Posts Tagged ‘Forest’

What Became Of..?
The £1 million pound man…

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

Today, a £1m transfer seems like chicken feed and barely causes a ripple among football commentators and fans alike. After all, some Premier League stars earn that amount in a matter of weeks. But back in 1979 when Trevor Francis left Birmingham City for Nottingham Forest, a transfer fee of £1,150,000 caused the media to go into overdrive.

Yet this seismic event very nearly didn’t happen because Francis was on the verge of joining Coventry City. However, once Forest boss Brian Clough got wind of the impending deal there was only one likely winner.

FrancisClough

Clough, with squash racket, introduces Francis to the media.

So instead of journeying to Highfield Road, Francis took a detour to the City Ground. Armed only with his pension advisor – no agents or middle men – and a list of questions, he found himself seated in Clough’s office, waiting to be interviewed by the great man. The pair waited, and they waited, and they waited. Eventually in bowled Clough carrying a racket, and explained his lateness by saying he’d been playing squash.

Despite the delay, an excited Francis agreed to join Forest and the two men shook hands on the deal. Presumably there was no hitch with the pension. Oddly enough a contract wasn’t signed until later. Compared with today’s transfer dealings it was, perhaps, a transaction carried out in an age of innocence. It was most certainly an age of simplicity.

His playing career

Trevor Francis made his debut for Birmingham City in 1970, aged just 16. He went on to play nearly 300 times for the Midland’s club, scoring 119 goals. While at City he helped the club regain top-flight status when they were promoted back into the old First Division, in 1972.

When he joined Forest in February 1979 things didn’t start at all well. In his first game for his new club, away to Ipswich Town, he was heckled by the home supporters who had one or two things to say about the price tag that hung heavily around Francis’ neck. In an effort to lift the monkey on his back he punched the ball into the Ipswich net. The ‘goal’ was disallowed. Later in the dressing room Clough gave him a right royal rollicking. “Don’t ever do that again while you are playing for this football club!”

But all the pressure of being the £1m man was forgotten when Francis stooped to meet John Robertson’s low cross to head Forest’s winning goal in that year’s European Cup Final against Malmo of Sweden. The following year he helped Forest reach their second successive European Cup Final: this time against German side Hamburg. But injury prevented him from taking part and he could only watch as his teammates claimed their second European crown.

Trevor Francis of Nottingham Forest (l) heads the winning goal past Malmo goalkeeper Jan Moller

Francis heads the winning goal for Forest past Malmo goalkeeper Jan Moller.

In 1981 he was sold to Manchester City for £1m and Forest recouped their initial outlay. From there he moved to Italy where he was part of the successful Sampdoria side. Former England manager Fabio Capello noted that Francis was the best Englishman to have played in Italy. Fans of the legendary John Charles might disagree.

On leaving Sampdoria he went to play for another Italian side Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio, before heading to Scotland to join Glasgow Rangers. After one season he moved south to Queens Park Rangers, where he was soon promoted to player-manager. Soon Sheffield Wednesday came calling and he was appointed player/manager. Under his management the Owls reached the League Cup and FA Cup Finals in 1993, just failing to get over the line in both caps against their nemesis, Arsenal.

When he hung up his boots, in 1994 at the age of 39 he had played over 600 games, scoring 235 goals.

England

Francis represented his country from the mid-70s to 1986 winning 52 caps and scoring 12 goals. He made his England debut in a friendly against Holland in 1977 but the highlight came when he represented England at the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain. He scored twice in England’s three group stage matches, but once again the Three Lions failed to make a significant impact on the world’s greatest footballing stage.

Two Books

In the Trevor Francis era most players waited until retirement before publishing their memoirs. No so the £1m man. In June 1980 World’s Works published Trevor Francis: Anatomy of a £1 Million Player. It was co-written with Rob Hughes. Then in November 1982 Sidgwick & Jackson brought out World to Play For, again co-authored, this time with David Miller. Not bad for a footballer only halfway through his playing career.

