Tag Archives: Oldham Athletic

Memorable Matches: Oldham Athletic 2-3 Norwich City (November 1992)

Goalscorers: Mark Robins 14, 27, 90, Graeme Sharp 25, Ian Marshall 43

Teams:

Oldham Athletic: Jon Hallworth, Gunnar Halle, Richard Jobson, Neil Pointon, Steve Redmond, Paul Bernard, Nick Henry, Mike Milligan, Ian Marshall, Ian Olney (Neil Adams 58), Graeme Sharp

Norwich City: Bryan Gunn, Ian Butterworth, Mark Bowen, Ian Culverhouse, John Polston, Daryl Sutch, Ian Crook, David Phillips, Ruel Fox, Darren Beckford (Chris Sutton 88), Mark Robins

Referee: Robbie Hart, Attendance: 11,081

Oldham Athletic and Norwich City were two of the more unfashionable clubs in the Premier League’s very first season. However, both teams were a real credit to the league’s early inception, producing outstanding stories throughout the 1992-1993 campaign.

The sides met in early November 1992 and there was plenty of attention on Mike Walker’s Canaries. Results earlier in the weekend had taken Arsenal to the top of the Premier League table but Norwich knew victory at Boundary Park would take them back to the summit. Oldham though must have fancied their chances. Despite the visitors’ excellent attacking record, their defence was brittle and they’d conceded 11 goals on two recent painful away trips to Ewood Park and Anfield. The one certainly was a 0-0 scoreline was a very unlikely result here.

It was Norwich who struck first in an opening 45 minutes that saw the pendulum swing back and forwards. Ian Culverhouse produced a lovely ball after 14 minutes and summer arrival, Mark Robins was left completely unmarked in the penalty area to open the scoring. It was Robins first goal in seven matches and with the Canaries first serious attack, they were infront.

Norwich’s lead lasted just 11 minutes. Nick Henry delivered a ball into the box from the left-hand side. It was flicked on and Graeme Sharp reacted instantly, providing a predatory finish beyond Bryan Gunn to bring Oldham level. However, their parity didn’t last long. Two minutes later, Norwich were back infront.

Oldham’s high offside trap was brutally exposed by the pacey winger Ruel Fox. He produced the perfect first-time pass and with goalkeeper Jon Hallworth caught in no-man’s land and the defenders scrambling to get back, Robins had all the time in the world to convert his second goal of the evening. Two minutes before half-time, Oldham levelled the scores again. Auxiliary forward Ian Marshall was first to another flick-on and bravely beat an onrushing Gunn to the loose ball. There was a collision between the pair but Marshall got enough on his looping shot to find the back of the net.

The second half was a cagier affair and it looked like the points were going to be shared. Robins though would have the last laugh. In stoppage-time, he created some space for himself in the penalty area and his low shot found the bottom corner of Hallworth’s net to seal victory for Norwich and take them back to the top of the Premier League table. Discarded by Manchester United and Alex Ferguson, the forward was proving his valuable worth to the Norwich cause. He scored the club’s first Premier League hat-trick and only the second in the history of the league after Eric Cantona’s treble for Leeds United against Tottenham Hotspur back in August.

Norwich stayed top of the table for Christmas but their defensive issues would see them fade away slightly in the second half of the season. Nevertheless, the East Anglian side were a tremendous third in the final standings. Oldham scored plenty of goals throughout the campaign and won their final three matches to avoid the drop on the final day of the season.

 

 

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Premier League Files: Graeme Sharp

Premier League Career: Oldham Athletic (1992-1994)

Graeme Sharp’s professional career will always be linked to just two clubs – Everton and Oldham Athletic. He won two First Division titles with the Toffees in the 1980s and experienced two Premier League campaigns with Oldham before going on to become the player-manager of the Latics.

He started his playing career with Dumbarton in 1978, playing 40 times for them before joining Everton in 1980 for £120,000. It took time for Graeme to make an impact on Merseyside but Howard Kendall’s arrival as first-team manager was the telling impact for his career. Between 1980 and 1991, he would score 111 league goals for Everton in 322 matches.

Sharp won the FA Cup in 1984, scoring the first goal in the final against Watford at Wembley Stadium. It was his sole victory in this competition, experiencing the agony of defeat in the final in 1985, 1986 and 1989. It was a time where the Merseyside clubs were dominating English football. Liverpool FC were the prime team but Everton did crash the Reds’ supremacy to win the First Division title in 1985 and 1987. There was also European glory with victory over Rapid Vienna in the 1985 Cup Winners’ Cup final.

