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Cashing in on potential XI

On a recent episode of Alive and Kicking, host Ash Rose and guest Sid Lambert came-up with their own particular XI’s. Using the lead character from Sid’s new book Cashing In as the lead, they both picked an eleven made-up of players who in the 1990s looked as though they were destined to become stars, but for one reason or another never fulfilled their potential.

So then in all their 1990 stickers glory is the two teams the guys picked. If you want to hear their reasons behind each choice, you can listen to the special episode here, which also includes a fascinating interview with 90s child prodigy Sonny Pike.

Sid Lambert XI

Goalkeeper; Richard Wright (Ipswich Town)

The 90s outstanding goalkeeper who’s promise at Ipswich earned him a big money move to Arsenal. Unfortunately he never made theta step up and became a perennial bench-warmer for rest of his career.

Right-back; Gary Charles (Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa)

A steady-eddie at Premier League level but was hotly-tipped to became an England regular in his early Forest days. It never happened, and despite a decent top-flight career gave into his demons once retired.

Sweeper; Chris Bart-Willams (Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest)

Seemed to be a jack of all trades in his time at Forest and Wednesday, hence he’s shoe-horned role at the back. A typically 90s name who starred for England’s U21’s but his never made the full grade internationally.

Central defender; Dean Blackwell (Wimbledon)

A name some may not remember but among Wimbledon’s crazy gang of the 90s Dean was seen in same vein as John Scales and Chris Perry. His mega money move never materialised and remained a Don for the vast majority of his career.

Left-back; John Harley (Chelsea)

A product of the Chelsea youth team (and someone Sid used to play football with), Jon broke through right at the end of the decade. However, his career stalled as he could never dislodge Graeme Le Saux or Celestine Babayaro from the number three slot.

Right midfield; Stuart Slater (West Ham United)

Hammers fans have fond memories of this tricky winger, namely for some impressive display in the FA Cup in the early 90s. His promise though was short-lived as injury slowed down his career and he never did recapture his early potential.

Centre midfield; Joe Parkinson (Everton)

One of Joe Royle’s ‘Dogs of War’ alongside Barry Horne in the Toffees central midfield, Joe was a proper combative midfielder. Won an FA Cup winners medal with Everton but a knee injury meant we never got to see the very best of him after that.

Centre midfield; Sasa Curcic (Bolton, Aston Villa)

The only foreign inclusion comes in the shape of Serbian (or then Yugoslavian) Sasa Curcic, who rocked up at Bolton in 1995 and bamboozled the Premier League. However, Sasa became more Ketsbia than Juninho after failed moves to Aston Villa and Crystal Palace and later went on to star in the Serbian Big Brother.

Left midfield; Ian Olney (Aston Villa)

Before there was Peter Crouch there was this gangly and unique looking forward in Villa’s early 90s line-up. He however, didn’t have that ‘great touch for a big man’ and despite become Oldham’s record signing in 1992, he quickly fell away from the game and today is a financial advisor.

Striker; Daniel Dichio (QPR)

Readers of Match magazine may remember Dichio being the coolest kid on the block when he broke into the QPR team – thanks to his DJ skills. But on the pitch it all came to soon for ‘Daniele’. Thrown in the deep end after Les Ferdinand’s departure the striker couldn’t repeat the goal feats he found at youth level. His Italian roots did somehow get him a move to Sampdoria after Rangers though.

Striker; Francis Jeffers (Everton)

He may have had to live with the tag ‘fox in the box’ for the majority of his career but before that ill-fated move to Highbury, Jeffers looked the real deal. Scoring 20 goals in his first 60 matches for the Toffees, many thought young Francis would be England’s next poacher supreme. Then came his move to Arsenal before a tour of world football that’s seen him play in Australia, Scotland and even Malta.

Ash Rose’s XI

Goalkeeper; Richard Wright (Ipswich Town)

The only player  picked by both Ash and Sid, Wright’s only competition came in the lesser renowned shape of Paul Gerrard and Steve Simonsen. Unbelievably still on Manchester City’s books as a their last resort choice for goalkeeper.

Right-back; Rob Jones (Liverpool)

Still highly regarded by Liverpool fans and someone who if it weren’t for injury could have gone on to rival Gary Neville for England’s right-back spot. Made his international debut the same night as Alan Shearer, but back and knee problems meant he never built on his early promise and won just seven further caps for the Three Lions.

Central defender; Paul Lake (Manchester City)

A somewhat City darling of the late 1980s who was seen as one the brightest products to ever come out of their youth team. Able to play in defence and midfield, Lake was an U21 international by the time the 90s rolled around but then suffered a ACL injury that he never recovered from and retired in 1994.

Central defender; Stuart Nethercott (Tottenham Hotspur)

Not an obvious name and he just edged out Ricky Scimeca in a position where youngsters didn’t flourish in the 90s. Nethercott was once seen as the potential long-term replacement for Gary Mabbutt and earned international recognition at U21 level as well as playing over 50 Premier League games for Spurs. However, Stuart – a Merlin sticker favourite – never kicked-on and with Sol Campbell breaking through was sold to Millwall in 1998.

Left-back; Danny Granville (Chelsea)

Chelsea’s left-back position was an embarrassment of riches in the 90s, we’ve already mentioned Jon Harley, but Danny was another youngster who vied for that spot during the decade. Signed from Cambridge with high-hopes, Granville was never given a fair run in the side – despite playing in the 1998 Cup Winners Cup Final. With Le Saux and Babayaro ahead of him, he went on to Leeds in 1998 and later Crystal Palace.

