Tag Archives: Chris Sutton

Premier League Files: Chris Sutton

Premier League Career: Norwich City (1992-1994), Blackburn Rovers (1994-1999), Chelsea (1999-2000), Birmingham City (2006), Aston Villa (2006-2007)

Chris Sutton was once the most expensive player in British football when Blackburn Rovers paid Norwich City £5 million in the summer of 1994. It was money well spent by Kenny Dalglish. Sutton paired up with Alan Shearer and they formed one of the deadliest strike partnerships the Premier League has ever seen. The original ‘SAS’ combination scored 49 league goals as Blackburn ended their 81-year drought and became champions of England.

Sutton’s playing career lasted 16 years. A title winner at Blackburn, he also enjoyed immense success in Scottish football with Celtic but also had a difficult season in London with Chelsea and his international career was unnecessarily short due to his differences with Glenn Hoddle.

Chris began his career in Norfolk with Norwich City. He was initially a centre-back and would often play there when emergency measures were called for by any of the managers he worked under. It was Dave Stringer who would convert him into the deadly forward that he would become. He made his professional debut in 1991 against Queens Park Rangers and started to make a regular contribution to the first-team setup a year later.

In the first Premier League season, Sutton was still at Norwich and played in both defensive and attacking roles for Mike Walker. He scored eight times as the Canaries finished a fabulous and unexpected third in the final table, despite ending with a negative goal difference tally. He also bagged his first career hat-trick with a treble in a 4-2 victory over outgoing champions Leeds United in April 1993.

It was the 1993-1994 season that really saw Sutton’s star begin to rise and therefore, his valuation in the transfer market too. He scored 25 Premier League goals – only outscored by Andy Cole of Newcastle United and Blackburn’s main marksman, Shearer. He was part of the Norwich side that dumped Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich out of the UEFA Cup but league form regressed when Walker left his role as team manager to take the job at Everton. With a willing owner in Robert Chase who was keen to cash in, Sutton was set to leave for pastures new in the summer of 1994.

Norwich valued Sutton at £5 million and two clubs, Blackburn and Arsenal agreed to meet the valuation put on him. In July 1994, he met both teams for talks and elected to choose Blackburn as his next destination, despite a transgression in Norwich’s nightclub district which saw him arrested.

He settled quickly, forming a great partnership with Shearer and the pair even shared the Carling Player of the Month award for November 1994. He scored a hat-trick at home to Coventry City, twice in a narrow triumph over Liverpool FC and the winning goal at Chelsea as Rovers went up another level in their quest to win their first league championship since 1914. Sutton scored 15 league goals and was the perfect foil for Shearer, who would win the Golden Boot for the first time in his career. On the final day, Blackburn went to Anfield needing to beat Liverpool FC to be certain of the title. They lost 2-1 but Manchester United failed to beat West Ham at Upton Park, so the championship was Blackburn’s.

The 1995-1996 campaign was not so positive for both parties. Injuries restricted Sutton to just 13 appearances and even in these games; he failed to score a single league goal. This gave Mike Newell the chance to establish a partnership with Shearer but both left in the summer of 1996, leaving Sutton to become Blackburn’s main man.

The heady days of title wins in 1995 were now a distant memory for the Lancastrians. He was Blackburn’s top scorer in 1996-1997 but he sparked controversy in April 1997 at Highbury against Arsenal. In the dying stages of the match, Arsenal were 1-0 ahead and the ball was kicked out of play by them to allow treatment to an injured Stephen Hughes. The sporting rule is for the ball to be returned to the team that had possession unchallenged but Sutton elected to chase the ball immediately when play restarted and won his team a corner. Blackburn scored from the resulting set-piece to earn a 1-1 draw and the home faithful and Arsenal team were livid. Sutton refused to apologise for his actions.

In 1997-1998, he scored 18 times and finished joint-winner of the Golden Boot, along with Coventry City’s Dion Dublin and Michael Owen of Liverpool FC. This is something he has cheekily reminded people in an advert for BT Sport’s Score service in recent months.

His form for Blackburn that season earned him his one and only international cap from England, coming off the bench in an international friendly against Cameroon in November 1997. Three months later, he was asked to play for an England B team which he plainly refused. He fell out over this issue with Hoddle and his Three Lions career was over before it hardly begun.

