Wednesday 1 “You cannot coach a player to score from five yards,” says Arsène as Arsenal squander a sackload of chances in a 0‑0 draw with CSKA Moscow. Man Utd lose to a late Marcus Allback goal in Copenhagen. Celtic crash 3‑0 at Benfica. Former Portsmouth owner Milan Mandaric makes a bid for Leicester City.
Thursday 2 All four British sides in the UEFA Cup have won their first two games. Newcastle’s second-string win 1‑0 in Palermo with Albert Luque (really) scoring. Dimitar Berbatov gets two as Spurs beat Bruges 3‑1 and Blackburn win 3‑0 against Basel. During Rangers’ 2‑0 victory against Maccabi Haifa, a pitch invader with a Palestinian flag tries to handcuff himself to a post. UEFA president Lennart Johansson thinks Chelsea’s spending is distorting the game: “If you are rich and you like to spend your money on football, you are free to do it. But it’s bad business and I’m sorry it exists.” International players’ union FIFPRO back FIFA proposals for a quota system, which would oblige Premiership clubs to field at least six Englishmen. Arsène is opposed: “What can you tell a supporter who pays to watch your team? ‘His first touch is not good, we know, but he is English’?” Dave Penney, formerly at Doncaster, takes over at Darlington.
Friday 3 Boston manager Steve Evans gets a one-year suspended sentence for tax fraud over undeclared payments to players of more than £300,000.
Saturday 4 Man Utd are three points clear after a 3‑0 home win against Portsmouth. Newcastle lose 1‑0 at home to Sheffield United, in a game played two days after a UEFA Cup tie to get TV money. Chairman Freddy Shepherd, the chief target of fans’ chants, is to meet the players “to remind them who they’re playing for”. Watford win at last, 2‑0 at home to Boro. “We want to finish in the top five,” says goalscorer Ashley Young, ruling out the Champions League. “If you’re fighting Muhammad Ali you don’t just go in there and trade blows with him,” muses Steve Coppell as Reading lose 2‑0 at Liverpool, Dirk Kuyt scoring both. Fulham beat Everton 1‑0; scorer Claus Jensen is hit on the cheek by a coin. Charlton beat Man City 1‑0, but stay bottom on goal difference. Championship leaders Cardiff lose 3‑1 at Colchester. Preston are just a point behind after a 3‑0 win at home to Luton. Birmingham win their fifth game in 15 days, 1‑0 at Plymouth. “The best feeling in the world is coming off the field with your shirt wringing wet,” sighs Tony Mowbray as West Brom lose 2‑1 at Derby. Leeds are second from bottom after losing 3‑2 at Barnsley. Forest go seven points clear in League One with a 2‑0 win at home to Brentford, Kris Commons scoring with two identical free‑kicks. Walsall are three points clear in League Two after a 1‑0 win against Torquay. Macclesfield draw 0‑0 at Wrexham, their first point under Paul Ince.
Sunday 5 “I’ve never been pushed by someone of that stature,” gushes Alan Pardew after scuffling with Arsène while celebrating Marlon Harewood’s late winner as West Ham beat Arsenal 1‑0. Robin Van Persie had earlier been struck by a 2p coin. “I don’t know why Mr Poll wants to be a big part of the show,” says José as John Terry receives a second yellow card after a rumble with Ledley King in Chelsea’s 2‑1 defeat at Spurs. Aaron Lennon scores the first Spurs league winner against Chelsea at the Lane in 19 years. Rangers are 15 points behind Celtic after a 2‑1 defeat at Dundee United. Teenage Arsenal loanee Anthony Stokes gets his second SPL hat-trick in a week in Falkirk’s 3‑0 defeat of Dunfermline.
Tuesday 7 Southend knock Man Utd out of the Carling Cup, through a free-kick from Freddy Eastwood (the “Romany Rooney” according to the Sun). “It is a great reminder to everyone at the club that football can smack you in the face,” says Sir Alex, who had fielded a strong side. Charlton win on penalties after a 3‑3 draw at Chesterfield; Newcastle need spot-kicks at Watford. Celtic lose to Falkirk in the CIS Insurance Cup. Referees’ chief Keith Hackett is to investigate Chelsea players’ claims that Graham Poll said they “needed to be taught a lesson” during the Spurs game. Paul Sturrock is the new manager of Swindon. El‑Hadji Diouf is arrested for allegedly assaulting his wife.
