THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Saturday 2 "I hope it's not too late," says Colin Todd as Bolton move out of the bottom three with a 5-2 home win over Palace, managed for the day by Ron Noades, who may become Brentford's new owner next week. Barnsley are down after a 1-0 defeat at Leicester – "The first half of the season was a steep learning curve for us," says Danny Wilson. Spurs are almost safe after thrashing Wimbledon 6-2 at Selhurst Park with J®πrgen Klinsmann getting four. Newcastle are in the clear after a 3-1 win over Chelsea, though the FA are likely to charge Alan Shearer with misconduct over the Neil Lennon incident. In the Second Division, Watford are champions after a 2-1 win at Fulham, who just squeak into the play-offs . At the other end, Brentford drop down to the bottom division for the first time in 20 years after losing at Bristol Rovers, Burnley stay up through beating Plymouth 2-1. In the Third, Lincoln take the third automatic promotion place after beating Brighton while Torquay lose at Leyton Orient. In Scotland, Rangers cock up again, losing at home 1-0 to Kilmarnock.

Sunday 3 Arsenal are champions after beating Everton 4-0 at Highbury. "I thought I had to keep my emotions until now in case we did not win the title," says Arsene. And you thought he was just shy. Everton now need to beat Coventry next week and hope that Bolton don't win against a probably under-strength Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Man City go down to the Second Division, despite winning 5-2 at Stoke, who are also relegated. Middlesbrough are back in the Premiership. Celtic miss a chance to wrap up the Scottish title, conceding a late equaliser at Dunfermline. Justin Fashanu is found dead seemingly having committed suicide.

Tuesday 5 "Europe is still on," says Harry Redknapp, adding, "I also believe Israel will win the Eurovision Song Sontest," after West Ham's teenage substitute Many Omoyimni scores twice to secure a 3-3 draw at Crystal Palace. The Scottish League gives its approval to the formation of a new Scottish Premier League. It will begin with the same ten-team format as its predecessor but expects to generate extra income from a new TV deal. Jan Sorensen is sacked as manager of Walsall who had a good season in the cups but finished two places above the Second Division relegation zone.

Wednesday 6 Alan Shearer is charged with misconduct by the FA. "If the referee had dealt with what was a sending-off offence at the time, then what has gone since would be unnecessary," says Leicester's Neil Lennon, the alleged victim of Shearer's assault. Liverpool clinch third place in the Premiership after beating a weakened Arsenal 4-0. Neil Warnock resigns as manager of Oldham. Inter defeat Lazio 3-0 in the UEFA Cup final in Paris. Jamaica's unfathomable World Cup warm-up programme continues with a goalless draw against Man City.

Thursday 7 Ray Wilkins is sacked as Fulham manager just two days before the club's play-off semi with Grimsby. "We did not agree on all team affairs and tactics. One of us had to go," says Kev The Important. "I am shocked but I do not hold any grudges," whispers Wilkins, who stands to make £1 million if his contract is paid up. A new job opportunity might come Ray's way soon as one of his former clubs, Millwall, sack manager Billy Bonds. Some consolation in a grim season for Everton who complete a 5-2 aggregate victory over Blackburn in the FA Youth Cup.

Saturday 9 Celtic are Scottish champions for the first time in a decade after beating St Johnstone 2-0 at Parkhead. Their final points total of 74, two ahead of Rangers, is a Premier League record. Manager Wim Jansen is expected to quit, however, after a series of rows with general manager Jock Brown. In the play-offs Fulham draw 1-1 at home with Grimsby. Kev confirms that he will stay on as manager next season in characteristically paranoid fashion: "I am ready to take on the responsibility even if a lot of people will be sharpening their knives."

Sunday 10 Everton survive again by drawing at home with Coventry while Bolton lose at Chelsea. Leading through an early goal from Gareth Farrelly, Everton blow a chance to wrap it up when Nick Barmby misses a penalty before Dion Dublin ties the match with a minute left. By this time, however, Bolton were already a goal down at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea adding a second in injury time. "So long as I'm manager we'll never go through this again," says Howard Kendall, who may be set for a nervous summer in any case. "We want Johnson out!" say the thousands who pour onto the Goodison pitch at the end. The target of their wrath says he will stay on, however. "It wasn't meant to be and who do you blame for that?" shrugs Colin Todd after seeing Bolton squander first-half chances at Chelsea. Blackburn reach the UEFA Cup thanks to a Chris Sutton goal two minutes from time against Newcastle. In the First Division play-offs Charlton win at Ipswich, and Sheffield Utd come from behind to beat Sunderland 2-1 at Bramall Lane. In the Second Division, Bristol Rovers will take a 3-1 lead to Northampton while a win by the same score at Scarborough puts Torquay on course for the Third Division final, where they'll meet either Barnet or Colchester whose game at Underhill ends in a 1-0 home win. Tiverton Town win the FA Vase, beating Tow Law 1-0 at Wembley, and Bangor City are Welsh Cup winners after a penalty shoot-out victory against Connah's Quay, who last reached the final in 1911. Oh, and Harry Redknapp was right about the Eurovision Song Contest.

