Issue 16, 25th March 1996: SPORTING ROUNDUP
By Charles Hirst.
[Computing, Law, Science and Technology, SciFi, Sport, The Unexplained, UPicons]
England Look Sharp in Victory Over Bulgaria
England 1 Bulgaria 0
Les Ferdinand scored an early goal that was enough to beat the semi finalists of the last world cup. Bulgaria dissapointed with their display, especially in the first half where they did not manage a single shot on goal. Terry Venables men put in a superb first half performance that should have seen them net at least three goals. Partnerships blossomed in all areas of the field,, but most notably between Teddy Sheringham and Les Ferdinand up front.
It was this combination that gave England their goal in the seventh minute. Sheringham latched onto a poor throw in by the Bulgarians, looked up and sent an inch perfect pass sailing towards the bustling Ferdinand. The pass dropped over Ferdinand's shoulder, which he chested down without breaking his stride, held off a defender and slotted it home.
England's domination was complete, with Gascoigne showing his conciderable skills in the middle and McManaman breaking at will down the left. Paul Ince was making his first appearance for 13 months in the England team and looked extremely impressive playing in his renowned holding role infront of the back four. He kept the defence unscathed time and again putting in decisive tackles to intervene before the Bulgarians could formulate an opening.
With Ince in control of the tidying up, this gave Gascoigne a liscence to move forward with deliberation. The decisive passing from the English side however came from Sheringham, playing as the forward playmaker just in behind Ferdinand. Other than delivering the pass leading to the goal, Sheringham played Ferdinand through several times, only for Ferdinand to overun the ball or lose out to the Bulgarian defence.
England saw the ball scramled off the line from a corner, another led to Ferdinand hitting the post and Sheringham had a fine effort saved by the outstretched Mikhailov. Rarely have England looked so dominant under the methods of Terry Venables.
The second half saw the Bulgarians raise their game a little, with Letchkov (who scored that classic header against Germany in the quarter finals of the last World Cup) and Penev running at the defence, but Southgate and Howey held firm under the experienced directions of skipper Stewart Pearce.A crafty free kick in the 61st minute nearly saw England extend their lead. Pearce and Gascoigne hovered over the ball deliberating, with the Bulgarians guessing, Gascoigne slipped the ball past the wall to the unmarked McManaman who sent his shot over the bar.
However, the need to kill teams off early was itterated by the late pressure forced by Bulgaria. In the dieing seconds the sent a long free kick deep into the English penalty area and forced the ball into the net. Fortunately though the referee had spotted a handball in the fray and disallowed the effort. 1-0 to England.
FA Carling Premiership
Saturday 30th March
Blackburn v Everton
Bolton v Man City
Leeds v Middlesbrough
QPR v Southampton
Tottenham v Coventry
Wimbledon v Notts Forest
Monday 25th March
Southamton 1 Coventry 0
Sunday 24th March
Man Utd 1 Tottenham0
Saturday 23rd March
Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0
Bolton 2 Sheff Wed 1
Chelsea 1 QPR 1
Everton 2 Wimbledon 4
Notts Forest 1 Liverpool 0
West Ham 4 Man City 2
Wednesday 20th March
Man Utd 1 Arsenal 0
Bolton 2 Tottenham 3
Southampton 0 Sheff Wed 1
Tuesday 19th March
Aston Villa 0 Middlesbrough 0
Monday 18th March
Newcastle 3 West Ham 0
Saturday 16th March
Coventry 0 Bolton 2
Liverpool 2 Chelsea 0
Man City 2 Southampton 1
Middlesbrough 1 Notts Forest 1
QPR 1 Man Utd 1
Sheff Wed 2 Aston Villa 0
Tottenham 2 Blackburn 3
Wimbledon 0 Arsenal 3