Wednesday 8 Graham Poll makes headlines again, sending off James McFadden for swearing at him during Everton’s 1-0 Carling Cup defeat to Arsenal. Chelsea beat Villa 4‑0. Spurs need extra time to defeat Port Vale 3‑1. There’s wholesale booing at Rangers as they lose at home to St Johnstone for the first time since 1971, 2‑0 in the CIS Insurance Cup. Paul Gascoigne spends a night in the cells after an affray outside a London nightclub.
Thursday 9 Alan Buckley is Grimsby boss for a third time, replacing Graham Rodger, who was sacked on Monday with the team 22nd in League Two. The FA are fined £4,000 for disturbances involving England fans before the match in Croatia. Bookmaker Victor Chandler gets a court injunction to prevent newspapers naming several Premiership managers who are said to have bet on matches.
Friday 10 Alan Smith, who hasn’t played since February, rejects a proposed loan deal – Leeds and Cardiff had been interested. Germany Under-21 striker Aaron Hunt is banned for two games for comments made to black England players during the play-off match last month.
Saturday 11 “They’ve got the bit between their teeth,” says Mark Hughes as Man Utd stay three points clear with a 1‑0 win at Blackburn. Chelsea stay second, Didier Drogba scoring a hat-trick in the 4‑0 defeat of Watford, the Blues’ 50th home game without defeat: “I don’t like to use the word unstoppable,” says José. Villa are third after a 1‑0 win at Everton, Chris Sutton scoring for the first time. Colin Kazim-Richards gets a late equaliser in Sheffield United’s 2‑2 draw at home to Bolton. West Ham’s mini-revival ends with a 1‑0 defeat at Boro. “I have to be brave and strong,” says Gareth Southgate, making a scary face. Charlton lose 3‑2 at Wigan. Cardiff beat Burnley 1‑0 to go two points clear in the Championship, as Preston draw 0‑0 at bottom club Southend. Leeds are up to third from bottom with a 3‑0 defeat of Colchester. Mike Newell criticises lineswoman Amy Rayner after Luton’s fifth successive defeat, 3‑2 at home to QPR: “She should not be here. I know that sounds sexist, but I am sexist.” In the FA Cup, the fourth official in Swansea’s 3‑1 win at Newport is taken to hospital after being hit on the head by a £1 coin thrown from the home crowd. Batteries are also thrown. Barrow defender James Cotterill is to be charged with GBH for breaking the jaw of Bristol Rovers’ Sean Rigg in the latter’s 3‑2 win. Doncaster striker Mark McCammon has a headed goal at Brentford chalked off after the ball passes through a hole in the back of the net, but his side still win 1‑0. Brighton beat Northwich Victoria 8‑0.
Sunday 12 Arsenal go third after beating Liverpool 3‑0 – the latter’s fifth straight away defeat is their worst run since 1992. Reading come from behind to beat Spurs 3‑1. Martin Jol denies he is interested in David Beckham. “It’s rubbish,” he says. “And if it’s not rubbish you can call me a liar.” Celtic are 15 points clear at the top of the SPL, Thomas Gravesen scoring a hat‑trick in a 3‑1 win at St Mirren. The FA want a word with Mike Newell over his comments about female officials. “Football needs more Amy Rayners,” says refs’ head man Neale Barry.
Monday 13 Iain Dowie is sacked by Charlton after a “review of the club’s structure”; Les Reed is promoted to take charge of the team. Wayne Rooney is questioned by police over a fight outside a Manchester nightclub in October. Havant & Waterlooville may go into administration over the police costs for their FA Cup tie with Millwall, staged at Portsmouth, which they lost 2‑1.
Tuesday 14 Steve McClaren has his first public row with journalists when asked why he and Terry Venables gave different reasons for Stewart Downing’s omission against Croatia: “This is getting out of hand. I don’t understand why you are trying to separate me from my players and staff.” Wales beat Liechtenstein 4‑0.
Wednesday 15 England draw 1‑1 in the Netherlands, Rafael van der Vaart getting a late equaliser after Wayne Rooney’s first-half goal. Man City full-back Micah Richards gets his first cap and Andy Johnson is recalled, on the wing. “I asked for a performance and that is what we got,” says Steve McClaren, gritting his teeth at the news that England are third in their qualifying group after Russia and Croatia win in Macedonia and Israel respectively. The Republic of Ireland beat San Marino 5‑0 in the last match at Lansdowne Road. Mike Newell is “severely reprimanded “by Luton.
