MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : WORLD SOCCER – AUGUST 1997

The latest segment in the “Magazine Archive” series takes us back to a time when Ibrahim Ba was the future of French football and Glenavon fans were unhappy, because their team “only” won the Irish Cup. It was a strange world in August 1997.

That month’s edition of World Soccer had Ibrahim Ba as it’s cover star. Back then, Ba was the biggest rising star in French football tipped for a move to a major European side and to be one of the leadcing lights of the following year’s World Cup, which was to be held in France.

Also on the cover was Marc Overmars, who had recently signed for Arsenal, to highlight a feature on football’s biggest transfers that summer. Other headlines on the front cover include reviews of the World Youth Cup and Copa America.

Editor Keir Radnedge takes a look at the new-look Champions League, which now featured 2nd placed teams from selected countries, pointing out that of the clubs benefitting, only Barcelona and Parma had a realistic chance of winning the trophy. Both teams were eliminated in the group stage.

The following season, however, both finalists qualified for the competition by being 2nd in their league the previous season.

A round-up of the qualification for France 98 so far is featured in the magazine, taking a look at the hosts France and their preparation, which included Le Tournoi, a 4 team group competition featuring England, Brazil and Italy, which was won by England.

When looking at old reviews of youth events, it’s always fun looking at the line-ups to see who made it as a professional footballer in adult life. The team line-ups for the 1997 World Youth Cup includes Walter Samuel, Esteban Cambiasso, Jamie Carragher, Michael Owen, Thierry Henry, and Trevor Molloy.

There is a picture of Cambiasso celebrating a goal wearing Argentina’s away kit, in a similar pose to when he scored his iconic goal against Serbia in the 2006 World Cup.

In the round-up from various countries, cover star Ibrahim Ba gets a full page dedicated to him.

Not long afterwards, he signed for AC Milan before suffering a dip in form which saw left left out of France’s squad for the 1998 World Cup.

Ba is probably best known to UK fans for a brief spell with Bolton Wanderers during the 2003-2004 season.

The four countries of the UK get a double page spread with the England piece looking at England’s Le Tournoi success and a look at the new signings in English football, with the accompanying picture being of Teddy Sheringham, signed to replace Eric Cantona at Manchester United.

In manager news, Southampton were unable (and some could say had a lucky escape) to persuade David Platt to be their player-manager, while Everton were rejected by Bobby Robson, and Andy Gray, who couldn’t be persuaded to leave Sky.

The offer of managing Everton couldn’t get him to leave Sky, but off-mic comments about a female official did, although not on his accord.

In Northern Ireland, the lack of signings at Linfield, Glentoran, Glenavon and Portadown grabbed the headlines, as these clubs had endured disappointing 1996-1997 seasons by their standards.

Ironically, it was a signing during the season which grabbed the headlines, as Glenn Ferguson moved from Glenavon to Linfield for an (still standing to this day) Irish League record of £55,000

Choice quote from the article “Even though top scorer Garry Haylock is at Portadown, one wonders if his club’s supporters rate him worth the £1,000 a week he is reputedly paid” – Though Haylock no doubt rates himself worth it ………. and then some more.

“Brian Glanville’s Last Word” focuses on the TV commentary debut of Jonathan Pearce, who had covered the World Cup Qualifier between Poland and England for newly formed terrestrial channel, Channel Five, and had suffered negative criticism for his performance, though Glanville’s article was very supportive of him.

Pearce eventually got a big move to the BBC, although, it was to commentate on Robot Wars, before eventually joining Match Of The Day.

Glanville also remarked that Paul Gascoigne wasn’t good enough to play international football anymore, and that Paul Scholes should now be the centrepiece of the England team.

This proved to be prophetic, as just under a year later, Gascoigne was left out of England’s World Cup squad, while Scholes was included, scoring the decisive 2nd goal in the 2-0 opening match win against Tunisia.

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YOOCHOOB VOLUME 3

Well, after posting up a slection of the best classic football clips and the best news coverage of historical events, this week’s Youtube round-up focuses on Irish League/Northern Ireland football related related video miscellany.

The first video is from a show called ‘Super 8 Stories’ which was broadcast on BBC Northern Ireland between 2005 and 2006.