Right wing; Darren Eadie (Norwich City, Leicester City)

One of FourFourTwo magazines first ever players to feature in their ‘Boys A Bit Special’ section, Eadie was seen as one of the Canaries most popular players of the late 90s. Darren had the ability to play anywhere across midfield and had an keen eye for goal. Something which earned him 7 U21 caps and a call-up to the England squad for 1997’s Le Tournoi. A move to Leicester in 1999 was meant to the next step for Eadie but injury curtailed his spell and was forced to retire after just 40 appearances.

Central midfield; Darren Caskey (Tottenham Hotspur)

In Merlin’s first ever Premier League sticker album, Caskey was highlighted in the collections ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ section; looking resplendent in a classic England away kit of the time. The midfielder captained the famous U18 side that won the Euros in 1992 and was expected to go on and do the same at White Hart Lane. it didn’t go down like that and after never fulfilling his potential at Spurs went on to play for Reading and Notts County.

Central midfield; Ian Selly (Arsenal)

Made his Gunners debut aged 18 and was the youngest player on the field when Arsenal beat Parma to win the Cup Winners Cup in 1994. At that point the future looked bright for the central midfielder, until a cruel leg-break became the beginning of the end. He played just one further game in North London before being sold to Fulham and never recapturing that early glory.

Left wing; Lee Sharpe (Manchester United, Leeds United)

Alongside Ryan Giggs in Man Utd’s early 90s breakthrough, Sharpe became one of football’s first pin-ups. Signed from Torquay, his electric pace and pop-star looks saw him fast-tracked to United’s first team and his corner-flag shimmy was soon all the rage. Lee though, unlike his United team-mate fell fail to the bright lights and instead of filling the void on England’s left flank during the 90s (he won just 8 caps), he instead was filling up his score-cards of his own. Moved to Leeds in 1996 and later had spells at Sampdoria and Bradford.

Striker; Danny Cadamarteri (Everton)

There’s not many better ways of announcing yourself into the first team then scoring a winner in a Merseyside derby. That’s exactly what Cadamarteri did in once of his early appearances for The Toffees, but it was something of a false dawn for the striker. Despite looking like he had all the tools to become an Everton regular, he managed just 15 goals in four seasons for the club and after some scrapings with the law over assault charges was released in 2001.

Striker; Julian Joachim (Leicester City, Aston Villa)

Few players were quicker and more explosive in the early 1990s than Leicester’s Julian Joachim. Having impressed in the First Division as the Foxes achieved promotion, Joachim was on target with the club’s first-ever Premier League goal at the start of 1994-95 season. His speedy displays were enough to convince Aston Villa to sign him a year later, but Julian never settled on a larger platform and was eventually moved to the wing and then sent to Coventry – literally.

 

Sid Lambert’s excellent new book ‘Cashing In’ is available now. Don’t forget you can listen to Alive and Kicking across all podcast platforms and subscribe on iTunes here. #Keepit90s 

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40 signs you preferred football in the 1990s

40 Signs you preferred football in the 1990s….

1

You still believe that 4-4-2, and 3-5-2 are the most functional formations. Seeing a team come on to the pitch without a striker in a ‘false 9’ is basically your idea of hell.

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2

To you Alan Hansen was on the only pundit who made some actual sense – despite his famous ‘You won’t win anything with kids’ quip. Even Trevor Brooking seemed more knowledgeable than some of today’s tired lot.

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3

You’re adamant no one can quite commentate on a game like Brian Moore, Barry Davies or Tony Gubba. While John Motson isn’t nowhere as good as he used to be.

BBC sports presenters John Motson (left) and Barry Davies hold up a plastic copy of the coveted World Cup during a photocall in London today (Thursday) to promote the BBC's coverage of the forthcoming event, 'The World Cup Experience.' Photo by John Stillwell/PA

 

4

When you hear Ronaldo, your first reference is the phenomenon who played for Brazil. R9, not CR7.

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5

Despite playing for six Premier League clubs and winning 18 England caps, you still think of Scott Parker as that boy in the McDonalds advert.

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6

Even though it’s not accepted anymore, you can’t waive the undying urge to collect Premier League stickers in 2016. However, you’re quids-in when it’s tournament time and everyone else is doing it.

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7

Your Christmas isn’t complete without someone buying you the Shoot Annual. Even if you only open it once on Boxing Day.

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8

You think today’s football kits are just too boring. What happened to the ‘bruised bananas’ and tiger print? Why does it feel like all the clubs have the same kit, just in different colours?

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9

Even though it’s one the most defensive tournaments ever, you can’t be swayed by saying how Italia 90 was the best ever World Cup. Only USA 94 comes close.
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10

You have no problem seeing a two-footed challenge, after all you were quite happy in an era that included Vinnie Jones and Terry Hurlock.

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11

Friday Night Games are just plain wrong. Monday Night Football is where it’s at, even if you miss the cheerleaders and dancing Sumo wrestlers.

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12

The only matchday shirt you ever consider wearing is your replica away shirt from 1994. None of this ‘retro range’ knock-offs, the real thing – even if it’s a bit snug.

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13

Blackburn, Leeds, Coventry all still feel like top-flight clubs to you, even if it’s been years since all three were top-tier teams.

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14

You’re still trying to recreate Rene Higuita’s Scorpion Kick whenever you’re put in goal. That moment will come.

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15

For you the FA Cup Semi-Finals being played at Wembley is sacrilegious; it should always be only the final.

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16

Talking of Wembley, you much prefer the twin towers stadium to that arch. Who cares if the toilets were a mess and there were 20,000 less seats.

