All posts by Simon Wright

Hello, I am Simon, 23 and studying a BA Hons in Journalism (3rd and final year) at the University of Northampton.

Premier League Rewind: 15th-17th October 1994

Results: Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea, Aston Villa 1-1 Norwich City, Blackburn Rovers 3-2 Liverpool FC, Crystal Palace 0-1 Newcastle United, Everton 0-2 Coventry City, Leeds United 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City 4-3 Southampton, Manchester United 1-0 West Ham United, Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Manchester City, Ipswich Town 1-2 Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest 3-1 Wimbledon

Whilst Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United were the two teams who would go on to dictate the destiny of the Premier League title in season 1994-1995, it wasn’t so clear who would be the team to beat in mid-October 1994. Kenny Dalglish and Alex Ferguson’s sides were in the chasing pack, but behind a couple of hot pacesetters.

Going into the weekend’s matches, Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest still held unbeaten records and these were maintained through contrasting fashions. Kevin Keegan’s Magpies’ had dropped just four points all season but their trip to Selhurst Park for a match with Crystal Palace wasn’t all about style and swagger. This time, it was about grit and determination to get all three points. They managed to achieve this with a minute to go. Palace defended brilliantly all day but Peter Beardsley produced a special effort to beat Nigel Martyn and ensure the visiting fans went home happy and still on top of the table.

Nottingham Forest had to wait until the Monday evening to respond. Frank Clark’s side were in live action on Sky Sports and played a Wimbledon side that had made a sluggish start to the season. Stan Collymore scored one of the goals of the season at the City Ground. Collecting possession from just inside the Wimbledon half, the striker went on a mazy run and as the space opened up, went for goal. The shot flew past Hans Segers as Forest went on to record a 3-1 victory and maintain their impressive start on their Premier League return.

The two sides that Dalglish cared about the most in English football clashed at Ewood Park and Blackburn Rovers prevailed in a five-goal thriller with Liverpool FC. John Barnes might have scored the goal of the weekend with a stunning acrobatic kick that rolled back the years to his prime days. It wasn’t enough though for the visitors’ to grab a share of the spoils. Two goals from Chris Sutton ensured Dalglish’s current side beat his old employers 3-2.

Liverpool FC stayed in the top four but the nightmare continued across Merseyside for Everton. Still without a win and the pressure continued to mount on the beleaguered Mike Walker. New signings Duncan Ferguson and Ian Durrant played at home to Coventry City but made little impact on the contest. Dion Dublin was among the scorers in an easy 2-0 win for Coventry. Walker insisted he wasn’t under pressure from the board afterwards but his time was almost up in the Goodison Park hotseat.

Another side that had been struggling were Leicester City but the newly-promoted Foxes’ achieved a second victory of the term in an entertaining 4-3 triumph at home to Southampton. Franz Carr scored the goal of the match as Brian Little’s side held off a late fightback from their opponents to claim all three points. It would be the last victory Little achieved with Leicester. He would walk out on the club five weeks later to take over at Midlands’ rivals Aston Villa.

Elsewhere, Arsenal beat Chelsea 3-1 in a London derby, Manchester United sneaked past West Ham United through an Eric Cantona goal and David Hirst scored an 89th minute winner as Sheffield Wednesday beat Ipswich Town 2-1 on Super Sunday despite a late red card for Des Walker.

What else happened in October 1994?

  • Fernando Henrique Cardoso is elected president of Brazil.
  • Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in keeping peace in the Middle East.
  • The USA defeats Europe 13-7 in the Solheim Cup.
  • BSkyB launch two new channels; Sky Soap and Sky Travel.
  • The conclusion of the Sharongate storyline in EastEnders as Grant finds out Sharon has been having an affair with his brother, Phil. An estimated 25.3 million watch the drama unfold.
  • Former Academy Award winner Martha Raye dies in Los Angeles aged 78.
  • Two trains crash head-on in heavy fog in Kent after a driver passes a red signal. Five are killed and 13 injured.
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Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 1-2 Sunderland (August 1999)

Goalscorers: Kieron Dyer 28, Niall Quinn 64, Kevin Phillips 75

Teams:

Newcastle United: Tommy Wright, Nikos Dabizas, Didier Domi, Alain Goma, Warren Barton, Jamie McClen, Gary Speed, Kieron Dyer, Nolberto Solano, Paul Robinson (Duncan Ferguson 57), Silvio Maric (Alan Shearer 72)

Sunderland: Thomas Sorensen, Michael Gray, Steve Bould, Paul Butler, Chris Makin, Alex Rae, Stefan Schwarz (Kevin Ball 69), Gavin McCann, Nicky Summerbee, Niall Quinn, Kevin Phillips

Referee: Graham Poll, Attendance: 36,420

The Tyne & Wear derby has always been a passionate battle for supremacy and in August 1999, Newcastle United boss Ruud Gullit was under tremendous pressure. His side had made a terrible start to the season, conceding 11 goals in four matches and collecting just one point; a 3-3 draw with Wimbledon days earlier. His next move would ultimately seal his fate.