The show is a compilation of videos filmed on Super 8 and the person who filmed it narrates the story.

One such feature was filmed by a Linfield fan during the 1960s, with unlimited access on matchday and training sessions.

Players from that era then spoke over the clips of their memories from that era, including Tommy Stewart (no relation to, and not to be confused with the current Shamrock Rovers player of the same name, who played for Linfield from 2006-2008), who sadly died soon after the show was broadcast.

It’s amazing how little the street leading up to Windsor Park has changed (For shame, I don’t actually know what it’s called)

The next clip is from ‘Sportsnight’ in 1989, a network BBC production broadcast on Wednesday nights (Like a Midweek version of Grandstand, for those who don’t know) previewing Derry City’s European Cup tie against Benfica, managed by Sven Goran Eriksson (Making his second visit to Northern Ireland as a manager, his third would prove to be memorable), who went on to reach the final that season.

Keep an eye out 2 minutes in for Felix Healy singing. I won’t spoil it, but his singing is as good as his punditry.

The next video is the greatest end to a league season in British football history, far more dramatic than Liverpool-Arsenal in 1989.

Portadown top, level on points with Glenavon and Linfield, with Portadown and Glenavon playing each other.

The ultimate winner takes all showdown, with a draw doing neither side a favour.

I was at Windsor Park that day, and it was a day i’ll never forget, the intense atmosphere, and the tension of waiting for the score from Mourneview Park.

If it happened this season, i’d have spent those agonising 6 minutes on Twitter, hitting refresh and possibly breaking my phone.

No matter how many times I watch this, I still think Portadown are going to score a last-minute winner.

With all the recent chat about Matty Burrows becoming an internet sensation, though not as sensational as the Leave Britney Alone Guy and Tron Guy, enjoy this far superior goal by Lee Feeney against Crusaders in 1998, stealing the headlines of Irish League record signing Glenn Ferguson, who made his Linfield debut that day.

Talking of spectacular goals, enjoy this compilation from a show broadcast on UTV reviewing the 94/95 Irish League season (Champions Crusaders, Cup Winners Linfield)

Prefer not to dwell too much on the Zeke Rowe in Bangor’s 5-0 win at Windsor Park. I turned down the chance to go to that match, instead going to see the Lion King, which turned out to be a good choice. Hakuna Matata.

I can vaguely remember that goal by Judas Bastard Haylock, even though I wasn’t at that match. There was a brief time in the 90s when Linfield would face Portadown as underdogs, and turn them over.

Now we face them as favourites, and turn them over.

Fucking hell, they even got Sir Stanley Matthews to choose the winner, proper footballing royalty.

The video is also notable for two things, Stephen Watson with hair, and Stephen Watson giving a shit about football.

Whatever happened to Joey Cunningham?

No Irish League Youtube compilation would be complete without this. No words are needed.

As classic Boxing Days go, 1995 takes some beating. Snow, White Ball, the stuff of legend.

The next league fixture between the two took place at Windsor Park in February. I remember this game as it was a few days after my 13th birthday, on which Take That had split up.

Linfield won the match 2-0 with two goals from Paul Millar.

Ten years exactly to the day, Paul Millar would be taking charge of his first game as Glentoran manager, and Take That would be three months into their reformation. It’s a funny old life.

One more video, a reminder of how depressing European Football has become for Irish League Clubs in recent years.

Nowadays, the likes of Dynamo Borat, Bjorksportacus and BK Morten Harket visit our shores during July, but there was once a time, when big-name and exotic opposition used to come and play our teams.

Well, Tottenham Hotspur, but it’s all relative (Talking of which, it was a game against Coleraine, in the European Cup Winners Cup)

See Also

Coleraine Specific Account

Linfield Sepcific Account 1

Linfield Specific Account 2

1997 Irish Cup Final

Glenavon v Ballymena Unied, 1992 Irish Cup Semi-Final

There’s a fucking pig on the pitch

Northern Ireland, Road to Mexico 1986 (Four parter)

England v Northern Ireland 1985

(PS: If there are any videos i’ve missed, or if you want to suggest a ‘theme’ for Yoochoob, comment on this, or via Twitter – see right hand side of homepage)