He formed successful scoring partnerships with the likes of Andy Gray, Adrian Heath and Gary Lineker and was seen as the perfect foil for a striking duo. However by 1991, his days were numbered at Goodison Park and he moved to Oldham for £500,000. This came just weeks after they had won promotion to the top-flight for the first time in 68 years.

He made 55 Premier League appearances, scoring 16 goals in total. Sharp scored Oldham’s first-ever Premier League goal at Boundary Park in a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace in August 1992 and also scored vital goals in victories over Nottingham Forest, Ipswich Town and Middlesbrough.

After finding the target seven times in 1992-1993, Sharp improved his tally to nine in 1993-1994 including a goal in a 1-1 draw at Highbury with Arsenal and two goals in gallant defeats to champions Manchester United. It was United who agonisingly ended Oldham’s FA Cup dreams at the semi-final stage and the club were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the season despite Graeme’s best efforts.

In November 1994, Oldham manager Joe Royle quit to take over the vacant position at Everton. Sharp took over as player-manager but he struggled to adapt his playing success into the dugout. After two mediocre seasons in the First Division, he resigned in March 1997 with Oldham on the verge of relegation to Division Two.

He had one season managing Bangor City in Welsh football before stepping away from the game in a primary capacity. Sharp is now a club ambassador at Everton and works for the local press in Liverpool on the radio for 96.7 Radio City.

Premier League Rewind: 7th-8th May 1993

Results: Arsenal 3-0 Crystal Palace, Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry City 3-3 Leeds United, Ipswich Town 2-1 Nottingham Forest, Liverpool FC 6-2 Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City 2-5 Everton, Middlesbrough 3-3 Norwich City, Oldham Athletic 4-3 Southampton, Sheffield United 4-2 Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Aston Villa, Wimbledon 1-2 Manchester United

The final weekend of the very first FA Premier League season would be a record-breaking one with the highest total of goals scored ever during a top-flight weekend since the formation of the division. Incredibly, 53 goals found the back of the net in the 11 matches that took place. It was clear that some defences were already on holiday on this evidence!

With Manchester United already crowned as the maiden Premier League champions, the main attention was focused on the bottom of the table. Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough were already relegated, so just one spot was up for grabs and it was a straight shootout between Crystal Palace and Oldham Athletic.

The odds were in Palace’s favour. They only needed a point from their final match at Highbury against an Arsenal side who might have had one eye on an FA Cup final appearance in a week’s time. However, it all went wrong for Steve Coppell’s side. Ian Wright opened the scoring against his former employers after just nine minutes. Further late strikes from Paul Dickov and Kevin Campbell consigned Palace to a 3-0 defeat. They now required help from Southampton.

The Saints were at Boundary Park to play Oldham. Oldham had looked dead and buried a week earlier but shock wins over Aston Villa and Liverpool FC had given them genuine hope of beating the drop. Another win here and they would be playing Premier League football in 1993-1994. It looked very good after 64 minutes. Goals from Neil Pointon, Ian Olney, Andy Ritchie and Gunnar Halle had Oldham 4-1 ahead. Matt Le Tissier was not going to make it easy though. He almost single-handily dragged Southampton back into the match with a hat-trick. Oldham manager Joe Royle was racing upstairs and downstairs every couple of minutes as the tension increased during the afternoon.

Oldham held on though for a priceless three points which ensured they stayed up on goal difference. Crystal Palace were relegated and Coppell resigned soon afterwards.

Another manager under pressure was Liverpool FC’s Graeme Souness. He was a mysterious absentee from the club’s final home match of an underwhelming season against Tottenham Hotspur. The official reason given by the club was he was on a ‘scouting mission.’ Ronnie Moran took control on the day and the players responded well, thumping Tottenham 6-2. There were two goals apiece for John Barnes and Ian Rush. Teddy Sheringham’s consolation meant he would win the Golden Boot in the first Premier League season. Tottenham would change managers in the close season, with playing legend Ossie Ardiles appointed that summer, whilst Liverpool did stick with Souness until January 1994.