Post-playing career

Trevor Francis preparing for Sunday's FA Cup match against Leeds United. [pic] Graham Hughes

Francis was manager at Selhurst Park

Birmingham City has always been Trevor Francis’ first love. So it was no surprise to see him back at St. Andrews in 1996: this time as manager. He continued in that role for a few years, taking them to the League Cup Final in 2001. When Francis left the dugout in October of that year he said at his farewell press conference, in true Schwarzenegger style, I’ll be back – and as the Blues are always in his heart I don’t doubt that one day, he will.

Following his time with the Blues he took charge at south London club Crystal Palace for couple of seasons until 2003.

Media Pundit

Since he stepped away from the soccer limelight the £1m man has carved out a successful career as a media pundit and commentator, working for a number of high profile broadcasters. He is also in demand as an after-dinner speaker and as a guest at corporate functions.

Serious health scare

Despite all the money, fame and adulation Francis had garnered throughout his glittering career, it meant nothing when on 13 April 2012, aged 57 he suffered a heart attack which went undiagnosed for 11 hours. At any point during that time he could have died. But following surgery to have a stent fitted and with the help and care of the medical staff at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, he pulled through. He later said: “Some would say I was a little fortunate [to survive] and they would not be too far wrong.”

Honoured in Birmingham

In 2014 Trevor Francis was presented with Birmingham City’s biggest civic honour when he was ‘inducted’ into the Broad Street Walk of Stars. The Stars Selection Committee chairman, the comedian Jasper Carrott, said: “You mention Birmingham City’s most famous players and Trevor Francis is right up there. The award is for people who have done a lot for the area and he’s certainly done that.” Francis spoke at the time of how proud and excited he was to receive this honour.

That ‘£1m man’ tag

Back in 1979 many considered the transfer fee paid for by Nottingham Forest for Trevor Francis to be a world record. In reality Italian forwards Paolo Rossi and Giuseppe Savoldi each cost in excess of two billion lire. The exchange rate at the time put each fee well above £1m. But wherever he goes, even 36 years after that ground-breaking transfer, he is still introduced as the £1m man. Gareth Bale eat your heart out.

@RichardBowdery

Football isn’t just black and white…sometimes it’s red or blue or yellow

Viv Anderson races past Czech defender Koloman during his England debut.

Viv Anderson races past Czech defender Koloman during his England debut.

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

At any England match many of the fans will be wearing shirts in the national colours. It identifies them as supporters of our nation’s football team and shows solidarity with the players on the pitch. Some might even wish they were one of the eleven. Others might affirm in good old Anglo-Saxon that they could do better than those representing their country!

Yet whatever the result, win, lose or draw, white is the colour – or at least that was the case until 29 November 1978 when England played the former Czechoslovakia, in a friendly.

That night 22-year-old Viv Anderson, a defender with Nottingham Forest, trotted out to take his place in the England back four. Nothing remarkable about that you might think. You’d be wrong.

When Anderson pulled on the white shirt of England and strode out onto the Wembley turf as England’s first black full international, he trod a path for others to follow.

By selecting Anderson, national team manager Ron Greenwood broke down any remaining barriers to black players representing their country.

And to cap a game changing night the host’s ran out 1–0 winners in front of 92,000 fans.

With so many black players gracing our game for club and country, Viv Anderson’s inclusion in the England team might not seem such a big deal for our younger readers. That wasn’t always the case back then which is why his elevation was such a defining moment in our national sport.

Seventy-six black players (up until November 2014) have represented England at full international level since 1978, but that number is certain to increase.

Down the years England have worn shirts of varying colours: red, white, blue and yellow. Today the squad also varies in colour and that can only be good for the game and for our chances in future tournaments. As the old adage states: ‘if you’re good enough that’s all that should matter.’

@RichardBowdery

Anderson was the 936th player to represent England

Anderson was the 936th player to represent England

 

Peter Thomas Taylor; Probably the Best Number Two in the Business

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

“I’m not equipped to manage successfully without Peter Taylor. I am the shop window and he is the goods.” So said Brian Clough about his right-hand man who died on 4 October 1990, while on holiday in Spain.

Taylor made this observation of his relationship with Clough: “My strength was buying and selecting the right player, then Brian’s man management would shape the player.”

