The Managers: Jurgen Klopp

Premier League Clubs Managed: Liverpool FC (2015-PRESENT)

After deciding to part ways with Brendan Rodgers in October 2015, Liverpool FC turned to Germany and one of the most charismatic managers in the game to revive their fortunes. The Reds had won just one trophy in nine years and had only qualified for the UEFA Champions League once in five seasons.

Jurgen Klopp was on a managerial break after ending his successful stint with Borussia Dortmund in May 2015 but the lure of managing one of the most passionate clubs in world football was simply too much to turn down. Klopp has galvanised Liverpool into an exciting team again, adding more defensive steel in the last 12 months and it means the Merseysiders have a real chance of ending their league championship drought this season.

Often believed to be the man who created the philosophy known as ‘Gegenpressing,’ Klopp is considered as a popular manager with the media too but he will need to start turning Liverpool into serial winners in the coming years.

Mainz factor

Born in Stuttgart in 1967, Jurgen Klopp grew up in the Black Forest countryside village of Glatten in Germany. Introduced into football by his father Norbert, Klopp supported VfB Stuttgart as a boy but actually aspired to be a doctor during his education. Liverpool supporters are probably relieved he decided to go down the football route.

In 1990, he signed for Mainz and began a relationship with the club that lasted nearly 20 years. He is still considered as one of Mainz’s finest icons, playing for the side for 11 years. He scored 52 league goals in 325 club matches, starting out as a forward before being converted into a defender in 1995. Mainz have been a stable of the Bundesliga for several years now but in Klopp’s time, they were one of the smaller sides competing in 2. Bundesliga and he never played as a player in the German top-flight.

In 2001, Jurgen decided to hang up his footballing boots, as he began to realise that his qualities as a coach could lead to a longer career in football. Mainz didn’t want to see one of their idols leave and when they elected to sack Eckhard Krautzen, Klopp was appointed as his successor. His first match as a manager came on 28th February 2001, spearheading his team to a narrow 1-0 victory over MSV Duisburg. 18 years on, Klopp is now widely regarded as one of the best managers currently in the game.

Klopp actually won six of his first seven matches as a manager and he achieved promotion to the Bundesliga with Mainz in 2004 after two near-misses in previous campaigns. It was Mainz’s first-ever promotion into the big league in Germany.

In those days, the big-hitters in the Bundesliga when it came to coaches were Felix Magath at Bayern Munich, Jupp Heynckes at Schalke, Bert van Marwijk at Borussia Dortmund and Thomas Schaaf who had recently led SV Werder Bremen to a league and cup double. Despite having one of the smallest budgets and the smallest stadium in the division, Klopp led Mainz to back-to-back 11th place finishes and a maiden European campaign where they lost to Sevilla in the first round of the 2006 UEFA Cup.

In 2007, Mainz were relegated which was a major blow for Jurgen and one he was unable to recover from. After missing out on an instant promotion back to the top-flight in 2008, pipped by Hoffenheim and Cologne, Klopp resigned at the end of the season, finishing with a record of 109 victories, 78 draws and 83 losses from his tenure as their manager.

Borussia Dortmund though had been impressed with Klopp’s reign at Mainz and needed a lift out of the doldrums.

Making Dortmund great again

Borussia Dortmund finished the 2007-2008 Bundesliga season in a miserable 13th position and unsurprisingly, dismissed Thomas Doll after this underwhelming campaign. Klopp was seen as the man to revive their fortunes.

Under his stewardship, Dortmund boasted one of the youngest squads in the league and Klopp allowed players like Shinji Kagawa and Mats Hummels to flourish and become household global superstars. After finishing sixth and fifth in his first two full campaigns as BVB boss, it all came together in season 2010-2011. Dortmund won 14 matches in a row to sit top of the table at the winter break and helped by 16 goals from Lucas Barrios, they couldn’t be caught by Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Bayern Munich. Dortmund’s seventh league championship was sealed in late April with a 2-0 home victory over Nürnberg. They became the youngest-ever side to win the Bundesliga.

It got even better in 2011-2012. They gathered 81 points, enjoyed a 28-match unbeaten run and equalled Bayern Munich’s record of 25 victories in a league season. A second title followed and a resounding 5-2 thrashing of Bayern in the 2012 DfB-Pokal final gave Borussia Dortmund their first-ever domestic double. It was the stuff of dreams for the supporters. After years out of the spotlight, Dortmund were great again.

Next target was to make the club a genuine European contender and it happened in the 2012-2013 season. Dortmund made the UEFA Champions League final, beating the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid to reach the showpiece event at Wembley Stadium. Standing in their way of a second UEFA Champions League victory were their great rivals from Munich. Bayern had regained the Bundesliga title and in an intense and keenly-fought match, it was an 89th minute winner from Arjen Robben that separated the sides. Bayern went on to win the treble in Heynckes’ final season and a new rivalry was about to emerge in the Bundesliga between Klopp and Pep Guardiola.

Guardiola drew first blood with the signing of playmaker Mario Gotze from Dortmund after Bayern activated his release clause in his contract and in the end, Bayern ran away with the title in 2013-2014, winning the league title by a staggering 19 points. Despite scoring 80 goals and boasting the top scorer in the league in Robert Lewandowski with 20, Dortmund were no match for Bayern and in the DfB-Pokal final, Bayern underlined that strength with a 2-0 victory.

Lewandowski joined Bayern that summer on a free transfer and Klopp’s time with Borussia Dortmund was drawing to a conclusion. The 2014-2015 league season was disastrous. Dortmund won only four matches in the first half of the season and when FC Augsburg won 1-0 at Signal Iduna Park on 4th February 2015, Borussia Dortmund dropped to the bottom of the table. Relegation looked a distinct possibility. Roman Weidenfeller and Hummels were seen in tense exchanges with frustrated supporters. Two points from safety, Dortmund rallied with nine victories in their last 14 matches and climbed up to seventh position by the season’s end. However in April 2015, Klopp announced he would be leaving at the end of the campaign. There was an enjoyable penalty shootout victory over Guardiola’s Bayern in the DfB-Pokal semi-finals but no fairytale ending as VfL Wolfsburg won the final 3-1 in Klopp’s last match as Dortmund manager.

He departed for a brief break away from football but the Premier League would soon be calling.

Early progression signs at LFC

In October 2015, Liverpool FC elected to part company with Brendan Rodgers just hours after a 1-1 draw in the Merseyside Derby with Everton. Immediately, Klopp’s name was heavily linked.

On 8th October, Klopp was officially appointed as the Reds new manager and at his first press conference, quipped himself as “The Normal One” in reference to Jose Mourinho’s infamous press conference when he was unveiled as the Chelsea manager for the first time in 2004 when the Portuguese claimed to be “The Special One.”

Klopp began his reign in English football with a goalless draw away at Tottenham Hotspur where it was already evident that his ‘Gegenpressing’ tactics were being deployed and developed. Liverpool’s pressing and sprinting statistics were already on the increase.

His first Premier League victory came two weeks later with a fine 3-1 win at Chelsea against Mourinho and although there was still some inconsistency in the Premier League, Klopp helped Liverpool to two cup finals in his first season. Both ended in defeat. Liverpool lost on penalties to Manchester City in the League Cup final and despite taking the lead in the UEFA Europa League final against Sevilla, fell away in the second half to lose 3-1. The Europa League run did include victories over Manchester United and his former club Borussia Dortmund, with a thrilling comeback win in the second leg.

After finishing eighth in the Premier League in 2015-2016, Klopp and his coaching staff signed a six-year contract extension. In 2016-2017, Liverpool FC returned to the UEFA Champions League, securing qualification via the Premier League with a fourth place finish which was wrapped up on the final day with victory over Middlesbrough. The Reds finished undefeated against the other members of the top six, so could have finished higher but for some disappointing losses to teams in the bottom half of the table including Burnley, Swansea City and relegated Hull City.