Manchester United closed their season out 24 hours after the majority of the other teams had played. They beat Wimbledon 2-1 at Selhurst Park, with skipper Bryan Robson scoring their final goal of the league season. They would finish 10 points clear of Aston Villa, who lost 2-1 at Queens Park Rangers to ensure they lost their final three games of the season. That win for QPR ensured they would finish in fifth spot and were London’s top club. This was a marvellous achievement for Gerry Francis.

One manager bowing out completely was Brian Clough. His final game in management was at Portman Road and he exited with a defeat. Despite a penalty from his son, Nigel Clough, Nottingham Forest lost 2-1 to Ipswich Town to ensure they finished bottom of the table. Elsewhere, Peter Beagrie scored twice as Everton finished a lacklustre season on a real high, winning 5-2 away at Manchester City and Tim Sherwood’s header beat Sheffield Wednesday at Ewood Park. Blackburn Rovers finished fourth in their first season after promotion from the Second Division.

What else happened in May 1993?

  • Kenneth Clarke is appointed as the new Chancellor of the Exchequer after Norman Lamont’s sacking following Black Wednesday.
  • Ireland wins the Eurovision Song Contest with “In Your Eyes,” performed by Niamh Kavanagh.
  • Eritrea gains independence from Ethiopia and becomes a member of the United Nations.
  • Inflation in the UK reaches a 29-year low of 1.3%.
  • After 10 years, ITV drops the popular teatime gameshow ‘Blockbusters.’ It will be revived on four separate occasions by Sky One, BBC Two and Challenge before disappearing for good in 2012.
  • Matthew Kelly becomes the new host of the ITV programme, ‘Stars in Their Eyes.’ He will continue to front the show for the next 10 years.

The Clubs: Oldham Athletic

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
84 22 23 39 105 142 -37 89 2

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Mike Milligan 81
Richard Jobson 77
Paul Bernard 65
Gunnar Halle 64
Steve Redmond 64
Craig Fleming 61
Neil Pointon 58
Graeme Sharp 55
Nick Henry 54
Neil Adams 45

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Graeme Sharp 16
Ian Olney 13
Paul Bernard 9
Neil Adams 9
Darren Beckford 9
Richard Jobson 7
Gunnar Halle 6
Nick Henry 6
Rick Holden 6
Andy Ritchie 4

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Oldham Athletic 6-2 Wimbledon 3rd April 1993 1992-1993
Oldham Athletic 4-1 Middlesbrough 28th November 1992 1992-1993
Oldham Athletic 4-1 Queens Park Rangers 2nd April 1994 1993-1994
Oldham Athletic 5-3 Nottingham Forest 22nd August 1992 1992-1993
Oldham Athletic 4-2 Ipswich Town 19th September 1992 1992-1993
Oldham Athletic 3-1 Chelsea 6th February 1993 1992-1993
Southampton 1-3 Oldham Athletic 30th March 1994 1993-1994
Oldham Athletic 4-3 Southampton 8th May 1993 1992-1993
Middlesbrough 2-3 Oldham Athletic 22nd March 1993 1992-1993
Oldham Athletic 3-2 Liverpool FC 5th May 1993 1992-1993

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Tottenham Hotspur 5-0 Oldham Athletic 18th September 1993 1993-1994
Wimbledon 5-2 Oldham Athletic 12th December 1992 1992-1993
Oldham Athletic 2-5 Manchester United 29th December 1993 1993-1994
Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Oldham Athletic 17th April 1993 1992-1993
Manchester United 3-0 Oldham Athletic 21st November 1992 1992-1993
Coventry City 3-0 Oldham Athletic 23rd January 1993 1992-1993
Oldham Athletic 0-3 Ipswich Town 14th August 1993 1993-1994
Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 Oldham Athletic 24th November 1993 1993-1994
Oldham Athletic 0-3 Liverpool FC 15th January 1994 1993-1994
Wimbledon 3-0 Oldham Athletic 26th April 1994 1993-1994

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Joe Royle 2 10th November 1994

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Oldham Athletic 1-0 Manchester United 9th March 1993 17,106 1992-1993
Oldham Athletic 2-5 Manchester United 29th December 1993 16,708 1993-1994
Oldham Athletic 0-0 Manchester City 26th March 1994 16,464 1993-1994
Oldham Athletic 3-2 Liverpool FC 5th May 1993 15,381 1992-1993
Oldham Athletic 0-1 Manchester City 26th January 1993 14,903 1992-1993
Oldham Athletic 1-1 Sheffield United 13th April 1993 14,795 1992-1993
Oldham Athletic 1-1 Sheffield United 3rd May 1994 14,779 1993-1994
Oldham Athletic 4-3 Southampton 8th May 1993 14,597 1992-1993
Oldham Athletic 0-3 Liverpool FC 15th January 1994 14,573 1993-1994
Oldham Athletic 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur 5th May 1994 14,283 1993-1994

