So the Premier League turns 25 this year. Going into the inaugural campaign of the new-look top tier, Alan Shearer signed for Blackburn from Southampton for £3.3 million – breaking the British transfer record in the process – Leeds were the reigning champions of England and Monday Night Football wasn’t even a thing. A quarter of a century on and how times have changed. Turn to p80 to relive the goals, games, gaffes and garish kits of that maiden Premier League season.
What hasn’t changed, though, is the excitement we feel ahead of a new campaign, not just in the Premier League but up and down the divisions and across Europe. For our cover feature, we have tried to distil this excitement into a series of demands for the football gods – 99 of them to be precise. We don’t think it’s too much to ask, especially in a season that concludes with a World Cup.
On that subject, we introduce a brand new columnist for the new season: Lothar Matthaus. The ex-germany captain opens up on Kevin Keegan, facing Norwich in Europe and his predictions for 2017-18 (p34). Whatever the campaign has in store for your team, we hope you have a good one.