Although the Merseysiders were thrilling to watch, they were still leaking goals at an alarming rate at the back and Klopp knew it. In January 2018, he paid a world-record transfer fee for a defender to Southampton, acquiring Virgil van Dijk for £75 million. Immediately, the Dutchman’s presence saw Liverpool boast the best defensive record in the second half of the Premier League campaign in 2017-2018. Heavy losses to Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur were quickly forgotten and Liverpool finished fourth for the second consecutive campaign. The thrills though were saved for the UEFA Champions League. Liverpool knocked out FC Porto, Manchester City and AS Roma on their way to the UEFA Champions League final in Kyiv. However, it ended in a 3-1 loss to Real Madrid meaning Klopp had now lost six of his previous seven cup finals.

In pre-season 2018, the squad was strengthened further by the additions of Fabinho from AS Monaco and the long-awaited capture of Naby Keita from RB Leipzig. Six successive victories at the start of the season saw Liverpool achieve their best start to a season in their 126-year history and they topped the table on Christmas Day, finishing the first half of the campaign unbeaten. Their one and only loss so far this season came in early January away at Manchester City.

Liverpool are desperate to land the Premier League title for the first time and they believe they’ve got the manager to end their league championship drought. Can Jurgen Klopp deliver what the fans want? Only time will tell.

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Premier League Files: Morten Gamst Pedersen

Premier League Career: Blackburn Rovers (2004-2012)

Morten Gamst Pedersen is now back playing for the club where he initially made his breakthrough, Tromsø. Pedersen was successful for his international country, Norway. He was capped more than 80 times and spent eleven years on the international scene, scoring 17 goals.

Pedersen made his breakthrough in the Norwegian Premier League with Tromsø, scoring seven goals in the 2004 season before he made the move into English football with Blackburn Rovers, spending the next eight years with the former Premier League champions. It was Graeme Souness who signed Pedersen and he made his debut in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United at the end of August. However, Souness left shortly afterwards to take the job at Newcastle United. His successor, Mark Hughes didn’t select Pedersen in any of his early matches, preferring to trust players with Premier League experience to climb Blackburn away from relegation trouble.

Seen as the long-term natural successor to Damien Duff, Pedersen’s breakthrough year at Blackburn came in 2005. In January, he scored in three successive matches, including a crucial winner in an away encounter at Portsmouth. He finished the season having appeared 27 times in all competitions, scoring eight times. He made a spectacular start to the 2005-2006 season, scoring a fabulous volley in a home victory over Fulham which won the BBC Goal of the Month award for August 2005. A month later, Morten scored both goals in Blackburn’s excellent 2-1 victory at Old Trafford against Manchester United. He made the left-side position in midfield his own, scoring nine goals as Blackburn finished in a brilliant sixth position in the Premier League table.

Six goals followed in 2006-2007 but Pedersen’s most prominent days as a key matchwinning figure for Blackburn had already passed him by. In Paul Ince’s short reign in 2008, Pedersen found himself more often out of the team and scored just once all campaign and that wasn’t until May in a victory against Portsmouth. Against Arsenal that season, he produced one of the most ridiculous diving incidents ever seen in the Premier League which won him no fans from neutrals of the game who are desperate to see diving stamped out of football.

In 2009-2010, Pedersen was given the opportunity to leave Blackburn but he eventually went on to sign a four-year contract extension at the end of the season. He rediscovered some of his 2005 form during November 2010, scoring four times in the month, including an outstanding free-kick from a virtually impossible angle in a 2-0 home win over Aston Villa.

Blackburn were relegated from the top-flight in 2012 and after one further campaign playing in the Championship, he was allowed to leave. After a protracted move to FC Copenhagen broke down, Morten moved to Turkish outfit Karabükspor on a free transfer. He made 288 appearances in all competitions for Blackburn on his departure from Lancashire. After just 10 appearances with them, he returned to his homeland, signing for Rosenborg in March 2014. In February 2016, he returned to Tromsø, initially on a one-year contract but his form has seen him stay with the club ever since.

The Foreign Legion: Iran

Number of Iranian Players to have played in the Premier League: 4

Most appearances: Ashkan Dejagah (43)

Most goals: Ashkan Dejagah (5)

Records as of 28th February 2019

Appearances: Ashkan Dejagah 43, Andranik Teymourian 21, Alireza Jahanbakhsh 11, Karim Bagheri 1

Goals: Ashkan Dejagah 5, Andranik Teymourian 2

Assists: Ashkan Dejagah 6

Iran enjoyed their best-ever World Cup performance last summer in Russia. Even though they did see elimination come their way in the group stages, they beat Morocco and then came within a whisker of knocking reigning European champions Portugal out in their final group game. Iran might have had the experience of former Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz as their international boss but when it comes to well-known players, they are thin on the ground.

Most of the best players from Iran’s history have tended to stay loyal to their homeland. Some have had the ability to try their luck abroad and one of those players is Ashkan Dejagah. Dejagah, who is currently playing back in Iran with Tractor Sazi, enjoyed his time in the European game, especially in Germany where he won the Bundesliga with VfL Wolfsburg in 2009. In August 2012, he became only the third Iranian to play in the Premier League when he joined Fulham for a two-year stint that saw him chalk up 43 appearances, scoring five times. His first year at Craven Cottage was a struggle but he was one of the Cottagers better players in their appalling 2013-2014 campaign which ultimately ended in relegation. All of Dejagah’s goals came in that season including a matchwinner against Newcastle United and goals in the first matches of managers Rene Meulensteen and Felix Magath. Dejagah was voted by the fans as Fulham’s Player of the Season before moving onto Qatar.

The first Iranian player to play in the Premier League was Karim Bagheri. A two-footed midfielder known for his long-range shots from distance, he joined Charlton Athletic in 2000 but the death of his father and injuries restricted him making any major impact at The Valley. His English top-flight experience was restricted to an 18-minute run-out in a 2-0 defeat against Ipswich Town in November 2000. In 2002, he ended his frustrating time in English football and returned to Persepolis.

There is a current player also among the Premier League ranks in the shape of Alireza Jahanbakhsh who is currently at Brighton & Hove Albion. Jahanbakhsh arrived with a huge reputation after finishing as top scorer in the Eredivisie with 21 goals at AZ Alkmaar. He became the first Asian player to become top scorer in a major European league. So far, he has struggled to adapt to the physicality of the English game in the 11 appearances he has made but still only 25, the best could still be yet to come.

Andranik Teymourian is the other Iranian player to have Premier League experience. He played for Bolton Wanderers and Fulham in the top-flight and his two goals as a Premier League player came in a Man of the Match display for the Trotters against Wigan Athletic in April 2007. His time at Fulham was not so productive – just one appearance before he moved on-loan to Barnsley and a return then to Iranian club football.

It is currently down to Alireza Jahanbakhsh at the moment to make Iran have a major impact on the current foreign landscape of Premier League football.

 

 

 

Memorable Matches: Manchester City 3-3 Burnley (November 2009)

Goalscorers: Graham Alexander 19 PEN, Steven Fletcher 32, Shaun Wright-Phillips 43, Kolo Toure 55, Craig Bellamy 58, Kevin McDonald 87

Teams:

Manchester City: Shay Given, Wayne Bridge, Joleon Lescott, Kolo Toure, Pablo Zabaleta, Gareth Barry, Stephen Ireland, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy, Carlos Tevez (Martin Petrov 73)

Burnley: Brian Jensen, Graham Alexander, Stephen Caldwell, Clarke Carlisle, Tyrone Mears, Stephen Jordan, Andre Bikey (Kevin McDonald 61), Chris Eagles (David Nugent 71), Wade Elliott, Robbie Blake (Joey Gudjonsson 62), Steven Fletcher

Referee: Stuart Attwell, Attendance: 47,205

Burnley had made an impressive start to their Premier League life at Turf Moor but their form away from home was dreadful. Five successive defeats and just two goals scored meant Owen Coyle’s side were desperate to avoid more pain on their travels when they went to Eastlands to play Manchester City in November 2009. City manager Mark Hughes was under pressure with the expensively-assembled squad not delivering consistent results. They’d drawn their last four top-flight matches.

After surviving an early barrage of expected pressure from the home side, it was Burnley who silenced the home crowd by charging into a 2-0 lead. First in the 19th minute, Tyrone Mears’ cross was charged down by Joleon Lescott. In the opinion of Stuart Attwell, it was blocked illegally by the centre-back and he awarded a penalty. Graham Alexander smashed home the spot-kick emphatically, giving Shay Given, who saved a penalty a week earlier at Birmingham no chance.