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17

You know that the reason the Europa League is seen as such a secondary tournament is because they got rid of the Cup winners Cup. True Thursday football.

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18

FIFA was so much more fun when you could foul the keeper, and play with the EA All Stars. Ken Law, was a superstar.

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19

You still say CHAMPIONSHIP Manager or ‘Champs’. Not Football Manager, even if it’s the same game.

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20

Young players getting England caps after three good months seems ridiculous, when you recall how long Alan Shearer had to wait.

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21

All players should wearing black boots, and they should be Predator’s, Tiempos or Puma Kings. Coloured boots are what Valsport should be blamed for.

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22

You shouldn’t treat the League Cup with distain; you should bring back the Zenith Data Systems Cup.

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23

Whenever you see a player make an almighty gaffe you are still sure it will end up on the next Danny Baker VHS.

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24

League Ladders are a must at the start of every season, and it has to be the ones from Match magazine.

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25

You think it should be compulsory for teams to record FA Final songs, no matter how bad they are. Where would be without ‘Blue Day’ and ‘C’mon You Reds’.

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26

Whenever you see someone in a bad suit, you compare it to the cream threads worn by Liverpool at the 1996 FA Cup Final.

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27

Coke-a-Cola, Rumbelows and Worthington seem to roll-off the tounge better than Capital One when talking about the League Cup.

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28

You haven’t made it until you’ve been made into a Corinthian Football Figure. That’s the dream.

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29

No one needed Sky Sports News when we had Clubcall for every team in the Football League.

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30

The days of waiting for Teletext to turn to the page your team’s score on seems so much more of achievement than just checking Twitter.

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31

‘Do I Not Like That’ is still a very much an important part of your vocabulary.

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32

For you, all European football coverage should involve James Richardson outside a café.

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33

Every time you see Carla from Coronation Street you shout ‘Lynda’ in a fake Spanish accent at the screen. Harchester is a real place after all. Go Dragons!

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34

Kicking a drinks can (preferably Lucozade) into a bin is better than any skill you’ve seen anyone do on a football pitch.

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35

You still proudly own football Pogs and any World Cup coin collection. Is there anything more 90s than Pogs?

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36

Whenever football stats are relayed to you, you have to point and chant ‘Statto, Statto’ at them as if Baddiel and Skinner were right next to you.

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37

The greatest rap of all time is John Barnes on World in Motion. Will Smith can only dream

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38

Match and Shoot are still better than any form of social media.

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39

You still drink out of a SMUG Mug, and you don’t care who knows it.

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40

And above all else no one in sports broadcasting is or will ever be as cool as the oracle Des Lynam.

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For more 90s football nostalgia, check out our podcast on that subject, Alive and Kicking; The 90s Football Podcast. You can also follow us on Twitter

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Team of the 90; Defenders

Continuing our countdown towards picking the AK90s team of the 90s, this week’s podcast focused on the best defenders of the decade. Links can be found at the bottom of the page, so have a listen before we talk goalkeepers on Monday’s final show before the final XI is picked.

After some lengthy discussions on this weeks pod, we’ve shortlisted these ten defenders who we will pick from in 2015’s final pod. So as they say, in no particular order;

Tony Adams

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 11.13.44

It’s quite hard to fathom just how much Tony Adams crammed into the 1990s, as he went from the blood and thunder hardman (or animal references elsewhere) to an articulate and accomplished captain for club and country. We like to concentrate on the good, and for Adams there was lots of it during the 90s. As Arsenal skipper he led them tot title glory under both George Graham in 1991, and Arsene Wenger seven years later. While as captain of his country he showed the world what a brilliant defender and leader he was at both Euro 96 and at the World Cup two years later. And his goal at Everton on the last day of the 1997-98 season was one of the decades most alluring images, and a classic bit of Martin Tyler commentary.

Roberto Carlos and Cafu

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We’ve put these two together, because so much of what they did (certainly at international level) was as a tandem pair of marauding full-backs unlike we’d seen before. They changed the way full-backs approached the game, as more like wingers-turned-defenders than the out-and-out stoppers we’d be used too. Their gun-hoe approach saw them as permanent fixtures in the Brazil team, firstly Cafu was who part of the 1994 World Cup winning squad and then as a pair in the run to the final four years later. At club level thunder thighs (in every good sense of the term) Carlos began the Galactico trend at the Bernabeu, while the slightly more defensive Cafu spent time with Real Zaragoza and later in Serie A with Roma. Add in Carlos’ wordly free-kick at La Tournoi, the 90s would not have been the same without these guys.

Paolo Maldini

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Has there ever been a more calmer defender in the history of the game than Paolo Maldini. As discussed on this week’s show, the man never looked like he broke a sweat, let alone looked like he was in trouble on a football pitch. A one-club man, who played for AC Milan from 1985-2009 and rarely ever put a foot wrong. Equally dependable at both full-back and centre-back, he won five Champions League’s and seven Serie A titles during his time at Milan, while also winning 126 caps for his country – playing at Italia 90 and captaining The Azzuri at Euro 96. If defenders were carved from stone, then they would look and play like Paolo Maldini.

Stuart Pearce

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If you could choose one man to run through a brick wall for you and come out unscathed, that man would be Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce. The man everybody wanted in their team during the 90s, not only because for his blood, sweat and tears, but because he was a mighty fine defender who could take a mean free-kick too. He was the everyday man, an electrician by trade but who made it as a footballer and went on to represent Nottingham Forest and Newcastle in the 90s, where you can count the bad games he had on one hand. But easily the undying moment of Pearce’s career was the spot-kick celebration at Euro 96. Burying the ghosts of Turin six years earlier, his rallying cry once he’d buried the ball past Andoni Zubizarreta became one of football’s most iconic images.