In 1999, Blackburn were relegated to Division One, just four short seasons after becoming champions of England. Sutton was sold to Chelsea that summer for £10 million but endured a horrid campaign with the west Londoners. He scored just once in the Premier League – a header in the 5-0 rout of Manchester United in October as he struggled to fit into their style of play. He didn’t even make the squad for their FA Cup final win over Aston Villa and was sold that summer to Celtic. Chelsea had to accept a £4 million loss just to get rid of Sutton from their wage bill.

Chris enjoyed a wonderful six seasons at Parkhead, forming another prolific partnership, this time with the Super Swede, Henrik Larsson. He was voted SPFA Player of the Year in 2004, scored 63 times in 130 appearances for Celtic and won eight major honours, including four league championships. He was also part of the Bhoys team that reached the 2003 UEFA Cup final before losing in extra-time to Jose Mourinho’s FC Porto in Seville.

In January 2006, he returned to English football with Birmingham City on a short-term contract. Injuries restricted him to just 11 appearances and one goal which came in defeat to bitter rivals Aston Villa in the Second City Derby. He would join Villa in October 2006 following Birmingham’s relegation, linking up briefly with Martin O’Neill, who had inspired some great performances from him at Celtic. He scored a winning goal at Goodison Park against Everton but suffered blurred vision in a match against Manchester United on 23rd December. He missed the entire second half of the campaign and after seeing consultants about the issue, he retired in July 2007. He had one season in management with Lincoln City but left in 2010 for personal reasons. He now works as a television pundit for BT Sport and also is often part of the commentary team on BBC Radio Five Live.

Often outspoken as a pundit, Chris Sutton certainly draws interest with his opinions and he certainly had defences concerned throughout a successful playing career which saw him become a league champion in both England and Scotland.

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Memorable Matches: Blackburn Rovers 3-2 Liverpool FC (October 1994)

Goalscorers: Robbie Fowler 27, Mark Atkins 52, Chris Sutton 57, 72, John Barnes 59

Teams:

Blackburn Rovers: Tim Flowers, Henning Berg, Tony Gale, Colin Hendry, Graeme Le Saux, Paul Warhurst, Mark Atkins, Stuart Ripley, Jason Wilcox, Alan Shearer, Chris Sutton

Liverpool FC: David James, Phil Babb, Stig Inge Bjornebye (Jamie Redknapp 80), Rob Jones, John Scales, Neil Ruddock, Jan Molby, John Barnes, Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler, Ian Rush

Referee: Brian Hill, Attendance: 30,263

The name Kenny Dalglish will always be linked with these two clubs. Dalglish had achieved immortality with Liverpool FC, winning a clutch of league championships as a player and a manager. Now, he was aiming to win the title for the highly-ambitious Blackburn Rovers side. Both teams were in great form going into this match at Ewood Park in October 1994.

Blackburn had come within moments of ending Newcastle’s unbeaten start to the season a week earlier whilst a new-look Liverpool had lost just once in the Premier League and that was to reigning champions Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The home side started with great purpose and were doing all the pressing in the first 30 minutes. Rob Jones had to clear a Tony Gale header off his own goal-line. Alan Shearer was denied another goal by the legs of David James and Jason Wilcox blazed a shot over when put through by Chris Sutton. So it was totally against the run-of-play when Roy Evans’ side took the lead.

Red-hot Robbie Fowler was found in space by Steve McManaman. His shot took a deflection off the unfortunate Gale and the ball looped over Tim Flowers and into the net. The goal was very fortunate but it stemmed the tide and towards the end of the first half, it was Liverpool who were looking more dangerous.

Dalglish needed to rally his troops in the dressing rooms. It wasn’t the first time in recent weeks where deflections had gone against Blackburn. They’d lost a fortnight earlier to Norwich City because of a similar kind of goal. So, the response to going 1-0 down at the interval was magnificent. Six minutes into the second half, Shearer found some space in the penalty area and pulled the ball back for Mark Atkins to score from close-range.

Shearer might not have scored but he played such a crucial part in dragging Blackburn ahead. Five minutes after the leveller, he once again produced a wicked delivery into the box. Strike partner Sutton sneaked infront of Phil Babb and although James parried his first effort, Sutton managed to bundle the ball over the line to have the hosts into the lead.

