The Reg­gae Boyz run riot in ’97

English blood, Ja­maican bot­tles and a first half hat-trick of red cards – it was all kick­ing off at the end of the ’90s

FourFourTwo - - CONTENTS -


Booked twice in the open­ing 22 min­utes of Aberdeen’s Novem­ber clash against Dundee United at Tan­nadice, Dean Win­dass de­cides he isn’t go­ing to de­part qui­etly. The gen­er­ously pro­por­tioned for­ward calls the ref­eree Stu­art Dou­gal a “Scot­tish c***” to re­ceive a sec­ond red card, and a third fol­lows when he pulls the corner flag out of the ground en route down the tun­nel. The Dons lose 5-0, man­ager Roy Aitken is axed the next morn­ing and Win­dass gets a six-game sus­pen­sion. Quite a day.


Rob­bie Fowler cel­e­brates the sec­ond of his two March goals at home to SK Brann in the Cup Win­ners’ Cup by re­veal­ing a Calvin Klein pas­tiche read­ing: ‘Sup­port the 500 sacked dock­ers.’ Two years ear­lier, strik­ing work­ers at the Mersey Docks were fired for re­fus­ing to cross a picket line. UEFA fine Fowler £900, only a day af­ter he’d been hailed by FIFA for try­ing to per­suade ref­eree Ger­ald Ashby not to award him a penalty against Arse­nal. “It was a bit f**king dippy, but I’ve never been a cheat,” he said. Swings and round­abouts.


“Go on and score the de­ci­sive goal,” Borus­sia Dort­mund man­ager Ottmar Hitzfeld tells sub­sti­tute Lars Ricken 70 min­utes into May’s Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal against Ju­ven­tus. Six­teen sec­onds later, the 20-year-old lobs goal­keeper An­gelo Peruzzi to give BVB a 3-1 lead and seal their first Euro­pean Cup tri­umph. Well lis­tened, Lars.


Glenn Hod­dle’s Eng­land pro­duce one of the Three Li­ons’ finest rear­guards in Oc­to­ber, se­cur­ing the draw they need in Rome to reach the World Cup. Paul Ince ends the clash cov­ered in blood thanks to an early el­bow from Italy’s Demetrio Al­ber­tini. “The doc­tor said it would take half an hour to put the stitches in,” Ince re­called. “Glenn was go­ing mad.” Patched up at half-time, Ince in­vokes the spirit of Terry Butcher in what turns out to be Paul Gas­coigne’s last com­pet­i­tive match for Eng­land.


“I want this to be­come my ticket to the dreams,” says Chris­tian Gross, hold­ing a Tube ticket at his Novem­ber un­veil­ing as Tot­ten­ham’s new boss. “I came on pub­lic trans­port as I wanted to ex­pe­ri­ence how the fans feel.” The dream soon be­comes a night­mare as Spurs lose three of Gross’ first four matches in charge, in­clud­ing a 6-1 rout by Chelsea. The Swiss lasts 10 months at White Hart Lane.


Brazil left-back Roberto Car­los un­leashes a free-kick of physics-de­fy­ing swerve, as the Sele­cao draw 1-1 with France in June’s open­ing game of World Cup pre­cur­sor Le Tournoi. The Real Madrid de­fender smashes the ball so far out­side of Fa­bien Barthez’s left-hand up­right that the ball boy ducks out of the way, only for the strike to arc in­ex­orably into the net. “That ball boy should have had more con­fi­dence in me!” the Samba star told FFT. “Goals like that come around only once in your ca­reer.”


Ahead of a tricky World Cup qual­i­fier in Mex­ico, mous­ta­chioed coach Rene Si­moes (above) feels a March friendly with lo­cal team Toros Neza is an ideal way for his Ja­maica side to get used to play­ing at al­ti­tude. But when Neza de­fender Ger­man Aran­gio re­acts to a hard chal­lenge with a swift punch to the of­fendor’s face, all hell breaks loose. The game is aban­doned af­ter a few Reg­gae Boyz dis­ap­pear, only to re­turn tooled up with bricks, bro­ken bot­tles and a chair. “It’s not nor­mal be­hav­iour,” huffed one Neza player, who fight back with corner flags and sticks. Ja­maica lose 6-0 to Mex­ico but still reach France 98 via the play-offs.

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