Gary Neville

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Dependable, consistent, reliable pick any one of those words and each of them would be associated with Gary Neville. Part of the ‘Class of 92’ who took-up the less glamorous right-back spot, it’s a testament to Gary that few can instantly recall who played in that position for Man Utd before him, and in-turn how long it’s taken to replace him. A combination of a traditional defender, with an attacking streak used to often deadly effect, his partnership with David Beckham on United’s right flank was almost telepathic. An England regular ever since his debut for the Three Lions in 1995, he played at Euro 96 and at the World Cup in France, and hard to ever remember him putting a foot wrong in an international shirt (Paul Robinson may differ a decade on..ahem). It’s no surprise how well he’s done as a pundit, because he’s someone who has always had a amazing understanding of the game.

Ronald Koeman

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As England fans we can’t help to grimace and irrational shout ‘Do I Not Like That!’ whenever Ronald Koeman the player is mentioned. Putting his misdemeanour on David Platt aside, Koeman really was one of THE best defenders of the decade. Could play at centre-back or full-back, he was perhaps the unsung hero of a Dutch squad that boasted the likes of Gullit, Van Basten and Rijkaard but was equally as important. A expert a long-range passing and set pieces, it was his free-kick that won Barcelona their first ever European Cup at Wembley in 1992, as well as the goal that ended England’s USA 94 dream. Yes Brian he’s going to flick one, he did just that. We can forgive him though, just.

Marcel Desailly 

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There many world-class talents in the France squad that won the World Cup in 1998, and Marcel Desailly was one of the very best. A colossal of a defender who could also play equally as effectively in midfield, Marcel was the blueprint of the African powerhouses you see today. A Champions League winner at both Marseille and Milan, as well as double title winner in Serie A, Desailly finished the decade in England with Chelsea, and flourished in the infancy of the Stamford Bridge we know now. A role model for the likes of John Terry, who often cites the Frenchman as one of his biggest inspirations in his early days with the Blues.

Paul McGrath 

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Someone we failed to really talk about on this week’s show, (Tim Breaker disturbingly got more air time) but few can begrudge McGrath’s place on this list. He may have been robbed by his ability to train by the time the 90s rolled around, but it didn’t matter when he performed so well on it for Aston Villa. The only defender to be named PFA Player of the Year during the decade, it speaks volumes how respected Paul was by this fellow pros. Always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, he was part of the last truly great Villa team’s that went a within a whisker of winning the title in 1993 and won the League Cup a year later. At international level he’s seen as one of Ireland’s all-time greats and played at both Italia 90 and at USA 94 where he famously blocked a Roberto Baggio shot with his face. That was Paul McGrath.

Des Walker

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All you need to know about Des Walker is summed up in one chant ‘You’ll never beat Des Walker’ and that was certainly the case in the 90s. A somewhat forgotten name of the era, maybe only because it’s rare you see Walker these days, but for a portion of the early 90s there wasn’t many better than Des. An excellent reader of the game, Walker always knew where danger was and few ever got the better of him. He excelled for England at Italia 90 and was a key part of Brian Clough’s last era of success at Nottingham Forest. The spell at Sampdoria never really worked out – a shame as European notoriety was something Walker deserved – but came back to England to enjoy eight impressive seasons at Sheffield Wednesday.

Read our shortlists on top strikers and midfielders too!

To listen to Ash Rose and guests Ralph Welch, Martin Gritton and Matt Wing talk through the decades best* defenders you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or listen here. Don’t forget to have your say on Twitter too, and tells us who’d make your back four in a 90s dream XI.bak

 

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Team of the 90s; The Strikers

You may have listened to our listened to our latest pod on Strikers this week – If you haven’t, you really should and links are at the end – well that is the first in a series of weeks where we’ll be discussing different positions that will ultimately lead to us picking our ‘Team of the 90s’. The planned ‘Team’ podcast is penciled in for 21 December’s pod, and before then we’ll have pods on Midfielders, Defenders and Goalkeepers where we’ll be discussing contenders and picking a shortlist of five to bring forward to the final pod.

After some lengthy discussions on this weeks pod, the guests unwittingly – as we’ve only since decided on the forthcoming team element – shortlisted these five strikers who will pick from in 2015’s final pod. So as they say, in no particular order;

 

Dennis Bergkamp

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 22.32.23Having already nabbed the AK90s ‘goal of the 90s’ gong (read here!) the non-flying Dutchman is a contender for team of the decade as well. He began the 90s at Inter Milan, but it was at Arsenal where Bergkamp not only became one of the best players in Europe at the time, but also one of the best to ever grace the Premier League. The 1997-98 double season was perhaps Dennis at his very, very best, as he scooped PFA Player of the Year and scored more memorable goals in one season than most do in a lifetime. However he left his crowning glory to THAT goal at World Cup 98. Not the typical striker in the 90s sense of the term, but more than worthy on this shortlist.

 

Ronaldo

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 22.32.50For anyone like us who lives the 1990s, then there really is only one Ronaldo. R9, ‘the phenomenon’ or Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, whatever you want to call him Ron was a bona fide superstar of the decade. Where as we’re used to the goal stats that a certain namesake now produces, the Brazilian was tallying them up at ridiculous speed long before anyone heard the name Cristiano. In his one season at Barcelona he notched 47 goals in 39 games, and was the true star of World Cup 98 (if you forget what happened in the final). A born goal-scorer and I quote from this weeks pod ‘If it weren’t for injuries, would have been talked about in the same breath as Pele and Maradona’.