Captain Alan Shearer had been suspended for the Wimbledon match following a controversial red card on the opening day of the season at home to Aston Villa. He was expected to lead the line for this massive confrontation. However, Gullit incredibly took the decision to bench his skipper along with his strike partner Duncan Ferguson. In came rookie Paul Robinson and the untried Silvio Maric. It was a baffling decision amidst reports of a power struggle for supremacy at the club between the manager and his skipper.

Shearer could only watch on during a match that was played at a high-tempo despite the filthy weather conditions. Newcastle started well and took the lead in the 27th minute. Robinson did a good job in difficult circumstances and he created the opening goal for Kieron Dyer. Dyer, a summer signing from Ipswich Town was played in by Robinson and he chipped the ball over Thomas Sorensen as the Dane came out to block down the angle. It was his first Newcastle goal and good enough to ensure the home side went into the half-time interval 1-0 ahead.

It was the fourth time in a row that Newcastle had led a match this season and on all three previous occasions, they’d thrown away that position. The crowd must have feared the worst then when Sunderland equalised midway through the second half. The towering presence of Niall Quinn was too much for Newcastle’s defenders. His header flew into the back of the net from Nicky Summerbee’s free-kick delivery.

By now, Shearer had been thrown on by Gullit as he finally withdrew Maric who looked completely overawed by the occasion. Less than two minutes after the change, Sunderland were ahead through a wonderful moment provided by Quinn’s strike partner, Kevin Phillips. Back-up goalkeeper Tommy Wright came out from his goal to smother Phillips’ first attempt at goal. The ball returned to Phillips and he produced a swerving lob from an improbable angle that beat Wright all ends up and ended in the top corner.

Although Kevin Ball almost spared the Magpies’ blushes with a spectacular own goal in the final moments, Newcastle general response after going behind was lacklustre. Sunderland had the bragging rights and Gullit was out of a job. He resigned two days later. Sir Bobby Robson was his successor and guided the club to a safe mid-table finish, whilst getting Shearer back in the goals.

This was Sunderland’s night. It was the evening where Ruud Gullit gambled and lost big time.

Great Goals: Anthony Martial – MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Liverpool FC (September 2015)

On transfer deadline day in August 2015, Manchester United paid big money to sign Frenchman Anthony Martial from AS Monaco. Once all the instalments eventually go through on the deal, Martial will become the most expensive teenager of all-time.

He started on the bench for his debut match. Manchester United welcomed arch-enemies in Liverpool FC to Old Trafford and the first half was a drab affair between two teams who had both seen better days. Martial was introduced to the game at half-time and made a solid impression to start with as United went into a 2-0 lead through goals from Daley Blind and Ander Herrera. The visitors’ were back in the game through a wonderful goal of their own by Christian Benteke before Martial’s magical moment.

From the wide position, he cuts inside, teasing and scaring the life out of Martin Skrtel. Martial beats the big Slovakian and then produces the perfect finish, not only securing United’s victory but immediately becoming a fan favourite. Welcome to the Premier League Anthony Martial!

Premier League Files: John Sheridan

Premier League Career: Sheffield Wednesday (1992-1996), Bolton Wanderers (1997-1998)

Irishman John Sheridan spent the majority of his playing career in Yorkshire. In the Premier League, his career was largely spent at Sheffield Wednesday, featuring for the Owls’ in the first four seasons of the new generation. For the past 11 years, he has been a regular manager in the Football League. He has just finished his fifth spell managing Oldham Athletic, counting caretaker spells.

Born in Stretford and not far away from Old Trafford, many thought Sheridan would become a boyhood Manchester United fan. In fact, he followed Manchester City at a young age and he would start his career with the Citizens. He never quite made the grade with City and ended up making his professional league debut for Leeds United in 1982. Sheridan was very popular with the fans at Elland Road and stayed with the club for seven years, showing great loyalty even in difficult days for the Yorkshire side.

Howard Wilkinson wasn’t his biggest fan though and moved him onto Nottingham Forest in 1989. However, he was sporadically used by Brian Clough. In fact, he turned out just once for Forest in the League Cup and ultimately joined Sheffield Wednesday exactly three months after arriving at the City Ground. It was the fans at Hillsborough who would see the best of Sheridan’s playing career. He would make nearly 200 league appearances for the club. This included scoring the winning goal against Manchester United in the 1991 League Cup final.

