A Year In Goalkeeping - 1993
Year in Goalkeepers 1993
Long before the fury over the abandoned European Super League, there was once a breakaway league that caused some controversy, with so-called bigger clubs in pursuit of a higher proportion of TV revenue (sound familiar?).
The Premier League was a controversial concept when proposals were announced to breakaway (sort of) from the Football League and act as a separate entity and although there are several who bemoan a lot of the characteristics it has birthed in English football, it has had its successes.
So lets dust off the time machine again to see how that inaugural season panned out. While we’re at it we can get a pint for a quid, take a punt on the only ever Grand National to be null and void and watch Alex Ferguson lift his first of thirteen league titles.
We’re back in 1993.
There were some garish goalkeeper shirts around in 1993, but very few looked exactly like your nan’s kitchen wallpaper.
Peter Schmeichel wore this for the 1993/94 season, with very mixed review even at a time of very little taboo in the football kit world, as it was a rarity for goalkeepers to wear white at the time.
Although white was one of the only colours a goalkeeper were permitted to wear wear up until the 1970’s, along with green and blue, yellow or black, but it wasn’t a hugely popular colour for ‘keeper shirts and even now isn’t too common.
This Umbro number will certainly split opinion with the blue and yellow chevron design resembling wallpaper of the time, but it is quintessentially 90’s in the manufacturer’s attempt to pushing boundaries.
Tim Flowers - Southampton to Blackburn
Tim Flowers was one of the top goalkeepers in the Premier League in its early seasons and a fantastic campaign with Southampton caught the attention of newly-rich Blackburn, who paid £2.4 million to bring him to Ewood Park in the summer of 1993, a then British record fee for a goalkeeper.
They rest, they say, is history. The season before their finest, Blackburn finished second in the Premier League and Flowers, who was brought into add balance to a side that boasted attacking talent of Shearer and Sutton, improved their defensive record to the extent that it was better than champions Manchester United.
The England international would go onto spend six seasons at Blackburn, but none moreso than his second, when his Blackburn side clinched the Premier League title on the final day of the 1994/95 season.
Fabien Barthez - Marseille v AC Milan - European Cup Final
May 1993 was a turbulent month for Marseille. The French side won their first ever European Cup thanks to a 1-0 win over AC Milan, but were stripped of the Ligue 1 title for the 1992/93 season after attempting (and succeeding) to bribe opposition players and officials.
However, their finest European moment came against an AC Milan with European pedigree and the creme de la creme of footballing talent, with Raymond Goethal’s side huge underdogs in Munich.
Fabien Barthez became the youngest ever goalkeeper in a European Cup Final at the age of twenty-one, but put in a performance worthy of the most experienced, keeping the likes of Marco Van Basten and Roberto Donadoni at bay in a 1-0 shut-out.
Barthez helped Marseille become the first ever French side to win the European Cup and the soon-to-be bald maverick would enjoy a glittering career, with a World Cup, European Championship and several domestic league titles to his name.
IN OTHER NEWS...
The first of many
David James has always been a bit of an enigma with England fans in particular, but no one can doubt his staying power in the top division, holding the record number of cleansheets for an English goalkeeper in the Premier League (169) and was infact the overall record holder for seven years before Petr Cech surpassed him.
James endured a tough start to his Liverpool career in 1992/93 and was swiftly dropped for veteran Bruce Grobbelaar after a loss of form.
However, in January of 1993 was a significant one for his cleansheet collection, as the England half-centurion put in a man of the match performance away at Arsenal and saving a Paul Merson penalty. It was a fitting way to start his record breaking attempt.