 

Alan Shearer

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 16.28.33A man simply born to score goals, and lots of them – over and over again. I think thanks to Alan’s later day role as the bordering annoying Match of Day pundit, we forget just how bloody good Shearer was in his heyday. Twice a British record transfer holder (and once world), money was always well spent when it came to Alan Shearer. His goals and partnership with Chris Sutton led to title success with Blackburn in 1995, while his exploits at Euro 96 saw a record-breaking move back home to Newcastle – where he became the clubs record goal-scorer. His 260 Premier League goals record is unlikely to be beaten, and in an era of truly great English strikers Shearer was the very best.

 

Jürgen Klinsmann

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 16.29.15Perhaps not talked as much on the pod as perhaps he should have been – even if we did speak about old Jurgen during our transfers show back in episode three – there wasn’t much Klinsmann didn’t do successfully in the 1990s. The decade kicked-off with a World Cup winners medal at Italia 90, before becoming a key man in Inter’s Serie A charge. Somehow he was persuaded to join Spurs in 1994, and lit-up the Premier League in his solitary season picking up the FWA Player of the Year in the process. More international success was gained at Euro 96, before more goals and medals at Bayern Munich. An ice cool finisher, and one of the decades very best.

 

Gabriel Batistuta

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 16.29.45A legend in Florence and a scorer of 184 goals in 318 Serie A matches, ‘Batigol’ is the best striker Diego Maradonna has ever seen – that’s a direct quote too. Ok, so Diego is a little biased but that’s no discredit to Gabriel, who is still his country’s record goal-scorer with 56 Argentina goals to his name, a feat not even Lionel Messi has reached. Spent nine years with Fiorentina, even staying when they were relegated in 1993, and now has a bronze statue of himself in the clubs town. To this day possibly still underrated, but there’s no questioning his place on our final shortlist.

 

 

To listen to Ash Rose and guests Rob Gallagher, Peter Hunt and Xaiver Cantegreli talk through the decade’s very best strikers, you can download this weeks pod on iTunes or listen here. Don’t forget you have your say on Twitter to, tell us who you would have up front in your dream 90s XI

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The Top 10 Greatest Goals of the 90s

10 David Platt

England v Belgium, 26 June 1990

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtqiBAg2biw

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 11.23.39We kick-off with a goal right at the start of the decade, where our football education begun, at Italia 90. This second round game between England and Belgium was seconds from going to a penalty shoot-out until Paul Gascoigne floated a free-kick into the box, which was met on a spinning volley with his back to goal from David Platt. Gary Lineker’s beaming face in the subsequent celebration bundle a lasting image from the game.

 

9 Eric Cantona

Manchester United v Sunderland, 21 December 1996

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1uOZbH2qNg

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 11.23.59Football is wonderful when just a goal can sum-up a maverick footballer like Eric Cantona. From the skill and strength of getting past two Sunderland defenders, the vision of the one-two with Brian McClair and the audacious chip finish. All topped off with a non-celebration that screamed ‘all in a days work mate’.

 

8 Tony Yeboah

Leeds United v Liverpool, 17 August 1995

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK2aU9m4nW8

1960872762This goal was beaten to Goal of the Season by another Yeboah strike against Wimbledon weeks later, but we’ve plumped for this worldy that Sky continues to show to this day. Tony Dorigo’s ball was headed on by Rod Wallace, and the Ghanaian met it with an explosive volley that hit the underside of the ball and went in.

 

 

7 Matt Le Tissier

Blackburn v Southampton, 10 December 1994

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-bxrIoxg-w

Matt Le Tissier- Southampton v Newcastle United, 1993–94We could have done a whole countdown just of Matt’s goals alone, with both his strikes against Newcastle at the Dell missing out. However this goal is probably his best, a couple of jinx past the Rovers defence was followed by a thunderbolt from all of thirty yards into the top corner, and past best mate Tim Flowers.

 

6 David Beckham

Wimbledon v Manchester United, 14 August 1996

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R3f5OW2mN4

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A goal that an footballing icon was born out of, who knows how the David Beckham story would have gone if this goal hadn’t kick-started it all. The young Becks received the ball on the halfway line, took one look up and launched the ball down field and beyond a helpless Neil Sullivan. A goal so good it should have been a shoe-in for Goal of the Season, however……

 

5 Trevor Sinclair

QPR v Barnsley, 25 January 1997

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpXWKKOVQWs

sinclairpa_3148502kYes, it was this acrobatic effort from QPR’s Trevor Sinclair that beat Becks to Goal of the Season, and unbiased loyalties aside, rightfully so. John Spencer hooked the ball towards goal, and with his back to goal Sinclair met the ball with an overhead/bicycle kick from outside the box that looped over the Tykes keeper.

 

4 Michael Owen

England v Argentina, 30 June 1998

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPC6Yv3BPVY

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 11.26.09An 18 year-old with no fear, against one the world’s best on the grandest stage of them all. This was the summer the Michael Owen announced his arrival, with this mazy run past three Argentine defenders and the cool slamming the ball into the top corner. Paul Scholes never had a chance of getting that ball laid-off to him.