He was an integral part of the exciting Owls’ sides in the early 1990s under Ron Atkinson and then, Trevor Francis. Traditionally, Sheffield Wednesday were slow starters but would always come good. They finished third in 1992, reached both domestic cup finals in 1993 and in 1994, were semi-finalists in the League Cup. Individually, Sheridan’s most memorable moment of his Premier League career came at Old Trafford in April 1993. He scored a penalty to give Sheffield Wednesday the lead but victory would be denied by two dramatic Steve Bruce headers in injury-time.

Trevor Francis’ departure at the end of the 1994-1995 season would ultimately spell the beginning of the end for Sheridan’s Sheffield Wednesday career. David Pleat would only pick him occasionally and he was loaned to Birmingham City in the autumn of 1996. He was snapped up by Bolton Wanderers in November of the same year and won promotion to the Premier League as Division One champions. He would play another 12 times in the top-flight but couldn’t prevent the Trotters being relegated back to the second-tier on the final day of the 1997-1998 season.

He would finish his playing career at Oldham, featuring 114 times for them before retiring in 2004, a few months short of his 40th birthday. Internationally, he won 34 caps for the Republic of Ireland and was part of the Irish squads at the 1990 and 1994 World Cup finals. He began his management career with the club he finished his playing days with in 2006 and has also had spells managing Chesterfield, Plymouth Argyle, Notts County and Newport County AFC. He returned to the dugout at Oldham in January 2017 but lost his job with them just eight months later.

Iconic Moments: Friedel denied (February 2004)

Not many goalkeepers have had the honour of scoring goals in the Premier League. Brad Friedel is part of an exclusive club which consists of just four other shot-stoppers.

The American was playing for Blackburn Rovers when he scored his only goal in professional football, although there would be no overall celebration for Friedel. Blackburn were playing away at The Valley against Charlton Athletic and made a horrible start. Carlton Cole opened the scoring after 10 minutes and before half-time, Jason Euell had doubled the Addicks’ lead.

Graeme Souness made some tactical readjustments at half-time and brought on both Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke, who made a difference. Cole reduced the deficit 16 minutes from time when he intercepted a wayward backpass. Blackburn pushed forward for the equaliser and they got it in stoppage time from the most unlikely source. In a goalmouth scramble, Friedel’s left-footed shot ended up in the back of Charlton’s net. It looked like the visitors had snatched a draw but heartache would follow.

Happy with the draw, Blackburn suddenly backed off and Charlton were clinical. From 25-yards out, Claus Jensen’s delicate volley evaded Friedel’s grasp and left him devastated. Charlton’s three-game losing streak was over as they won 3-2. It was a personal milestone for Brad Friedel but he probably didn’t feel like celebrating about it too much afterwards.

Premier League Files: Callum Wilson

Premier League Career: AFC Bournemouth (2015-PRESENT)

He is still only 25 and that means Callum Wilson should have plenty of time to demonstrate his true potential. Sadly, two wretched injuries whilst playing in the Premier League with AFC Bournemouth suggests that his time could unfortunately be limited. That would be a real shame for a player who has shown a ruthless approach to finding the back of the net when he is free of injury.

Born in Coventry, Wilson started his career with his hometown club and made his professional debut in 2009 during a surprising League Cup reverse to Hartlepool United. Naturally, it took time for Callum to remove the raw edge to his game. Loan spells in the non-league with Kettering Town and Tamworth certainly did no harm to this.

In 2013-2014, he established himself as a regular in the starting XI at Coventry City. Wilson was often one of the bright sparks in a club that was often lurching from one crisis to another thanks to dreadful running of the club by its owners. He finished the third-highest scorer in League One with 22 goals and earned himself a place in the League One PFA Team of the Year. That was despite spending two months on the sidelines due to a dislocated shoulder. He won three gongs at the club’s end of season awards and developed an excellent partnership with his strike partner, Leon Clarke.

Coventry knew that this form was always going to make Wilson a transfer target, especially with their precarious financial situation. He joined AFC Bournemouth in July 2014 for £3 million and made an immediate impact, scoring twice on his debut in a 4-0 thumping away at Huddersfield Town. He scored 20 league goals and these strikes helped the Cherries’ win promotion to the Premier League for the first time in the club’s history.

Wilson made AFC Bournemouth history in the club’s third Premier League match. He opened the scoring at Upton Park against West Ham United to score the south coast side’s first goal in the Premier League. He didn’t finish there. Wilson went on to score a hat-trick; the first treble of the 2015-2016 Premier League season.

