Tuesday 1 Tony Adams's autobiography, Addicted, serialized in the Sun , lays into Glenn Hoddle's preparations for France 98 - "A lot of what Glenn was doing and saying did not impress me. He seemed quite nervous and was whistling a lot – not the sign of a relaxed man," and his mishandling of Paul Gascoigne's axing from the squad - "Gazza was an ill man and Glenn did not properly understand the illness of addiction." Apparently, Glenn's nickname among England players is "Chocolate" because he think he's good enough to eat. What times they must have.
Wednesday 2 Millionaire pranksters Media Partners announce a rejigging of their European league plans, with two extra clubs added to each of the two super league divisions (you remember) and an extra 32 to be involved into the knockout Pro Cup, thereby including every country in Europe, which would be lovely. Glenn and Tony hold a press conference at which Glenn denies, in characteristically sticky fashion, that he was upset by Tone's comments about him. "He is entitled to his opinions, many of which are positive. In a strange way I think it has brought us closer together." "I've got total respect for the man, not because he's sitting next to me, but because I have," adds Tony, improvising nicely. Man City are to be invited to become tenants of the new 45,000 capacity multi-sports stadium to be built in Manchester for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Lottery funding, however, seems to be dependent on City moving in.
Thursday 3 At a meeting attended by representatives of UEFA and Media Partners, all 20 Premier League clubs give assurances that they will have no more involvement with plans for a breakaway league. "We must come up with a model that has the approval of everybody – the leagues, the clubs and the fans," says chief executive Peter Leaver. OK, but don't pop any corks just yet. Next stop is a meeting of the (hem hem) UEFA Taskforce in a fortnight. Pat Nevin leaves Kilmarnock to become chief executive of Motherwell, the first time that a footballer will combine playing with a senior management role. Rodney Marsh, lately employed as George Best's straight man (or is he meant to be funny?), is to take control of non-League Ashford Town, whom he hopes to turn into "the Macclesfield Town of the South".
Friday 4 Paul Merson is said to have demanded a transfer from Middlesbrough because he fears being sucked into the black hole of Paul Gascoigne's drinking circle. "I look at it like this," says Merson. "If you end up going to the hairdressers every day, by the seventh day you're going to get a haircut." But only if the shop is open on a Sunday, Paul. Tommy McLean steps down as manager of Dundee Utd, who are without a win this season, and will be replaced by Paul Sturrock from St Johnstone.
Saturday 5 England lose 2-1 to Sweden in their opening Euro 2000 qualifier. Alan Shearer scores from an early free kick, but the Swedes get two in as many minutes later in the half. Paul Ince is sent off with 20 minutes left. "We have to bounce back in October," says Glenn. "That's when we need an aggression head, a positive head." Scary, isn't he? Scotland's disappointment at drawing 0-0 in Lithuania ("They didn't threaten us and we didn't threaten them," says Craig Brown, not for the first time), is offset by one of their group rivals, Bosnia, only drawing at home with Estonia. The Republic of Ireland score twice in the first quarter of an hour to beat Croatia in Dublin.Northern Ireland go down 3-0 in Turkey and Wales lose 2-0 to Italy at Anfield, a game preceded by Robbie Savage being dropped by Bobby Gould for being "disrepectful" to Paolo Maldini in a pre-match feature on Sky, then reinstated after protests from the rest of the squad. In other matches Spain suffer their worst ever international result, losing 3-2 in Cyprus, and France have to come back from behind to draw in Iceland.In the League, Birmingham go joint top in the First Division after beating Bury, and Stoke are five points clear in the Second Division after a 2-0 win over Bournemouth. In the Third, Barnet have two players dismissed during a 9-1 home defeat by Peterborough, a League record for both clubs. While no one's looking, Christian Gross is sacked by Spurs. David Pleat will take temporary charge. Raddy Antic, previously with Atletico Madrid, seems to be favourite to take over. Glenn might be interested too.
Sunday 6 Sky offer to buy Man Utd for £575 million. Chairman Martin Edwards, who holds a 14 per cent stake in the club, is said to be in favour of the deal, as are the big institutions who own a 60per cent interest between them. The Office of Fair Trading could block the move on the basis that a Man Utd/BSky B combination might be able to monopolize the rights to live televison coverage of the Premier League.