13 minutes later, City’s backline was all over the place when Chris Eagles beat the offside trap. He cut in from the right-hand side and with Given beaten by the cutback, Steven Fletcher had a simple finish to send the away supporters into dreamland. Having already beaten Manchester United and Everton this season, were they about to add the Citizens to their list of scalps?

It would have helped getting to the changing rooms two goals clear but on the stroke of half-time, the hosts got back into the game. Shaun Wright-Phillips’ shot deflected off ex-Manchester City defender Stephen Jordan, giving Brian Jensen no hope of keeping the effort out. Momentum had shifted back towards Hughes and his troops and they’d cancelled out Burnley’s two-goal advantage within the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Returning from injury, Kolo Toure scored his first Premier League goal for the club since moving from Arsenal in the summer, finishing from close-range after being found in space by his centre-back colleague Lescott. Coyle’s side were now on the ropes and they fell 3-2 behind on 58 minutes. Wright-Phillips was causing problems down the right-hand side and his cross just missed Carlos Tevez but was dispatched by Craig Bellamy for the Welshman’s fifth goal of the season.

It looked like Manchester City were going to hold on for their first victory in the Premier League since late September but with three minutes left, there was one final sting in the tale. Substitute David Nugent’s ball into the box was nodded on by Fletcher into the path of Kevin McDonald. From five-yards out, McDonald couldn’t miss to make the score 3-3 and ensure the points would be shared.

It was the least Burnley deserved from a pulsating match but by mid-January, neither manager would be in their jobs. Coyle controversially left for the Bolton Wanderers vacancy and Burnley would be relegated under his successor, Brian Laws. Hughes would only win two more matches and the run of seven successive draws ultimately did for him. He was sacked before Christmas and replaced by Roberto Mancini who would take City to fifth spot but not enough for Champions League qualification.

Iconic Moments: Klinsmann dives on his debut (August 1994)

In the summer of 1994, Tottenham Hotspur owner Alan Sugar and manager Ossie Ardiles managed to convince Jurgen Klinsmann to come and play in the Premier League for the north Londoners. Klinsmann was one of the leading strikers in world football, having played for the likes of VfB Stuttgart, Inter Milan and AS Monaco in his club career. He’d also helped West Germany win the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

Coming from the principality of Monaco, Klinsmann arrived with a bad reputation among the media and neutral supporters. He had developed a reputation as a ‘diver.’ In his press conference unveiling, he joked: “I just want to ask if there are any diving schools in London!”

On his debut at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday, Klinsmann was man-marked all day by Des Walker. However, he eventually broke free to head the winning goal in an exciting 4-3 victory for Tottenham. Encouraged pre-match by strike partner Teddy Sheringham, Klinsmann then famously did a ‘dive’ goal celebration, joined in by his new club teammates.

Klinsmann won over the fans and the media. He finished as Tottenham’s top scorer as they finished seventh and won the Football Writers’ Award before controversially returning to the Bundesliga to play for Bayern Munich in the summer of 1995. Klinsmann would finish his club career with Tottenham in a second spell three years later.

This remains one of the league’s most iconic goal celebrations.

The Clubs: Tottenham Hotspur

All statistics correct upto 23rd February 2019

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
1027 443 255 329 1535 1294 +240 1584 27

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Darren Anderton 297
Jermain Defoe 276
Ledley King 268
Aaron Lennon 266
Sol Campbell 255
Ian Walker 240
Robbie Keane 238
Michael Dawson 236
Teddy Sheringham 236
Hugo Lloris 229

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Harry Kane 123
Teddy Sheringham 98
Jermain Defoe 91
Robbie Keane 91
Chris Armstrong 48
Christian Eriksen 46
Gareth Bale 43
Dele Alli 42
Heung-Min Son 41
Emmanuel Adebayor 35

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Tottenham Hotspur 9-1 Wigan Athletic 22nd November 2009 2009-2010
Hull City 1-7 Tottenham Hotspur 21st May 2017 2016-2017
Tottenham Hotspur 7-2 Southampton 11th March 2000 1999-2000
Leicester City 1-6 Tottenham Hotspur 18th May 2017 2016-2017
Tottenham Hotspur 5-0 Oldham Athletic 18th September 1993 1993-1994
Tottenham Hotspur 5-0 Burnley 26th September 2009 2009-2010
Tottenham Hotspur 5-0 Newcastle United 11th February 2012 2011-2012
Tottenham Hotspur 5-0 Swansea City 3rd December 2016 2016-2017
Tottenham Hotspur 5-0 AFC Bournemouth 26th December 2018 2018-2019
Wimbledon 2-6 Tottenham Hotspur 2nd May 1998 1997-1998

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Newcastle United 7-1 Tottenham Hotspur 28th December 1996 1996-1997
Sheffield United 6-0 Tottenham Hotspur 2nd March 1993 1992-1993
Manchester City 6-0 Tottenham Hotspur 24th November 2013 2013-2014
Tottenham Hotspur 1-6 Chelsea 6th December 1997 1997-1998
Leeds United 5-0 Tottenham Hotspur 25th August 1992 1992-1993
Tottenham Hotspur 0-5 Liverpool FC 15th December 2013 2013-2014
Liverpool FC 6-2 Tottenham Hotspur 8th May 1993 1992-1993
Middlesbrough 5-1 Tottenham Hotspur 3rd May 2003 2002-2003
Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 Manchester City 28th August 2011 2011-2012
Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 Manchester City 29th January 2014 2013-2014

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Ray Clemence & Doug Livermore 1 19th June 1993
Ossie Ardiles 2 1st November 1994
Gerry Francis 4 19th November 1997
Christian Gross 2 5th September 1998
George Graham 3 16th March 2001
Glenn Hoddle 4 20th September 2003
David Pleat 1 3rd June 2004
Jacques Santini 1 6th November 2004
Martin Jol 4 25th October 2007
Juande Ramos 2 27th October 2008
Harry Redknapp 4 14th June 2012
Andre Villas-Boas 2 16th December 2013
Tim Sherwood 1 13th May 2014
Mauricio Pochettino 5  

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Arsenal 10th February 2018 83,222 2018-2019
Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Manchester United 31st January 2018 81,978 2018-2019
Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Liverpool FC 22nd October 2017 80,827 2016-2017
Tottenham Hotspur 1-3 Manchester City 14th April 2018 80,811 2017-2018
Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Liverpool FC 15th September 2018 80,188 2017-2018
Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Manchester United 13th January 2019 80,062 2017-2018
Tottenham Hotspur 5-4 Leicester City 13th May 2018 77,841 2017-2018
Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Everton 13th January 2018 76,251 2017-2018
Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Chelsea 20th August 2017 73,587 2017-2018
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 AFC Bournemouth 14th October 2017 73,502 2017-2018

 

Intro

Tottenham Hotspur have grown from a side that often frustrated their own supporters, let alone the neutrals to one of the most exciting teams in the English game. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have come a long way since his appointment in 2014, with Spurs now becoming a regular challenger for the title in recent campaigns. Whilst the main Premier League prize has eluded them so far, the excitement of playing in a new state-of-the-art stadium and the talents of the likes of Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and Christian Eriksen has supporters looking ahead to a future of serious promise.

 

1992-1993

Doug Livermore and Ray Clemence were appointed as joint managers for the first Premier League campaign and Tottenham finished in eighth position, only missing out on a top six finish because of a negative goal difference. Teddy Sheringham finished the season as top scorer in the league, scoring 21 times in his first season as a Spurs player after his August arrival from Nottingham Forest.

 

1993-1994

Club legend Ossie Ardiles was appointed in the summer as the club’s new manager and excitement was palpable around the supporters with his caviller all-out attack style set to bring plenty of excitement to White Hart Lane. It was for the wrong reasons though. Tottenham lost seven successive games in mid-season and finished a dreary 15th in the table. They weren’t helped by an Achilles injury to top scorer Sheringham in October, which meant he only managed 19 appearances during the season.

 

1994-1995

Tottenham began the season with a 12-point deduction hanging over their head after being found guilty of financial irregularities during the 1980s by the FA. Ardiles continued to stick to his principles and the signing of Jurgen Klinsmann in the summer attracted plenty of headlines and anticipation among both fans and media. Klinsmann scored on his debut and then produced his infamous ‘dive’ celebration. The German was a rousing success, winning the Football Writers’ Award and scoring 21 Premier League goals but he moved back to Germany at the end of the campaign.