Thursday 16 Reading say death threats have been made to Stephen Hunt and Ibrahima Sonko over their clashes with Chelsea’s goalkeepers last month. “We will assist the police fully if there is any evidence linking these threats to any of our supporters,” says a Chelsea spokesman. Sheffield Utd keeper Paddy Kenny has part of an eyebrow bitten off in a brawl outside a Halifax nightclub. Neil Warnock doesn’t seem surprised: “I’ve told Paddy in the past he shouldn’t be going out in Halifax.”
Friday 17 Former Real Madrid and Hungary star Ferenc Puskas, one of the greatest ever players, dies aged 79.
Saturday 18 “They’ve got flair, panache, arrogance – everything you need,” gushes Neil Warnock as Man Utd win 2‑1 at Sheffield Utd to stay three points clear, Wayne Rooney scoring twice. Chelsea beat the still-not-taken-over West Ham 1‑0 at Stamford Bridge. José offers a pat on the head: “West Ham can be proud of the way they played.” Portsmouth are third after beating Watford 2‑1 with a contentious late penalty that has Aidy Boothroyd airborne with annoyance: “Referees who get decisions wrong like this should be demoted to lower-league games for a couple of weeks.” “We’ve all learned lessons from today,” says Charlton manager Les Reed, after his first game in charge ends in a 2‑0 defeat at Reading. Newcastle sneak out of the bottom three with a 1‑1 draw at Arsenal, Kieron Dyer scoring in his first appearance for seven months. A 1‑0 win at Leicester takes Preston level on points with Championship leaders Cardiff, beaten by QPR last night. Birmingham stay two points behind in third after conceding a last-minute equaliser to draw 1‑1 with Wolves. The Dennis Wise effect seems to be wearing off as Leeds lose 3‑0 at home to Southampton to go back into the bottom three. Sheffield Wed have two players sent off in the first half of their 3‑1 defeat at Coventry, Wade Small for reacting to a sneaky Vinnie Jones-style assault on his person by Michael Doyle. Forest’s League One lead is cut to six points by a 1‑1 draw at Rotherham. Every other team in the top ten wins, apart from Yeovil who draw 0‑0 at Orient. Brentford, without a win in 14 League games, drop into the bottom four with a 4‑0 home defeat by Crewe, after which manager Leroy Rosenior resigns. Walsall go six points clear in League Two. Second‑placed Lincoln lose 3‑1 at home to Darlington. Macclesfield are now ten points adrift after a 3‑2 defeat at home to Boston. Runaway SPL leaders Celtic march on with a 3‑0 home win against Inverness. In the Scottish Cup first round, Highland League Deveronvale score three in the last four minutes to beat Montrose 3‑2. Leicester City shareholders give the green light to Milan Mandaric’s £25 million takeover bid.
Sunday 19 Blackburn and Spurs draw 1‑1 at Ewood Park. Rovers’ scorer Tugay is sent off for conceding the penalty with which Spurs equalise; the visitors’ Hossam Ghaly is dismissed, too. Martin Jol, ordered from the touchline, describes referee Phil Dowd as “a bit emotional”; Mark Hughes demands a meeting with refs’ chief Keith Hackett. Wigan and Aston Villa draw 0‑0 at the JJB. “I can’t say how pleased I am,” says Paul Jewell. “We were awful,” says Peter Grant as Norwich lose 3‑1 to near-neighbours Ipswich at Portman Road, 18‑year‑old substitute Danny Haynes scoring twice. Hearts fans angered by the dropping of club captain Stephen Pressley demonstrate outside Tynecastle after a 1‑0 defeat by Rangers. Sporting director Alex Koslovski say Pressley was left out as a result of “computer data”.