Tuesday 8 The board of Man Utd plc confirm they have accepted an increased bid of £625 million from Rupert Murdoch, £50 million more than was initally offered. The bid will now be recommended to the club's shareholders. "Selling United will prove he knows the price of everything and the value of nothing," says Andy Walsh of the United Independent Supporters Group about Martin Edwards, who may be asked to stay on as chief executive. Middlesbrough reject Paul Merson's claims that there was a boozing and gambling culture at the club: "The majority of my squad are near teetotal and the players have not even had a card school for five years," says Bryan Robson. Leeds go top of the Premier League after a 3-0 win over pointless Southampton. Everton score for the first time this season, beating Forest 2-0. In the First Division Birmingham go top after beating Stockport 2-0 while QPR drop into the bottom three after a goalless draw with Tranmere. Ray Harford's not unduly concerned, though: "My first six weeks at Blackburn were worse, when we were in Europe." The last 100 per cent record in the League goes as Stoke are beaten 1-0 at Fulham, though they remain four points clear in the Second Division.
Wednesday 9 After United, Arsenal, who are revealed to have had takeover talks with Carlton TV, owners of the ITV London franchise, a prospect that does not thrill Ars®®ne: "We can all see what influence television has and I think it would be a great threat to the game if there was more involvement with media in other clubs." Not a great night on the pitch for Arsenal either as they have Lee Dixon sent off during another tetchy, but goalless, encounter with Chelsea. Performance of the night comes from Wimbledon, who recover from three down to beat West Ham 4-3 at Upton Park. Ian Wright scores twice on his home debut and celebrates by revealing a T-shirt message of support for striking Essex firefighters. The FA will be cross. Two goals also for Dwight Yorke as Man Utd come from behind to beat Charlton 4-1 at Old Trafford where "Martin Edwards, you're a wanker" is the most popular chant of the evening. In the Scottish Coca-Cola Cup quarter-finals, Hearts need a penaly shootout to get past Ross County of the Third Division.
Thursday 10 The FA are expected to impose their own ban on Paul Ince for being sent off against Sweden to pre-empt a similar action from UEFA, whose official match report records that Paul "used bad words" after being dismissed. Paul, however, denies that he also stuck two fingers up at the home crowd, claiming instead that the gesture was aimed at John Gorman, Glenn's assistant. One for Eileen to sort out. Ron Atkinson is expected to be named as the new coach of South Africa. "Soon as I got off the plane and felt the sun on the my face I thought °Æyep, this'll do for me'," he says.
Saturday 12 "It's a bit scary being at the top, we've got to block out the euphoria," says John Gregory, as Villa go three points clear by beating Wimbledon 2-0, Paul Merson scoring the first from a penalty rebound, while previous leaders Liverpool lose 2-1 at West Ham. Southampton remain stranded at the bottom without a point after losing 4-0 at Newcastle. Alan Shearer, who gets two (but looks a bit sulky) is said to be available, with Villa supposedly about to offer £15 million. Arsenal's first goal in four matches, from Stephen Hughes in injury time, brings them a point at Leicester. Birmingham City's defeat at Bolton means that Huddersfield, Friday night winners at Tranmere, spend the weekend as leaders of the First Division, their highest position since the days of Frank Worthington and those shirts with the terrier badge (ask your grandad). In the Second Division, Man City win a derby match at last, Shaun Goater's 87th minute goal seeing off Macclesfield.
Sunday 13 Man Utd have received an offer that tops Sky's bid from a US merchant bank, believed to be representing ENIC, the leisure group which already has a stake in several clubs, including Rangers. "I am honour bound to listen to any other bids," says Martin Edwards.
Tuesday 15 In the UEFA Cup Aston Villa, two down to Stromsgodset with seven minutes to go, finally win 3-2 with two goals in the last minute from substitute Darius Vassell. "They sensed blood and went for it," says John Gregory, stopping just short of tin-hat talk. Leeds need a late goal to beat Maritimo 1-0 at Elland Road, Blackburn lose by the same score at home to Lyon and Liverpool, with Robbie Fowler back, stroll to a 3-0 win in Kosice. Celtic win 2-1 in Guimares, Rangers draw 1-1 with Beitar in Jerusalem (which counts as Europe for UEFA purposes). In the Worthington, West Ham lose 2-0 at Northampton, while Spurs are made to sweat for a 3-2 win over Brentford at Griffin Park.
