Tag Archives: January

Iconic Moments: Keegan resigns (January 1997)

He was seen as the man who could do no wrong for Newcastle United. Kevin Keegan was the fans’ favourite on Tyneside. He has sent them home with plenty of joy as a player and produced many memorable moments during his five years as manager.

It was an absolute bombshell for the players and supporters when on 9th January 1997, Keegan decided to resign as manager. That was despite Newcastle being still in the race for the Premier League title and possessing hopes of success in the FA Cup and UEFA Cup.

Form had tailed off towards the end of 1996. Newcastle did go on a seven-game winless sequence but were still fourth in the Premier League and within striking distance of league leaders Liverpool FC. Less than 10 days earlier, they’d battered Tottenham Hotspur 7-1 at St James’ Park. Keegan’s last match in charge had been a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup third round at First Division Charlton Athletic from which he walked out of a press conference after the match. This announcement still came as a shock to all though.

A prepared statement was read out from the club’s Durham training complex, which read: “Newcastle United Football Club today (9th January 1997) announced the resignation of manager Kevin Keegan. Kevin informed the board of his wish to resign at the end of the season, having decided he no longer wishes to continue in football management at this stage in his life. Following lengthy discussions of which the board attempted to persuade Kevin to change his mind, both parties eventually agreed that the best route forward was for the club to, reluctantly; accept his resignation with immediate effect.

Keegan would return to the hotseat later on in his career, first with Fulham a year later before spells managing the England national team, Manchester City and another brief spell at Newcastle in 2008.

His teams were exciting, enthralling and energising to watch. They were “The Entertainers.”

Advertisements

Premier League Rewind: 29th-30th January 2008

Results: Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Fulham, Middlesbrough 1-0 Wigan Athletic, Sunderland 2-0 Birmingham City, Chelsea 1-0 Reading, Derby County 1-1 Manchester City, West Ham United 1-0 Liverpool FC, Everton 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United 2-0 Portsmouth

This midweek round of Premier League fixtures during the 2007-2008 season saw a paltry return of just 12 goals in nine matches. Defences most definitely came out on top but that doesn’t mean to say it didn’t provide some exciting moments.

At this stage of the season, it was Arsenal who were top of the table and favourites to regain the Premier League for the first time since 2004. The Gunners’ hosted a Newcastle United side that had just undergone a change in management. Kevin Keegan was back in the dugout, 11 years after abruptly walking out on the club in his first stint. His Newcastle team were nowhere near as good as the one he left behind and they were easily beaten 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium with Emmanuel Adebayor, Mathieu Flamini and Cesc Fabregas all finding the target.

Defending champions Manchester United kept the pressure up on Arsene Wenger’s side the following evening with some more individual brilliance from Cristiano Ronaldo. His two goals in the opening 13 minutes sunk Portsmouth 2-0 at Old Trafford, including a free-kick which is among the best the league has ever seen.

Chelsea kept their title hopes flickering with a narrow 1-0 victory at home to Reading, who after their near-miss with European football the previous season, looked destined for a relegation scrap this time around. Michael Ballack’s goal in the 32nd minute proved to be the difference between the two sides.

The race for the top four was hotting up and Liverpool FC had work to do. Rafa Benitez’s side had a wretched January, failing to win a single match and collecting just three points from four games. That run continued with a late 1-0 defeat at Upton Park to mid-table West Ham United. Mark Noble’s stoppage-time penalty consigned Liverpool FC to only a third league defeat of the season.

Luckily for Liverpool, their rivals for the top four spots didn’t take full advantage. Everton were held to a goalless draw by Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park, whilst Manchester City required an equaliser from Daniel Sturridge to rescue a 1-1 draw away at bottom-placed Derby County. The point was a rare high point in Derby’s wretched campaign which saw him muster just one victory all season in the Premier League.

Elsewhere, Sunderland improved their chances of beating the drop as they defeated Birmingham City 2-0 at the Stadium of Light and Middlesbrough’s 1-0 victory over Wigan Athletic moved them into the reaches of mid-table and kept Wigan firmly in danger. Bolton Wanderers and Fulham played out an uneventful 0-0 draw at the Reebok Stadium.

