Seven cover stars as the 2000-2001 Champions League group stages get underway, as a player from each of the four (one Scottish, three English) UK teams involved, and foreign stars such as Luis Figo (Real Madrid), Zinedine Zidane (Juventus) and Patrick Kluivert (Barcelona)
Match does a double page interview with Ryan Giggs about his experiences in the European Cup, before turning over for a double page spread on selected teams involved. The four UK teams (Manchester United, Arsenal, Leeds United, Rangers) are previewed on the left page, while the right page has teams listed under ‘Foreign Faves’ and ‘The Outside Bets’
Eventual winners Bayern Munich are in ‘Foreign Faves’, and the preview says “Watch out for young Owen Hargreaves, the British teenage whizzkid” while runners-up Valencia were listed under ‘The Outside Bets’
After three poor league seasons (though they did reach two FA Cup Finals) since finishing 2nd in 1997, Newcastle United were now revitalised under Sir Bobby Robson, and Match had a joint interview with Warren Barton and Steve Harper about this.
Newcastle would go on to finish 4th (2002) and 3rd (2003) in the following three seasons, before a decline which resulted in relegation in 2009.
In 2000, the internet was becoming more accessible for the public, and footballers were jumping on the bandwagon. Match met Jamie Redknapp and Rio Ferdinand at the launch of their own websites, though both players admit they’re not that internet savvy.
Redknapp says it’s a great opportunity to share his thoughts with the rest of the world, set the record straight about newspaper stories, and answer questions from fans. It’s basically Twitter, before Twitter.
Match then gives a guide to the best footballer websites, with players and managers such as Ben Thatcher, Harry Redknapp, Patrick Berger and George Boateng all having their own websites.
Patrick Berger’s website revelas that his first car was a Skoda.
George Graham gets interviewed about the state of English football, believing that English players should work on their technique, and try to be more like Germany or Holland.
Match does a double page spread on Sylvain Wiltord’s protracted transfer from Bordeaux to Arsenal, due to Bordeaux’s lack of willingness to sell, and his former club Deportivo La Coruna being entitled to a percentage of any future transfer fee.
In news, or more rumours, Paul Dalglish of Norwich City is supposedly dating Hannah from S Club 7.
Match does a double page interview with Eirik Bakke on his rise where he played a vital part in Leeds title challenge and played for Norway at Euro 2000, where it is revealed he is related to Monaco player John Arne Riise, who Leeds tried to sign that summer, but couldn’t agree a fee with Monaco.