1995–96 in English football

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The 1995–96 season was the 116th season of competitive football in England.

Overview[edit]

Premiership[edit]

Newcastle United were 12 points clear at the top of Manchester United, but Alex Ferguson's relatively young and inexperienced side overhauled them during the second half of the season to win the title.

Manchester United were England's entrants for the European Cup, while Newcastle United were joined in the UEFA Cup by Liverpool, Aston Villa (League Cup winners) and Arsenal.

Going down were Manchester City, Queens Park Rangers and Bolton Wanderers.

Division One[edit]

Sunderland A.F.C. and Derby County both returned to the Premiership after a five-year exile, joined by Division One playoff winners Leicester City.

Watford F.C. and Luton Town, who had both been established top division sides a decade earlier, were relegated to the league's third tier. On the last day of the season they were joined by Millwall, who had been top of the division five months earlier but slumped dramatically after Mick McCarthy's departure for the Republic of Ireland manager's job.

Division Two[edit]

Swindon Town returned to Division One at the first attempt after lifting the Division Two championship trophy. They were joined by runners-up Oxford United, who were enjoying their first successful season since the mid-1980s, and playoff winners Bradford City.

Going down were Carlisle United, Swansea City (who got through five managers in a season), Brighton & Hove Albion (sinking further into a financial crisis) and Hull City.

Division Three[edit]

Preston North End, Gillingham, Bury F.C. and playoff winners Plymouth Argyle won promotion to Division Two.

Torquay United finished bottom of Division Three, having won just five games all season, but were saved from demotion because Conference champions Stevenage Borough did not meet the league's required minimum stadium capacity.

Successful managers[edit]

Alex Ferguson guided Manchester United to a unique second double of the league title and FA Cup.

Brian Little guided Aston Villa to victory in the League Cup as well as a fourth place finish in the Premiership.

Peter Reid brought some long-awaited success to Sunderland A.F.C. as they finished champions of Division One and won promotion to the Premiership.

Experienced manager Jim Smith achieved another managerial success by winning promotion to the Premiership with Derby County.

Martin O'Neill achieved his third promotion in four seasons by winning promotion to the Premiership with Leicester City.

Steve McMahon succeeded in getting Swindon Town back into Division One at the first attempt as they were crowned champions of Division Two.

Denis Smith built on the success he achieved earlier in his career (with York City and later Sunderland A.F.C.) by gaining promotion to Division One with Oxford United.

Gary Peters had a dream start to his reign as Preston North End manager as they were crowned champions of Division Three.

Stan Ternent finally enjoyed some success in his long management and coaching career by winning promotion to Division Two with Bury.

Neil Warnock achieved the fifth promotion of his managerial career (and his fourth via the playoffs) by winning the Division Three playoffs with Plymouth Argyle.

Chris Kamara got Bradford City promoted via the Division 2 play offs just 6 months after taking over as manager. The feat was all the more amazing considering they lost 0-2 at home to Blackpool in the 1st leg of the play off semi final. A 3-0 victory in the 2nd leg saw Bradford City reach Wembley for the first ever time defeating Notts County 2-0 in the final with goals from 19-year-old local boy Des Hamilton and Kamara's first signing Mark Stallard.

Successful players[edit]

Alan Shearer topped the Premiership scoring charts with the highest number of goals in the league charted at the time, with 31. Shearer was followed closely by Robbie Fowler on 28, Ian Wright and Les Ferdinand, who won the PFA Player of the Year.

Steve McManaman led the assists chart with 25 assists this season, also a new record for the league.

Eric Cantona was awarded the Football Writers' Player of the Year for his comeback and galvanising influence over a successful young Manchester United side.

Events[edit]

Double double delight for United[edit]

Manchester United made history as the first English club to repeat the double of the league title and FA Cup, despite having sold key players Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis before the start of the season, and not bought any new players. Manager Alex Ferguson selected young players like Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Gary Neville and Phil Neville, alongside more experienced players like Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister and Eric Cantona.

