June 2002

Saturday 1 Mick McCarthy is delighted with Ireland’s comeback against Cameroon: “There’s been a lot talked about the spirit and camaraderie and I think that has been shown today.” Niall Quinn claims he tried to get Roy Keane to return but couldn’t persuade him to phone McCarthy: “I’ll never understand why Roy didn’t make even a lukewarm attempt.”

Sunday 2 Sven looks for positives after England’s draw with Sweden: “We didn’t win, we didn’t lose. Hopefully we will play for more than 45 minutes against Argentina.” He is also concerned about his players’ failure to acknowledge the fans: “Even if you lose you should always say thank you.” Blackburn’s Matt Jansen is in hospital after a motorbike crash.

Tuesday 4 Senegal striker El Hadji Diouf insists he has joined Liverpool though his club, Lens, say they are yet to agree a deal. Lee Bowyer is transfer-listed by Leeds after failing to agree new terms. Dundee manager Ivano Bonetti insists he won’t resign, despite the club’s decision to release five foreign players: “Even if they cut everyone, I will be back.”

Wednesday 5 Rivaldo is fined £4,500 for feigning injury at the end of Brazil’s match with Turkey. He is not exactly repentant: “People have to be cunning. Let’s see if the next incident like this will be punished.” The Japanese prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, orders an investigation into the thousands of empty seats at the opening matches. Korean organisers blame FIFA’s ticketing agency, the UK-based Byrom, for failing to deliver on time. The Coventry fan who attacked Magnus Hedman and Roland Nilsson during the team’s defeat at Preston in March is banned from matches for three years.

Thursday 6 Slovenia’s Zlatko Zahovic, substituted against Spain, is sent home for insulting coach Srecko Katanec by saying, among other things: “I could buy you, I could buy this whole team.” Wantaway custodian Magnus Hedman believes Coventry’s asking price of £4 million will scare off buyers: “I expect to carry on playing in the First Division, as no one will pay so much for a goalkeeper.” Man Utd appoint the fomer Portugal and South Africa national coach Carlos Queiroz as assistant manager. “He is someone who will come in and challenge the players,” says Sir Alex, miming a punch. Upheavals at two cash-strapped clubs with millionaire owners: Steve Coppell cites lack of transfer funds as the main reason for resigning at Brentford, while Carlisle, still in the clutches of the Knighton family, go into ­voluntary adminstration.

Friday 7 Sven is pleased, post-Argentina: “We played with a big, big heart.” David Beckham reflects on his penalty: “It was one hell of a moment. At one point, I nearly stopped breathing.” At the Football League AGM, chairman Keith Harris calls for Carlton and Granada’s chief executives to be replaced: “How can you lose £1.2 billion and still be entitled to keep highly paid jobs?”

Sunday 9 Football League chairmen vote unanimously in favour of two-up, two-down between the Conference and the Third Division from next season. Graham Taylor says Aston Villa want to talk to transfer-seeking George Boateng, but can’t find him. “All I’ve seen from him is what he has written on his website. That seems to be the way things are done these days.”

Monday 10 Jason McAteer claims he nearly went home after being dropped for Ireland’s match with Germany – “I was so upset, I just couldn’t see past myself” – having previously lied about his fitness to play against Cameroon. Junichi Inamoto bids farewell to Arsenal after been given a free transfer: “I didn’t play for a year but practising with excellent players has helped me greatly improve my skills.” He can’t mean Igor Stepanovs.

Tuesday 11 Mick McCarthy is jubilant at Ireland’s qualification for the second round: “We came here to win the World Cup. Whether that’s realistic, who knows? But no one expected us to come this far.” France’s Roger Lemerre has no excuses after their exit: “We have to say things like they are. We just didn’t live up to expectations.” Visitors to Tyneside will need a jab against samba fever following reports that Newcastle are to bid for Rivaldo. An unnamed advisor to the player holds his excitement in check: “Rivaldo is with Brazil at the World Cup and is not aware of what’s going on.” Millwall will ban away fans from six “high-risk” matches next season, while another four fixtures will have to finish “in daylight”.

Wednesday 12 Sven puts a tick on his list of things to do: “We had one big target when we arrived and that was to survive June 12 and now here we are.” Juan-Sebastian Veron reflects on his country’s exit: “We were hoping to give the World Cup as a present to the people of Argentina, but that is not now possible.” Japan’s biggest club, Man Utd, are said to be preparing a bid of £30 million for Rio Ferdinand.

Friday 14 Cost-cutting is likely to be blamed for two sackings as Gianluca Vialli leaves Watford and Huddersfield sack Lou Macari. They haven’t been able to tell him yet as he is on holiday and not replying to messages.