Wednesday 16 Man Utd let slip a two-goal half-time lead against Barcelona to draw 3-3, conceding two penalties, the first of which is described as an "appalling decision" by Alex, who adds: "I saw the Barcelona president going into the referee's dressing room afterwards; I'm sure he was pleased to see him." Now, now. In the same group, Bayern Munich lose 2-1 away to Brondby. In Lens, Arsenal concede a last-minute equalizer having taken the lead through Marc Overmars. Also in their group, Panathinaikos beat Kiev 2-1 in Athens. In the Worthington, a Sheffield Wed side "bordering on total complacency" according to Danny Wilson, are beaten 1-0 at home by Cambridge Utd.
Saturday 19 Aston Villa stay top after a goalless draw at Leeds ("We're not title contenders and I don't think Villa are either," says George Graham), two points ahead of Derby, who win 2-1 at Leicester with the first League goal scored by a Dr Seuss character, Stefan Schnoor. Robbie Fowler scores twice on his return, but his team-mates in defence decide to take a day off as Liverpool slip to third after drawing 3-3 at home with Charlton, who ought to have won. "It shows the spirit that has sustained us for the last five or six years," says Alan Curbishley. "I'm not angry, I'm in shock," squeaks Gordon Strachan as Coventry drop to second bottom following a 5-1 home thrashing by Newcastle. Southampton are still bottom, but finally have a point courtesy of a Matt Le Tissier goal at home to Spurs. In the First Division Sunderland move into second place behind Huddersfield after subjecting Oxford Utd to a record League defeat, 7-0. "There is going to be some grief," says Terry Venables in his best Long Good Friday voice after Palace crash 4-0 at Barnsley. Lie low everyone, till it blows over. Stoke stay four points clear in the Second Division following victory at Wrexham, Darlington lead the pack in the Third after a 1-0 home win over bottom club Shrewsbury, whose fans might just be starting to think of local derbies with Telford next season.
Sunday 20 Nicky Butt is sent off for the second time in five days as Man Utd crash 3-0 at Arsenal. "We had our offensive power back," beams Ars®®ne, coming over all gridiron. "We tiptoed through the match," says Alex, hotly unimpressed with a referee again. Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is revealed to be bankrolling Media Partners' bid to create a European super league. "I don't know much about football but I do think this is neccesary and I do think it will work," he says, aiming for tough but sounding daft. Bern (we can risk that) is also said to be considering a challenge to Sky's bid for Man Utd, where he may face competition from American TV network CNN, who could be joining up with anti-Rupe Man Utd fan Mick Hucknall to put in a bid of over £700 million. More thrilling still, Spurs have turned down a takeover offer from a consortium including former player turned City broker Paul Miller, and the professionally intolerant Richard Littlejohn. WSC employees, meanwhile, were seen ice skating in the company of the Sultan of Brunei, Dirk Bogarde and the surviving members of the Beach Boys, but it would be idle to speculate on what they discussed.
Monday 21 Chelsea score twice in the last ten minutes to win 4-3 at Blackburn, where Graeme Le Saux and the home team's Sebastien Perez are sent off. "Perez had the misfortune to put his nose in the way of someone's elbow," says Roy Hodgson. Spurs say they have made an approach to Leeds for George Graham, overlooking the advice of some of their fans who have been heard to chorus "You can stick George Graham up your arse" at recent matches.
Tuesday 22 An electronic device capable of recording microscopic TV viewing figures is going to have to be invented damn quick after the Football League announce that six matches will be televised as a pay-per-view experiment later in the season. Don't be surprised if they all happen to be away matches for Sunderland or Man City. Cambridge Utd knock Sheffield Wed out of the Worthington Cup after a 1-1 draw at the Abbey Stadium, Bournemouth are through against Wolves after a 2-1 win at Molineux and Northampton see off West Ham on a 2-1 aggregate, in a match notable for the return of Julian Dicks after almost two years out. "They said he would never play again, but he's a freak," confirms Harry Redknapp.