At Christmas, United trailed Newcastle United by 12 points. On 27 December they beat Newcastle 2–0 to cut the gap to seven points, and a 1–0 win at St. James's Park on 4 March cut the gap to a single point. A 1–1 draw at QPR the following weekend put United on top of the Premiership and they remained at the top for the rest of the season. On the final day of the season they confirmed their status as Premiership champions for the third time in four seasons thanks to a 3-0 away win over Middlesbrough F.C. - managed by former United captain Bryan Robson.

Eric Cantona, who returned from his suspension in style to spearhead United's chase for trophies, was voted FWA Player of the Year as the press who had vilified him for the previous season's Selhurst Park incident came to applaud him for his brilliance on the pitch.

On 11 May, United faced Liverpool in the FA Cup final at Wembley. A late goal from Eric Cantona saw United make history and lift the FA Cup as England's first 'double double' winners.

Venables out, Hoddle in[edit]

Terry Venables announced in January that he would not be continuing as England manager after the 1996 European Championships, so the FA began their hunt for his successor. The likes of Alex Ferguson, Howard Kendall, Steve Coppell, Gerry Francis and Kevin Keegan were all linked with the job, but all quickly ruled themselves out either because of club commitments or a lack of experience.

In the end, Chelsea manager Glenn Hoddle (aged 39) agreed to take charge of the England team on a four-year contract. Hoddle's successor at Chelsea was the 33-year-old Dutch legend Ruud Gullit.

Euro 96: So close for England[edit]

England hosted the 1996 European Championships - for the first time in the history of the competition. They went through to the quarter finals after drawing with Switzerland and beating Scotland and Holland in the group stages. The score with Spain was 0-0 in the quarter finals but England went through on penalties. An Alan Shearer goal gave them an early lead over Germany in the semi finals, but the Germans pulled a goal back to force extra time and England lost the ensuing penalty shoot-out. Germany went on to beat Czech Republic 2-1 in the final.

European competitions[edit]

English clubs endured a tough time in European competition during 1995-96. Manchester United, Liverpool and Leeds United suffered early exits from the UEFA Cup, while Blackburn Rovers were eliminated from the Champions League at the group stages and Everton were dumped out of the Cup Winners Cup in the Second Round. That left Nottingham Forest as the only English club still in Europe after Christmas.

Forest took on Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup quarter finals and lost 2-1 away in the first leg. Jürgen Klinsmann scored twice as the German side defeated Forest 5–1 at the City ground and went on to win the competition.

Bosman ruling[edit]

A legal challenge in the European Court of Human Rights by little-known Belgian midfielder Jean-Marc Bosman gave out-of-contract players aged 23 or above the right to become free agents and move to other clubs for no fee. There was widespread controversy following the announcement, as many clubs feared that they would lose expensively signed players for nothing. The Bosman ruling also saw an end to the three foreigner rule which restricted teams to fielding a maximum of three players born outside the country that they were employed in. In the Premiership, the limit of three foreigners in a match squad had covered Welsh, Scottish and Northern and Southern Irish players. But the Bosman ruling allowed clubs in EU countries to field an unlimited number of players who were of EU nationalities, although they were still restricted to fielding 3 players of non-EU nationalities.

Honours[edit]

Competition Winner
FA Premier League Manchester United (10/3*)
FA Cup Manchester United (9*)
Football League Cup Aston Villa (5)
Football League First Division Sunderland
Football League Second Division Swindon Town
Football League Third Division Preston North End
FA Community Shield Everton

English national team[edit]

As England was hosting the 1996 UEFA European Football Championship the English national team did not play any competitive fixtures up until the championships themselves but played a number of friendlies this season.

Date Opposition Venue Result
6 September 1995 Colombia Wembley Stadium, London D 0-0
11 October 1995 Norway Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo D 0-0
15 November 1995 Switzerland Wembley Stadium, London W 3-1
12 December 1995 Portugal Wembley Stadium, London D 1-1
27 March 1996 Bulgaria Wembley Stadium, London W 1-0
24 April 1996 Croatia Wembley Stadium, London D 0-0
18 May 1996 Hungary Wembley Stadium, London W 3-0
23 May 1996 China Workers Stadium, Beijing W 3-0

League tables[edit]

Premiership[edit]

Manchester United were Premiership champions for the third time in four seasons, after Newcastle United led for most of the season, the Tyneside club's lead having peaked at 10 points just before Christmas. United also won the FA Cup to complete a the double. The star of their season was undoubtedly striker Eric Cantona, who returned from his eight-month suspension at the beginning of October to spearhead United's attack with 19 goals in all competitions, several of them in crucial late season games as they took the initiative in the title race, and the last being the winning goal in the FA Cup final.