But whatever words they used to describe this unique partnership, it was their team on the pitch which spoke most eloquently about the pair.

CloughTaylor1The two men first become acquainted at Ayersome Park, home of Middlesborough FC, in the late 1950’s. It was a relationship that was to last 30 odd years, with a major hiccup along the way.

Taylor was a goalkeeper in his playing days. He saw service between the sticks at Nottingham Forest, Coventry City, Middlesborough and finally Port Vale.

After retiring from the playing side of the game in 1962 he went into football management at Burton Albion where he achieved some considerable success.

Then in 1965 Clough, manager at Hartlepools United (as they were called in those days) came calling, and the rest, as they say, is history.

While Cloughie was the charismatic, outspoken, ‘ole big ‘ead’, Taylor was the quiet man pulling the strings in the background. They were as different as chalk and cheese which is why they gelled together so well.

Their management partnership took them from Hartlepools to Derby County, Brighton and Hove Albion, and finally to Nottingham Forest.

In between Clough took a 44 day sabbatical at Leeds United while Taylor stayed on at Brighton.

It was at Forest that Taylor (and Clough) achieved their greatest success in management, winning back to back European Cups against Malmo in 1979 and Hamburg in 1980.

In 1982 Taylor returned to Derby County as manager before retiring two years later.

Sadly, their relationship soured in 1983. There are many reasons given for this and now is not the time to rake over old coals. Suffice to say, it is reported that they never spoke again.

CloughTaylorSix years later, one half of one of football’s greatest management teams, was dead, the result of a Pulmonary Fibrosis, a respiratory disease.

It is reported that when Clough was told of Taylor’s death he broke down and wept. His feeling of loss would haunt him for the rest of his life.

When Clough was awarded the freedom of the city of Nottingham in 1993, he said: “I have only one regret today, and that is that me mate isn’t here with me.”

In his autobiography, published the following year, Clough wrote: “To Peter. Still miss you badly. You once said: ‘When you get shot of me there won’t be as much laughter in your life’. You were right.”

Clough paid one final tribute to Taylor in September 1999 when he said he would like the ‘Brian Clough Stand’ to be renamed the ‘Brian Clough and Peter Taylor Stand’, to recognize what a huge contribution Taylor had made to their managerial partnership.

Taylor might well have been the ‘quiet one’ but never again will Brian Clough be mentioned without reference being made to his old mate, Peter Taylor.

@richardbowdery
richardbowdery@live.com

 

Brian Clough: Through The Eyes of Former Forest Forward Nigel Jemson

CloughJemsonMcGrath

Brian Clough gets to grips with new signing Nigel Jemson, alongside then Preston manager John McGrath

As a highly sought-after teenager Nigel Jemson had the option of joining either Manchester United or Nottingham Forest, both came with the opportunity to play under a legend of the managerial game. Looking back he says he has no regrets about his choice.

It would be understandable for him to be a little bitter at some of the treatment he got from manager Brian Clough – which included a punch in the stomach – but nothing of the sort.

“I loved every minute from first to last,” he said. “It is a myth that I never got on with the boss.

“People think that because he once punched me that he did not like me!

“But most of what he said was just banter. It was his way of keeping a cheeky 20-year-old in check.

“Brian and his wife sent my mum and dad a Christmas card every year. Would he have done that if he didn’t like me..?

Jemson began his career with his local club Preston North End whom he joined after originally been taken on as a YTS trainee. New manager John McGrath led the club to promotion with important contributions from Jemson.

McGrath opted for some experience up front and Jemson lost his place to the veteran Frank Worthington. But by that stage he had already done enough to attract the attention of some top flight clubs and Alex Ferguson invited him to train with United for a couple of days.

“I wasn’t a United fan so I wasn’t that keen,” admitted Jemson. “I went the first day but I didn’t enjoy it, so I didn’t bother telling them that I wasn’t going back!

“That night Brian Clough phoned and said ‘I hear you want to sign for me. See me at the City Ground at 9am. Don’t be late.’

“I went down with John McGrath and my mum and dad. What happened next was quite bizarre. Cloughie told me to take his dog for a walk and his PA, Carol, showed my parents around the Lace Market. John McGrath did the deal. There were no agents in those days.”