What else happened in January 2008?

  • Due to the Writers Guild of America strike, the Golden Globes awards ceremony is cancelled. A one-hour news conference is held by NBC to reveal the winners.
  • The US election race hots up with Joe Biden, John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani all dropping out of contention.
  • Aged 59, Jeremy Beadle, famous for “Beadle’s About” and “You’ve Been Framed” dies after contracting a bout of pneumonia.
  • ITV’s flagship news programme, News at Ten returns with Sir Trevor McDonald and Julie Etchingham hosting the revived bulletin.
  • Tower Colliery, the UK’s oldest continuously working deep-coal mine closes for the last time.
  • Labour’s Peter Hain resigned as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions over irregular donations.
  • Cyprus and Malta are the latest countries to adopt the Euro as their national currency.

Iconic Moments: The craziest deadline day (January 2011)

Transfer deadline day has become a nationwide event for football fans since the introduction of the August and January transfer windows from the 2002-2003 season onwards. There have been some intriguing days like Arsenal’s signing of Mesut Ozil in August 2013 and Dimitar Berbatov’s last-gasp switch to Manchester United five seasons earlier.

But there were fewer mad days in the transfer market than the one that played out on Monday, 31 January 2011. Over £100 million was spent on three strikers, with Liverpool FC, Chelsea and Newcastle United playing the leading roles.

There was a big departure from Anfield. Star striker of the past three and a half years, Fernando Torres decided to leave the club. Days earlier, the Spaniard had handed in a transfer request which was initially rejected. Eventually, a deal was agreed that saw Torres move to Chelsea for a British transfer record fee at the time of £50 million. A lot of LFC fans were very upset by Torres’ comments in the aftermath of the deal going through. Shirts were burned outside the ground as their former idol had moved on, saying “This is the target for every footballer – to try to play for one of the top clubs in the world.” 

Although he did go on to win the silverware he craved such as the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League in 2012, Torres never fully settled at Stamford Bridge. Liverpool fans never really forgave him until an appearance at Steven Gerrard’s testimonial three seasons later. He is now back in Spain playing for his boyhood club, Atletico Madrid.

That wasn’t the only business conducted at Chelsea. Brazilian defender David Luiz arrived from Benfica for £26.5 million and not the end of the drama either at Liverpool. As El Nino checked out of Merseyside, the Reds were busy pulling off their own double striker swoop.

£22.8 million was paid to Ajax for the controversial but exceptionally talented Luis Suarez and £35 million was exchanged with Newcastle for Andy Carroll – a club record fee. Like Torres, the transfer fee seemed to weigh too much on Carroll. His 18-month spell was an unhappy one and he eventually moved onto West Ham United in August 2012. On the other hand, Suarez lit up Anfield with many spectacular performances. Despite racism and biting controversies which led to suspensions totalling 19 matches, his spectacular goals nearly guided the club to a Premier League title in 2014 before departing for Barcelona in a £75 million transfer.

Other moves saw Birmingham sign Obafemi Martins on-loan, Bolton add Daniel Sturridge to their ranks from Chelsea, Tuncay depart Stoke City for the Bundesliga with VfL Wolfsburg and Blackpool add four players to their relegation scrap. Charlie Adam stayed put despite a late bid from Tottenham Hotspur.

In total, Premier League clubs spent over £200 million in the 2011 January window and deadline day in this window remains the craziest and probably best window of this era of transactions in football.

Premier League Rewind: 17th-20th January 1998

Results: Barnsley 1-0 Crystal Palace, Blackburn Rovers 5-0 Aston Villa, Coventry City 2-2 Arsenal, Leeds United 1-2 Sheffield Wednesday, Leicester City 0-0 Liverpool FC, Newcastle United 2-1 Bolton Wanderers, Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 West Ham United, Wimbledon 0-0 Derby County, Everton 3-1 Chelsea, Southampton 1-0 Manchester United, Liverpool FC 1-0 Newcastle United

On the weekend of 17th-20th January 1998, no-one seemed likely to catch Manchester United. A fifth Premier League title in six seasons looked more likely for the Red Devils’ with every passing week. However, every top team has a bogey ground over the years and theirs was most definitely the Dell.