Aston Villa, enjoying a revival with a reshaped squad under Brian Little, finised fourth and won the Football League Cup. Liverpool continued to show signs of a return to their former glory by finishing in third spot and runners-up spot in the FA Cup. Arsenal built the foundations for a revival under new manager Bruce Rioch by finishing fifth and coming within a goal of reaching the League Cup final. However, their manager had gone by the start of the following season after a dispute with the club's directors.

FA Cup winners Everton failed to retain the cup and finished in sixth place in the league one place outside of a UEFA Cup place.

Blackburn Rovers failed to retain their league title and finished seventh in the league, with Alan Shearer finding the net more than 30 times for the third season in a row.

Nottingham Forest finished ninth in the league and were the only English side to progress to the last eight of any of the European competitions doing so in reaching the quarter-final UEFA Cup. 1995-96 was indeed one of the worst seasons ever for English clubs in European competitions.

Bolton Wanderers, Queens Park Rangers and Manchester City were relegated, while Coventry City and Southampton stayed up on goal difference.

Pos. Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
1. Manchester United 38 25 7 6 73 35 82
2. Newcastle United 38 24 6 8 66 37 78
3. Liverpool 38 20 11 7 70 34 71
4. Aston Villa 38 18 9 11 52 35 63
5. Arsenal 38 17 12 9 49 32 63
6. Everton 38 17 10 11 64 44 61
7. Blackburn Rovers 38 18 7 13 61 47 61
8. Tottenham Hotspur 38 16 13 9 50 38 61
9. Nottingham Forest 38 15 13 10 50 54 58
10. West Ham United 38 14 9 15 43 52 51
11. Chelsea 38 12 14 12 46 44 50
12. Middlesbrough 38 11 10 17 35 50 43
13. Leeds United 38 12 7 19 40 57 43
14. Wimbledon 38 10 11 17 55 70 41
15. Sheffield Wednesday 38 10 10 18 48 61 40
16. Coventry City 38 8 14 16 42 60 38
17. Southampton 38 9 11 18 34 52 38
18. Manchester City 38 9 11 18 33 58 38
19. Queens Park Rangers 38 9 6 23 38 57 33
20. Bolton Wanderers 38 8 5 25 39 71 29
Key
Qualified for the Champions League
Qualified for the UEFA Cup
Qualified for the Cup Winners' Cup
Relegated to Division One

Leading goalscorer: Alan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers) - 31

Division One[edit]

Sunderland gave their best performance in years by clinching the Division One title, and were joining among the elite by runners-up Derby County and playoff winners Leicester City. Crystal Palace conceded a last-minute Leicester winner at Wembley, and would have gone up automatically had it not been for their dismal first half of the season.

Luton Town, Watford and Millwall, who had all played in the top flight at some stage in the last nine seasons, went down to Division Two. Millwall had been top of the league five months before going down on the final day of the season before a 6-0 defeat at Sunderland signaled a dramatic decline in their fortunes. Oldham Athletic narrowly avoided a second relegation in three seasons, while Wolverhampton Wanderers finished 20th and the last safe place was secured by Portsmouth. Reading, who would have been promoted a year earlier had it not been for the restructuring of the league, while Norwich City and Birmingham City finished in the bottom half of the table after both enjoying spells at the top during the first half of the season. West Bromwich Albion finished 12th after a dramatic season where they had looked like promotion contenders in the autumn, before enduring a 14-match winless run where they picked up just one point and fell into the relegation zone, before an upturn in form saw them climb to mid table.