 

Intro

Oldham Athletic were one of the smaller clubs in the first two seasons of the Premier League. The Latics did have the advantage of an intimidating atmosphere at Boundary Park and a pitch that often caught out the best players. Joe Royle spent 12 years at the helm, guiding them to the FA Cup semi-finals in 1990 and 1994 and ensuring a final day survival in the Premier League in dramatic circumstances in 1993.

 

1992-1993

Oldham Athletic were starting their second successive season in the top-flight and made a solid start, sitting in mid-table after 11 games. Always looking suspect at the back, they provided plenty of goals going forwards – testified by a 5-3 victory in August over Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest.

A narrow 2-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday started a worrying run of six defeats in eight matches as Joe Royle’s men started to plummet down the table. Despite a 1-0 win against Manchester United in early March, Oldham were bottom of the table with just 10 games left to play.

Back-to-back victories over Middlesbrough and Wimbledon did briefly rekindle hope but with three games left, Oldham were in the drop zone and looking very unlikely to avoid relegation. To stay up, they had to win their final three matches. First up was a trip to title-chasing Aston Villa, who needed the win themselves. Nick Henry scored the only goal to stun Villa Park and ensure a first league title in 27 years for Oldham’s local rivals, Manchester United.

Three days later, Liverpool FC were beaten 3-2 at Boundary Park but going into the final day, another win was required at home to Southampton, whilst hoping Crystal Palace were beaten at Highbury by Arsenal. Oldham led 4-1 midway through the second half and despite Matt Le Tissier chalking up a hat-trick, they held on for a 4-3 victory which was enough to keep them up on goal difference. Palace lost 3-0 to Arsenal, finishing with a -13 goal difference compared to Oldham’s -11.

Although they had the second leakiest defence in the division, Oldham’s tally of 63 goals scored in the season was only bettered by Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers.

 

1993-1994

The 1993-1994 season began with the sudden departure of fans’ favourite Ian Marshall to Ipswich Town. Typically, Marshall came back to Boundary Park on the opening day and scored as Ipswich won 3-0. Oldham won 1–0 at newly-promoted Swindon Town in their next match, but a 10-match winless run which included five draws followed including their heaviest Premier League loss – 5-0 to Tottenham Hotspur in September.

It was clear it was going to be another tight squeeze against relegation. Wins over Chelsea and high-flying Norwich City kept the Latics in touch with the pack going into 1994 and there were some decent results at the turn of the year too. League doubles against Southampton and Chelsea were achieved and Queens Park Rangers were then beaten 4-1 on 2nd April.

Amidst the survival fight, they reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup and almost derailed Manchester United’s dream of a league and cup double until Mark Hughes’ late equaliser in extra-time at Wembley which forced a replay. United won the rerun 4-1 and that Hughes goal seemed to take the life out of Oldham’s legs. They failed to win any of their last eight matches and relegation was officially confirmed on the final day after drawing with Norwich.

The Managers: Joe Royle

Premier League Clubs Managed: Oldham Athletic (1992-1994), Everton (1994-1997), Manchester City (2000-2001)

He achieved great success on limited resources at Oldham Athletic and got Manchester City back into the top-flight in 2000. However, Joe Royle’s name will forever be linked with Everton. As a player, he was one the club’s greatest goalscorers. As a manager, his ‘Dogs of War’ approach got some great results out of the players, achieving a top-six finish in 1996. Royle is currently the last Everton manager to win silverware too when he side defeated Manchester United 1-0 in 1995 to lift the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium.

Making his mark as a Toffee player

Manchester United were actually interested in signing Royle before he made his Everton bow in 1966. At the tender age of 16, he made his debut for the Toffees against Blackpool. It was a proud record he would hold for almost 40 years until James Vaughan surpassed it when he featured for the first-team in April 2005.

He scored 102 goals for Everton across eight seasons, finishing as the club’s top marksman in five successive seasons. He won the league championship with the Merseysiders in 1970, scoring 23 goals along the way, only narrowly missing out on the Golden Boot to West Bromwich Albion great Jeff Astle.