 

 

3 Ryan Giggs

Arsenal v Manchester United, 14 April 1999

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quI_LkMj4HI

giggsThe image Giggs chest-wig may be the more iconic image, but it remains because one of the all time FA Cup goals. In the closing seconds of this Semi-Final replay, Giggs took advantage of a misplaced pass from Patrick Vieria, to skip past four Arsenal defenders and then smash the ball past England’s number one.

 

2 Paul Gascoigne

England v Scotland, 15 June 1996

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0NT6aUwN8c

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 11.26.43The 90s was all about Gazza, and this goal was one his finest moments of the decade, during the glorious summer of Euro 96. From Steve McManaman’s through ball, Gascoigne flicks the ball over Colin Hendry’s head and then volleys the ball into the bottom corner. Followed by the now infamous, but brilliant dentist chair celebration. What a summer.

 

1 Dennis Bergkamp

Holland v Argentina, 4 July 1998

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsZkCFoqSBs

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 11.26.58We’ve overlooked Dennis’ stunning goals against Leicester and chosen this peach of skill as the decades’ finest goal. Frank de Boar launched a ball fully sixty yards down field, which Bergkamp controlled in one of the greatest first touches ever seen, then nut-megged Roberto Ayala with the next touch, and then calmly lifted the ball into the net. The greatest goal of the 90s, and so say of all us.

 

You can listen to @AshRoseUK and guests @SiRothstein, @DavidEFraser and @vsanger talk about the decades greatest goals on the latest podcast. They also joined by former Middleborough midfielder Craig Higgnett on the phone.

Follow us on Twitter @AK90S

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Italia 90’s Iconic Kits

Anyone who’s already listened to a even smidge of the podcast so far, will know how much kits play a big part of my memories of the era. Hell, they play a big part of my life in 2015 too, especially when the summer is full of shiny new releases. But the 1990s kits were special, both in their designs and uniqueness that somehow seems them locked into that decade, and none more so than two of the kits on show at Italia 90.

Every generation has ‘their’ England kit; for the 60s it was the 66′ winning away shirt, the 80s are synonymous with the 1982 Admiral and in the 90s it’s always been about the Italia 90 home shirt. As far as retro shirts I don’t think there’s a more popular one than this Umbro effort launched for the World Cup in Italy. Whether it be in reproduced templates from Umbro or real replica’s of their time from the excellent Classic Football Shirts. Just scan a crowd scene at Wembley or in a pub during a live game and I guarantee you someone will be sporting a version of this shirt – usually with the number 19 on the back.

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Why is it so popular though? Well, firstly it’s nostalgic value is down to a glorious tournament for England and the man who donned the number so frequently worn on the back, Paul Gascoigne. As we discussed on this week’s podcast – an Italia 90 special – that World Cup was a renaissance for English football, led by the young Geordie and away from the dark days of the late eighties. Fans fell in love with football again that summer, buoyed by England team who came within a whisker of making it the World Cup Final. That shirt represents the feeling we had that summer, and a team that was full of bonified England legends like Peter Shilton, Gary Lineker and Stuart Pearce.

We as England fans like to celebrate that tournament, and feel the belonging we felt that summer. Of course it helps that the design of the shirt was also one of the very best Umbro offered during their long reign as the Three Lions kit supplier. It had the classic combination of being smart and simple, but with enough clever design touches that made it standout from the rest. The Umbro diamonds round the cuffs of the shirts were typical of that time, but made their debut on this shirt, while the smart polo collar meant it gave the shirt a smart enough reason to wear down the pub as well as the stadium – even now twenty-five years later. Like many Umbro shirts of that time, it had that shiny glow to the shirt, and the diamond pattern embossed into the fabric to really ‘bring it to life’. While the shorts had those 90s colour blocks that were repeated throughout the excellent looking training range.

In short, the kit was and still is one of the greatest England football shirts ever, and is rightly given iconic status in today’s football world….but it wasn’t alone in greatness at Italia 90.

Step forward England’s conquers that night in Turin, and both their home and away shirts of that tournament made by adidas. In a recent countdown on The Football Attic’s 50 Greatest Football Shirts Ever, Germany’s home kit first launched in 1988 and worn at the 1990 World Cup, came in top of the pile.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 11.50.24 Whether you agree or not that it’s the greatest ever (for the record, we would plump for USA’s 1994 away kit), theres no doubting it’s atheistic beauty. A simpler rounded collar than England’s street-like style, with the more subtle three adidas stripes, the ‘piece de resistance’ of this shirt was the motif across the chest depicting the German flag with an abstract 90s twist. This shirt was complemented with a memorable mint green change kit, often overlooked due to his connection to the semi-final, but equally as pleasing on the eye.

Elsewhere during that memorable summer there were standout kits for Cameroon and the giant Lion over their heart, Austria’s Puma home shirt and the Scotland yellow and navy striped number. However it’s the kits of the two teams that met in that dramatic semi-final that remain some of the most iconic football strips ever produced.

 

You can buy genuine replica’s of both these shirts at Classic Football Shirts, who we proudly have as sponsor of Alive and Kicking.

Make sure you listen to this weeks Italia 90 themed pod, as Ash Rose is joined by journalist Ben Lyttleton, Seb White of Mundial Magazine and Paddy O’Sullivan. There’s also an interview with Ireland hero, and scorer of their first ever World Cup goal Kevin Sheedy.

Subscribe on iTunes! Follow us on Twitter!

#Keepit90s

 

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‘Stuck’ in the 90s

The 1990s was a peak time for sticker albums and collectables. What with the emergence of Merlin and their famous Premier League collection, as well as memorable football series’ from Upper Deck, Pro Set and Pro Match – all of which we discussed on this weeks podcast. Yet there were a few collections that we didn’t get round to mentioning that went slightly under the radar, well unless you lived in my house. So here are six 90s collectables that you may gave forgotten about, and have remained firming ‘stuck’ in the 1990s.