Pos. Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
1. Sunderland 46 22 17 7 59 33 83
2. Derby County 46 21 16 9 71 51 79
3. Crystal Palace 46 20 15 11 67 48 75
4. Stoke City 46 20 13 13 60 49 73
5. Leicester City 46 19 14 13 66 60 71
6. Charlton Athletic 46 17 20 9 57 45 71
7. Ipswich Town 46 19 12 15 79 69 69
8. Huddersfield Town 46 17 12 17 61 58 63
9. Sheffield United 46 16 14 16 57 54 62
10. Barnsley 46 14 18 14 60 66 60
11. West Bromwich Albion 46 16 12 18 60 68 60
12. Port Vale 46 15 15 16 59 66 60
13. Tranmere Rovers 46 14 17 15 64 60 59
14. Southend United 46 15 14 17 52 61 59
15. Birmingham City 46 15 13 18 61 64 58
16. Norwich City 46 14 15 17 59 55 57
17. Grimsby Town 46 14 14 18 55 69 56
18. Oldham Athletic 46 14 14 18 54 50 56
19. Reading 46 13 17 16 54 63 56
20. Wolverhampton Wanderers 46 13 16 17 56 62 55
21. Portsmouth 46 13 13 20 61 69 52
22. Millwall 46 13 13 20 43 63 52
23. Watford 46 10 18 18 62 70 48
24. Luton Town 46 11 12 23 40 64 45
Key
Promoted to the Premiership
Qualified for the promotion playoff
Relegated to Division Two

NB In the Football League goals scored (F) takes precedence over goal difference

Leading goalscorer: John Aldridge (Tranmere Rovers) - 27

Division Two[edit]

Swindon Town secured an immediate return to Division One by winning the Division Two title. They were joined by local rivals and runners-up Oxford United, while the final promotion place went to playoff winners Bradford City whose Wembley glory gave Chris Kamara a dream start in management.

Blackpool, who missed out on automatic promotion by one place, attained their highest league finish for more than 20 years but a playoff semi-final failure cost them a place in Division One and cost Sam Allardyce his job. Crewe Alexandra were defeated in the playoffs for the second season running, while beaten finalists Notts County had been relegated the season before.

Carlisle United, Swansea City, Brighton & Hove Albion and Hull City were relegated to Division Three. York City, who made headlines by knocking Manchester United out of the League Cup early in the season, avoided relegation by three points after beating Brighton in their delayed final fixture of the season, sending Carlisle down.

Pos. Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
1. Swindon Town 46 25 17 4 71 34 92
2. Oxford United 46 24 11 11 76 39 83
3. Blackpool 46 23 13 10 67 40 82
4. Notts County 46 21 15 10 63 39 78
5. Crewe Alexandra 46 22 7 17 77 60 73
6. Bradford City 46 22 7 17 71 69 73
7. Chesterfield 46 20 12 14 56 51 72
8. Wrexham 46 18 16 12 76 55 70
9. Stockport County 46 19 13 14 61 47 70
10. Bristol Rovers 46 20 10 16 57 60 70
11. Walsall 46 19 12 15 60 45 69
12. Wycombe Wanderers 46 15 15 16 63 59 60
13. Bristol City 46 15 15 16 55 60 60
14. Bournemouth 46 16 10 20 51 70 58
15. Brentford 46 15 13 18 43 49 58
16. Rotherham United 46 14 14 18 54 62 56
17. Burnley 46 14 13 19 56 68 55
18. Shrewsbury Town 46 13 14 19 58 70 53
19. Peterborough United 46 13 13 20 59 66 52
20. York City 46 13 13 20 58 73 52
21. Carlisle United 46 12 13 21 57 72 49
22. Swansea City 46 11 14 21 43 79 47
23. Brighton & Hove Albion 46 10 10 26 46 69 40
24. Hull City 46 5 16 25 36 78 31

Note: Swindon Town's administration run ended and made arrangements after the winter tranfer window opened and before promotion as champions after 2 relegations.