Tuesday 21 Celtic reach the Champions League last 16 after a Shunsuke Nakamura free-kick beats Man Utd, for whom Louis Saha misses a last-minute penalty. Gordon Strachan is pinching himself: “There must be a rule that says we don’t go through. I’d better check Teletext tomorrow to make sure.” Like United, Arsenal need one point from their last match after coming from behind to beat Hamburg 3‑1. Macclesfield win for the first time this season, 1‑0 at Walsall in their FA Cup first round replay. West Ham are taken over by a consortium led by Eggert Magnusson, currently head of the Icelandic FA and owner of the largest forehead in world football. Andy Ritchie is sacked by Barnsley, currently 23rd in the Championship. Torquay announce they will sack players who dive persistently. “What we are suggesting may sound draconian, but a player has to do the same thing three times to be dismissed,” says chairman Chris Roberts.
Wednesday 22 Chelsea progress in the Champions League despite a 1‑0 defeat at Werder Bremen. Liverpool win their group with a 2‑0 defeat of PSV. The Premier League will allow Gareth Southgate to remain Boro manager until the end of the season without the Pro Licence coaching qualification. Willie Donachie, already in charge for two months, gets the Millwall manager’s job until the end of the season.
Thursday 23 All three Premiership sides in the UEFA Cup qualify for the knockout stage. Newcastle beat Celta 2‑1; Spurs’ Dimitar Berbatov gets the only goal at his former club Leverkusen, but Martin Jol is staying calm: “Who are we to say we can win the competition?” Blackburn draw 0‑0 at Feyenoord, where Morten Gamst Pedersen is hit by a plastic glass of beer – “It will be good for his hair,” says Mark Hughes. Rangers are through, too, after a 2‑2 draw at Auxerre. Arsène is charged with improper conduct over his touchline mêlée with Alan Pardew.
Saturday 25 Eggert Magnusson sees West Ham go four points clear of the relegation zone with a 1‑0 win over Sheffield Utd; Neil Warnock has a lyrical analogy for his team’s poor start: “We were too apprehensive at first, like climbing a glass mountain.” Nicolas Anelka scores his first two goals for Bolton in a 3‑1 win over Arsenal. “They haven’t beaten us here since 2002 and I love big managers moaning,” says Sam Allardyce, as Arsène curses his side’s luck afterwards. Reading move up to seventh after a third successive win, 1‑0 at Fulham, who have Ian Pearce sent off for conceding the visitor’s penalty winner. Steve Coppell says: “The poor old referee – the law is the law but the law is an ass in this situation.” Cardiff and Preston both draw, so Birmingham join them as joint leaders of the Championship with a 2‑1 win at Burnley. Coventry have to travel to QPR on the London Underground after their bus has difficulties, but they win 1‑0. Southend are five points adrift at the bottom after having two players sent in a 3‑0 derby defeat at Colchester. Forest extend their League One lead to six points with a 3‑1 win over Millwall; Walsall are now seven points clear in League Two after a 2‑1 defeat of Notts County.
Sunday 26 Sky’s “Showdown” finishes in a draw, Ricardo Carvalho equalising for Chelsea after Louis Saha’s opener. For once the two managers fail to fall out “I exchanged quick words with Sir Alex and we agreed the result was very, very fair,” says José. Spurs move into the top half with a 3‑1 win over Wigan. Antoine Sibierski scores Newcastle’s goal in their 1‑0 defeat of Portsmouth, after a stirring talk from Glenn Roeder at half-time: “I said to him, ‘In this dressing room, there is a hero waiting to happen. It could be you’.”
Tuesday 28 Sheffield United move four points clear of second-bottom Watford after beating them 1‑0 with a disputed Danny Webber goal. “I hope it was 20 yards offside. We have had about nine major decisions go against us this year,” says Neil Warnock. Preston top the Championship on goal difference after drawing 1‑1 with Coventry while Cardiff lose 3‑0 at Stoke, who go sixth.
Wednesday 29 Man Utd keep their three-point lead, beating Everton 3‑0 while Chelsea win 1‑0 at Bolton. Portsmouth stay third with a goalless draw at Liverpool. Arsenal lose at Fulham for the first time since 1966; Man City get their first away victory since April, 3‑1 at Villa. Derby’s sixth straight win, 2‑1 against Ipswich, takes them up to joint second in the Championship. Craig Bellamy is cleared of an assault charge.
Thursday 30 Newcastle win their UEFA Cup group after a 0‑0 draw in Frankfurt. West Brom midfielder Ronnie Wallwork, currently on loan at Barnsley, is in a serious condition after being stabbed in a Manchester nightclub. Henrik Larsson is to join Man Utd on a three‑month contract in January.
From WSC 239 January 2007. What was happening this month