Just before the hour mark and Liverpool were back on level terms. Stig Inge Bjornebye’s cross was perfect for John Barnes to remind everyone of his class. Barnes’ spectacular overhead kick into the bottom corner drew the game level at 2-2. That goal itself deserved something from the game but ultimately, it got nothing. Sutton got the better of Neil Ruddock on 72 minutes and as James advanced off his line, the forward drilled home his 12th goal of the season to put Blackburn ahead. It was a lead they would maintain until the final whistle.

Liverpool got their revenge six weeks later, knocking Blackburn out of the League Cup in the fourth round and the two sides played another important match later on in the season…but more on that later.

Premier League Rewind: 11th-13th April 1993

Results: Arsenal 0-1 Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers 2-1 Ipswich Town, Chelsea 4-2 Wimbledon, Coventry City 0-1 Manchester United, Crystal Palace 4-1 Middlesbrough, Everton 3-5 Queens Park Rangers, Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool FC, Nottingham Forest 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur, Sheffield Wednesday 5-2 Southampton, Oldham Athletic 1-1 Sheffield United, Norwich City 4-2 Leeds United

The Easter programme of 1993 would be a decisive one in terms of the destination of the Premier League title race. On Easter Saturday, Manchester United had famously got the better of Sheffield Wednesday in injury-time to take top spot away from Aston Villa, who had dropped points at home to Coventry City. Two days later, it was Easter Monday and Ferguson’s side were trying to keep their one-point advantage intact.

It was the Red Devils turn to play Coventry City and they won 1-0 to stay ahead of Villa. Denis Irwin scored the only goal five minutes before half-time at Highfield Road against the Sky Blues, who had star striker Mick Quinn dismissed three minutes from the end.

Aston Villa faced another tricky fixture at Highbury and it was another test they passed. Ron Atkinson’s side beat Arsenal 1-0. Tony Daley was the matchwinner in north London to keep the Villans on United’s coattails with just four matches left to play in the season.

After back-to-back defeats which had all but ended their own title challenge, Norwich City rediscovered their form to see off Leeds United 4-2 in the final game of the 1993 Easter programme. Despite trailing inside two minutes to a goal from Lee Chapman, Norwich recovered to lead 3-1 within a quarter of an hour. Chris Sutton netted his first Premier League hat-trick to take the game beyond the outgoing champions, who were still awaiting their first top-flight victory away from Elland Road.

Sutton wasn’t the only hat-trick hero of a goal-filled few days. Les Ferdinand hit back-to-back trebles as his goals saw Queens Park Rangers defeat a shell-shocked Everton 5-3 at Goodison Park. Ferdinand was on his way to finish runner-up to Teddy Sheringham in the race for the Golden Boot and Gerry Francis’ side would consolidate fifth spot – a place they would hold onto until the season’s end to ensure they finished as London’s top club.

FA Cup finalists Sheffield Wednesday moved into the top six after inflicting a 5-2 loss on Southampton. It was their first victory in five matches and it saw the only hat-trick in the club career of midfielder, Chris Bart-Williams. However, with just five points between QPR in fifth to Liverpool FC in 12th place, the positions in the top half of the table were still up for grabs.

There was also a change at the bottom of the table. Things were looking bleak for Lennie Lawrence and Middlesbrough after they lost 4-1 to relegation rivals Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Palace’s goals all came in the second half, courtesy of Simon Rodger, Eric Young, Chris Armstrong and Gareth Southgate. Four points clear of safety, Palace had put survival in their own hands, especially as they games in hand on everyone below them in the table.

Nottingham Forest gave their survival prospects a boost by beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 whilst Oldham Athletic’s 1-1 draw with Sheffield United kept them in the final relegation place, two points adrift of Dave Bassett’s Blades.

What else happened in April 1993?

  • The world’s most famous steeplechase, the Grand National is declared null and void after two false starts.
  • The centre of London’s financial district, Bishopsgate is wrecked by a huge IRA bomb. One person is killed and damage is caused in excess of £350 million.
  • London teenager Stephen Lawrence is stabbed to death whilst waiting for a bus at Eltham. It will take 19 years for two suspects to be found guilty of his murder.
  • The entire Zambia football squad is killed in a plane crash in Gabon on-route to play a World Cup qualifier against Senegal.
  • Women’s no.1 tennis player Monica Seles is stabbed in the back during a tournament in Hamburg by an obsessive fan of her rival Steffi Graf. Seles will be out of action until 1995.
  • The WACO siege ends in Texas following a 51-day stand-off. The Branch Davidian compound is torched and 76 people lose their lives.
  • The Republic of Macedonia is officially ratified as a member of the United Nations.