In 1974, he left Goodison Park behind to join Manchester City and added the League Cup to his list of playing honours in 1976. Further spells followed at Bristol City and Norwich City before retirement in 1982, aged 33 due to a knee injury. Royle won six England caps between 1971 and 1977, scoring twice. However, he never played at a major tournament as the 1970s was a period where England lost their way in the international spectrum.

Getting the maximum out at Oldham

Royle went straight into management once his playing days ended, taking the reins at Oldham Athletic. He spent a phenomenal 12 years at Boundary Park, making them a cup specialist side and also guiding them into the First Division in 1991 and therefore, a place in the newly-formed Premier League a year later.

Oldham reached Wembley Stadium in 1990 as a Second Division side but lost the League Cup final to Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest. Later that year, the Latics made the semi-finals of the FA Cup and drew 3-3 in the first tie at Maine Road with Manchester United. The Red Devils would win the replay. Four years later, the sequel took place at Wembley and Royle’s side were within moments of beating the dominant team in the country until a dramatic extra-time equaliser by Mark Hughes took this game to a semi-final replay too. Again, Alex Ferguson’s side were simply too powerful in the return, winning 4-1 and they would play Chelsea in the final.

Oldham were a favourite with many supporters outside of their own fans. Their cavalier style made them a very entertaining watch and their pitch was always a real challenge to play on. Joe’s exploits at Oldham even had him on a three-man shortlist for the England national job when Bobby Robson announced he was quitting after Italia 90. Royle would ultimately miss out on the position to the Aston Villa manager Graham Taylor. Considering what happened to Taylor, maybe it was a blessing in disguise.

Among the players who worked under Royle were Graeme Sharp who had been part of the Everton team that enjoyed success in the late 1980s, left-back Denis Irwin and right-back Earl Barrett. Both Barrett and Irwin were sold in the early 1990s for far bigger sums of money than they arrived for. Oldham were often seen as a selling club but often made decent profits for their transactions.

After a 17th place finish in the last season of the First Division before the formation of the Premier League, Oldham survived on the final day of the first Premier League campaign courtesy of goal difference. A 4-3 win over Southampton was enough to keep them in the division at the expense of Crystal Palace. Survival was always the priority for Oldham but they lost the battle in 1993-1994. They went down on the final day at Norwich, failing to win any of their last eight matches that season.

In November 1994, a new challenge awaited Joe. He took charge of 608 games in the manager’s post at Oldham, achieving an impressive win ratio of 37%.

Lifting the Goodison gloom

When he arrived back at Everton as the boss, the club were in dire straits. They were bottom of the FA Carling Premiership and had endured their worst start in their history. Everton had achieved only one league victory all term and Mike Walker had been sacked after a hideous 10 months in-charge.

Royle’s first match was a Merseyside Derby against a revitalised Liverpool FC side and there was an immediate bounce. Second half goals from Duncan Ferguson and Paul Rideout steered Everton to a 2-0 victory and lifted them off the bottom of the table. In fact, he would remain unbeaten in five Merseyside Derbies as Toffees manager.

Another win followed days later at Chelsea and Everton didn’t concede a goal in his first five matches in the job. With four clubs going down in 1994-1995, Everton remained in the drop zone until February when a trademark Ferguson header beat Manchester United at Goodison Park. Royle spearheaded the club towards safety, losing just one of their last 11 matches in the process. There would be a real silver lining to the season too.

Everton had reached the latter stages of the FA Cup, having scrapped their way to the semi-finals. Dave Watson’s header had put Newcastle United out in the quarter-finals but many expected a Tottenham Hotspur side with the likes of Jurgen Klinsmann, Teddy Sheringham and Darren Anderton in their ranks to brush the Merseysiders aside at Elland Road. Arguably, this was Everton’s best performance in the Royle managerial era. They dispatched Tottenham 4-1 to reach the final, where they’d play Manchester United in a repeat of the 1985 final.

In the final, a counter-attacking goal settled the match in Everton’s favour. Graham Stuart’s shot hit the crossbar and fell kindly for Rideout to nod home the only goal of the game. The 1995 FA Cup remains Everton’s last piece of silverware.

League progress followed in 1995-1996, despite Ferguson being jailed for a month for an offence he committed whilst playing in Scottish football with Rangers. Everton finished sixth in the table and only missed out on a second successive term playing European football courtesy of a late Dennis Bergkamp goal that ensured Arsenal beat Bolton Wanderers to take the UEFA Cup spot for fifth place.

