10 Years Ago – A 10 Goal Thriller

There have been some truly absorbing games since the Premier League began. Whether it be a crucial six-pointer or a cagey, tight title clincher, we have all experienced highs, lows and extraordinary matches.

One such match that fits the bill took place 10 years ago today. Oh, how time flies.

White Hart Lane was the venue for Tottenham Vs Reading. A premier League encounter that gave us a result nobody could have predicted. I doubt anybody put money on it. If you did, please give me a call and share your incredible knowledge/luck.

The first half was relatively tame. Well, compared to the 2nd half goalfest that was to come anyway. Spurs took the lead after only 7 minutes through Dimitar Berbatov with a tap-in.

Within 10 minutes Kalifa Cisse had levelled for Reading, and that was it for the first half. A seemingly routine Premier League clash that looked as if it could go either way.

Only 8 minutes into the 2nd half, Ivar Ingimarsson headed the Royals ahead, only to see Berbatov fire home an equaliser after 63 minutes.

The floodgates were well and truly open. Reading recaptured the lead on 69 minutes with Dave Kitson heading home a Nicky Shorey corner. The lead was again short-lived as Berbatov completely his hat-trick 4 minutes later.

Surely we wouldn’t see too many more goals? Oh, yes we would. Straight from the restart, Kitson added his 2nd and Reading were back in the lead for the 3rd time.

Into the final quarter of an hour and Tottenham refused to lie down. Steed Malbranque was next on the scoresheet to make it 4-4.

79 minutes on the clock and the home side were awarded a penalty. Yet more drama was to ensue as Robbie Keane saw his penalty saved, only for Jermaine Defoe to head in the rebound……… 5-4!

How would this astonishing game end?

That man Berbatov completed his man of the match performance by adding his 4th and Spurs 6th to give us a final score of Tottenham Hotspur 6 Reading 4.

Not one for those of us that like to see good defending, and I’m sure both managers joined fans in tearing their hair out at times.

Steve Coppell: It was great entertainment and if you were impartial it would have been a magnificent game to watch.

Gus Poyet: It was a great game for Match Of The Day, but not a great game if you were one of the managers

One thing is for sure is it was a game that offered entertainment of the highest level. Two teams refusing to lie down and fight till the bitter end. There have been others and maybe, just maybe we might see something similar this coming weekend. 


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Remembering Being A Member Of Those Who Remember The Full Members Cup – Do You Remember?

1985 and English clubs are banned from europe following the Heysel Stadium diaaster. Suddenly there are several spare midweek football slots to fill. What do you do? Well obviously you create a competition for the top two divisions in English football to fill that void. Could this be something to excite the masses and rival the league cup and of course the world’s oldest competition… The FA Cup? 

Well in a nutshell…. No!!! However, there were exciting games during the 7 seasons it ran for. Crowds weren’t exactly sellouts, but nonetheless it had a place… sort of.

The Cup was the brainchild of long serving Chelsea chairman Ken Bates. Yes, the former dairy farmer who bought the club for a quid and then sold them to Russian oil tycoon Roman Abramovich for £140m. 

Now, it’s fair to say the competition wasn’t everybody’s ‘cup of tea’. Actually if it was a cup of tea it would be one those weak poor brews that your mate that doesn’t like making you one serves up. Many clubs pulled out some years and in particular Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham declined the invitation completely. 

The format was pretty simple as teams were broken into a regional draw… North and South. They did trial a first round group system but It a was in the most part a knockout competition that included a two legged regional final before the regional winners faced each other in a Wembley showpiece final. Who wouldn’t want a day out at the twin towers to cheer on their team?

The first final took place on a Sunday between Bates own club… Chelsea, and Manchester City. Surely not great to have to rearrange a league fixture for a ‘meaningless’ cup game you might say. Well, no because both clubs played league games the day before. ‘Excuse me, what? How would today’s players feel about that? Could you imagine Eden Hazard and Sergio Aguero facing off in a cup final only 24 hours after a league game? No nor me.

As it turned out it was an entertaining affair as Chelsea ran out 5-4 winners. The blues were 5-1 up at one stage before a City comeback was too little too late.

So after the great advert the final gave the competition it continued. Blackburn Rovers defeated Charlton Athletic 1-0 and the competition them gained sponsorship in the form of Italian Sportswear manufacturer Simod. 

Reading were the winners next in what was a rare success for the royals. Following a sponsorship change with the competition being called The Zenith Data Systems Cup… Nottingham Forest won the competition twice in 1989 and 1992, Chelsea added a 2nd title in 1990 and Crystal Palace enjoyed a day out in 1991. 

So was it all worth it? Yes I believe it was. As a Chelsea fan I was there in 1990 at the tender age of 12 to see Tony Dorigo curl in a fabulous freekick in what was the only goal of a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough. I’d hope there were fans like me who enjoyed their club having a dream day out and seeing their club lift a trophy. 

On the whole I can’t see there being a ‘Bring back the Full Members Cup’ campaign in the near future, but it is one that for some brings back some happy memories of how football used to be.

What are your memories of this competition?

Update: Line Ups Confirmed – Who Will Reach The Promised Land? 

Today at 3pm Wembley hosts the Skybet Championship play off final. The winners will of course claim promotion to the Premier league. The game is often seen as being the richest game in football with a windfall of £200m.

So will it be Reading who were last in the Premier league in the 2012/13 season or Huddersfield Town who last competed in the top flight as far back as 1972. 

Historically Reading have spent most of their history at levels below the top division, but have enjoyed a period of success with 2 promotions in the past 11 years and defied all odds by finishing 8th in the Premier League in 2007. The club did enjoy a memorable day at Wembley in winning the Full Members Cup in 1988

Huddersfield Town have a history that saw them clinch 3 back to back titles (the first club to do so) in the 1920s and an FA Cup during the same period that also included the 1930’s. It’s easy to say that was their golden period as a club as they came close to more titles. After 31 years of tip flight football, the terriers were relegated to the 2nd tier and although they still spent some time back in the old first division…. most of their history has since been spent in the lower divisions. In recent years things have looked up and have reached the high of today’s game.

Today’s Team News

The Terriers boss David Wagner might stick with the team that edged out Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday on penalties in the semi final. Although Kasey Palmer sidelined recently is in contention for a return to the squad.

The Royals have doubts over Jordan Obita and Gareth McCleary but  Jaap Staam is hoping left back Obita may be included. Other than that they appear in good health.

Confirmed line up’s:

So who will win promotion today? 

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