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
WINDASS SEES (A LOT OF) RED
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.
FOWLER GETS SHIRTY
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.
RICKEN’S DORTMUND DYNAMITE
“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.
BLOODIED INCE UNBOWED
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.
A GROSS MISTAKE
“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.
BEND IT LIKE ROBERTO
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.”
REGGAE BOYZ RUN RIOT
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.