FA Carling Premiership League Table
P W D L F A W D L F A Pts Man Utd 32 12 4 0 29 9 8 3 5 30 21 67 Newcastle 30 14 0 1 33 7 6 4 5 22 21 64 Liverpool 31 11 4 1 39 10 6 4 5 21 17 59 Aston Villa 32 10 4 2 28 13 6 4 6 18 17 56 Arsenal 32 8 5 2 26 14 7 4 6 18 14 54 Tottenham 31 8 3 5 21 16 6 6 3 19 15 51 Everton 32 8 4 4 30 18 5 5 6 20 20 48 Blackburn 31 12 1 2 38 12 2 5 9 9 24 48 Nottm Forest 30 9 4 1 22 10 3 7 6 18 30 47 Chelsea 32 6 7 3 23 16 5 5 6 14 19 45 West Ham 32 8 3 5 22 19 5 3 8 17 25 45 Leeds 29 7 3 4 18 13 4 3 8 17 29 39 Middlesbrough 32 7 3 6 23 21 2 6 8 6 21 36 Sheff Wed 32 6 4 6 27 26 3 4 9 16 25 35 Wimbledon 31 3 6 7 23 31 4 3 8 23 32 30 Man City 32 6 6 4 16 14 1 3 12 10 35 30 Coventry 30 4 6 6 19 23 1 6 7 18 32 27 Southampton 29 4 6 5 16 17 1 4 9 12 26 25 Bolton 32 4 3 9 13 28 3 1 12 22 34 25 QPR 32 3 4 8 16 25 3 1 12 12 25 24Return to contents
FA Carling Premiership Leading GoalscorersL F C E O T Shearer (Blackburn) 28 0 5 1 0 34 Fowler (Liverpool) 25 4 2 0 0 31 Ferdinand (Newcastle) 22 1 3 0 0 26 Sheringham (Tottenham) 15 5 3 0 0 23 Yorke (Aston Villa) 15 2 6 0 0 23 Wright (Arsenal) 12 1 7 0 0 20 Yeboah (Leeds) 12 1 3 3 0 19 Armstrong (Tottenham) 11 4 3 0 0 18 Dublin (Coventry) 13 2 0 0 0 15 Cantona (Man Utd) 11 4 0 0 0 15 Collymore (Liverpool) 10 5 0 0 0 15 Bergkamp (Arsenal) 10 0 5 0 0 15 Holdsworth (Wimbledon) 8 1 4 0 0 13 Stuart (Everton) 8 3 1 1 0 13 Hirst (Sheff Wed) 11 0 1 0 0 12 L=League, F=FA Cup, C=Coca Cola Cup, E=European, O=Other, T=Total.
Wilkinson Under Pressure at Leeds(28/03/96)
Howard Wilkinson the Leeds manager is under unprecendented pressure from his once faithful Leeds followers after his side crashed to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa in the Coca Cola Cup Final. Wilkinson was booed off the pitch and has admitted that this is the low point of his managerial career.
After revueing the sittuation however, Wilkinson has decided to stick it out and rebuild his team. A complete overhaul of the team can be expected over the summer, with plenty of names going out and fresh faces coming into the squad.
Ian Wright Shocks Gunners With Transfer Request (15/03/96)
Ian Wright, the Highbury supremo, shocked fans and the team alike when he put in a suprise request to go on the transfer list. Wright is reported to have had a bust up with Gunners boss Bruce Rioch and is facing a challenge to his automatic selection from John Hartson.
Wright has been suspended for three matches and has had to sit back and watch Arsenal maintain their unbeaten run, with Hartson firing on all cylinders. However Wright insists that the decision has been something that he has come to terms with over the last few months, and was not made in a hurry.
With Hartson on good form and genuine healthy competition for team places, Wright is showing little character by throwing in the towel so easily. Bruce Rioch also has questions to answer having seemingly alienated half the board as well as half the team.
After consultation however, the Arsenal board have turned down Wright's request to move, at least to the end of the season. But with Chelsea and West Ham already in the chase for Wright's signature, Arsenal may well be tempted to sell the 32 year old as the bidding will be in the region of GBP3 million.
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Super League Kicks Off With French Flair (28/03/96)
The European Super League kicks off in Paris tonight, to mark a new era of Rugby League. This is Murdoch's era, controled by airtime and finance the sport faces new challenges to capture the heartsand minds of the nation during the summer calender. Wigan remain the favorites, and the inclusion of Paris St Germain brings a new edge to the competition, although they will probably not seriosly challenge the english champions this season.