Ardiles didn’t see the season out. A shock 3-0 League Cup loss to Notts County in October brought his unsuccessful reign to an end. Gerry Francis was appointed as his successor after he’d resigned from his position as Queens Park Rangers boss. Francis installed more defensive stability into the side, whilst still allowing the goalscoring and creative talents of Klinsmann, Sheringham, Darren Anderton and Nick Barmby to shine. They finished in seventh position in the final table.

In December 1994, chairman Alan Sugar won his appeal against Tottenham’s points deduction and also won them back entry into the FA Cup, having been initially banned from participating in this competition. Tottenham reached the semi-finals before losing to a Daniel Amokachi-inspired Everton at Elland Road.

 

1995-1996

Gerry Francis’ first full season as Tottenham manager started badly with just two points from the club’s first four matches but they quickly found their form, with Sheringham forming an excellent partnership with £4 million summer arrival Chris Armstrong following Klinsmann’s departure. The high of the campaign was a fantastic 4-1 victory over Manchester United on New Years’ Day which had Spurs hit the heights of fourth position in the table. They ended up finishing eighth, just one point below Arsenal in fifth who took the final UEFA Cup qualifying position.

 

1996-1997

It was a step backwards for Tottenham Hotspur in 1996-1997 with disappointing early exits from both domestic cup competitions and an uninspiring 10th place finish in the Premier League, finishing with 15 fewer points compared to the previous season. A 7-1 thrashing away at Newcastle United in December remains the club’s biggest-ever Premier League loss.

 

1997-1998

Gerry Francis aimed to ease concerns from the supporters by signing the Newcastle pair Les Ferdinand and David Ginola in pre-season but saw skipper Teddy Sheringham depart for Manchester United. Tottenham started the season poorly and 11 days after a 4-0 reverse at Anfield to Liverpool FC, Francis elected to resign from his position as manager. He was replaced by the relatively unknown Christian Gross, who became a scapegoat from the British press from the moment he arrived kissing a tube ticket at his unveiling!

Jurgen Klinsmann did arrive for a second spell from Sampdoria at the end of December and his four goals away at Wimbledon in a 6-2 victory at the start of May guaranteed Tottenham’s top-flight safety. However, finishing 14th was not good enough for the frustrated supporters and owner Alan Sugar. Gross already looked on borrowed time.

 

1998-1999

Three games into the new season and Christian Gross was fired by Alan Sugar after a year where his confidence and morale had been destroyed. Sugar then pursued the Leeds boss George Graham and compensation was eventually agreed between the clubs for Graham to take over at the start of October. For the fans, ex-Arsenal boss Graham was not a popular choice and it further soured the relationship between the chairman and the supporters.

Tottenham finished 11th in the Premier League but did achieve silverware with a late victory over Leicester City in the League Cup final thanks to Allan Nielsen’s strike. Tottenham did beat Liverpool FC and Manchester United on their way to the final.

 

1999-2000

Tottenham did top the Premier League table after four games but ultimately hovered around the mid-table positions again, ending an unremarkable 10th in the final standings. They did enjoy home victories over Arsenal and Manchester United though and also recorded a spectacular 7-2 win against Southampton in March where joint-top scorer Steffen Iversen scored a hat-trick.

 

2000-2001

A club-record fee was paid in the summer to acquire the services of Ukrainian forward Sergei Rebrov and Rebrov responded with nine Premier League goals but Tottenham failed to shift themselves out of the mid-table reaches, finishing 12th. In March, George Graham was sacked for breach of contract by the club’s new owners and he was replaced by the fans preferred choice, Glenn Hoddle who walked out on Southampton to take the vacancy at a club he served notably as a player in the 1980s.

One piece of history was achieved in December. During a 3-3 draw away at Bradford City, Ledley King scored what remains the fastest-ever goal in Premier League history.

 

2001-2002

Glenn Hoddle bought in international experience in the summer of 2001 with the arrivals of Christian Ziege, Gus Poyet and Teddy Sheringham, who returned for a second spell after four trophy-laden years at Manchester United. Tottenham’s highlight of the season was reaching the League Cup final, winning 5-1 in the semi-finals, second leg against London rivals Chelsea but they lost the final 2-1 to Blackburn Rovers. That ended European hopes for the season as league form again flattered to deceive. Tottenham wound up in ninth position.

 

2002-2003

The transfer deadline day arrival of Robbie Keane for £7 million from Leeds United was seen as a potential uplift in Hoddle’s fortunes at Tottenham, particularly after they ended August top of the table with 10 points from their first four matches. Keane finished as top scorer with 13, including a tremendous hat-trick in a 4-3 win over Everton in mid-January. However, it was another disappointing season for Spurs, who lost 16 Premier League matches and finished 10th.

 

2003-2004

After achieving just one victory in the first six league matches of the seasons, Glenn Hoddle’s time as manager was brought to an end in September. His last game was a 3-1 home defeat to Southampton – the club Hoddle had left behind to take the Tottenham job. David Pleat moved downstairs to guide Tottenham through the rest of the season and they ended 14th. There was little to shout about for the fans, although both Freddie Kanoute and Jermain Defoe did impress in their debut seasons at the club after arriving from West Ham United.

 

2004-2005

New Sporting Director Frank Arnesen and Head Coach Jacques Santini were appointed in the summer as big parts of a new management restructure but in early November, Santini resigned because of personal reasons after managing just 12 first-team matches. His assistant manager Martin Jol replaced him and led the club to their best Premier League run at the time of five successive victories. Spurs finished in ninth position as Jol laid down the foundations for a more consistent regular tilt at European qualification via the league.

 

2005-2006

2005-2006 was a case of so near, yet so far for Tottenham. They enjoyed a great campaign and for the majority of the season, looked set for a top four finish and therefore, a place in the UEFA Champions League. Robbie Keane was top scorer with 16 goals, whilst Edgar Davids impressed greatly in this first season in English football.

On the eve of the final match of the campaign at Upton Park, a number of Tottenham players were taken ill with suspected food poisoning after eating lasagne. The club called in the police and even appealed for a later kick-off time which was denied by the Premier League. Needing a win to secure that fourth spot, Tottenham had a sickening day, losing 2-1 to West Ham and this allowed bitter rivals Arsenal in to snatch fourth place as the Gunners beat Wigan Athletic 4-2 on Highbury’s last day.

 

2006-2007

Tottenham strengthened their attacking options with the arrival of Dimitar Berbatov for £10.6 million from Bayer 04 Leverkusen but injuries and erratic form in the first half of the campaign left the club in mid-table and nowhere near challenging the top four positions as they had in the previous season. Jol’s team improved greatly after a 4-0 home loss to Manchester United in early February, winning eight of their last 12 matches to finish fifth for the second successive season. They also reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup before losing to eventual winners Sevilla, whilst Paul Robinson became only the third-ever goalkeeper to score in the Premier League with his 80-yard lob against Watford in March.

 

2007-2008

In the summer of 2007, chairman Daniel Levy was understood to have approached Sevilla boss Juande Ramos about taking over as first-team manager. This ruined Martin Jol’s creditability as an authoritative figure in the dressing room and after a poor start with just one victory recorded over hapless Derby County in their first 10 Premier League games, Jol was sacked shortly after a UEFA Cup loss to Getafe. Ramos eventually took over and guided Tottenham to League Cup glory with victory over Chelsea. January arrival Jonathan Woodgate won the match and it softened the blow of a lacklustre league campaign which saw them down in 11th position at the season’s end.

Tottenham were involved in some high-scoring matches, drawing 4-4 with both Aston Villa and Chelsea and beating Reading 6-4.

 

2008-2009

For the second successive season, Spurs sacked their manager in October. After just amassing two points from their first eight matches, Juande Ramos was dismissed after a damaging 2-1 loss to Stoke City which saw Vedran Corluka end in hospital and both Gareth Bale and Michael Dawson sent off. He was replaced by Harry Redknapp and he immediately led a revival, with an amazing 4-4 draw away at Arsenal, followed by a 2-1 victory at home to Liverpool FC.