Jemson’s Forest debut came in a 1-1 draw at Luton Town and soon after he scored his first goal for the club in a 2-0 victory at rivals Derby County.

Jemson was starting to make a name for himself, scoring one of the goals as Forest won an exciting League Cup quarter-final at Spurs 3-2 and then netting the only goal of the final against Oldham Athletic.

Jemson started the next season on fire, scoring five goals in the first four games and earning selection for the England U21 team. But injuries would halt his progress however, and despite banging in a hat-trick against Southampton in a FA Cup replay, by the time of the cup final he was not in the side as Forest lost to Terry Venables’ Tottenham.

The writing was on the wall for Nigel with the arrival of new signing Teddy Sherringham, and he was soon on his way to Hillsborough for £800,000. Jemson says he never wanted to leave the City Ground but the opportunity to play under Trevor Francis, and alongside striker David Hirst at Wednesday was just too good to turn down.

“Yes, he sold me to Sheffield Wednesday, but I wasn’t pushed out of the door. I could have stayed.”

Wednesday went on to finish third in his first season at Hillsborough, but Jemson was only a peripheral figure. He was involved in a nasty car crash which kept him out for most of the season and his place in the team went to Mark Bright.

Jemson never recovered the form and promise he showed at Forest and his career went in a mostly downward trajectory, with spells at Notts County, Rotherham, Oxford, Ayr United, Bury and Shrewsbury among others.

There were some highlights – such as scoring both goals for Rotherham in the 2-1 Auto Windscreens Shield win over Shrewsbury at Wembley, and doing the same for Shrewsbury in a famous FA Cup win over an Everton side that featured a young Wayne Rooney – but the toll of injuries meant the Jemson never quite fulfilled all that potential.

Clough once said that Jemson was the only player in football who had a bigger head than him.

“He was unpredictable, a one-off,” said Jemson. “He never told me the reason he left me out of the Cup Final. He just said, “because I wanted to.”

“But I am proud to have played under him.

“People talk about Sir Alex Ferguson but in my opinion Brian Clough was the best.”

 

 

 

The Curious Case of Stuart Pearce and his Brother the Linesman…

by Richard D J J Bowdery,

Sibling rivalry? Just a lark on the wing

Psychology writer Marian Sandmaier once said of brothers and sisters: “A sibling may be the keeper of one’s identity.”

I wonder if she could have had one Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce in mind when she penned those words..?

stuartpearce2

For it was on the 24 September 1986 when Pearce was indeed the keeper of his siblings identity, at least until after the game.

The occasion was a League Cup second round match: Brighton and Hove Albion versus Nottingham Forest. Stuart Pearce was Forest’s left back that day.

And on the wing, sporting a rather fetching red and yellow flag, was one R D Pearce, Stuart’s…er, brother!

The story goes that when the officials came onto the pitch that night Stuart had no idea that his brother would be one of them.

Now that may well be the case. But if so why, after the game, did the full-back go into the officials changing room with a birthday present for the linesman?

Hmmm.

In his autobiography, ‘Psycho’, Pearce explained how he tried to wind-up this particular match official that night. He said: “It was funny running up the wing and having my brother alongside me on the touchline. He could have [had me] booked…because I kept taking the mickey out of him. ‘Oi, you ginger d***head,’ is one thing I remember calling him. Perhaps it is a good thing that he never became a League referee…”

Brighton v Nottm ForestForest were held to a 0-0 draw but progressed after beating Brighton 3-0 in the second-leg two weeks later at the City Ground. They were eventually beaten 2-0 by Arsenal in the fifth round. The Gunners went on to win the trophy that year beating Liverpool 2-1 in the final at Wembley.

There is something else of interest to note from that evening. One of the linesman spotted an infringement which led to a Brighton goal being disallowed. No prizes for guessing who the linesman was…

@RichardBowdery

Clough Appointed Boss of Leeds: Football World Stunned!

The 20th July is the 40th anniversary of the appointment of Brain Clough as manager of Leeds United.