The result of Murdoch's money being poured into the game may eventually enable another team to seriosly challenge Wigan, who may suffer from a slightly weaker squad this season. The London Bronco's coach, Tony Currie is hoping for a top six place at the end of their seson, while Ledds are not discounting their chances either. The main challenge however is likely to come from Sheffield and St Helens.
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David Lloyd Given England Coaching Role
In the fall out of England's dismall World Cup adventure and South Africa tour, supremo Ray Illingworth has been forced out of his managerial role with England. David Lloyd the Lancashire coach will fill his shoes, although his contract will last only up to the end of the summer.
Illingworth who was to face a challenge from Graveney for his role of Chairman of Selectors, will keep hold of that position as he did not face a challenger to it. Lloyd was effectively second choice after John Emburey was offered the position but turned it down, pledging his future to Northamptonshire.
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Hill Confident in run up to South American Double
Damon Hill has set a target of two wins in the next ten days, as the Grand Prix circuit will tour an intrigueing South American double in Brazil and Argentina. If Hill does come away from the latino races twenty points better off, then he will have propelled homself into an excellent lead to start the season off with. Although the chances are slim, with so much riding on luck, Hill probably has as good as chance as any to pull off a memorable double.
Meanwhile Eddy Irvine suffered a high speed crash in the first warm up laps in Brazil, but is likely to compete in the rest of the weekends activities.
Hill Takes First Race in Australia
Damon Hill took the first Grand Prix of the season, but only after a dramatic early crash from Martin Brundell and a cat and mouse race with team partner Jacques Villneuve.
Brundell was sent flying in his Jordan car, catipulted high over the top of Coulthard's McClaren on the third corner of the first lap. It looked like a devastating crash, but as the dust settled, Brundle scramled out of his wrecked car and appeared completely unscathed. To prove the point he ran back down the pit lan to retrieve his back up car in order to make the restart.
Hill would have been grateful for the restart, as he had already fallen behind to the two Ferrari's by the time the Brundle incident had happened. However he got away well at the restart, chasing Villneuve ahead of him and these two began to open up a gap on the followers. On lap 9 Alesi and Irvine collided, which later forced Alesi out of the race.
Villneuve pitted first out of the two Williams cars and took a terrible 17.6 seconds, Hill managed even worse, taking 18.5 seconds. This is an area that Williams have lacked consistent performance in for sometime, and will have to be improved on to stay ahead of the pack. It was however a one stop stratergy from the Williams, and as Hill exited, he emerged just infront of the charging Villneuve. The Canadian rookie, closed in on Hill and streamed past while Hill's tyres were still warming to the battle.
From here on in it was Villneuve leading the charge with Hill buzzing around in his mirrors. Shmacher had break trouble and after a lengthly pit stop to repair the damage, he retired. The Ferrari had looked far more competitive than had been suggested by Shumacher before the race and certainly by midseason, should be right up there challenging.
In the meantime the battle up front was ongoing. Hill kept constant pressure on Villneuve who at one point left the track briefly, but managed to regain control before Hill past him. As the race went on it became apparent that Hill's car was discoloured. The squeky clean car of Villneuve contrasted with Hill's which was turning distinctly yellow. There was an oil leak springing from the Canadian's car, spraying Hill's who was in his slipsteam. Soon smoke appeared to be fuming from Villneave's car and it was not long after this that an agitated Williams team ordered the rookie to slow down to preserve his car. In doing so Hill sped past his fallen partner with 5 laps to go and went on to win his second Australian Grand Prix in a row.
Benn to Make a Quick return to the Ring(28/03/96)
Nigel Benn the former WBC middleweight boxing champion, announced his return to the ring just weeks after retiring. Benn snapped up the offer to fight against WBO champion Steve Collins.
Benn announced his retirement last month after losing his WBC title toSouth African Sugar Boy Malinga. Benn still feels he has something to offer in the ring and refuses to leave the sport a loser. A potential challenger for the WBC belt from Malinga could be Benns old adversary Chris Eubank, with the possibility of a unification fight in the summer, the two could still yet meet for a third time.
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1995 November: 1, 2, 3, 4. December: 5, 6, 7. 1996 January: 8,9,10,11,12,13