Tottenham remained in relegation danger until February but the returns of Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane in the transfer window from Portsmouth and Liverpool FC respectively helped Tottenham recover from their awful start to finish a creditable eighth in the table.

 

2009-2010

2009-2010 was a real breakthrough season for Tottenham Hotspur. They accumulated 70 points which was their highest total at the time in a Premier League season and returned to the pinnacle level of European club football for the first time since 1962. By finishing fourth, Harry Redknapp led the club to UEFA Champions League qualification for the first time in their history. Qualification was sealed by a 1-0 away victory at closest challengers Manchester City.

With 18 goals, Jermain Defoe finished as top scorer and five of those strikes came against Wigan Athletic in a 9-1 victory in November – Tottenham’s biggest-ever Premier League victory.

 

2010-2011

Tottenham reached the quarter-finals of their maiden UEFA Champions League campaign before bowing out to Real Madrid. In the Premier League, they finished in fifth place and eight points adrift of their points tally from the previous season. The high in the league season came at The Emirates in November, coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Arsenal and record a first away win at Arsenal in 18 years. This was also Gareth Bale’s breakthrough season. Bale put in some special performances throughout the campaign that ended with him winning PFA Players’ Player of the Year.

 

2011-2012

After two heavy defeats to the Manchester clubs to start the season, Tottenham enjoyed an 11-match unbeaten run, winning 10 of those games to climb into third place in the Premier League table. In February, manager Harry Redknapp was touted as heavy favourite for the England job after Fabio Capello’s resignation. He was also cleared of tax evasion charges at the same time. Tottenham supporters pleaded for Redknapp to stay but ultimately, the FA decided to appoint West Bromwich Albion manager, Roy Hodgson.

Tottenham’s form fell apart after a collapse in the North London Derby at The Emirates where they threw away a 2-0 lead to lose 5-2. Damaging defeats to Queens Park Rangers and Norwich City saw them finish in fourth place and below Arsenal in the table. Chelsea’s victory in the UEFA Champions League final denied Tottenham another shot at the Champions League for the next campaign and in June, Redknapp parted ways with the club by mutual consent.

 

2012-2013

Former Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas was appointed as Redknapp’s successor and he guided Tottenham to their best-ever points tally in a Premier League season of 72 points. He also got the best out of Bale, who scored 26 goals in all competitions and was crowned PFA Players’ Player of the Year for the second time in three years, edging out current holder Robin van Persie to the main prize. However, Tottenham missed out again on Champions League football on the final day. Arsenal’s victory at Newcastle meant Spurs finished fifth and Bale looked set to leave after his stunning individual campaign.

 

2013-2014

As had been widely predicted, Gareth Bale was sold in August for a world-record transfer fee of £85.3 million to Real Madrid. Tottenham spent the money of several new additions including the likes of Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and Etienne Capoue. However, apart from Christian Eriksen – none of the new arrivals made much of a positive impression.

Although Tottenham conceded just two goals in the first two months of the season, a 3-0 home defeat to West Ham United sparked off a worrying run of form which ultimately culminated in the dismissal of Andre Villas-Boas in mid-December. Two damaging heavy defeats – 6-0 at Manchester City and 5-0 at home to Liverpool FC were the final performances that forced Daniel Levy into the decision to sack the Portuguese.

Tim Sherwood replaced him and despite some more capitulating performances at Stamford Bridge and Anfield, he did steady the team and Tottenham finished sixth in the table. However, Sherwood was dismissed shortly after the season concluded with Levy having already identified his successor.

 

2014-2015

After a fine 18 months as Southampton’s boss, Mauricio Pochettino was tempted away from the south coast to take the role on as Tottenham Hotspur manager. This was another season of transition which ultimately saw Spurs improve by one position on the 2013-2014 campaign, finishing fifth.

Highs included a memorable 5-3 victory over champions Chelsea and a thrilling North London Derby success at White Hart Lane against Arsenal in February. The season also saw the remarkable breakthrough of Harry Kane who scored 21 league goals in his first full season in the Tottenham first-team. Kane’s efforts saw him crowned PFA Young Player of the Year.

 

2015-2016

Tottenham started the season with a narrow defeat at Old Trafford to Manchester United and actually went winless in the first month of the campaign. However, Mauricio Pochettino’s side were about to enjoy a breathtaking season that saw them become genuine title contenders for the first time in the Premier League Years.

Spurs lost just six times all season, recorded a famous league double over Manchester City, whilst Kane held off Jamie Vardy and Sergio Aguero to claim his first Golden Boot with 25 goals. Dele Alli’s debut season saw him score 10 times and succeed Kane as winner of PFA Young Player of the Year as Tottenham pushed Leicester City virtually all the way in the race for the most surprising Premier League title winner.

Ultimately, they fell short on a bad-tempered evening at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea came from 2-0 down to earn the point that ensured Leicester became champions. Tottenham’s rage exploded with every single outfield player booked on the night and Mousa Dembele earning a lengthy FA suspension after eye-gouging Diego Costa. They didn’t recover from this stormy evening and a 5-1 final day collapse at already relegated Newcastle meant Arsenal pipped them to the runners-up position, confirming a 22nd consecutive campaign they’d finish above their rivals from across the capital.

 

2016-2017

The final season at White Hart Lane turned into an unbeaten campaign. Tottenham dropped just four points on their home patch all season and lost only four games in the whole season. They claimed second position in the Premier League table in mid-January and never relinquished it, recording their best tallies for goals, wins, points and finishing position in the process. They finished seven points shy of Chelsea’s final total.

Pochettino continued to win widespread praise for the development and emergence of his young squad with Kane once again winning the Golden Boot and becoming only the second player in Premier League history to score four hat-tricks in a season.

White Hart Lane was demolished after the 2-1 victory against Manchester United in mid-May, to be replaced by a state-of-the-art new stadium near to the same site.

 

2017-2018

Tottenham moved to Wembley Stadium for the 2017-2018 campaign and initially found the going tough at the ground, as they dropped home points to Burnley and Swansea City, whilst Chelsea claimed a 2-1 victory thanks to two Marcos Alonso goals.

However, it was another impressive season from the Lilywhites who comfortably finished above Arsenal for the second successive league season and achieved a third consecutive finish in the top three. UEFA Champions League football was secured in the final week of the season with a narrow 1-0 victory over Newcastle United.

2017-2018 also saw the end of the barren wait for a Premier League win at Stamford Bridge. Two goals from Dele Alli helped Spurs to a 3-1 win in west London in April – their first win at the ground since February 1990. Kane scored another 30 goals but was pipped this time to the Golden Boot by Liverpool FC’s Mohamed Salah.

 

2018-2019

Delays to the new stadium have meant Tottenham have remained at Wembley Stadium for the 2018-2019 season and incredibly, they haven’t drawn a match in the Premier League this season. It has been wins or losses this term and Spurs remain as a potential title challenger in mid-February, keeping Liverpool FC and Manchester City honest.

Among the highlights already this season were a 3-1 win over Chelsea in November, a 6-2 masterclass at Goodison Park against Everton and a late winner from Harry Winks in a London Derby away at Fulham. With progression to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League looking likely, Tottenham supporters still have plenty of excitement to witness in this campaign.

Premier League Files: Yossi Benayoun

Premier League Career: West Ham United (2005-2007, 2013), Liverpool FC (2007-2010), Chelsea (2010-2011, 2012), Arsenal (2011-2012)

A former captain of the Israel international team, Yossi Benayoun was still playing very recently back in his homeland, having returned to Beitar Jerusalem. In April 2019, he decided to announce his retirement from professional football. In regards to his time on these shores, his most productive spell was under Rafa Benitez’s management at Liverpool FC, spending three years at Anfield and ending as a Premier League runner-up in 2009. He also had two stints at West Ham United, along with time with other London giants, Chelsea and Arsenal.

An attacking midfielder whose best role was often just behind the main forward, Benayoun started his career with Hapoel Be’er Sheva. Dutch superpower Ajax was impressed and offered him a trial, followed by a four-year professional contract offer in 1996. However, Benayoun’s family just couldn’t settle in Amsterdam so he turned the offer down and headed back to Israel.