The always controversial Clough was dismissed from the post on 12 September 1974, a contentious and now legendary 44 days later.

Norman Hunter, Joe Jordon and the Leeds squad make Brian Clough feel welcome.

Norman Hunter, Joe Jordon and the Leeds squad make Brian Clough feel welcome.

Clough took over at Derby County in May 1967 with The Rams then languishing in the Second Division. He had been one of the youngest managers in the league when Hartlepool gave him a shot at managing the team in 1965 when just 30 years old.

Clough, along with assistant manager Peter Taylor, turned Derby around and not only led them back to the top flight but incredibly to the First Division title in the 1971-72 season. Clough and Taylor had a falling out with Derby’s Board of Directors over a series of issues, not least Clough’s inability to keep out of the headlines, and the pair resigned in October 1973.

After a brief and unsuccessful dalliance at Brighton & Hove Albion Clough took over at Elland Road, with Taylor opting to remain at Brighton.

The appointment of Clough was more than a little surprising as during his time at Derby Clough had been especially critical of Leeds and their previous manager, Don Revie. Never shy to forward an opinion, he often claimed Leeds ‘played dirty’ and even ventured to suggest that the Yorkshire giants should be relegated and Revie fined.

Clough’s new role as manager of Leeds didn’t stop him from continuing his criticism of Revie and Leeds’ prior tactics, and before too long he had alienated himself from many of the team’s star players, including the influential midfield pair of Johnny Giles and Billy Bremner.

Clough’s Leeds side won only one and drew two from its first six games, after which he was promptly sacked.

thedamnedunited3dThe dismissal only seemed to spur Clough on to greater success. In 1975 he reunited with Taylor and moved to Nottingham Forest, and just as he had done with Derby, he led them from mid-table in the Second Division to promotion and then the Division One title in 1978.

But Clough went one better by achieving his crowning glory; back-to-back European Cup triumphs in 1979 and 1980.

Ill health ravaged Clough and he retired as manager of Forest – and from football – in 1993 and passed way in 2004.

But despite his many trophies and incredible feats as a manager its his 44 day stint as boss of Leeds United that people never forget.

Author David Peace published a fictionalized account of Clough’s time at Leeds – The Damned Utd – in 2006. Although the book met with critical acclaim, Clough’s family and former players (including Giles) claimed Peace’s versions of events were inaccurate and painted Clough in too negative a light.

In 2009 a film version of the book was released with Michael Sheen as Clough. Despite some criticism from the football world over a number of ‘factual inaccuracies’ the film was very well received – with Sheen’s performance drawing particular praise.

 

 

Clough Was Taylor Made – The Story of Peter Taylor

October 4th is the anniversary of the death of Peter Taylor, Brian Clough’s right hand man throughout the most successful spell of his managerial career. Here KARL HOFER pays tribute to the often unheralded number two.

“I’m not equipped to manage successfully without Peter Taylor. I am the shop window and he is the goods.” Brian Clough.

Sport. Football. pic: circa 1980. Peter Taylor, Nottingham Forest Assistant Manager (who had a successful career at "Forest" working with the Manager Brian Clough).

Peter Taylor

You have to wonder if there was ever a better number two than Peter Taylor..? Assistant managers are not the men that go down in the history books as the ones who delivered success to a club or have their names sung by the adoring crowd, but those in the game will appreciate what they bring to the table.

It’s a strange existence for sure, never heralded when times are good but just as culpable as the boss when things go wrong, the number two rarely stays when the manager exits…

But every great man needs a rock behind them and that’s exactly where Taylor, who died on October 4th 1990, came in.

Brian Clough is universally regarded as one of the truly great managers and arguably the most fascinating character in English football history. He has roads and stands named after him, statues erected in his honour, countless books written and films and TV documentaries made about him.

And rightly so.

It would be wrong to say that Taylor’s role in the success story that was Brian Clough’s career has largely been ignored, but it cannot be over stated.

As a player, Taylor’s career was pretty uninspiring. He played less than 250 games as a goalkeeper for Coventry, Middlesbrough and Port Vale before hanging up his gloves and taking charge of Burton Albion in 1962.