Further goals followed against Leicester City and Sunderland. There was even talk of Roy Hodgson watching him closely for a possible England call-up. Sadly, a cruel twist of fate would await Wilson. In late September, he ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the early stages of a 2-1 defeat to Stoke City. It was a sickening blow for player and club.  It was the third serious ligament injury of Bournemouth’s maiden season. Wilson would be out of action for six months but made his return in early April, arriving as a substitute in an away win at Aston Villa.

He was keen to ensure 2016-2017 would be an impressive season but much of the same story would follow. There were goals against Liverpool FC and Arsenal but in February 2017, another luckless injury in training would stop his second Premier League campaign in its tracks. Unbelievably, it was another ACL and this time, in his left knee. It has meant another lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Callum Wilson will be hoping to feature soon in the 2017-2018 Premier League season. If he can stay clear of these dreaded setbacks, he is a sharp shooter and an excellent finisher which would benefit Bournemouth significantly in what looks like a relegation battle in their third PL campaign.

The Managers: Gary Megson

Premier League Clubs Managed: Norwich City (1995), West Bromwich Albion (2002-2003, 2004), Bolton Wanderers (2007-2009)

Abrasive is one of the best words to sum up Gary Megson’s management career. If he liked you, you’d play pretty well and frequently too. If you fell out with him, Megson could be a nightmare for your career. He was never the fans’ popular choice at any of the clubs he managed which probably explains why his best finish in top-flight management is 13th with Bolton Wanderers in 2008-2009.

In his playing days, Megson was a tough-tackling, committed defensive midfielder who would play for nine different clubs. The best time of his career was during two spells with Sheffield Wednesday in the mid-1980s, scoring 25 goals in 233 appearances. His worst spell was a five-month period at Nottingham Forest where he didn’t make a single appearance and the late Brian Clough described him as “he couldn’t trap a bag of cement!” Ouch!

Brief fling at Norwich

Megson featured in the first three seasons of the Premier League as a player at Norwich City and when Mike Walker abruptly quit for Everton in January 1994, Megson combined his playing role with a coaching position, working as assistant manager to John Deehan. Towards the end of the 1994-1995 season, Deehan walked away from the job and under-fire owner Robert Chase elected to promote Megson into the hottest of hotseats.

He had five games to try and save the club’s Premier League status but collected just a single point from those matches. Norwich’s relegation to Division One was confirmed on the final Saturday of the season at Elland Road. They collected just 11 points after Christmas which saw them plummet from seventh at the midway point to relegation.

Megson did leave Carrow Road that summer to resume his playing career at Lincoln City and Shrewsbury Town but was back at Norwich before 1995 was out. Martin O’Neill had left for Leicester City but there was to be no magic spark for Megson. The Canaries’ finished a dreary 15th in Division One and he left that summer (this time for good), to seek further opportunities in management.

Beating the odds with the Baggies

Management spells followed at Blackpool, Stockport County and Stoke City. There were good sequences with all these sides but Megson just missed out on possible playoff positions. In March 2000, he was hired by West Bromwich Albion. He preserved their second-tier status against all odds and then spearheaded the Baggies’ to first a playoff finish in 2001, before promotion to the top-flight for the first time in 16 years in 2001-2002. In the closing weeks, Albion had obliterated an 11-point disadvantage on their Black Country rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers to finish runners-up to Manchester City. An unexpected Premier League chance was there for the supporters to savour.

There were no surprises though that relegation followed a year later. Just six wins from 38 matches were achieved and there were to be no wins on home soil from the end of November onwards. In many games, Albion competed well enough but they simply didn’t have the ultimate quality to stay up. Megson mounted a successful promotion campaign the following season but by the summer of 2004, the relationship between the manager and his owner Jeremy Peace had become strained.

It became known that some players weren’t keen on playing for Megson. In 2004, ex-Coventry City forward Darren Huckerby had a choice of joining either Norwich City or West Brom. He chose the former and didn’t hold back either on criticising Megson’s coaching style when asked why he signed for Norwich. He said: “I told him I didn’t like the way he coached, I didn’t like the way he shouted at his players and didn’t like the way he treated seasoned professionals like 15-year-olds. I was just being honest with him. I said: “I’ve seen you on the sidelines and you look like a crazed animal.”

In September 2004, Megson’s job appeared to be under threat after a poor start to Albion’s Premier League return. A month later, he confirmed he would leave at the end of the season and the board decided this was a good reason to wield the axe. Three days after a 3-0 loss to relegation rivals Crystal Palace, Megson left the Hawthorns. He wouldn’t return to the Premier League until October 2007.

Never popular at Bolton

When appointed, the fans at the Reebok Stadium were not impressed with the choice. Megson had been hired despite having only been in charge for nine games and 41 days at Leicester City. He took over with Bolton in the bottom three, having amassed just five points from 10 matches under Sammy Lee’s difficult stint. There was early progress though, including a first home win in 30 years over champions Manchester United.