Having been beaten in April 1996 by the ‘grey shirt’ debacle and then humiliated 6-3 just six months later, Sir Alex Ferguson must have feared the Monday Night visit to the south coast. He was right too. Kevin Davies headed the hosts’ infront inside three minutes before an extraordinary display from Paul Jones, who made save after save to inflict back-to-back away defeats on the champions. It was the third successive season Manchester United would leave Southampton’s ground empty-handed.

Chelsea had been among the main pursuers but their away form was a real cause of concern. This was highlighted in a Super Sunday trip to Goodison Park to take on a struggling Everton side. Although Tore Andre Flo gave Chelsea the lead, that advantage was cancelled out just two minutes later by skipper Gary Speed. Duncan Ferguson and a Michael Duberry own goal completed a positive afternoon for Howard Kendall’s side. It would turn out to be Speed’s final match in Everton colours. He was sold to Newcastle United weeks later.

The Magpies’ were welcoming back their own star asset. Alan Shearer had sustained a serious knee injury in a pre-season tournament at Goodison Park in late July. He came back as a second-half substitute in the home fixture with Bolton Wanderers. Typically, Shearer had a role to play in the winning goal which was scored by Temuri Ketsbaia. The Georgian then lost control of his emotions, ripping his shirt off, before repeating kicking an advertising hoarding. It was a strange reaction but the 2-1 win was a vital result for Newcastle.

After a searing start of their own, Blackburn Rovers’ momentum had been checked in recent weeks and they managed just one win in January 1998. However, it was a great performance to trounce Aston Villa 5-0 at Ewood Park. It meant they defeated Villa by an aggregate score of 9-0 over the two matches they played against each other.

There was a bad-tempered match between Coventry City and Arsenal at Highfield Road. The Sky Blues’ were in excellent form and Gordon Strachan was about to win a Manager of the Month award for his achievements. They had beaten Manchester United a month earlier and held Arsenal up in a 2-2 draw. Both Patrick Vieira and Paul Williams saw red. Dion Dublin’s penalty ensured a share of the spoils against a tired Arsenal side that had gone to penalties earlier that week to overcome plucky Port Vale in the FA Cup.

North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur were also involved in a tempestuous game that weekend. Jurgen Klinsmann’s first goal since returning to the club was overshadowed by a red card for West Ham’s Samassi Abou. Abou proceeded to manhandle referee David Elleray and he had to be helped from the field by manager Harry Redknapp. Tottenham’s Colin Calderwood decided to get involved in the confrontation which saw the pair nearly come to blows. For the record, Tottenham won 1-0.

There was one match extra on this weekend and a third clash in little over a month between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United. Michael Owen scored the only goal in Liverpool’s 1-0 victory to complete a hat-trick of wins for the Reds’ over Dalglish’s Toon Army. This game had initially been scheduled for 31 August 1997 but was postponed as a mark of respect following the death of Princess Diana in a car accident in Paris.

What else happened in January 1998?

  • US president Bill Clinton’s integrity is called into question as reports emerge of his alleged affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Later in the month in a live statement to the American nation, Clinton makes the famous vow: “I want to say one thing to the American people; I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
  • A life imprisonment is handed down to Ramzi Yousef for his role in the first bombing of the World Trade Centre in 1993.
  • Manchester United footballer David Beckham and Spice Girl Victoria Adams (Posh Spice) announce their engagement.
  • France’s new national sports stadium, the Stade de France in Paris is officially opened ahead of that summer’s World Cup.
  • Titanic, Dame Judi Dench and Peter Fonda are among the winners at the 55th Golden Globes.
  • The Denver Broncos beat the Green Bay Packers 31-24 to win Super Bowl XXXII.
  • Hayley Patterson, British soap’s first transgender character, is first seen in Coronation Street.