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 


40 signs you preferred football in the 1990s

40 Signs you preferred football in the 1990s….


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.



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.



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



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



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.



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.

Scan 37


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



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?



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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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.



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.



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.



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

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



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

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



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



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

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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.



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

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



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!



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



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

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



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

161  Shoot 1









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

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




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


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

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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



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.


‘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


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 


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 


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.




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 

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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.

Breaking News On Ceefax

It’s transfer deadline day and Ash Rose is joined in the studio by Spurs Fan Richard Claire, Arsenal Fan Natasha Henry and Newcastle Fan Matt Ketchell. The guys talk 90’s transfers, ClubCall, Ceefax,  arrogance, Tino Asprilla and Nicolas Anelka’s transfer fee. We also have an excellent interview with 90’s legend Paul Walsh! A West Twelve Media and Burble Media production


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.


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,……’