The Summer of 96 Part 2

AK90s continues it’s look back at the summer of 1996, and Euro 96 by delving into the knock-out stages of the tournament. Ash Rose is joined once again by freelance football writer Richard Buxton, football guru Rob Gallagher and Media 73’s nostalgia loving Graham Large. The boys talk England’s ecstasy and agony and they reflect on the merits of the eventual winners. Plus former Scotland defender Colin Hendry joins them on the phone.

 

The Summer of 96

AK90S get into the Euros spirit by reliving the wonderful summer of 1996 and the tournament that was Euro 96. Ash Rose is joined by regular and freelance football writer Richard Buxton, writer and author Roger Domenghetti and an author who’s literally written the book on the tournament Michael Gibbons. The team chat through the build-up and group stages of the tournament and are joined on the phone by Statto himself Angus Longhran

A West Twelve Media and JKR Media production

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Team of the 90s; Midfielders

Following on from our strikers show and post, on this weeks pod the team discussed the best midfielders of the 90s ahead of the ‘Team of the 90s’ pod on 21 December. Links can be found at the bottom of the page, so have a listen before we talk defenders and goalkeepers over the next two AK90s shows.

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

Ryan Giggs 

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There is no footballer who has spanned as many decades as Ryan Giggs. The man is a one-off, the most decorated British player of all time, and it all began in the 1990s. The Giggs of the 90s was perhaps the most exciting and flamboyant version of the Welshman we saw, as a fresh-faced out-and-out winger who became football’s first mainstream superstar. Giggsy was one of those players that lifted you out of your seat as soon as he got the ball, his quick feet, raw pace and ability to shame defenders in one movement saw him as integral part of Manchester United’s dominance throughout the decade, topped off by THAT goal in the 1999 FA Cup Semi Final.

Patrick Vieira 

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When this tall, gangly unknown Frenchman (technically Senegalese)  arrived at Arsenal in 1996 along with Remi Garde, few eyebrows were raised in his direction. However by the end of his nine-year stint in North London, the Gunners had been privileged to see one of their best ever midfielders, and the first in a new breed of footballer we saw in the late 90s. Vieira was the complete footballer, he could pass, tackle, score goals and dictate games in a a way Arsenal still lack today. His partnership with Emmanuel Petit brought double success at Highbury and World Cup glory with France, while his battles with this next guy was one the decades most fascinating rivalries…

Roy Keane 

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The heartbeat of Manchester United throughout the decade, Keane was the man every team wanted to have in their team when they went into battle. Keano began the decade as more an attacking midfielder with Nottingham Forest before his then record transfer to Old Trafford saw a more rounded midfielder emerge. As a driving force through the middle, Keane could do it all and his performance in Turin during United’s Champions League semi-final of 99 was one the 90s finest individual performances. The less said about Alfe-Inge Haaland the better though – oh and prawn sandwiches.

Zinedine Zidane 

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A once in a lifetime player who by the end of his career was been spoken about in the same breath as the likes of Pele, Maradona and Cruyff. A footballer of pure elegance who used to glide around a football pitch, while the ball just stuck to his mercurial adidas Predators. At France 98 he quite literally led the hosts to the final (minus the suspension for the mean streak that would rear it’s head on the most public of occasions), scoring two goals in the memorable win over Brazil in the final. His vision, his touch and his ability to score vital and often sensational goals, makes him not just one of 90s best, but one of the very best ever.

David Beckham 

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Becks may only really have made his name at the back end of the decade, but as we’ve learnt with him subsequently he knows how to do just that. It was the opening day of the 1996-97 season that Beckham announced his real arrival, with his halfway-line strike against Wimbledon and the fairytale career bloomed from there. As Cantona left, Becks became United’s new number seven and a key component in the great late nineties side that ultimately ended in treble glory. A crosser of the ball like no other before or since, even his infamous red card at France 98 can’t take away the impact on and off (Posh and Becks were born in 1998) the pitch David Beckham had in the latter part of the 1990s.

Paul Gascoigne 

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As we’ve said quite regularly on the podcast, Paul Gascoigne pretty much was the 1990s in football. From the moment he Cruyff-turned the Dutch defence at Italia 90, through injuries, Colin Hendry flicks, and spells in Italy and Scotland, the decade was dominated by Gazza. And rightfully so too, as behind the controversy was one of England’s greatest ever footballers. For a man of his stocky build, Gazza was so nimble, so quick and had the ability to bamboozle defenders on a football pitch like no other. He may have been ‘daft as a brush’, but between the burping at reporters and Fog on the Tyne was moments that have gone down in football folklore. Ask any fellow pro who’s played with him, and tell you the same thing; he’s the best they’ve ever shared a pitch with. Perhaps the biggest compliment of all.

David Ginola 

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Perhaps a surprise name on this list, but Ginola has become a symbol of the changing face of football throughout the 1990s. As the Premier League opened its doors to an influx of foreign names throughout the decade, David Ginola was easily one the most successful. As part of Newcastle’s irresistibly entertaining side under Kevin Keegan, Ginola went within a whisker of becoming a title winner, before moving to White Hart Lane in 1997. Here, he formed an unlikely alliance with George Graham and became the new darling of the Lane, with his undoubted charisma and skill lighting-up North London and winning him the 1999 PFA Player of the Year award ahead of United’s treble heroes.

Lothar Matthaus 

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Maybe not as highly regarded in this country, due to him never playing in England and the rarity of foreign coverage in the early 90s, but there’s no doubting what a world-class footballer Matthaus was. A real leader, who did the simple things in midfield, but was also capable of scoring some outstanding goals. The decade saw him captain his country to World Cup glory in 1990, as well as a glut of trophies for Inter Milan and Bayern Munich. He would finish his career with 150 caps for his country, and as one of Germany’s best ever players.

To listen to Ash Rose and guests Sachin Nakrani, Andy Rockall and Josh Landy talk through the decades best midfielders, you can subscribe to the 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

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

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.

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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.

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