We’re sure that you have been fantasising about being in the pub with your friends, some football to look forward to. What were once simple pleasures now seem like pipe dreams, but Sparta GK will be continuing our ‘Year in Goalkeeping’ series to ensure that you have your five minutes of bliss ignorance.
Today we look at the year the Premier League was born and football in England started on its journey towards globalisation, to the betterment, detriment or both, to the game in this country.
You are excited by the prospect of something called ‘Super Sunday’ with 4 hours of needless chit-chat sandwiching a game of football, listening to Smells Like Teen Spirit on your Walkman and the Cold War is no longer.
Sparta have just transported you to 1992...
Atletico Bilbao, 1992 -1994 Blue
The 1992/93 season was much improved for Atletico Bilbao as they catapulted from 14th to 8th from the previous season under the stewardship of Bayern legend Josef Heynckes.
Goalkeeper Juan Jose Valencia was promoted to the first team in Heynckes inaugural season in charge of the Basque outfit, and the away goalkeeper shirt may not be the stuff of legend, it is a delightfully understated and smart number from Kappa, in the age of the garish designs.
The 90’s was a brilliantly unpredictable decade in regard to kit design and the simplicity yet complexity of the random royal to navy blue diagonal striping on Atletico’s change ‘keeper shirt, marries the messiness of many designs of the time whilst retaining a touch of class.
Valencia would also wear this shirt in Bilbao’s 5th place finish in the 1993/94 season, reaching the UEFA Cup and beating both Real Madrid and Barcelona. Perhaps this one will live in the memory of Bilbao fans and not many others but is definitely worth a space in this column.
Peter Schmeichel - DENMARK v Germany, Euro 92 Final
Denmark’s Euro 1992 campaign and even their route to the tournament itself, only qualifying due to Yugoslavia’s disqualification.
Denmark met the world champions Germany in the final Stockholm and in one of the greatest upsets in the history of international football.
The favourites were in full control early on, but after John Jensen netted in the 18th minute, Denmark had something to hang onto.
Peter Schmeichel’s stoicism kept the Germans at bay, with a magnificent full stretch save from Jurgen Klinsmann and another from Stefan Reuter as were the Dane’s were holding onto a slender lead.
It seemed only a matter of time before a goal as the second half ticked on, but it was Denmark who scored it through Kim Vilfort to trigger incredible scenes from the Danish contingent who made the short journey across Scandinavia.
Schmeichel was hailed as one of the many heroes of the hour as Denmark lifted a highly unlikely major honour and catapulted the future Premier League & Champions League winner into the limelight.
Mark Bosnich - Sydney United to Aston Villa
Mark Bosnich was a bit of an enigma in English football in the 1990’s and when he showed himself to be one of the best in our domestic game a scandal was not too far behind.
After a short spell at Manchester United at the start of his career (a club he would go onto play for) Bosnich made the move to Aston Villa from Sydney United in a free transfer in the February of 1992.
Although a significant transfer in the longer term, Bosnich did not establish himself as the number one at Villa Park until the 1993/94 season, although he did play 18 games in the 1992/93 season as Villa finished second in the inaugural Premier League season.
Bosnich went onto play 179 times for Villa, including lifting the League Cup twice in 1994 and 1995, before signing as a successor to Peter Schmeichel at Manchester United in 1999.