Promoted to the Hapoel Be’er Sheva first-team aged just 16, he experienced relegation on the final weekend of his first season in top-flight football despite victory over Maccabi Haifa where he’d scored an injury-time penalty. Other results had already condemned Hapoel to the drop and he broke down in floods of tears when hearing the news. He moved swiftly to Maccabi Haifa, scoring 55 goals in 130 appearances for them, winning back-to-back Israeli championships under Avram Grant’s reign and in 2001, he was voted as the league’s Most Valuable Player.

In 2002, he moved to Racing Santander in La Liga, scoring 21 times in 101 appearances for the club. His best game in Spain came in 2005 when he scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 away victory over Deportivo La Coruna. At the end of the season, it was a surprise to see Racing make him available for transfer and after rejecting a move to CSKA Moscow, Yossi switched to English football. Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool FC were all rumoured to be interested but Benayoun eventually moved to newly-promoted West Ham United for £2.5 million.

He made his Premier League debut on the opening day of the 2005-2006 season against Blackburn Rovers and scored his first Hammers goal a month later in a 4-0 triumph over Aston Villa. Benayoun impressed in his debut season, finishing with five goals, including the matchwinner on the final day against Tottenham Hotspur that destroyed their hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. The season ended in agony though for Benayoun, missing out on winning the FA Cup as he was part of the West Ham 2006 squad that lost on penalties to Liverpool FC.

His second season at Upton Park was less successful but he still was a regular in a team that avoided relegation on the last day thanks to the goals of Carlos Tevez. At the end of the season, he verbally agreed a contract extension with the Hammers before controversially joining Liverpool FC less than two months later for £5 million.

Benayoun’s first season on Merseyside was impressive enough – scoring 11 goals in all competitions including hat-tricks against Besiktas in the UEFA Champions League and non-league Havant & Waterlooville in the FA Cup. In 2008-2009, Benayoun came up with some crucial goals including a winning header to beat Real Madrid in the first leg of the Reds’ round-of-16 tie. The Israeli, who switched squad numbers to his preferred no.15 jersey following Peter Crouch’s summer departure to Portsmouth, had a say in the Premier League title race too. He scored a dramatic winner in the 94th minute against Fulham in April and also scored twice in the 4-4 thriller later in the month with Arsenal. Liverpool FC came within four points of winning the title.

The highlight of Yossi’s 2009-2010 season was a maiden Premier League hat-trick in the 4-0 win over Burnley at Anfield, making him the only player to score hat-tricks for the club in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and FA Cup. He left Merseyside that summer following Rafa Benitez’s departure and joined reigning champions Chelsea for £5.5 million. He scored on his away debut in a 6-0 drubbing of Wigan Athletic but his debut season in west London was wrecked by a ruptured Achilles, sustained in a League Cup defeat to Newcastle United in September. It kept him on the sidelines for almost seven months.

With limited opportunities at Chelsea, Benayoun moved on-loan to Arsenal on August transfer deadline day in 2011. He made 19 appearances for the Gunners, scoring four goals including crucial strikes in away wins over Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers. A return to West Ham beckoned on-loan in 2012-2013 but it wasn’t a successful period. Just six appearances and a ligament injury meant the season-long loan deal was cut short and an early return to Chelsea made just before Christmas 2012.

He went to Queens Park Rangers in the Championship and played a part in the club winning promotion back to the Premier League in 2014 but his English top-flight days were over. Yossi would ultimately return to Maccabi Haifa in June 2014 and since then, has moved about in his homeland, experiencing spells with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Beitar Jerusalem and Maccabi Petah Tikva before returning to Beitar once again at the start of this calendar year.

After announcing his decision to stop playing in April 2019 on his Instagram account, it will be interesting to see what Yossi does next. However, he was a great ambassador for his country and represented all of his Premier League clubs with dignity and delight.

Seasonal Stories: Southampton (2014-2015)

Challenging the elite

Summer 2014 was one of turmoil for Southampton who saw their manager leave for a new post and several key figures from the previous season move onto bigger clubs. However, new manager Ronald Koeman and his players found a great resolve that saw them achieve a best-ever Premier League finish of seventh, despite being made relegation favourites at the start of the campaign.

The form of Graziano Pelle was important whilst towards the end of the season, another of the new purchases in Sadio Mane sealed his place in the Premier League record books.

A challenging summer

Southampton had finished the 2013-2014 Premier League season in eighth position with their best-ever points tally in a 38-game season. However, the club were about to experience plenty of upheaval in a challenging summer.

First was the departure of Argentine manager Mauricio Pochettino. Pochettino had impressed throughout his 18-month tenure in the St Mary’s hotseat and plenty of clubs were interested in his services. It was Tottenham Hotspur who eventually got his signature, replacing Tim Sherwood. Pochettino’s successor would be ex-Dutch defender Ronald Koeman, who had plenty of managerial experience from spells with PSV Eindhoven, Benfica and Valencia.

Koeman had to deal with many of the key Southampton first-team squad moving onto pastures new. Liverpool FC took the trio of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren, whilst Manchester United signed Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers left for Arsenal. Morgan Schneiderlin also tried to force a move through to Tottenham but his transfer request was rejected and a serious knee injury meant Jay Rodriguez’s impact on this campaign was going to be severely limited.

There were eight new arrivals. Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld and left-back Ryan Bertrand were the season’s loan stars and they would be joined by six new permanent squad members. Attacking midfielder Sadio Mane came in from RB Salzburg, Fraser Forster moved from Celtic to succeed Artur Boruc as the club’s permanent no.1 goalkeeper and Serbian midfielder Dusan Tadic was acquired from FC Twente. Many columnists and pundits had Southampton down among their contenders for relegation following the summer of change.

Tremendous early run

Southampton played well on the opening weekend at Anfield and were unfortunate to lose 2-1 to Liverpool FC. Shane Long, a recent signing from Hull City, missed a great late opportunity to earn the Saints a share of the points.

Southampton’s first win came at the end of August. Having made peace with the hierarchy after his summer spat, Schneiderlin came to the fore at Upton Park, scoring twice in Southampton’s 3-1 triumph away at West Ham United.

This win in east London started a tremendous run of form for Southampton as they would win eight of their next nine matches to rise to the dizzying heights of second position. They kept six clean sheets in that period with Alderweireld and Bertrand settling in very quickly and showing that Shaw and Lovren weren’t being missed at all.

One of those victories remains the club’s biggest-ever Premier League victory as they wiped the floor with Sunderland. Southampton won 8-0. They were helped by three own goals whilst Graziano Pelle scored twice to continue his fantastic start to his Southampton career. He scored six goals in his first 11 matches.

TABLE ON 9th November 2014

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Chelsea 11 9 2 0 28 11 +17 29
2 SOUTHAMPTON 11 8 1 2 23 5 +18 25
3 Manchester City 11 6 3 2 22 12 +10 21
4 West Ham United 11 5 3 3 19 14 +5 18
5 Swansea City 11 5 3 3 15 11 +4 18
6 Arsenal 11 4 5 2 19 13 +6 17

Maintaining form in festive period

Another player who was having an excellent season was Nathaniel Clyne. The right-back scored a late equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa but it did begin a dip of form which saw Southampton lose four consecutive matches. Three of those games were against the elite in the shape of Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.

However, there was another bounce at the right time. With the festive period in sight, Southampton had some tricky games against Everton, Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Arsenal but collected 10 points from a possible 12. The 3-1 victory at Selhurst Park saw Neil Warnock’s second reign as Crystal Palace manager come to an end whilst the 2-0 victory over Arsenal forced Arsene Wenger into changing his main goalkeeper from Wojciech Szczesny after an error-strewn display on the south coast to David Ospina.

The January transfer window was a quiet one in comparison to the busy summer period. Bertrand’s loan move became a permanent transfer whilst Dutch winger Eljero Elia was brought in on-loan for the rest of the season from SV Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga. Jack Cork though did leave for a fresh start at Swansea City after being unable to hold down a regular place in Koeman’s starting XI.

Elia’s impact was limited but he did score both goals to spearhead a 2-1 away victory at Newcastle United. This came after Tadic came off the bench to secure victory at Old Trafford against Manchester United. In mid-January, Southampton were sitting in third place and above Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Liverpool FC. They looked a potential serious player for the UEFA Champions League qualifying positions.