League form was still ropey in 2008 though. Star striker Nicolas Anelka was sold to Chelsea and no obvious replacement came in. In early April, Bolton slipped back into the bottom three but they rallied to take 11 points from their last five matches and therefore stayed up. It was Megson’s first survival as a Premier League manager.

2008-2009 was a progressive season. He spent £13.2 million on Johan Elmander and Fabrice Muamba in the summer transfer window and guided the club to eighth in the table by November 2008. That was good enough for Megson to claim his one and only Manager of the Month award. Although they dropped to 13th by the season’s end, relegation talk was never considered all season for the Trotters.

It was a different story in 2009-2010. Bolton led several matches but couldn’t close games out and by Christmas, they were in the dreaded drop zone. After throwing away a two-goal lead at home to Hull City to draw 2-2 with their rivals in distress, the board elected to sack Megson two days before 2009 drew to a close. His last management job was at Sheffield Wednesday which ended in February 2012 after a derby loss to Sheffield United.

After a lengthy spell out of the game, Megson returned to West Bromwich Albion in the summer of 2017, becoming Tony Pulis’ assistant manager at The Hawthorns. It is a new role and a new challenge for him after being the no.1 for such a long time.

Iconic Moments: Enter Wayne Rooney (October 2002)

The opening day of the 2002-2003 season saw a young teenager make his debut for Everton by the name of Wayne Rooney. Considered “Once a blue, always a blue,” the young lad from the Croxteth area of Liverpool made an early impression against Tottenham Hotspur on his debut, setting up the club’s first goal of the campaign for Mark Pembridge. The game finished 2-2 and a star was born.

However, it was Tottenham’s north London rivals, Arsenal who would feel the firm punch of Rooney a couple of months later. The Gunners arrived at Goodison Park on a 30-match unbeaten run in the Premier League and it looked like that run would extend when Freddie Ljungberg put the visitors ahead inside eight minutes. This was a stronger Everton team though and they equalised midway through the first half through Tomasz Radzinski.

Rooney was brought on in the second half by manager David Moyes and entered the national conscience in stoppage time. He collected the ball from just past the halfway line and with Arsenal defenders backing off, fancied his chances. His shot flew past David Seaman, off the underside of his crossbar and into the net. ITV commentator Clive Tydlesey commented: “Oh a brilliant goal, a brilliant goal. Remember the name, Wayne Rooney!”

Arsene Wenger was quick to praise him afterwards too, saying: “Rooney is the biggest England talent I’ve seen since I arrived in England. There has certainly not been a player under 20 as good as him since I became a manager here.”

Rooney was crowned BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2002, was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award and soon earned himself his first professional contract. He moved on to Manchester United in August 2004 and became the club’s all-time record goalscorer, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton in the early weeks of 2017.

His career went full circle in 2017 when he returned to Everton on a free transfer and scored his 200th Premier League goal in a draw with Manchester City in August 2017.

It wasn’t just the Premier League that was introduced to Wayne Rooney in October 2002; it was the football world as a whole.

Premier League Files: Steve Stone

Premier League Career: Nottingham Forest (1992-1993), (1994-1997), (1998-1999), Aston Villa (1999-2002), Portsmouth (2003-2005)

Injuries were part of Steve Stone’s football career but when he managed to stay clear of fitness battles, he proved to everyone what a decent footballer he was. His best spell came in the 1995-1996 season with Nottingham Forest.

Stone scored a series of excellent goals during this campaign including a winner at White Hart Lane against Tottenham Hotspur and a stunning equaliser at home to Aston Villa.

His performances with his club were recognised by Terry Venables who handed the midfielder his international bow in October 1995 in a goalless draw with Norway in Oslo. A month later, Stone came off the bench to score in a 3-1 friendly win over Switzerland and also found the back of the net at Wembley in a draw against Portugal. He made nine appearances for the Three Lions’ and was part of the Euro 96 squad that reached the semi-finals on home soil.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t force his way into Glenn Hoddle’s plans on an international scale and that was down to injury. During his career at Forest, he suffered three broken legs including one in pre-season of 1996 which meant he missed the club’s entire 1996-1997 season as they were relegated to Division One.

Stone recovered and although he missed an absolute sitter in an away match against Reading in the First Division, he played an integral role in Dave Bassett’s team that returned to the Premier League at the first attempt. Sadly, relegation swiftly followed the following season and after making 229 appearances for the club, Stone was sold for £5.5 million to Aston Villa in the summer of 1999.

He became a vital player for John Gregory and figured frequently during his tenure including an appearance in the 2000 FA Cup Final; the last cup final to be played underneath the famed Twin Towers. When Gregory departed in January 2002, Stone fell out of favour with Graham Taylor and was transferred to Portsmouth.