Seasonal Records: 1997-1998

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 1997-1998 Premier League season, as a third Premier League team emerged as a championship-winning side.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Arsenal 38 23 9 6 68 33 +35 78
2 Manchester United 38 23 8 7 73 26 +47 77
3 Liverpool FC 38 18 11 9 68 42 +26 65
4 Chelsea 38 20 3 15 71 43 +28 63
5 Leeds United 38 17 8 13 57 46 +11 59
6 Blackburn Rovers 38 16 10 12 57 52 +5 58
7 Aston Villa 38 17 6 15 49 48 +1 57
8 West Ham United 38 16 8 14 56 57 -1 56
9 Derby County 38 16 7 15 52 49 +3 55
10 Leicester City 38 13 14 11 51 41 +10 53
11 Coventry City 38 12 16 10 46 44 +2 52
12 Southampton 38 14 6 18 50 55 -5 48
13 Newcastle United 38 11 11 16 35 44 -9 44
14 Tottenham Hotspur 38 11 11 16 44 56 -12 44
15 Wimbledon 38 10 14 14 34 46 -12 44
16 Sheffield Wednesday 38 12 8 18 52 67 -15 44
17 Everton 38 9 13 16 41 56 -15 40
18 Bolton Wanderers 38 9 13 16 41 61 -20 40
19 Barnsley 38 10 5 23 37 82 -45 35
20 Crystal Palace 38 8 9 21 37 71 -34 33

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1019
European qualifiers Arsenal (UEFA Champions League), Manchester United (UEFA Champions League), Liverpool FC (UEFA Cup), Leeds United (UEFA Cup), Blackburn Rovers (UEFA Cup), Aston Villa (UEFA Cup), Chelsea (UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup), Newcastle United (UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup), Crystal Palace (UEFA Intertoto Cup)
Longest winning run 10 games (Arsenal)
Longest unbeaten run 18 games (Arsenal)
Longest winless run 15 games (Crystal Palace)
Longest losing run 8 games (Crystal Palace)
Highest attendance 55,306 (Manchester United vs. Wimbledon)
Lowest attendance 7,688 (Wimbledon vs. Barnsley)

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal)
PFA Young Player of the Year Michael Owen (Liverpool FC)
Football Writers’ Award Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal)
PFA Team of the Year Nigel Martyn, Graeme Le Saux, Colin Hendry, Gary Pallister, Gary Neville, David Batty, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Dennis Bergkamp, Michael Owen
Manager of the Year Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)
Goal of the Season Dennis Bergkamp (Leicester City vs. ARSENAL)

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Dion Dublin Coventry City vs. Chelsea 3-2 9th August 1997
Chris Sutton Aston Villa vs. Blackburn Rovers 0-4 13th August 1997
Gianluca Vialli (4) Barnsley vs. Chelsea 0-6 24th August 1997
Dennis Bergkamp Leicester City vs. Arsenal 3-3 27th August 1997
Ian Wright Arsenal vs. Bolton Wanderers 4-1 13th September 1997
Patrik Berger Liverpool FC vs. Chelsea 4-2 5th October 1997
Andy Cole Manchester United vs. Barnsley 7-0 25th October 1997
Andy Booth Sheffield Wednesday vs. Bolton Wanderers 5-0 8th November 1997
Gianfranco Zola Chelsea vs. Derby County 4-0 29th November 1997
Tore Andre Flo Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea 1-6 6th December 1997
Duncan Ferguson Everton vs. Bolton Wanderers 3-2 28th December 1997
Kevin Gallacher Blackburn Rovers vs. Aston Villa 5-0 17th January 1998
Michael Owen Sheffield Wednesday vs. Liverpool FC 3-3 14th February 1998
Chris Sutton Blackburn Rovers vs. Leicester City 5-3 28th February 1998
Darren Huckerby Leeds United vs. Coventry City 3-3 25th April 1998
Jurgen Klinsmann (4) Wimbledon vs. Tottenham Hotspur 2-6 2nd May 1998