The most significant period of his career was his spell at Boro, that was where he met an up-and-coming striker by the name of Brian Clough. When Clough’s career was curtailed by injury he took over as manager of Hartlepool and Taylor was quick to join him.

Perfect Partners

They quickly established a successful partnership, and soon found themselves at Derby County, where they won promotion to the First Division in 1969 and incredibly brought the Championship to the Baseball Ground two years later, the first league title of the Rams’ 88 year history.

DerbyTitle_468x404

The pair celebrate Derby’s first ever league title

So it was quite a coup for third tier Brighton & Hove Albion to have the pair take charge of the South coast club after Clough’s mouth led to them leaving Derby. After eight not so successful months Clough left to replace Don Revie for an ill-fated 44-day spell at Leeds United, but Taylor stayed on the south coast, building a team that went on to win promotion the season after he left to join Clough at Forest.

Much as they are now, Forest were struggling in the second tier when Clough arrived in January 1975. A little over five years later, they had won the European Cup. Twice.

Clough had enjoyed a steady first season at the City Ground with Forest finishing in 8th spot in Divsion Two, but when Taylor joined him in July 1976 the clubs fortunes enjoyed a meteoric rise.

Forest were promoted the next season and in their first season back in the First Division Forest romped home to the title, finishing seven points clear of runners-up Liverpool. The next season they won the European Cup and would go on to retain it the year after, going down in history as the only club in Europe that has won the European Cup more times than their domestic league.

Fall Out

The twin European Cup successes were the pinnacle of the pair’s relationship. Relations began to deteriorate and Clough and Taylor had an almighty falling out following the publication of Taylor’s autobiography in 1980, that was entitled “With Clough by Taylor”. Clough was incensed that Taylor had not consulted him over the book

Six months after retiring Taylor became manager of Forest’s biggest rivals, Derby County.  And when Taylor signed John Robertson without informing him, Clough was incensed, seeing this as the ultimate act of betrayal. Clough and Taylor never spoke again.

When their teams met in the third round of the FA Cup in January 1983, the two managers ignored each other.

cloughgallery02_650x467-jpg

Cracks in their relationship were starting to appear

In a tabloid article, Clough called Taylor a “snake in the grass” and declared that “if his car broke down and I saw him thumbing a lift, I wouldn’t pick him up, I’d run him over.” Taylor retorted that Clough’s outbursts were “the sort of thing I have come to expect from a person I now regard with great distaste.”

One of the most incredible double acts in British football was no more. Taylor once described their working relationship like so: “We just gelled together, we filled in the gaps… My strength was buying and selecting the right player, then Brian’s man management would shape the player.”

Following the falling out Clough’s Forest side, although often successful, would never hit the heights of the halcyon days of his partnership with Taylor. Just a year before his untimely death, Taylor wrote an article encouraging Clough to retire gracefully, before he was either forced out by his chairman or his ill-health got the better of him. Clough responded that Taylor’s comments were not fit to be in the “wrapper that we used to eat fish and chips in Middlesbrough.”

Taylor proved to be right.

Remorse

Peter Taylor died suddenly whilst on holiday in Majorca at the age of 62. Sadly the rift between the pair had not been repaired, and when Clough was told of his death on the telephone he fell silent, hung up and wept.

DSC_0246

The statue of Clough and Taylor outside Pride Park

Clough attended Taylor’s funeral but couldn’t bring himself to sit near the front. The grief he felt at the death of his great friend was palpable. It’s hardly a coincidence that Clough turned to the bottle a lot more in the years immediately after Taylor’s death, the deterioration in his health was public and obvious.

You can hear what Clough truly thought about Taylor from his words. He later said of Taylor’s knack of finding players: ‘He was always 24 hours ahead of me when it came to seeing things and spotting players. I don’t like to name drop, but Frank Sinatra once told me that the written word is the first thing in his business and the music comes later.

‘Well, in football, the man who picks the players comes first. All the bullshit comes later.’

Clough later dedicated his 1994 autobiography to his former assistant. “To Peter,” it read. “Still miss you badly. You once said: ‘When you get shot of me there won’t be as much laughter in your life.’ You were right.”