Saturday 15 Sven is cautious but confident after England’s win over Denmark: “So far it’s been difficult for teams to score against us. If we go on like that and play more than 45 minutes of good football, who knows how far we can go?” Bobby Robson is given a knighthood in the Queen’s birthday honours list. England’s women’s coach Hope Powell gets an OBE. Fulham, set to groundshare at Loftus Road for the next two years, will play at least one more game at Craven Cottage first, their Intertoto Cup tie against Finland’s Haka in July.

Sunday 16 Mick McCarthy is upbeat as Ireland head for home: “We have been as good as any team at the World Cup and didn’t deserve to lose like this. There are no villains here, just heroes.”

Monday 17 FIFA confirm that Rio Ferdinand will be credited with England’s first goal against Denmark, even though it was bundled into the net by Thomas Sorensen. Korea’s Ahn Jung-hwan claims Portugul’s players tried to arrange the result of their match: “They were telling us that if we finished with a draw we would go on to the next round together. There was some tension on the pitch about that.” Mick McCarthy agrees to stay on as Ireland’s manager for another two years. Notts County are the latest club to go into adminstration.

Tuesday 18 Wimbledon’s bid to join the Ryman League is rejected after they fail to receive the required 95 per cent ­support from member clubs. They will now join the Surrey-based Combined Counties League instead. Gretna, currently in English non-League football, are voted into the Scottish League in preference to the newly created Airdrie United. Portugal’s João Pinto is “suspended from all match activity” by FIFA after video evidence shows he punched referee Angel Sanchez after being sent off against South Korea. Bolton are to sign Nigeria’s Jay Jay Okocha.

Wednesday 19
Perugia’s president claims to have sacked Korea’s goal hero Ahn Jung-hwan: “He stated Korean football was superior to Italian football. We have treated him well but his comments were offensive to me and to the whole Italian nation.” The player, however, says he knew he was leaving before the World Cup started.

Thursday 20 In the face of concerted Italian grumbling, Sepp Blatter admits that linesmen made crucial errors in their matches but insists there was no shady work afoot. “There wasn’t a strategy to eliminate Italy. They made a lot of mistakes and it’s mainly the team’s fault.” The referee of the South Korea game, Byron Moreno, is a mite disgruntled: “I did a great job in the game. Italy are looking for excuses to justify their elimination.” Newcastle sign Portuguese midfielder Hugo Viana for £8.5 million, making him British football’s most expensive teenager. “The ­general consensus of opinion is that he’s the best young player in the world,” says chairman Freddy Shepherd, ­reading from the agent’s glossy prospectus.

Friday 21 David Seaman wants to shoulder the bame for England’s World Cup defeat: “I want to say sorry to the people I’ve let down today.” Sven is gravely disappointed too: “I think we could have done better. We were chasing, chasing and I do not think we had one shot on goal.” Poland’s Jerzy Engel becomes the first 2002 World Cup coach to be sacked and he’s distinctly unhappy about it: “The ­decision was taken by ­people no one has ever heard of. It was sad and unpleasant.”

Sunday 23 Spain are to make an official protest to FIFA over the ­crucial refereeing decisions that went against them in the match with Korea. “The damage has been done, but we have to stop things like this happening again,” says the Spanish federation ­president, Angel Maria Villar.

Tuesday 25 Perugia go back on their decision to release Ahn Jun-hywan and claim to have taken up an option to buy him. “We have confirmed our esteem and respect for him,” says a spokesman. “Wimbledon” appoint goalkeeping coach Stuart Murdoch as their new manager. Portugal coach Antonio Oliveira is sacked by fax.

Wednesday 26 David O’Leary is “delighted” that Rio Ferdinand wants to stay at Leeds: “We are trying to build a team here, not make Manchester United even greater.” League newcomers Boston United face 16 FA charges relating to falsified details of players’ contracts and bonuses. “We feel we are the rightful champions of the Conference and should take their place,” says Dave Andrews, chairman of Dagenham & Redbridge.

Thursday 27 David O’Leary leaves Leeds. The club claims it is by mutual consent but Dave thinks not: “I went in to clear a few things up before I went on holiday and the chairman says I’ve got the sack.” Sepp Blatter rules out the use of video replays and devices to prove whether the ball had crossed the line. “It would destroy the essential element in the game and that’s emotion.”

Friday 28 Celtic and Charlton both say they will not allow Leeds to speak to their managers. The ever-talkative Peter Ridsdale claims to have a growing shortlist: “I’ve been pleasantly sur­pris­ed by the interest ex­pressed by some quality managers.” Sol Campbell is named in FIFA’s All-Star World Cup squad, while the Bobby Moore de nos jours is omitted.

Sunday 30 Felipe Scolari thinks Brazil’s triumph can have wider effects: “Remember the affection, love and friendship there is in this group. I don't like politics but this is how we can make Brazil move forward.” Ronaldo senses divine preference: “God had reserved this for us and I'm very happy.” Rudi Völler spares a thought for his mortified goalkeeper: “No one expected us to get this far, and we owe a lot to Oliver Kahn.”

From WSC 186 August 2002. What was happening this month