrison Portsmouth 5-1 Middlesbrough 17 years, 11 months, 20 days 15th May 2004
Steven Taylor Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Newcastle United 18 years, 2 months, 5 days 28th March 2004
Gael Clichy Birmingham City 0-3 Arsenal 18 years, 3 months, 27 days 22nd November 2003
Scott Carson Leeds United 0-3 Middlesbrough 18 years, 4 months, 28 days 31st January 2004
Collins John Chelsea 2-1 Fulham 18 years, 5 months, 3 days 20th March 2004

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
David Seaman Portsmouth 4-2 Manchester City 40 years, 3 months, 22 days 10th January 2004
Denis Irwin Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur 38 years, 6 months, 14 days 15th May 2004
Teddy Sheringham Portsmouth 5-1 Middlesbrough 38 years, 1 month, 13 days 15th May 2004
Martin Keown Arsenal 2-1 Leicester City 37 years, 9 months, 21 days 15th May 2004
Nigel Martyn Manchester City 5-1 Everton 37 years, 9 months, 4 days 15th May 2004
Les Ferdinand Leicester City 3-1 Portsmouth 37 years, 4 months, 20 days 8th May 2004
Colin Cooper Middlesbrough 3-1 Southampton 37 years, 1 month, 15 days 12th April 2004
Paul Jones Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur 37 years, 27 days 15th May 2004
Paul Ince Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur 36 years, 6 months, 24 days 15th May 2004
Gus Poyet Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur 36 years, 6 months 15th May 2004

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1= Jens Lehmann Arsenal 15
1= Edwin van der Sar Fulham 15
3= Carlo Cudicini Chelsea 14
3= Maik Taylor Birmingham City 14
5 Jerzy Dudek Liverpool FC 13
5= Mark Schwarzer Middlesbrough 13
7= Tim Howard Manchester United 12
7= Thomas Sorensen Aston Villa 12
9 Shay Given Newcastle United 11
10 Dean Kiely Charlton Athletic 10

Great Goals: Bobby Zamora – West Bromwich Albion vs. QUEENS PARK RANGERS (April 2015)

The 2014-2015 season was a tough campaign for fans of Queens Park Rangers. One of their better days came away at The Hawthorns against West Bromwich Albion.

They were already 2-0 ahead in the game when Bobby Zamora produced this remarkable moment. Played through by Matt Phillips three minutes before half-time, he beat Joleon Lescott in a sprint before producing the most delicate of lobs from the edge of the penalty area with the outside of his foot. The ball spun past a helpless Ben Foster and into the net.

Zamora would later say this was his best-ever goal in his career. Queens Park Rangers won the game 4-1 and completed a league double over West Brom for the season. However, they would end the season with the club being relegated to the Championship.

25 years of the most envied league in the world!