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1= Michael Owen Liverpool FC 18
1= Chris Sutton Blackburn Rovers 18
1= Dion Dublin Coventry City 18
4= Dennis Bergkamp Arsenal 16
4= Andy Cole Manchester United 16
4= Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Leeds United 16
4= Kevin Gallacher Blackburn Rovers 16
8 John Hartson West Ham United 15
9 Darren Huckerby Coventry City 14
10 Paulo Wanchope Derby County 13
11= Marc Overmars Arsenal 12
11= Dwight Yorke Aston Villa 12
11= Francesco Baiano Derby County 12
11= Paolo di Canio Sheffield Wednesday 12
11= Nathan Blake Bolton Wanderers 12
16= Tore Andre Flo Chelsea 11
16= Matt Le Tissier Southampton 11
16= Steve McManaman Liverpool FC 11
16= Gianluca Vialli Chelsea 11
16= Duncan Ferguson Everton 11
16= Egil Ostenstad Southampton 11
22= Ian Wright Arsenal 10
22= Rod Wallace Leeds United 10
22= Emile Heskey Leicester City 10
22= Neil Redfearn Barnsley 10

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Manchester United 7-0 Barnsley 25th October 1997
Barnsley 0-6 Chelsea 24th August 1997
West Ham United 6-0 Barnsley 10th January 1998
Blackburn Rovers 7-2 Sheffield Wednesday 25th August 1997
Manchester United 6-1 Sheffield Wednesday 1st November 1997
Tottenham Hotspur 1-6 Chelsea 6th December 1997
Arsenal 5-0 Barnsley 4th October 1997
Liverpool FC 5-0 West Ham United 2nd May 1998
Derby County 0-5 Leeds United 15th March 1998
Blackburn Rovers 5-0 Aston Villa 17th January 1998

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
9 Blackburn Rovers 7-2 Sheffield Wednesday 25th August 1997
8 Chelsea 6-2 Crystal Palace 11th March 1998
8 Wimbledon 2-6 Tottenham Hotspur 2nd May 1998
8 Blackburn Rovers 5-3 Leicester City 28th February 1998
7 Manchester United 7-0 Barnsley 25th October 1997
7 Manchester United 6-1 Sheffield Wednesday 1st November 1997
7 Tottenham Hotspur 1-6 Chelsea 6th December 1997
7 Wimbledon 2-5 Manchester United 22nd November 1997
7 Sheffield Wednesday 2-5 Derby County 24th September 1997
7 Bolton Wanderers 5-2 Crystal Palace 2nd May 1998
7 Blackburn Rovers 3-4 Leeds United 14th September 1997
7 West Ham United 4-3 Leicester City 10th May 1998
7 Barnsley 4-3 Southampton 14th March 1998
7 Leeds United 4-3 Derby County 8th November 1997
6 Barnsley 0-6 Chelsea 24th August 1997
6 West Ham United 6-0 Barnsley 10th January 1998
6 Bolton Wanderers 1-5 Coventry City 31st January 1998
6 Liverpool FC 4-2 Chelsea 5th October 1997
6 Chelsea 4-2 Southampton 30th August 1997
6 West Ham United 2-4 Southampton 25th April 1998

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Francis Jeffers Manchester United 2-0 Everton 16 years, 11 months, 1 day 26th December 1997
Gareth Barry Sheffield Wednesday 1-3 Aston Villa 17 years, 2 months, 9 days 2nd May 1998
Michael Owen Wimbledon 1-1 Liverpool FC 17 years, 7 months, 26 days 9th August 1997
Danny Cadamarteri Derby County 3-1 Everton 17 years, 11 months, 1 day 13th September 1997
Michael Ball Newcastle United 1-0 Everton 17 years, 11 months, 22 days 24th September 1997
Junior Agogo Newcastle United 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday 18 years, 8 days 9th August 1997
Stephen McPhail Leicester City 1-0 Leeds United 18 years, 1 month, 29 days 7th February 1998
Aaron Hughes Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Newcastle United 18 years, 2 months, 2 days 10th January 1998
Richard Dunne Everton 3-2 Bolton Wanderers 18 years, 3 months, 7 days 28th December 1997
Paolo Vernazza Arsenal 1-0 Crystal Palace 18 years, 3 months, 20 days 21st February 1998