 

The Curious Case of Stuart Pearce and his Brother the Linesman

 

Sibling rivalry? Just a lark on the wing

Psychology writer Marian Sandmaier once said of brothers and sisters: “A sibling may be the keeper of one’s identity.”

I wonder if she could have had one Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce in mind when she penned those words..?

stuartpearce2

“Psycho loves the line-oh…”

For it was on the 24 September 1986 when Pearce was indeed the keeper of his siblings identity, at least until after the game.

The occasion was a League Cup second round match: Brighton and Hove Albion versus Nottingham Forest. Stuart Pearce was Forest’s left back that day.

And on the wing, sporting a rather fetching red and yellow flag, was one R D Pearce, Stuart’s…er, brother!

The story goes that when the officials came onto the pitch that night Stuart had no idea that his brother would be one of them.

Now that may well be the case. But if so why, after the game, did the full-back go into the officials changing room with a birthday present for the linesman?

Hmmm.

In his autobiography, ‘Psycho’, Pearce explained how he tried to wind-up this particular match official that night. He said: “It was funny running up the wing and having my brother alongside me on the touchline. He could have [had me] booked…because I kept taking the mickey out of him. ‘Oi, you ginger d***head,’ is one thing I remember calling him. Perhaps it is a good thing that he never became a League referee…”

Brighton v Nottm ForestForest were held to a 0-0 draw but progressed after beating  Brighton 3-0 in the second-leg two weeks later at the City Ground. They were eventually beaten 2-0 by Arsenal in the fifth round. The Gunners went on to win the trophy that year beating Liverpool 2-1 in the final at Wembley.

There is something else of interest to note from that evening. One of the linesman spotted an infringement which led to a Brighton goal being disallowed. No prizes for guessing who the linesman was…

by Richard Bowdery

History Man, plus Golden Boot Odds

You may well be aware the Premiership started on 15 August 1992,  but who scored the first goal ?

Well this photograph reveals all. Sort of…

DeaneScores

The first ever Premier League goal, but who scored it..?

For the record it came in the fifth minute of Sheffield United’s 2-1 win over Manchester United and it was scored by Brian Deane,  but the Reds would go on to be crowned champions in the first ever PL season.

BDeane

Big Brian Deane…History man

Deane recalls “Whatever happens, that will be the one moment fans all over the world will remember me for”.

“It was a fantastic feeling and even to this day people remind me of it – and it’s now a classic quiz question too.” It started when Blades goalkeeper Simon Tracey cleared a back-pass – then only recently outlawed by FIFA – deep into Manchester United territory, with United defender Gary Pallister heading the ball out for a throw-in.

“We had a throw-in at the Kop End (at Bramall Lane), Carl Bradshaw took a long throw aiming for Alan Cork at the near post,” recalls Deane, who also played for Leeds, Middlesbrough and Leicester City during his 12 seasons in the League notching 71 goals.

“He flicked a header on and I managed to get myself between Steve Bruce and Pallister to nod the ball past Peter Schmeichel.”

“They were no mugs those three, all great players. That made it extra special because that goal was against one of the top teams in the country and in Europe.”

That season Deane scored 15 goals. The Premier League top scorer that campaign was Teddy Sheringham with 22 goals. Sheringham scored the only goal in the first Live TV match on Sky in the Premier League for Nottingham Forest against Liverpool but then moved on to Tottenham a week later in £2.1 million deal. Click on the below link to see Teddy’s excellent finish and for a classic bit of Cloughie.

Golden Boot

Robin van Persie won the golden boot last season with 26 goals. No surprise that RVP is favourite again, but Fernando Torres at 20-1 looks good value as it stands and Sergio Aguero is keenly priced and at 8-1 Christian Benteke is worth a tickle.

This is how Graham Sharpe of WILLIAM HILL books it:SturridgeOdds

7/2       RVP
8/1       Sergio Aguero
16/1     Daniel Sturridge; Gareth Bale;  Luis Suarez; Wayne Rooney;

18/1    Christian Benteke
20/1    Fernando Torres.

Twitter @sharpeangle