Panini Players 95 & 96

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When Merlin’s Premier League collection was released in 1994, it began a period of dominance for the company not seen in the sticker world since the mid-eighties. Their shiny new collection had left former industry leaders Panini firmly in the shade, but to their credit the Italian rooted company did try and bite back. With a licence from the PFA still firmly in their camp, they released a collection in 1995 called ‘Players’ to try and take on Merlin’s Premier League giant head-to-head. Unfortunately the collection just wasn’t as glamorous  as it’s counterpart and without the official Premier League licence, stickers were reduced to Wayne’s World style extreme close-ups with fake kits or players in random zip-up white jackets for the 95 album. Nice try Panini, but the playground only had one favourite at this moment in time.

BP England Cards

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More football fun from a petrol station came in the guise of BP’s Team England Card Collection. Based on the classic cigarette cards of the 1960s, you were given these illustrated collectables whenever you spent over £10 in a BP garage. They even provided a booklet for the cards to go in; unfortunately the sticking in was down to you and therefore it was vital to find the best, non-messy glue to keep your album looking top notch. While the caricatures varied differently in their likenesses to that Three Lions squad.

 

England Official Photo Album 

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A World Cup 1998 collection that was a step away from the stickers or cards and onto something a little bigger – photos. Featuring all the names from England’s 1998 squad, they came in squad shots, action poses and images from training. All were kept in a small binder that was much lighter and more compact than used in previous collections. Like a photo album you kept of your family and friends, only with potential World Cup winners instead. Can’t have been very popular, as it’s never ever been attempted again.

 

 

Football Magic 

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Right at the end of the decade a rare collection was released called Football Magic. No, it wasn’t a joint venture between Alex Ferguson and Paul Daniels, but a collectable series in the vein of Orbis’ version years before. Each week you’d fill your little red binder with new content for sections that included team guides, heroes from the past and football tips to the extent that the collection eventually spread over several binders. It however just disappeared mid-way through binder number three and was never seen again. Magic indeed.

 

Flippz

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There aren’t many things more nineties than flick-books, remember those? Little books that when flicked through quickly merged each page together to create an moving image – who needs tablets, eh? Well, there was of course a football version of this in the mid nineties called ‘Flippz’. Focussing on one player and some of their greatest goals, they were retold just by a flick of a finger. Technology felt like it would never get better than this. Thankfully, it did.

 

 

 

Futera Cards 

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.53.56

A series of card collections from ‘Futera’ that was released at the back end of the 90s and oddly only focused on certain teams. Arsenal, Aston Villa, Celtic, Chelsea, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Newcastle all got the Futera treatment. Different collections included Masters, Sharpshooters, Fans Selections and a wrath of others from 1998 and 1999. And yes the below card of Leeds was the unfortunate image used for Clive Wijnhard.

 

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 13.56.29Listen to us talk about the more famous collections of the 1990s on this weeks AK90s pod! We’re joined by author of ‘Stuck on You’ Greg Landsdowne, James Andrew from the Daily Mail and Trusted Reviews Michael Sawh.

You can listen HERE!

Or subscribe on iTunes HERE!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @AK90S.

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Denim Delight

Every decade can be determined by it’s fashion and style; the 70s had big hair and flares, the 80s flock of seagulls while the 90s is remembered for changing colour t-shirts and curtains across your forehead. Each of these changing fashions can also be said of football kits throughout the years as well, with each style mirroring the decade it’s created from. None more so than the 1990s, where as we discussed on this weeks podcast, football kit manufacturers threw the rulebooks out the window in what is remembered as a truly iconic era of football kits.

From the ‘bruised banana’ at Highbury to the ‘refreshers kit’ England suffered at Euro 96, the 90s represented a true golden era for kit design – whether you think it was a good or bad thing. And one of the decades most decorated kits, for all the right reasons and just as much as the for the wrong ones is the USA’s 1994 away kit.

Launched for the first ever World Cup on North American shores, the USA’s change kit of 1994 is unique as much as it’s a beautiful part of football kit history. Thundering ahead in true patriotic glory, the shirt is decked-out in traditional red, white and blue and topped off with a glut of huge white stars from old glory, to produce a shirt that Uncle Sam would be truly proud of.

However the stand-out design feature of this truly memorable shirt is the shade of blue used. Years before 90s girl band B*Witched made it their trademark, the 1994 USA team took to the biggest stage in football wearing a football ‘jersey’ made-up from a tone of blue that was called, and was quite clearly based on denim. It had never been seen on a football shirt before (and has never been repeated, despite calls for a retro re-make from Nike last summer), but adidas gave the world it’s first ever sports attire that looked like it was taken from the latest Levis advert – no wonder it suited Alexi Lalas so much.

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The Americans wore it for all three group games during that brilliant World Cup in 1994, with 90s names such as Eric Wynalda, John Harkes and Roy Wegerle donning the denim delight. How they didn’t melt in the American heat I’ll never know, because I currently own this very shirt, and let me tell you the material is so thick it might as well have been made out of a pair of 501s. Even so, the kit and a rampant home crowd saw the USA reach the second round that summer, before eventual winners Brazil ended their colourful journey.

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The shirt still remains my favourite football kit ever produced, just down to it’s originality and a symbol of not just a nation over the moon to be hosting a World Cup, but how fun and different football kits used to be. How I long denim induced football strips rather than the wrath of templates we seem to get in today’s market.