Feeling the pace

A late home defeat in early February to Swansea City was the first signs that Southampton would fall short of what had turned out to be an ambitious but feasible target. Jonjo Shelvey’s long-range strike helped the Welsh club garner all three points on a day where a couple of Southampton’s key players had days to forget. Forster, who had been excellent in-goal, didn’t do enough to keep out Shelvey’s shot, whilst Bertrand blotted his copybook with a red card for a dangerous tackle on Modou Barrow.

Southampton would win only another five Premier League matches after this game and dropped out of the top four after a 2-0 home loss to Liverpool FC on 22nd February. They wouldn’t return to that position again.

Nevertheless, there were still some high points. Tadic’s penalty ensured they collected an excellent point at Stamford Bridge against champions-elect Chelsea whilst James Ward-Prowse scored only his second-ever goal for the club in April’s 2-0 win over Hull City which briefly took the Saints back into fifth position.

Southampton eventually finished in seventh, winning just one of their last six games. However, that victory was a memorable one against Aston Villa.

Southampton were leading 5-1 at half-time as they took full advantage of a brittle defensive display from their opponents. Mane broke Robbie Fowler’s 21-year record to become the new holder of the fastest Premier League hat-trick in history. Mane’s treble came in just two minutes, 56 seconds. Shane Long added a spectacular fifth from 40 yards out and Koeman admitted afterwards: “It was an amazing afternoon and I didn’t expect it I have to be honest but I was expecting a reaction after the last two games and it was great as it was our last home game. The fans deserved it for their amazing support.”

FINAL 2014-2015 TABLE – THE TOP SEVEN

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Chelsea 38 26 9 3 73 32 +41 87
2 Manchester City 38 24 7 7 83 38 +45 79
3 Arsenal 38 22 9 7 71 36 +35 75
4 Manchester United 38 20 10 8 62 37 +25 70
5 Tottenham Hotspur 38 19 7 12 58 53 +5 64
6 Liverpool FC 38 18 8 12 52 48 +4 62
7 SOUTHAMPTON 38 18 6 14 54 33 +21 60

Southampton had produced a stunning season and proven a lot of people wrong. The fans could be happy that despite all of the summer changes, Koeman and the board had made some smart moves in the transfer market and been rewarded with the club’s best-ever Premier League finish. They also finished with the second-best defensive record, letting in just 33 goals in 38 matches.

Premier League Rewind: 28th-29th January 2014

Results: Crystal Palace 1-0 Hull City, Liverpool FC 4-0 Everton, Manchester United 2-0 Cardiff City, Norwich City 0-0 Newcastle United, Southampton 2-2 Arsenal, Swansea City 2-0 Fulham, Aston Villa 4-3 West Bromwich Albion, Chelsea 0-0 West Ham United, Sunderland 1-0 Stoke City, Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 Manchester City

Arsenal went into this midweek round of matches in January 2014 leading the Premier League title race but both Manchester City and Chelsea were snapping at their heels. This looked like being a crucial round of fixtures at both ends of the table.

The Gunners faced a tricky test away on the south coast away at Southampton and ultimately saw their five-match winning streak come to an end. After falling behind to Jose Fonte’s 21st minute header, Arsenal turned the match around with quick-fire goals early in the second half from Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla. However, Adam Lallana’s 54th minute strike ensured the Saints got a deserved 2-2 draw against the Gunners, who also had Mathieu Flamini sent off 10 minutes from full-time.

That draw meant Manchester City could go into top spot in the table if they claimed all three points against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. Danny Rose’s red card did help City’s cause but Manuel Pellegrini’s side cruised to an impressive 5-1 destruction of the north Londoners with goals from Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, Edin Dzeko, Stevan Jovetic and Vincent Kompany. It meant they had scored 11 goals in two fixtures against the Lilywhites in the season and also inflicted a first defeat on new Tottenham Head Coach, Tim Sherwood. Manchester City had now won their last eight Premier League fixtures.

Chelsea lost ground on the top two after being held to a frustrating goalless draw by West Ham United at Stamford Bridge. The Blues had an incredible 39 shots on-goal compared to just one for the visitors but they couldn’t find a way through thanks to last-ditch defending and wasteful finishing. It was the most shots on-goal a side had in a Premier League game without scoring since 2003-2004. After the game, Jose Mourinho was very vocal about the Hammers’ gameplay, calling it: “This is football from the 19th Century. The only (other) thing I could bring was Black and Decker (tool) to destroy the wall.”

Liverpool FC moved four points clear of city neighbours Everton after destroying the Toffees 4-0 at Anfield in The Merseyside Derby. Daniel Sturridge scored twice and only a wayward penalty denied the England ace his second hat-trick for the club. Skipper Steven Gerrard had opened the scoring from a corner early on and Luis Suarez capped the victory off with his trademark strike. It was only Everton’s third Premier League defeat of the season and first away from Goodison Park since early October.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made an emotional return to Old Trafford as manager of Cardiff City but he couldn’t spearhead the Welsh club to a surprising victory. Juan Mata made his debut for the Red Devils after his transfer from Chelsea and he played a part in the first goal of the game, scored by Robin van Persie. Ashley Young scored his first Premier League goal in nearly two years to cap a 2-0 victory for the reigning champions, who remained in a distant seventh place in the table.

Elsewhere, Sunderland climbed out of the bottom three after beating Stoke City 1-0. It was their third victory in six matches. Fulham replaced them in the relegation zone after losing 2-0 to Swansea City. Dimitar Berbatov scored an own goal in his last game for the club before completing a loan move to AS Monaco. It was also the last victory Michael Laudrup would experience as Swansea manager. He would be sacked a week later.

What else happened in January 2014?

  • Legendary former Portuguese forward, Eusebio, who finished top goalscorer in the 1966 World Cup finals in England, dies of heart failure, aged 71.
  • An inquest jury decides that Mark Duggan was lawfully killed by police in 2011. It was his death that sparked the summer riots in England.
  • Lewis Clarke of Bristol sets a new world record after becoming the youngest person to trek to the South Pole. He is just 16-years-old.
  • Latvia becomes the 18th member of the Eurozone after adopting the Euro as its official currency.
  • BBC Radio 1’s official YouTube channel reaches the milestone of one million subscribers.
  • The Met Office release figures that indicate parts of the Midlands and Southern England have experienced their highest January rainfall since records began 104 years earlier.
  • Comedian Jim Davidson wins the 13th series of Celebrity Big Brother.

 

Shock Results: Manchester United 2-3 Derby County (April 1997)

Goalscorers: Ashley Ward 29, Paulo Wanchope 35, Eric Cantona 47, Dean Sturridge 75, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 76

Teams:

Manchester United: Peter Schmeichel, Ronny Johnsen, Gary Pallister (Paul Scholes 86), Gary Neville (Denis Irwin 70), Phil Neville, Nicky Butt (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 45), Roy Keane, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona, Andy Cole

Derby County: Mart Poom, Christian Dailly, Jacob Laursen, Chris Powell, Paul McGrath, Paul Trollope, Darryl Powell, Robin van der Laan, Dean Sturridge, Ashley Ward, Paulo Wanchope (Paul Simpson 65)

Referee: David Elleray, Attendance: 55,243

Going into the final two months of the 1996-1997 Premier League season, Manchester United seemed to have one hand on the title. Alex Ferguson’s side had lost just once since early November in the league and were heavy favourites to beat Derby County at Old Trafford. Derby were in mid-table and gave debuts to Estonian goalkeeper Mart Poom and 20-year-old Costa Rican forward Paulo Wanchope whilst Manchester United preferred Andy Cole upfront to top scorer Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. A win here would take Ferguson’s side six points clear of their nearest rivals.

Roy Keane had the first significant opportunity of the afternoon, nodding a header wide of the post from a delicate Ryan Giggs cross. The reigning champions dominated the early exchanges as expected and Giggs tested Poom’s reflexes with a point-blank header which the new Derby goalkeeper was equal to. So, it was a real shock to see Jim Smith’s side go into the lead.