The 1996-1997 season was less convincing. Star player Andrei Kanchelskis was sold and Royle was not permitted to sign Norwegian players Tore Andre Flo and Claus Eftevaag by Chairman Peter Johnson. Royle resigned in March 1997 and would be succeeded for the rest of the season by club captain Watson on a caretaker basis.

Reviving Manchester City

After nearly a year away from the game, Joe accepted the challenge to revive the fortunes of Manchester City who were in desperate trouble and staring a second relegation in the face in just three seasons. He couldn’t save them from the drop to Division Two but won them promotion back to Division One at the first attempt in 1999 after an extraordinary play-off final victory over Tony Pulis’ Gillingham.

He guided them to back-to-back promotions and therefore, back to the promise land of the Premier League in 2000. However, the return to the Premier League was disappointing. Manchester City conceded too many goals and were relegated on 7th May 2001 after a 2-1 loss at Portman Road to high-flying Ipswich Town. Royle was told after the relegation his job was safe but two weeks later, the City board changed their mind and decided for a fresh approach.

He was sacked and ultimately replaced by Kevin Keegan for his first job since the end of his England reign. Joe’s final serious stint in management came at Ipswich Town where he guided them to successive play-off campaigns in the First Division between 2002 and 2006. However, they were beaten on both occasions in the semi-final stage by West Ham United and with many of Ipswich’s assets being sold to Premier League clubs, he stepped down after a disappointing 15th place finish in 2005-2006.

Since then, Royle has done some co-commentary work for BBC and Channel Five and had a brief stint as a football consultant at Norwich City. He returned to his club, Everton, in July 2014, working alongside former player David Unsworth as they oversaw the youth development at the club. He even returned to the dugout on the final day of the 2015-2016 Premier League season, assisting Unsworth to a victory over Norwich following the dismissal of Roberto Martinez. He stepped down from his role with the club in December 2017.

Joe Royle was a strong performer as a player and revived Everton’s flagging fortunes in the mid-1990s. He enjoyed his time as a manager too and succeeded in winning silverware at Goodison Park whereas the likes of Moyes, Martinez and Koeman did not.

Premier League Files: Gunnar Halle

Premier League Career: Oldham Athletic (1992-1994), Leeds United (1996-1999), Bradford City (1999-2001)

Born in Larvik, Norway, Gunnar Halle spent the bulk of his playing career playing in England. He was one of the few foreign players who featured in the opening season of the Premier League and was a constant attacking threat from full-back.

Halle moved into the English game in 1991, joining Oldham Athletic for £280,000. He is often considered as one of the club’s finest players during their two-season spell in the Premier League era. In total, Halle played 212 league games for the Latics and scored 21 times. One of his goals came in the thrilling 4-3 victory over Southampton on the final day in 1993; a victory which saw Oldham protecting their Premier League status at the expense of Crystal Palace.

In the winter of 1996 and with Oldham’s decline well underway, Halle moved down to Yorkshire and joined Leeds United for £500,000. One of George Graham’s first signings, he would compete with the long-serving Gary Kelly at right-back and became a very useful addition to the squad at Elland Road. He played 83 times for Leeds, scoring four goals as they finished fifth and fourth under the stewardship of first Graham, then David O’Leary.

By the summer of 1999, Halle was 34 and Leeds decided to move him onto Yorkshire rivals Bradford City, allowing them to go and sign Danny Mills from relegated Charlton Athletic. Halle cost Bradford £200,000 and turned out for them 70 times, leaving the club one season after their relegation from the top-flight in 2002.

After a short spell with Wolverhampton Wanderers, he returned to Norway to finish his playing days with Lillestrøm. On the international stage for Norway, Halle scored a hat-trick against no-hopers San Marino in the qualification for the 1994 World Cup finals. Gunnar would feature at that World Cup in the United States and also at the 1998 edition in France. He won 64 caps for Norway, retiring in 1999.

Since retirement, Halle has moved into coaching and has served as assistant manager at several of the bigger sides in Norwegian club football, including Molde FK, Viking FK and Lillestrøm. He has also worked alongside former Manchester City forward Uwe Rosler, who is currently the manager of English League One side Fleetwood Town.

Halle is currently the assistant at Strømmen IF, a role he has held since 2013.