He returned to the Premier League under Harry Redknapp’s stewardship in 2003 and even scored a winning goal against Manchester United in April 2004 that helped Pompey achieve survival in their maiden Premier League season. Stone was released in 2005 by Alain Perrin and he finished his career at Leeds United, retiring in December 2006 after further injury issues.

Stone moved into coaching and worked with the reserves and first-team at Newcastle United from 2010-2015. He was let go by the club after their near-miss with relegation in 2014-2015 and now spends the majority of his time between England and Dubai.

Referees in the Middle: Paul Durkin

Premier League Career: 1992-2004

First Premier League Match: Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday (28 August 1992)

Final Premier League Match: Arsenal 2-1 Leicester City (15 May 2004)

Paul Durkin was one of the most respected referees in the Premier League and also one of the best. He spent 12 seasons in the middle, beginning and finishing his Premier League career ironically at the same ground, Highbury.

Hailing from the Isle of Portland in Dorset, Durkin refereed 242 games across 12 campaigns, showing 595 yellow cards and dishing out 29 red cards during his career.

1997-1998 was Durkin’s best season. His consistent performances ultimately saw him chosen for the ultimate pinnacle in football, the World Cup.  Early in the season, he took charge of a tempestuous match between Bolton Wanderers and Manchester United. In the 34th minute, Bolton’s Nathan Blake and Gary Pallister of United started to trade punches with each other. What happened next was something more akin to be seen at a rugby match. A 21-man brawl followed with only Bolton goalkeeper Keith Branagan staying out of the melee. Durkin kept his composure and sent off Blake and Pallister for starting the incident in the first place.

A month later, Durkin was at the centre of another flashpoint when he was physically pushed by French midfielder Emmanuel Petit of Arsenal during a goalless draw with Aston Villa. Again, he didn’t produce any dramatics and simply flashed the red card at Petit, who was subsequently banned for three matches.

Often called up to the big matches, Durkin had the honour of taking charge of the 1998 FA Cup final between Arsenal and Newcastle United. He also refereed the 2003 League Cup final involving Liverpool FC and Manchester United. In 2004, he did a rare thing for referees and faced the television cameras after a 0-0 stalemate at Old Trafford when Manchester United played Newcastle United.

Both teams had debatable moments in the match and Durkin admitted he’d been wrong not to award Newcastle a penalty when Alan Shearer was tripped by Tim Howard.

He told Sky Sports: “If I had seen the incident, clearly I would have given it. I was expecting the ball to be playing up field, so I was a long way off when it happened and I wasn’t certain there had been any contact. It’s disappointing because you like to get the big decisions right but you only get a split-second. I looked at it again on TV and Newcastle can count themselves unfortunate.”

Durkin’s final match was the historic game at Highbury when Arsenal completed an unbeaten season in 2003-2004 with victory over Leicester City. After appearing on the short-lived ITV gameshow Simply the Best as a referee, Durkin now works as a referee assessor for the FA.

Honest, straight-talking and widely respected within many quarters of the game, Paul Durkin is still considered as one of the best referees across the first quarter of a century in the Premier League.

Shock Results: Cardiff City 3-2 Manchester City (August 2013)

Goalscorers: Edin Dzeko 51, Aron Gunnarsson 59, Fraizer Campbell 78, 86, Alvaro Negredo 90

Teams:

Cardiff City: David Marshall, Ben Turner, Steven Caulker, Andrew Taylor, Matthew Connolly, Kim Bo-Kyung (Jordon Mutch 90), Gary Medel, Aron Gunnarsson, Peter Whittingham, Fraizer Campbell (Andreas Cornelius 90), Craig Bellamy (Don Cowie 83)

Manchester City: Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott, Javi Garcia, Gael Clichy, Pablo Zabaleta, Fernandinho (James Milner 77), Yaya Toure, David Silva, Jesus Navas (Samir Nasri 55), Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko (Alvaro Negredo 69)

Referee: Lee Probert, Attendance: 27,068

This was Cardiff City’s first home game in the Premier League and it couldn’t have been much harder than against a highly-fancied Manchester City side. Manuel Pellegrini was the new manager of the Citizens’ and he started brilliantly with a convincing 4-0 win over Newcastle United. This though was a lesson for the Chilean that English football was not going to be a walk in the park.

Cardiff might have lost 2-0 on the opening weekend away to West Ham United but they were determined to put in a performance than would send the fans home happy. They did more than that. The hosts started full of energy and running and controlled the first 30 minutes. However, they struggled to trouble England number one goalkeeper Joe Hart. Peter Whittingham’s free-kick which flew wide was the closest they came to opening the scoring.

