Juninho and Gianfranco Zola are the covers of this edition of Shoot, previewing the 1997 FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Middlesbrough, with the headline ‘Battle Of The Mighty Midgets’

Italians Gianfranco Zola and Fabrizio Ravenelli get double page spreads previewing the game, as do Juninho and Mark Hughes, as well as player profiles of the two line-ups.

Shoot’s pull-out results magazine rounds up the 1996-1997 league season. It was a season when the top five titles were all won by clubs from the North West of England. Manchester United won their 4th title in 5 years, Bolton Wanderers marked their last season at Burnden Park with an instant return to the Premier League, Bury pipped League Cup Semi-finalists Stockport County to win Division Two, Wigan won Division Three on Goal difference from Fulham, while Macclesfield Town won promotion to the Football League, where they remained before relegation in 2012.

For Fulham, it took four years, and Wigan, it took eight years for them to get promoted to the Premier League, where they have been ever since. Swansea City, now in the Premier League, lost the Play-Off Final to Northampton Town. Hull City finished 17th in Division Three, before getting promoted to the Premier League in 2008.

There was an advert for a magazine called Babe Hound, with a tagline of ‘More Big Girls Than Juventus v Dortmund’ (Those two sides were to contest that season’s European Cup Final)

The cover star for the current edition was Jo Guest, which featured posters of Dannii Minogue, Gina G, Victoria Adams (you may know her now under her married name of Beckham), Jennifer Aniston and Gillian Anderson.

You couldn’t have a more 1997 lad mag if you tried.


Eric Cantona and Juninho are the cover stars of this edition. Quite apt, as they were both in the news at the time. Cantona had just returned from a lengthy ban, while Juninho had just signed for Middlesbrough.

Juninho’s unveiling at Middlesbrough gets four pages of coverage. To be fair, it’s not every day that a Brazilian international signs for Middlesbrough. In adverts, Corinthian had just launched, creating figurines of the England team, and have the slogan “£1.99 for David Platt? What a save”

Jason McAteer, who recently signed for Liverpool, gets a double page interview. He states that he is glad to be playing against the “Big boys of Europe” ……. in the Second Round of the UEFA Cup, dreaming of Liverpool taking on AC Milan in the Final.

Fabrizio Ravanelli gets asked to submit his Dream Team. His team is Siere A (and Juventus) centric, though there are places for Gary Pallister and Steve McManaman.

Match does a feature accompanying Eric Cantona as he undertakes a personal appearance at a local sports store to sign autographs.

In transfer news that looks silly now : Blackburn want to sign Trevor Sinclair, Celtic want to sign Ian Rush and Mark Hughes, Rick Wakeman denies he wants to buy Manchester City, Manchester United want to sign Marc Overmars, and Rangers want to sign Mikkel Beck.