In this blog series – “What Happened Today”, we are going to revive some of the moments from past which will revive moments of the golden history of the league.
Saturday’s newspapers were discussing David James winning the Barclays’ Young Eagle of the month for August, Ryan Giggs’ prominent rise and comparisons with the great George Best, Chelsea’s new striker Robert Fleck set to face his old team Norwich at the Stamford Bridge and Chelsea chairman slamming premier league over the sponsorship negotiations and labelled them as “Greedy”.
David James scooped his first Liverpool honour on that day by being named Barclays’ Young Eagle of the month for the North West. The talented Reds’ keeper earned the award for his performances in August after having claimed the number one shirt at Anfield from Bruce Grobbelaar. James was nominated to win the inscribed salver by Barclays panel representative, Jimmy Armfield, and his opinion was endorsed by panel chairman, England boss Graham Taylor. Ex-England skipper Armfield’s report to Taylor read: “It must have been difficult for him because he’s come in and taken over from a recognised senior player. David looks very confident for one so young, and the thing I really like about him is his hands look safe.” The national Barclays Young Eagle of the month, selected by Taylor, was Blackburn Rovers striker, Alan Shearer.
After a breakout season previous year, Ryan Giggs’ stock had been very high with an impressive start to the new campaign. Giggs was outstanding in Manchester United’s 2-0 win over champions Leeds previous Sunday. It was a tribute to his family, friends, manager and team-mates that Giggs, the person, was still virtually wrapped in cotton wool, shielded from the often overwhelming glare of publicity that had hampered so many promising careers. Giggs was still only 18 and in a rare public moment, revealed a mature character and valued the care and attention being offered by those around him. “Last year everything went well for me and I haven’t had a bad patch yet. That is something I have got to learn to handle,” he admitted. “Because I had such a good season last year the fans expect something special every game. Being a one season wonder treatment has occured to me and I have worked on my game very hard in pre-season. I am determined not to let that happen.” Giggs was fortunate that Alex Ferguson, his manager, was well versed in guarding his precious young talent. But simply by playing for Manchester United, Giggs, raised in Salford, had drawn a parallel with one of the country’s greatest and a legend at Manchester United, George Best. Giggs was quick to play down the comparisons & added: “I don’t think I am anything like George apart from my age and the club I play for. George was a great player and hopeffilly I can be just as good as him.”
Chelsea striker Robert Fleck was to face his old Norwich teammates sooner them he might have expected in the English Premier League. The Scotland International moved to Chelsea just before the start of the season last month with the provison that he will sit out the first league clash between the clubs on August 19. Unfancied Norwich, the surprise league leaders after seven matches, won that home game 2-1 and might normally have expected to wait until the New Year for the rematch. But that season the fixtures had been devised that the August 18-19 fixtures were repeated less than month later, with Norwich travelling to Chelsea. Norwich won 3-0 in London last season with Fleck scoring twice, but Norwich goalkeeper Bryan Gun warned his former teammate not to expect any favours at the Stamford Bridge. “The only time I have faced Robert was in a Scottish reserve game, he insists that he scored a penalty against me but I am sure I saved it. We will see who comes out on top tomorrow.” Norwich have scored 14 goals so far with five wins but their manager Mike Walker said there is still much more to do, “There is a lot of room for improvement, especially in the build up play and on the set pieces.”
Chelsea chairman Ken Bates earlier that day slammed fellow Premier Leaguers over their greed in sponsorship negotiations. A £l3m deal with brewers Bass broke down that week when a group of clubs voted against the deal. Bates, writing in that day’s Chelsea programme, rapped: “Although it was intended that all Premier League clubs should be equal, as in Animal Farm some clubs believe that they should be more equal than other.”
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