The visitors’ started to test the home defence and nearly went into the interval leading. Only last-gasp defending from Ben Turner stopped Yaya Toure from scoring. They did strike though in the early moments of the second half. 30 yards out, Edin Dzeko tried his luck and the Bosnian’s shot drove past a helpless David Marshall.

Pellegrini’s side had wrestled control but they only held onto their lead for just eight minutes. Cardiff dug deep and got a bit of fortune with their equaliser. Hart saved well from Fraizer Campbell but the rebound fell nicely to Icelandic international Aron Gunnarsson who scored the club’s first-ever Premier League goal.

The home supporters went mad for this moment but even better would follow. With 12 minutes left to play, the upset was on. Whittingham delivered a dangerous corner into the heart of the Manchester City penalty area. Hart failed to show his commanding presence and Campbell was in the right place to score from close-range. It might have come off his shoulder but he didn’t care and nor did the fans inside the Cardiff City Stadium.

Pellegrini was missing skipper Vincent Kompany from this game because of injury. Spaniard Javi Garcia had been deployed as a makeshift central defender and it is fair to say he struggled to cope in the new position. Ex-Manchester United youngster Campbell put in the best performance of his Premier League career. He added his second three minutes from time, heading home following a corner with the visiting defence once more flat-footed. Cardiff’s first win in the top-flight of English football since 1962 was secured.

Substitute Alvaro Negredo did pull a goal back in the dying moments but no-one could deny Cardiff victory. In the final reckoning, Manchester City became champions and Cardiff were relegated but on this day, this was another example that no Premier League match has ever been decided on paper.

The Managers: Kenny Dalglish

Premier League Clubs Managed: Blackburn Rovers (1992-1995), Newcastle United (1997-1998), Liverpool FC (2011-2012)

As a player, Kenny Dalglish’s achievements are second-to-none. As a manager, his achievements are almost unprecedented. He was a born winner and experienced the ultimate highs and tragic lows as a manager.

In a playing career that spanned over 20 years, he won numerous honours with both Celtic and Liverpool FC, scored a hatful of goals and produced moments of sheer brilliance that the fans on the terraces at Parkhead and Anfield never forget.

Kenny won the European Cup three times as a player and scored the winning goal in the 1978 final against Club Brugge. In terms of league honours, he won 10 league titles, along with 10 domestic cups and the UEFA Super Cup in 1977. His career is a glittering one and he is often considered the greatest player to have ever played for both Celtic and Liverpool FC.

His management breakthrough came as a surprise and in tumultuous circumstances.

Picking up after Heysel

In 1985, the Heysel Stadium disaster before the European Cup final had sent shockwaves around the world. English clubs were immediately banned from participating in European competition for the rest of the decade. Joe Fagan decided to step down as Liverpool FC’s first-team manager. Dalglish took the reins as player-manager.

In his first season in the dugout, Liverpool FC won the double. It was Dalglish who scored the winning goal on the final day of the season at Stamford Bridge to win the 1986 First Division title for the Reds.’ A week later, they beat Merseyside rivals Everton in the FA Cup final. This was during the height of dominance on Merseyside in the British game. He had come straight in and achieved a unique feat as a rookie. More was to come.

He signed the likes of Peter Beardsley, John Barnes and John Aldridge as Liverpool continued their supreme grip on the English game. Further titles followed in 1988 and 1990, with runners-up spots in 87 and 89. The Double would elude them twice. In 1988, underdogs Wimbledon beat Dalglish’s Reds’ in the FA Cup final. In 1989, it was a last-gasp strike from Michael Thomas that snatched the league title for Arsenal at Anfield with moments remaining of the campaign. Liverpool won the FA Cup that season on a highly-charged afternoon.

Hillsborough

Saturday, 15 April 1989 will remain the blackest day in English football history. It was a sunny afternoon as Liverpool FC fans flocked to Sheffield to see their team play Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup semi-final. 96 supporters would not come home; crushed on the terraces of Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium.

In the aftermath, Dalglish attended many funerals of the victims and his presence on the club, the grieving families and the city has been described as immense. The tragedy affected him deeply and Liverpool’s victory in the cup final that season against Everton was a victory that was much more than just a football match.

In February 1991, the two Merseyside teams played out a belting FA Cup fifth round tie which finished 4-4 at Goodison Park. Two days later, Dalglish shocked everyone by resigning as manager. This was despite Liverpool still being three points clear at the top of the First Division table. All the trauma and strain had caught up with him but he would be back – both in management and later on in his career with the club who he has always seen as home.

Changing the face of Blackburn

After seven months out of the game, Kenny Dalglish returned to management with Blackburn Rovers in October 1991. He led Rovers back to the top-flight of English football for the first time since 1966 with victory over Leicester City in the Second Division playoffs. It meant Blackburn would play in the inaugural FA Premier League season.