Wednesday 23 Southampton take their League form into the Worthington Cup, losing 1-0 at home to Fulham. "I am trying to keep my hair, not tear it out," says a moulting David Jones, while Kev, the most sincere man in Britain, reminds us that "our aim is promotion this year and the Premiership within five years". Spurs and Everton both recover from conceding first-minute goals to knock out Huddersfield and Brentford, who'll not mess with members of the Big Five again in a hurry. Steve McMahon resigns as Swindon manager, blaming fan pressure. The FA announce that this year's FA Cup final will be settled on the day, by penalties if neccesary, because a replay would clash with the final of the Champions League the following week. Why Juventus and Real Madrid should care is unclear.
Thursday 24 Man Utd move up to third after beating Liverpool 2-0. Clean forgetting that Liverpool got a strange penalty just last Saturday, Uncle Roy throws a wobbler over the handball decision against Jason McAteer that brought United's first goal: "I'm sick to death of decisions like that going against us. The referees are just not up to standard, they are spoiling the game." Former Arsenal scout Steve Burtenshaw has been fined £10,000 by the omnipotent FA bungs commission for having accepted a kickback for his part in the transfer of John Jensen from Brondby in 1992. Hilariously, he will appeal. The FA also confirm that they will be appointing a "sleaze buster" whose job will include investigating murky doings in the transfer market. CVs to the usual address (no, not us, the FA).
Saturday 26 Villa are reclining on a comfy five-point cushion after a 1-0 win over second-placed Derby. Sexmeisters Newcastle move up to third after beating Forest. Arsenal lose for the first time this season, to a last-minute goal at Sheffield Wed where Martin Keown and Paolo Di Canio are sent off, the latter taking time to push over referee Paul Alcock before leaving the pitch. "He has let me down, his team-mates and the club," says Danny Wilson. A sprightly encounter is rounded off by Patrick Vieira allegedly having a punch-up with a policeman in the players' tunnel. In total, a record 15 players are sent off in English matches, with Southend alone losing three at Swansea. There's violence off the pitch at White Hart Lane where a group of Spurs fans attack the Leeds coach after the teams' 3-3 draw. Leeds still insist George Graham isn't leaving – "As far as we're concerned Spurs cannot speak to George. They should leave us alone," says Leeds chairman Peter Risdale – but press reports predict that he'll be gone by Wednesday. Sunderland top the First Division after drawing at Portsmouth while Huddersfield crash 3-0 at Bolton. Stoke are still three points clear in the Second, despite losing 3-1 at home to Blackpool. In Scotland, Parkhead hosts the first ever 60,000 all-seated crowd for a club match, but Celtic can only draw 1-1 with Hearts. Rangers are three points clear after winning at Dunfermline.
Monday 28 Southampton sink to their sixth defeat in seven games, 1-0 at West Ham (where the scorer Ian Wright celebrates with co-geezer Neil Ruddock by mimicking Di Canio's ref-shove). David Jones remains upbeat and keen to show Jerry what's what: "When my back's to the wall, I come out with all guns blazing." Ray Harford leaves QPR, currently second from bottom of the First Division. Ginger gaffer spotters will be pleased to hear that Iain Dowie is to take temporary charge – first team coach Vinnie Jones will be invited to apply for the post. In other words, they don't want him.
Tuesday 29 "I just hopes this puts all my problems behind me," says Stan Collymore after his hat-trick takes Villa through in their UEFA Cup tie against Stromsgodset. "He certainly rammed a few words down my throat," says a muffled John Gregory. Liverpool complete an 8-0 aggregate win over Kosice, Celtic beat Guimares 2-1 for the second time and Leeds edge past Maritimo in a penalty shootout. Blackburn, however, go out after drawing 2-2 in Lyon. Last weekend's fighting mood continues at the Second Division game at Millwall, where Man City and the home side each have a player sent off and fans invade the pitch to join in. "We could have scored two more but probably wouldn't have got out alive," says Joe Royle.
Wednesday 30 Man Utd are a minute away from Champions League victory in Munich when a Peter Schmeichel slip up gifts Bayern the equalizer in a 2-2 draw. "It was a kick in the teeth but you just have to accept it," says Alex. Arsenal beat Panathinaikos 2-1 at Wembley with goals from Martin Keown and Tony Adams, who is now their joint top scorer this season, with two. "Maybe the best years come between 32 and 40" says Arsene, a wistful 48.
From WSC 141 November 1998. What was happening this month