 

On this weeks podcast we speak 90s football kits, including the 1994 USA kit. Join myself, kit oracle John Devlin, sponsor expert Liam Matthewman and Buzz Feed’s king of football quizzes Richard Beech on the homepage or subscribe on iTunes. 

 

 

 

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United all kitted out in the 90s

It’s fair to say that Manchester United dominated most of the 90s, what with their five title wins, three FA Cups and ‘that night in Barcelona’. However, another genre of the decade they dominated was the very attire they adorned on match day throughout the 90s – their classic and somewhat infamous kits by adidas and umbro. So on the eve of United’s reunion with the German brand for the first time since the early days of the decade we celebrate, I’ve picked out some of most memorable Red Devils kits from what was a truly high (or low, depending how on you view it) point for kit design – especially at Old Trafford.

 

Adidas away kit 1991/92

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Easily my favourite of the decade – and one featured in my book, available here – this purple/blue toned adidas number was made up of load of jagged shapes that looked like the top half of a maple leaf. This unique design was repeated in some of the training range, and is rumoured addias have bought it back for United’s third kit this forthcoming campaign.

 

Umbro third kit 1992/93

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The gold and green halves paid homage to Newton Heath the club Manchester United emerged from in the early 1900s, and it was a splendid colour combination. Topped off with the laced collar that was the pinnacle of kit design at the time.

 

Umbro away kit 1992/93

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Another highlight from United’s first Premier League title win was this all-blue number, worn on their travels. The shade of blue is very 70s United, but it was combined with a scratch like doodle effect that included the Red Devils crest. Imaginative design we fail to see in kits nowadays.

Umbro away kit 1993/94

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Pre 1990s, football teams didn’t wear black kits, it just wasn’t the correct thing to do seeing as it clashed with the referees attire. However, the refs move to a fancy aqua-green shirt meant all-black strips made a real impact in the 90s – and United were the first. Topped off with a yellow trim, and Cantona ready collar this was the definitive little black number of football.

Umbro away kit 1995/96

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The reason we rarely see grey football kits these days is this effort, which was made famous by United’s capitulation at the Dell in 1996. It was the fourth defeat for the Red Devils whilst wearing this kit, so Alex Ferguson demanded they changed at half-time whilst 3-0 down to Southampton. Apparently claiming his players couldn’t pick each other out against the crowd. Shame, I quite liked the design.

Special mention must go to the goalkeepers kits too, as modelled by Peter Schmeichel in the article’s header. 90s keepers kits were the craziest by far, and big Pete had to put up with more ludrious designs than most.

Make sure you listen to our August 17 pod, where we’ll be doing a special on all the classic kits of the 1990s, and will be joined by kit expert John Devlin of True Colours.

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Sky Sports are Alive and Kicking

As you may have seen this week Sky Sports launched their advert for the forthcoming Premier League campaign. It features Thierry Henry cleverly dropped into some of the most memorable moments from the League’s past twenty-three years – including many from the 1990s. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d advise you to check it out because it’s one of the channels best for many a year.

It got me thinking and reminiscing about their first ever Premier League advert ahead of the inaugural season in 1992-93 (to be honest, it doesn’t take a lot for my mind to drift back to then anyway). Of course back then there was none of this high-tech tomfoolery of a current pundit reliving Fergie’s touchline dance or Keegan’s Anfield slump. No we had John Salako taking a shower, Anders Limpar getting breakfast in bed and Paul Stewart swanning around like he was the sixth member of New Kids On The Block. It sounds like a bad Alan Partridge pitch, but to be honest it was one of the most exciting advert’s of it’s era and echoed Sky’s slogan for that moment – a whole new ball game.

In between the memorable moments I’ve mentioned, the bulk of the advert is taken-up by at least one player from each of the twenty-two teams getting ready for the new season. This includes Vinnie Jones mucking around with a hairbrush, and Tony Daley showing off his glistening six-pack while lifting weights. All set to a backdrop of a song that has stayed for me for the rest of my life, and spurned a small brand in my portfolio of work.

‘Alive and Kicking’ by Simple Minds was the song chosen by Sky Sports to echo in this new era for football and the fledgling channel, and whoever made the final call on this deserves a bright coloured Richard Keys blazer for their efforts. As soon as I hear the first few bars of this wonderful ditty, I am transformed back to simpler time, a time when my only concern was football and my obsession with the beautiful game was in full swing. And by the time you get to the chorus and Jim Kerr is belting out the name of the song, I’m lost in a world of Gordon Strachan’s mullet, Darren Anderton doing sit-ups (yes, really) and a young Ash trying to spot Andy Sinton and the QPR badge every time the advert came on the telly.

It’s an advert that can evoke a feeling like no other can, and was why I chose the title of the song as the title of my book – and now subsequent podcast. Actually one of my favourite memories of writing the book was  kindly receiving the image from Sky Sports that accompanied this advert to use in the title. I hadn’t seen this picture for at least a decade, and the nostalgia almost got the better of me when opening that email for the very first time. That image now sits proudly as the cover picture on both our Twitter and Facebook accounts, as that picture and advert sums up the the beginning of the big changes we saw within football during the 1990s.

So for old times sake – and because we’ll be discussing this advert on our first pod next month – take yourself back and watch the advert all over again. Thierry and Sky Sports may have all the high-tech glitz and glamour in 2015, but give me Simple Minds and Sky’s 1992 dream team any day of the week.

‘Ba da da dah dah dah, ba ba dah dah,……’