Wednesday, October 7, 2015

7 October 2000 - Keegan Takes A Bathroom Break

On 7 October 2000, Kevin Keegan resigned as England manager--from the bathroom.

Keegan, who had made 63 appearances for England from 1972 to 1982, took over from Glenn Hoddle as manager of the Three Lions in February 1999, after spells in charge of Newcastle (1992-97) and Fulham (1998-99). His first match in charge was a 3-1 win over Poland in a Euro 2000 qualifier. But after qualifying for the tournament, England were eliminated in the group stage.

The following autumn, England opened their qualification campaign for the 2002 World Cup with a 1-0 loss to Germany at Wembley on 7 October. Apart from being disappointed in the result, Keegan was livid that the British press had reported his team selection prior to the match, giving the Germans what he perceived to be an unfair advantage. In the locker room after the match, Keegan decided to resign. Acting FA chief David Davies pulled Keegan into the only private space available - a toilet stall - and tried to change his mind. When Keegan refused, Davies summoned two members of the FA to the stall so they could receive his resignation before hearing about it from the press.

Keegan returned to management with Manchester City (2001-05) and Newcastle (2008), but his 38.9% winning percentage with England makes him the national team's least successful manager, statistically.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

6 October 1877 - Rangers' Lucky 13

On 6 October 1877, Rangers secured their record margin of victory, beating Possil Park 13-0 in the first round of the Scottish Cup. They matched that scoreline just over a month later in the same tournament, but failed to lift the Cup after going out in the fourth round.

At the time, Rangers were still a young club, formed only five years earlier. They got off to a strong start, however, winning their second-ever match by the score of 11-0. (A year later, they had their first annual meeting and elected staff, so that the club itself recognizes their official founding year as 1873.) By 1876, they were an established side, advancing to the 1876-77 Scottish Cup Final, where they took Vale of Leven to a second replay before falling 3-2.

They approached the 1877-78 Scottish Cup with the intention of returning to the Final and were encouraged by their 13-0 win over Possil Park FC in the first round. In the second round, they defeated Alexandra Athletic by the relatively low score of 8-0, then crushed Uddingston FC 13-0 in the third round.

Unfortunately for Rangers, they met Vale of Leven in the fourth round and fell 5-0 in a replay. They had to wait until 1897 before finally lifting the first of their 33 Scottish Cups.

Monday, October 5, 2015

5 October 1929 - The Mystery Milestone

On 5 October 1929, somebody scored the English Football League's 100,000th goal. But nobody is quite sure who it was.

The milestone goal was the 65th one scored that day, just over 41 years after Bolton's Kenny Davenport scored the League's first goal on 8 September 1888. Unfortunately, it is impossible to identify the responsible individual because no records exist to indicate the timing of the scores.

In all, 44 matches were played that day in the four League divisions, delivering a grand total of 150 goals. Division Three (South) delivered the most with 50, including the day's highest tally - a 6-3 victory by Swindon Town over visiting Merthyr Town.

In Division One that day, the high-water mark was 6, set by Sheffield Wednesday's 2-4 win at Burnley. Division Two matched that number with Blackpool's 2-4 win at Barnsley and Notts County's 3-3 home draw with Stoke City. Division Three (North) followed with 5, set by Darlington's 3-2 home win over Halifax Town and Crewe Alexandra's away win over Stockport County.

Of the 44 matches played that day, only three finished as scoreless draws.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

4 October 2009 - The Four-Minute Match

On 4 October 2009, a Bulgarian third division match ended after only four minutes due to injuries.

The match between hosts Gigant Belene and visitors Chavdar Byala Slatina was promising, with Gigant sitting second in the table at the start of the day. But a combination of injuries and suspensions left them with only eight players available for kick-off. Within four minutes, two additional Gigant players suffered injuries and had to leave the match.

Under the rules, each side must have at least seven players on the pitch, so when Gigant dropped to six, the referee had no choice but to stop the match and award the points to Chavdar as a forfeit. The match was recorded as a 3-0 win for the visitors.

At the time, it was the shortest match ever played in Bulgaria. But the record lasted less than six months - in March 2010, Gigant traveled to Belogradchik with only seven available players, one of whom picked up a match-ending injury in the first minute.

Gigant eventually finished the season in 11th place, while Chavdar topped the table and won promotion to the second division.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

3 October 1973 - They Didn't Really Need The Help, Liam

On 3 October 1973, Romania's Dinamo Bucureşti set a European Cup/Champions League record by beating Northern Ireland's Crusaders FC by the score of 11-0. To make matters worse for Crusaders, the record-setting eleventh goal was an own goal.

The two teams met in the first round of the competition, with Dinamo scraping out a narrow 0-1 victory in the first leg, played in Belfast. The lone goal in that match was scored in the first minute by midfielder Viorel Sălceanu.Sălceanu failed to get on the score sheet in the second leg, played in Bucharest. The slack was picked up by striker Dudu Georgescu (7', 14', 47', 63') and midfielder Radu Nunweiller (19', 40', 75', 81'), with help from center back Cornel Dinu (52') and striker Florea Dumitrache (67'). Collectively, they gave Dinamo a comfortable 10-0 lead into the match's dying moments. Then, in the 88th minute, Crusaders defender Liam Beckett knocked the ball into his own goal to extend Dinamo's lead to 11-0.

Although Dinamo hoped the resounding win would be a catapult to further success in the tournament, it was not to be, as they were eliminated in the second round by Atlético Madrid.

Friday, October 2, 2015

2 October 1999 - The Shaggy DF

On 2 October 1999, 21-year old Barcelona defender Carles Puyol made his first-team debut in a 2-0 win at Real Valladolid. Since then, Puyol has made almost 500 appearances for the senior side and has captained them to several honors, including six La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions League trophies.

Easily recognized by his long curly hair, Puyol started his career in 1993 with the Pobla de Segur junior squad, but moved to Barça's youth academy in 1995, then to their B squad in 1997. He originally joined the Catalan squad as a defensive midfielder, but switched to right back, then to center back. He was named captain at the end of the 2003-04 season. The move coincided with Barça's return to glory, as the following season, he led the team to their first La Liga title in six years. 

By his retirement in May 2014, Puyol won a total of six La Liga titles, three Champions League trophies, six Spanish Cups, six Spanish Supercups, two UEFA Supercups, and two FIFA Club World Cups. With Spain, he won the 2008 European Championship and the 2010 World Cup.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

1 October 1977 - The End Of An Era

On 1 October 1977, Pelé played the last match of his outstanding career - an exhibition between his two former clubs, the New York Cosmos and Santos, with Pelé playing one half for each side.

The match was played at New Jersey's Giants Stadium before a capacity crowd of 77,000 that included such luminaries as President Jimmy Carter and Muhammad Ali. After a pre-match speech in which he asked the crowd to chant "love" three times, Pelé played the first half for the Cosmos and the second for Santos.

Santos took the lead with a first-half goal from Reynaldo, but Pelé equalized for the Cosmos off a direct free kick. It was the final goal of his career. At the half, the Cosmos retired his jersey as he exchanged it for a Santos shirt. His replacement for the Cosmos, striker Ramon Mifflin, then scored the match winner in the second half.

When the match ended, several Cosmos players lifted Pelé and carried him around the stadium as he held a US flag in one hand and a Brazilian flag in the other.