Backed by beloved Blackburn fan and steel magnet Jack Walker, Dalglish wasted little time in making the club one of the best in the early Premier League Years. He broke the British transfer record to sign Alan Shearer in 1992 from Southampton and repeated the feat two years later to snare Chris Sutton away from Norwich City.

Other notable buys included winger Stuart Ripley, midfielder Paul Warhurst and goalkeeper Tim Flowers. Blackburn were looking to go all the way and become champions of England. After finishing fourth and second in the first two seasons, 1994-1995 was the year that Walker’s dreams would come true.

Blackburn topped the table from late November onwards and barely surrendered top spot but they were pushed all the way by reigning champions Manchester United. A late wobble saw an eight-point lead diminish to just two by the final day of the season. In an ironic twist, Blackburn were at Anfield to play Dalglish’s former side, Liverpool FC whilst Manchester United travelled to Upton Park to face West Ham United.

Alex Ferguson had been playing his usual mind games tactic, hinting that Liverpool would roll over and allow Blackburn to win to ensure Manchester United wouldn’t win the championship. It didn’t go like that. Liverpool won 2-1 with a late free-kick from Jamie Redknapp. Seconds later, the full-time whistle went in London. Manchester United had failed to beat West Ham and that meant the result on Merseyside was inconsequential. Blackburn Rovers were champions of England for the first time in 81 years. The title meant that Dalglish was only the fourth football manager in history to lead two different clubs to top-flight league championships, after Tom Watson, Herbert Chapman and Brian Clough.

Replacing King Kev on Tyneside

After that title success of 1995, Dalglish retired as Blackburn manager and moved into a Director of Football role where he would be replaced by his assistant Ray Harford. He left the club for good a year later.

In January 1997, he took over at Newcastle United, replacing Kevin Keegan who had abruptly resigned. Dalglish’s impact at Newcastle was limited. He did guide them to a runners-up spot in the 1996-1997 league campaign and spearheaded a famous victory over Barcelona in the following season’s UEFA Champions League group stage. However, he sold the likes of David Ginola, Les Ferdinand and Lee Clark, replacing them with veterans Stuart Pearce, Ian Rush and John Barnes.

Two games into the 1998-1999 season, he left the club. It is still unknown whether he resigned or was sacked. Either way, it is the only managerial period of his career which didn’t bring any silverware or much positive impact.

He went back to his first club Celtic and had a brief spell as manager there after Barnes was fired following a shambolic home League Cup defeat to Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Leaving in the summer of 2000, it would be another decade before Kenny was back in the dugout.

The second coming

In April 2009, Dalglish returned to Liverpool FC, taking a role within the club’s youth academy. He also became a club ambassador. When Rafa Benitez quit in June 2010 after relations with the American owners deteriorated, Dalglish expressed a desire to return to the management post. However, it was Fulham boss Roy Hodgson who got the job.

As soon as the fans got wind of the news that Dalglish had shown interest in the role, Hodgson was toast. Liverpool’s form was terrible and they looked like being involved in a relegation scrap as 2011 began. Hodgson left after a 3-1 defeat to Blackburn which was the club’s ninth defeat of the Premier League season. 24 hours after returning from a holiday in Dubai, Dalglish returned as caretaker manager until the end of the season. After losing his first match back; an FA Cup tie at Manchester United, he admitted it was “a big challenge.”

In the early weeks of his second coming, Fernando Torres was sold for a British transfer record to Chelsea but in came Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez. Performances started to improve and so did results. There were impressive wins over Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City and a 5-2 battering of Fulham at Craven Cottage. By the end of the season, Dalglish had signed a three-year deal to remain as manager and he guided the club to a respectable sixth in the final standings. A pretty good return considering he’d taken over with the club 13th and just four points clear of the drop zone.

In the summer of 2011, Charlie Adam, Craig Bellamy and Jordan Henderson were among the new recruits. Despite some frustrating draws at Anfield, the Reds’ strong away form meant they sat fifth at the turn of the year. However, they faded badly in the second half of the campaign and ended a distant eighth in the table, even below Merseyside rivals Everton. It was their worst Premier League points’ return in a 38-game season. Dalglish’s strong defence of Suarez after he was involved in a racism incident with Manchester United’s Patrice Evra was criticised and apologises only made after the owners insisted. He did win the League Cup on penalties in 2012 but three days after the season ended, Dalglish was sacked and replaced by Brendan Rodgers.

He is still an Anfield club hero and is now on the board at Liverpool as a non-executive director. Kenny Dalglish achieved so much in the game of football. His honours’ list means he will go down as one of British football’s most successful players and managers.