Monday 11 Wim Jansen resigns as Celtic manager with the club's owner Fergus McCann claiming he would have been sacked had he not not gone voluntarily: "There was always something wrong and it was always someone else's fault." Celtic fans know who to blame, though, as an angry crowd gathers outside the club to chant "Fergus, Fergus what's the score?" Speaking of rows, J®πrgen Klinsmann, who bade farewell to Spurs for the second time on Sunday, confirms that he fell out with Christian Gross over the latter's refusal to discuss tactics: "I soon realised that he wouldn't listen to me." These managers, they'll be wanting to pick the team next.

Tuesday 12 No World Cup for Matt Le Tissier and Andy Cole, both left out of an England squad of 30 for the friendly with Saudi Arabia. Ian Wright is in, though, as is Darren Anderton who has not been capped since Euro 96. Alan Shearer is cleared by an FA commission of deliberately kicking Neil Lennon in the face – apparently it was a "genuine attempt to free himself". Roy Keane and Vinnie Jones will be committing that phrase to memory. Chris Waddle resigns as Burnley manager after a fraught season that ended with a narrow escape from relegation. Brian Little is back in management at Stoke City, Oldham's new boss is their former coach Andy Ritchie and veteran defender Keith Stevens takes charge at Millwall.

Wednesday 13 Chelsea win the Cup-Winners Cup, Gianfranco Zola scoring the only goal against Stuttgart moments after coming on as a sub. "My celebrations were horrible but I could not control myself," he says. "The next step will be winning the Premier League," says Gianluca, understandably carried away. Chelsea will defend their title next season, which means that Aston Villa take up the spare place in the UEFA Cup. In the play-offs, Sunderland's 2-0 win over Sheffield Utd takes them into a First Division final against Charlton, who beat Ipswich. In the Second Division Northampton stage the best comeback of the night, a 3-0 win over Bristol Rovers securing a 4-3 aggregate and a meeting with Grimsby, 1-0 winners over Fulham. Torquay will meet Colchester, extra-time winners against Barnet, in the Third Division final. Ally McCoist looks likely to be spending his summer in a TV studio after being omitted from Scotland's squad for their friendlies in America.

Saturday 16 Arsenal complete the double, beating Newcastle 2-0 in the FA Cup final. Trailing to a Mark Overmars goal at half-time, Newcastle create chances in the second half, notably when Alan Shearer hits a post, but a Nicolas Anelka strike 20 minutes from time seals it. "This is the best moment in my sporting life," says Arsene. "We can take credit from the fact that we are back in Europe next season," says Kenny, waving a fistful of straws. "We know where we have gone wrong. It's jackets off for a free and frank discussion," says Sir John Hall. Hearts win a trophy for the first time in 35 years, beating Rangers 2-1 in the Scottish Cup final.

Sunday 17 Sheffield Wednesday are looking for a new manager after deciding not to renew Ron Atkinson's contract. Danny Wilson, previously tipped to take over, says he will stay with Barnsley. Bookies' favourite is Howard Wilkinson, said to be pining away to nothing, poor lamb, in his current role as FA technical director. Cheltenham win the FA Trophy, beating Southport 1-0.

Tuesday 19 Anderlecht's one-year European ban for bribing the referee of their UEFA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest in 1984 has been overturned by the Court of Arbitration of Sport in Switzerland on the grounds that the decision was made by UEFA's executive committee rather than their judicial committee. Picky, picky. Forest had been hoping to be invited to take Anderlecht's place and may launch an appeal. UEFA have ruled that clubs owned by the same company will not be allowed to play in the same European competition. Rangers could be affected by this as the investment company ENIC, which has a 25 per cent stake at Ibrox, also has an interest in several other clubs who might qualify for next season's UEFA Cup.

Wednesday 20 Real Madrid are European champions for the first time in 32 years after a Predrag Mijatovic goal beats Juventus. We stopped caring after Dinamo Kiev went out. (ITV's coverage of the final, featuring Kevin Keegan's observation that two yellow cards make a red, is chillingly bad. Prepare to hit the mute button during the World Cup.) Tomislav Ivic becomes surely the last coach to lose his job before France 98, being booted out by Iran after the national team lose 7-1 to AS Roma. And Glenn has read that battered old riot act to Gascoigne again, after a widely photographed night out on the town with Danny Baker, Chris Evans and, new to the gang, Rod Stewart. Strange that Uri Geller didn't foresee it and warn Glenn, but then they're only speaking via lawyers just now.