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Steve Ogrizovic Leeds United 3-3 Coventry City 40 years, 7 months, 13 days 25th April 1998
Neville Southall Everton 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur 39 years, 2 months, 13 days 29th November 1997
Peter Beardsley Bolton Wanderers 1-5 Coventry City 37 years, 13 days 31st January 1998
Gary Mabbutt Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Southampton 36 years, 8 months, 17 days 10th May 1998
Peter Shirtliff Southampton 4-1 Barnsley 36 years, 7 months, 2 days 8th November 1997
Dave Watson Everton 1-1 Coventry City 36 years, 5 months, 20 days 10th May 1998
Clive Wilson Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Everton 36 years, 4 months, 22 days 4th April 1998
Ian Rush Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Newcastle United 36 years, 2 months, 21 days 10th January 1998
Stuart Pearce Newcastle United 3-1 Chelsea 36 years, 8 days 2nd May 1998
Ludek Miklosko Derby County 2-0 West Ham United 35 years, 11 months, 27 days 6th December 1997

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Peter Schmeichel Manchester United 16
2 Kasey Keller Leicester City 14
3= David Seaman Arsenal 13
3= Mart Poom Derby County 13
5 Ed de Goey Chelsea 12
6= David James Liverpool FC 11
6= Nigel Martyn Leeds United 11
6= Tim Flowers Blackburn Rovers 11
9 Keith Branagan Bolton Wanderers 10
10 Mark Bosnich Aston Villa 9

Memorable Matches: Everton 1-5 Norwich City (September 1993)

Goalscorers: Paul Rideout 13, Efan Ekoku 44, 57, 63, 69, Chris Sutton 77

Teams:

Everton: Neville Southall, Gary Ablett, Matt Jackson, Andy Hinchcliffe, Paul Holmes (Preki 66), John Ebbrell, Barry Horne, Mark Ward (Brett Angell 66), Peter Beagrie, Tony Cottee, Paul Rideout

Norwich City: Bryan Gunn, Rob Newman, John Polston, Ian Culverhouse, Mark Bowen, Ian Crook, Ian Butterworth, Jeremy Goss, Ruel Fox, Efan Ekoku, Chris Sutton

Referee: Paul Durkin, Attendance: 20,631

Fans of Everton had gone through peaks and troughs throughout the early 1990s. Once considered one of the main powerhouses in English football, they were now going through times of struggle. However, there seemed to be some hope in the early weeks of the 1993-1994 Premier League season. Howard Kendall’s side topped the table after winning their first three matches and were sitting in the top six ahead of this match. Norwich City were one of the most exciting sides to watch in the Premier League. Their attack line was capable of goals and they’d already beaten Leeds and Blackburn away from East Anglia this season. However, this result would top their lot for the campaign.

Everton started the quicker team and fresh from a hat-trick in the League Cup in midweek, Paul Rideout found the net again, reacting quickest to a long ball from Andy Hinchcliffe in the 13th minute. The home side had the better of the first half but couldn’t convert their chances and against the run of play, were pegged back right on the stroke of half-time. Nigerian forward and Liverpool FC fan Efan Ekoku escaped the attentions of Hinchcliffe and drove an equaliser into the far corner of the net leaving Neville Southall furious with the marking from his defenders.

As the game wore on, the timing of that goal become very significant. Norwich grew in confidence and the home side looked a bit shell-shocked. Ekoku was completely reinvigorated by his opening goal and he doubled his tally just before the hour mark. He found space in the penalty area and rose unchallenged to Chris Sutton’s cross, powering a header past Southall.

Kendall tried to change the course of the match. On came Preki and centre forward Brett Angell. Angell was making his debut on-loan from Southend United. The pattern of the game though wouldn’t change. Now infront, Norwich looked to do what they had done to Leeds a month earlier and destroy their opposition. This they managed to do, with some help from their opponents. Ekoku completed his hat-trick in the 63rd minute. A long ball over the top of the Everton defence caught them completely off-guard. Ruel Fox remained onside and bared down on goal. Southall was able to save his effort but the rebound fell gleefully to Ekoku who made no mistake and ended the game as a contest. That wasn’t the end of the scoring though.

On 69 minutes, the scoreline stretched to 4-1. Ekoku again exposed the lack of pace from Everton central defenders Dave Watson and Gary Ablett. He charged clear, rounded Southall, and then guided his fourth goal of the afternoon into the net despite Barry Horne’s vain attempt to stop it on the line. In doing so, he became the first player in Premier League history to score four times in one match. Sutton completed the scoring with 13 minutes remaining.

The loss remains one of Everton’s heaviest at home in their history. Kendall won just one more match in charge in the league and quit in early December. He would ironically be replaced in January by Mike Walker, the manager of Norwich on this day. The Canaries’ would finish in mid-table whilst Everton only just survived on the final day of the season.