Premier League Files: Richard Jobson

Premier League Career: Oldham Athletic (1992-1994), Leeds United (1995-1998)

Although injuries were an issue in the career of Richard Jobson, his longevity could never be questioned. He made nearly 600 professional appearances and played in the top-flight for Oldham Athletic and Leeds United. Jobson’s early career was dominated by a lengthy stint at Hull City, featuring 221 times for them from 1985 to 1990. Oldham had to pay a club record fee of £460,000 to acquire Jobson. The powerful centre-back then played 189 times for the Latics, playing a pivotal role in their unlikely escape act from relegation in the first Premier League season. He was also an FA Cup semi-finalist in 1994.

After Oldham’s relegation, Jobson remained loyal to the club, staying with them for nearly 18 further months before moving onto Leeds United for £1 million in October 1995. This is where injuries started to take their course on Richard. He played just 22 times for Leeds across three seasons, scoring once in a 1-1 home draw with Wimbledon in December 1995.

He linked up with his former Oldham manager, Joe Royle at Manchester City in 1998 and helped the Citizens’ to back-to-back promotions from Division Two to the Premier League. However, he never got the opportunity to play in the top-flight again. Royle moved him onto Tranmere Rovers before finishing his playing career at Rochdale. The final game of his professional career was in May 2003, just six days short of his 40th birthday. Off-the-pitch, Jobson spent the final year of his playing career as chairman of the PFA and in 2009, became a senior executive within the PFA’s player management department.

Shock Results: Aston Villa 0-1 Oldham Athletic (May 1993)

Goalscorers: Nick Henry 29

Teams:

Aston Villa: Mark Bosnich, Paul McGrath, Steve Staunton, Shaun Teale, Earl Barrett, Kevin Richardson, Garry Parker (Tony Daley 61), Ray Houghton, Dwight Yorke, Dalian Atkinson, Dean Saunders

Oldham Athletic: Paul Gerrard, Steve Redmond, Craig Fleming, Richard Jobson, Gunnar Halle, Neil Pointon, Mike Milligan, Paul Bernard, Nick Henry, Ian Olney, Darren Beckford

Referee: David Allison, Attendance: 37,247

Aston Villa went into their penultimate match of the 1992-1993 season still harbouring hopes of winning the inaugural Premier League title. However, they had to beat struggling Oldham Athletic to stand any hope of catching Manchester United. Any other result and the championship would return to Old Trafford after a 26-year absence.

They were facing an Oldham side that looked dead and buried in the battle to survive. They required three wins from their last three matches to even have a hope of catching Crystal Palace or Sheffield United. The mathematics looked against Joe Royle’s side. However, no game of football has ever been written on just a piece of paper.

It was a sunny but gusty afternoon in the Midlands and it was the visitors’ who made the brighter start. Young goalkeeper Mark Bosnich, preferred to the veteran Nigel Spink was forced to make a great save after 14 minutes when facing Oldham’s Ian Olney in a one-on-one situation. The chance came from his scuffed goal-kick but he did well to make amends. Royle’s side were showing no fear despite their precarious situation in the table and deservedly took the lead in the 29th minute.

A long-ball was played up the park. Full-back Gunnar Halle had pushed forward and managed to beat Steve Staunton in the air. As Villa’s centre-backs went AWOL, Darren Beckford raced onto the knockdown. His control wasn’t great but fortunately for him and Latics’ supporters, Nick Henry had tracked the ball and scored across Bosnich’s bows to stun Villa Park.

It woke Villa up from their slumbers. Dean Saunders was desperately unlucky with a free-kick three minutes later that smashed the crossbar with Oldham goalie Paul Gerrard completely stranded. Seconds later, the former Liverpool FC forward had a volley cleared off-the-line from a corner.

As the game progressed though, Oldham started to look more comfortable. Heroic displays from the likes of Richard Jobson and Craig Fleming helped them towards a rare clean sheet. Villa’s usual creative spark was evidently missing. Ron Atkinson admitted afterwards that he had toyed with the idea of throwing some of the youngsters into the spotlight before electing to stick with the trusted combination that had got them so close, yet so far.

On the final whistle, it was Manchester United fans celebrating. Their Greater Manchester rivals had just ended their title drought and the party could begin at Old Trafford. For the record, Oldham won their final two matches and survived on the final day at the expense of Crystal Palace.

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.