Thursday 21 England players, led by their shop steward, a sheet metal worker's son from Tyneside, threaten to take legal action against the FA, who have barred them from wearing national team shirts for private advertising deals. The FA insist that they run all the commercial work involving the official kit for which participating players receive a one-off payment. "They could wear a white t-shirt as long as they don't wear the badge," smirks an FA official. After the World Cup the squad will receive £4 million annually for their involvement in official advertising, double the current deal. Jamie Redknapp's knee injury will keep him out of the World Cup.

Friday 22 Colchester beat Torquay 1-0 in the Third Division play-off. Clydebank, homeless and considering a move to Dublin, may be about to merge with Livingston, who took Meadowbank's place in the Scottish League three years ago. If the merger happens, clubs from the Highland League are expected to apply for the spare place. Tony Banks wants the Task Force to investigate season ticket prices after all but three Premiership clubs increased their prices for 1998-99 by more than four per cent above the inflation rate. Derby are alone in having frozen their prices, Aston Villa's have risen by 22 per cent and Chelsea's by 15 per cent.

Saturday 23 England are held to a goalless draw by Saudi Arabia in their last Wembley match before the World Cup. "Maybe some people who think they're already in the squad didn't need to worry too much," says Glenn. After the match the team forego the planned lap of honour in favour of a wave from the centre circle. Darren Anderton is booed throughout, as are the Man Utd players. "It was a disgrace," says Phil Neville. Scotland draw 2-2 with Colombia in New York having led until the last few minutes. Grimsby win at Wembley for the second time in six weeks, beating Northampton 1-0 in the Second Division play-off final.

Sunday 24 Charlton are promoted to the Premiership after beating Sunderland 6-5 on penalties in the First Division play-off final. One down at half-time, Sunderland were ahead three times before Clive Mendonca made it 4-4 with minutes left in extra time, in the process becoming the first player ever to score a hat-trick in a play-off final. "It must be one of the best games anyone has ever seen," says Alan Curbishley. "I'm genuinely gutted at the way it has worked out," says Mendonca, a Sunderland fan. Jim Kerr, lead singer with Simple Minds, is revealed to be part of a consortium planning to buy Fergus McCann's controlling stake in Celtic when McCann steps down next year. As long as he doesn't make a record about it, eh?

Wednesday 27 Michael Owen becomes the youngest player ever to score for England with the only goal in a 1-0 win in Morocco. Owen is as a first-half sub for Ian Wright whose hamstring injury may keep him out of the World Cup. "When we play Tunisia in Marseille it will be just like this," says Glenn. Andy Goram withdraws from the Scotland squad in the wake of newspaper revelations about his personal life. Jonathan Gould of Celtic will replace him. The Brighton board say they have raised half the funds needed to finance the redevelopment of a local athletics stadium at Withdean, which could be ready to stage League matches by mid September pending council approval.

Thursday 28 Ian Wright's injury will take at least a fortnight to heal, ruling him out of the England squad to be announced on Monday. Real Madrid's Jupp Heynckes makes football history by becoming the first coach to be sacked after his team have won the European Cup.

Friday 29 England's World Cup warm-up finishes with another tame goalless draw then a pointless penalty shoot-out, won by opponents Belgium. Premiership chairmen reject Sky's proposals for pay-per view, which would have involved a further three matches being switched each week from Saturday to Sundays for live transmission. "We're determined to ensure that there is an opportunity to consider all the issues in detail," says Premiership chief executive Peter Leaver. "I wonder if they have something up their sleeves," says a spokesman for the FSA.

Saturday 30 Scotland's run without a win stretches to five matches as their US tour ends with a goalless draw against the hosts. Blackburn zoom back to the top of the big spenders league by flinging £7.5 million at Southampton for their striker Kevin Davies, who left Chesterfield for one-tenth of that fee a year ago.

Sunday 31 Paul Gascoigne is among the six players left out of England's final 22. After a stormy meeting with Glenn Hoddle he heads for home in tears, leaving his luggage behind. "This is the worst things that has ever happened to me," he says. "It's a disgusting decision," says Chris Evans. Rio Ferdinand and Rob Lee are surprise inclusions and Les Ferdinand is preferred to Dion Dublin.

From WSC 137 July 1998. What was happening this month

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