Paul Trollope launched a ball to the back post and Wanchope won his header against Phil Neville. Ashley Ward’s strike wasn’t the cleanest but it bounced over Peter Schmeichel’s head and into the net. Six minutes later, Wanchope’s debut turned into a staggering contribution. He picked up possession and despite his fairly leggy style, he ran clean through past four Manchester United defenders, showed some great dribbling skills and nudged the ball beyond Schmeichel’s reach. Almost unknown to everyone before kick-off, the whole world now knew who Paulo Wanchope was.

Derby continued to boss proceedings and could have been leading 3-0 at half-time. Ward forced Schmeichel into two smart stops and then hit the post as the defence seemed to be standing likes statues. This was an error-strewn display from the table-toppers and Ferguson was bound to have got the hairdryer treatment out at half-time. He took off the disappointing Nicky Butt during the break and put Solskjaer on. There was an immediate response from the captain. Solskjaer picked out Eric Cantona, who brought down the ball superbly, held off his marker Trollope and then shot across Poom’s bows and into the back of the net.

Derby held firm though and with 15 minutes left, virtually secured a shock victory. Dean Sturridge nodded the ball past an overcommitted Schmeichel and when the ball hit the post, the bounce fell perfectly for Sturridge to score one of the easiest goals of his career. It was a poor performance from the entire Red Devils backline. Solskjaer immediately pulled a goal back when he made the most of an unfortunate flick-on from Paul McGrath but Derby held on for a memorable and deserved victory.

Manchester United remained unbeaten after this defeat to register a fourth Premier League title in five seasons. This was only Derby’s second away win of the season but it was the boost they needed and Smith’s side would finish a fine 12th in their debut Premier League campaign.

Referees in the Middle: Bobby Madley

Premier League Career: 2013-2018

First Premier League Match: Southampton 0-3 West Bromwich Albion (27 April 2013)

Final Premier League Match: Everton 1-0 Newcastle United (23 April 2018)

18 months ago, Bobby Madley was seen as one of the finest officials in the Premier League. Not afraid of giving tough decisions but also importantly, allowing games to flow as best as possible; Madley had a reputation that was growing rapidly. Unfortunately, a difficult 2017-2018 season was followed by his mysterious departure from the English game. He is now attempting to rebuild his career away from the limelight in Norway.

Still only 33, Madley was one of the youngest-ever referees to take control of a Premier League match and he’d started his career in officiating as young as 16 in the Wakefield and District League. In 2010, still only 25, he joined the National List of referees who officiate in the Football League.

Promotion to the Premier League Select Group list was looking likely but before this, he got what turned out to be a tougher match than what many had anticipated. In April 2013, Bobby’s first fixture was at St Mary’s between Southampton and West Bromwich Albion. It was a fixture that had little to play for in regards to the final significant outcomes in the Premier League season. West Brom won the game 3-0 but Madley incredibly ending up sending off three players. An ugly confrontation between Southampton’s Gaston Ramirez and Marc-Antoine Fortune of West Bromwich Albion saw both dismissed in the 70th minute. 11 minutes later, Southampton left-back Danny Fox was also red-carded for serious foul play. He was praised though by West Brom manager Steve Clarke, who said “all three red cards were correct.”

He was promoted to the Select Group that summer and between the start of the 2013-2014 season and April 2018, he took charge of 92 matches, producing 305 yellow cards and 13 red cards. Five of those red cards came in 2015-2016 including ugly tackles from Valon Behrami of Watford and Everton’s Ramiro Funes Mori in games against Swansea City and Liverpool FC respectively. He made the FIFA referee list in January 2016 and took charge of the FA Community Shield in 2017 between London rivals, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Bobby’s tricky 2017-2018 campaign began with his second appointment which was a game between Manchester City and Everton. Both Kyle Walker and Morgan Schneiderlin were dismissed in the 1-1 draw and Walker’s dismissal divided opinion. Former official Graham Poll was scathing in his assessment afterwards, saying: “The bottom line is that this ref is not good enough and this game was too big for him.”

A month later, he waved away a penalty claim which looked clear-cut for West Bromwich Albion in a 2-0 loss at The Emirates against Arsenal before taking charge of a Boxing Day match between AFC Bournemouth and West Ham United that ended 3-3. Seven yellow cards were handed out and he gave Bournemouth a controversial equaliser despite hints of an offside and a handball by goalscorer, Callum Wilson.

Another strong critic was Mark Halsey. In December 2017, he said: “He is having a poor season for an international official – he is making far too many key big-match errors. I think that is down to his lack of fitness – he looks overweight and that is affecting his performances.”

In August 2018, news came through that Madley had suddenly quit when he “decided to relocate due to a change in his personal circumstances.” It was an announcement that surprised many of his colleagues. Reports emerged later in the month which suggested Madley had been dismissed after some activity on the social media application Snapchat that was considered inappropriate. For now at least, his English refereeing career looks to be over.

In December 2018, he gave his first interview following his departure from the English game to The Daily Mail and has now relocated with his girlfriend to Oslo where is he now refereeing in the sixth tier of Norwegian football. He said: “I have never done this for the money. Coming to Norway was never about the money, but a new start for me.”

It is a new start for Bobby Madley. Presuming he doesn’t return to officiating in the English game again, he does have the ability to get back to the top in another country.

Memorable Matches: West Ham United 4-3 Tottenham Hotspur (February 1997)

Goalscorers: Teddy Sheringham 7, Julian Dicks 20, 72 PEN, Paul Kitson 22, Darren Anderton 29, John Hartson 37, David Howells 53

Teams:

West Ham United: Ludek Miklosko, Mark Bowen, Tim Breacker, Julian Dicks, Rio Ferdinand, Steve Potts, Ian Bishop, Michael Hughes, John Moncur, John Hartson, Paul Kitson (Iain Dowie 79)

Tottenham Hotspur: Ian Walker, Dean Austin, Colin Calderwood, Sol Campbell, Stephen Carr, Clive Wilson, David Howells (Ronny Rosenthal 84), Darren Anderton, Andy Sinton (Allan Nielsen 79), Steffen Iversen, Teddy Sheringham

Referee: Gary Willard, Attendance: 23,998

Things were looking desperate for West Ham United in February 1997. Four successive defeats in the Premier League had them in the bottom three and needing a vital victory in a London Derby against mid-table Tottenham Hotspur.

Manager Harry Redknapp had recently dipped into the transfer market, paying out a combined £7 million to acquire the services of John Hartson and Paul Kitson from Arsenal and Newcastle United respectively. The new strikeforce would have an important role in the destiny of this match, played in windy and wet conditions.

Tottenham were having an average season but played their role in this fantastic encounter. They took the lead after just seven minutes. Young right-back Stephen Carr drove a cross into the penalty area from the right wing and on his return from injury; Teddy Sheringham placed his long-range header beyond a stranded Ludek Miklosko to put the visitors ahead.

West Ham drew themselves level on 20 minutes. Captain Julian Dicks was left unmarked from a Michael Hughes corner and he equalised, placing his header into the bottom right-hand corner of Ian Walker’s goal. The Hammers now had momentum and moments later, Walker made a good save to keep out Hughes. The Northern Ireland international was having a fine match and from the resulting corner, his delivery once again caused havoc with the weather conditions. Kitson made the most of the ball hanging in the air to score his first goal for his new club.

The spectacular goal feast continued. Sheringham and Steffen Iversen combined and Darren Anderton was played through by the Norwegian. His delicate lob from 20-yards out over Miklosko made it 2-2 with just 29 minutes played. Then, like Kitson, Hartson scored on his debut too. Eight minutes before half-time, Dicks’ excellent free-kick delivery found Hartson and the Welshman outmuscled Sol Campbell in the aerial challenge and his header found the target.

3-2 at half-time, Tottenham quickly restored parity. Eight minutes into the second half, Sheringham laid the ball back to David Howells and he scored a rare goal with his shot creeping inside Miklosko’s far post. It was a poignant moment for the midfielder, who was playing despite the tragic death of his father earlier in the day.

The decisive goal came 18 minutes from full-time. Howells challenge on Hartson was deemed as a foul in the penalty area and Gary Willard pointed to the spot. Dicks was one of the best spot-kick takers in the Premier League, smashing his penalty into the net with power and passion and West Ham led for the third time in the contest.

This time, it was to be a decisive advantage and a vital win as they eventually ended up two points clear of the relegation zone at the end of the season.