Key
Promoted to Division One
Qualified for the promotion playoff
Relegated to Division Three

NB In the Football League goals scored (F) takes precedence over goal difference

Leading goalscorer: Marcus Stewart (Bristol Rovers) - 21

Division Three[edit]

Preston North End got on the right path towards better days by sealing the Division Three title. Joining them in Division Two were runners-up Gillingham (after seven years in the league's basement division), third placed Bury and playoff winners Plymouth Argyle.

Torquay United finished bottom of the league by quite a margin, but avoided relegation because Conference champions Stevenage Borough did not meet the required Football League stadium capacity standards. Scarborough endured another torrid season, finishing second from bottom in the league for the second season in succession.

Lincoln City climbed up to 18th place under John Beck, who took over in October after the club had propped up the Football League. Fulham suffered the lowest finish of their history by finishing 17th, and weeks before the end of the season they appointed Micky Adams as player-manager in hope that the former Coventry and Southampton defender could revive the club after a decade of decline. Cambridge United finished 16th in the table, a mere four years after narrowly missing out on promotion to the inaugural Premier League.

Pos. Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
1. Preston North End 46 23 17 6 78 38 86
2. Gillingham 46 22 17 7 49 20 83
3. Bury 46 22 13 11 66 48 79
4. Plymouth Argyle 46 22 12 12 68 49 78
5. Darlington 46 20 18 8 60 42 78
6. Hereford United 46 20 14 12 65 47 74
7. Colchester United 46 18 18 10 61 51 72
8. Chester City 46 18 16 12 72 53 70
9. Barnet 46 18 16 12 65 45 70
10. Wigan Athletic 46 20 10 16 62 56 70
11. Northampton Town 46 18 13 15 51 44 67
12. Scunthorpe United 46 15 15 16 67 61 60
13. Doncaster Rovers 46 16 11 19 49 60 59
14. Exeter City 46 13 18 15 46 53 57
15. Rochdale 46 14 13 19 57 61 55
16. Cambridge United 46 14 12 20 61 71 54
17. Fulham 46 12 17 17 57 63 53
18. Lincoln City 46 13 14 19 57 73 53
19. Mansfield Town 46 11 20 15 54 64 53
20. Hartlepool United 46 12 13 21 47 67 49
21. Leyton Orient 46 12 11 23 44 63 47
22. Cardiff City 46 11 12 23 41 64 45
23. Scarborough 46 8 16 22 39 69 40
24. Torquay United 46 5 14 27 30 84 29

Note: Cardiff City returned to administration after failing to comply with rules on insolvency.

Key
Promoted to Division Two
Qualified for the promotion playoff

NB In the Football League goals scored (F) takes precedence over goal difference

Leading goalscorers: Steve White (Hereford United) - 30

Diary of the season[edit]

30 June 1995 - Tottenham Hotspur pay a club record £4.5million for striker Chris Armstrong from relegated Crystal Palace.

1 July 1995 - Nottingham Forest pay a club record £2.5million for Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Chris Bart-Williams, on the same day that they sell striker Stan Collymore to Liverpool for a national record fee of £8.5million. Collymore's place in the Nottingham Forest attack is taken by Kevin Campbell, a £2.8million signing from Arsenal.

3 July 1995 - Alan Ball is appointed the new manager of Manchester City.

5 July 1995 - Brian Little's regeneration of Aston Villa continues with the £3.25million acquisition of Leicester City midfielder Mark Draper.

6 July 1995 - Newcastle United sign French winger David Ginola from Paris St Germain for £2.5million and striker Les Ferdinand from Queen's Park Rangers for a club record £6million.

10 July 1995 - England midfielder Paul Gascoigne returns to the UK after three years away in a £4.3million move to Glasgow Rangers.

12 July 1995 - George Graham is banned from football for a year as punishment for accepting illegal payments, which cost him his job as Arsenal manager five months ago.

14 July 1995 - Arsenal pay a club record £4.75million for England captain David Platt from Sampdoria of Italy. Platt, 29, is now the world's costliest player with transfer fees now totalling £22.15millon since Aston Villa signed him from Crewe Alexandra for £200,000 in February 1988.

17 July 1995 - Mike Naylor, chairman and founder of Football League sponsors Endsleigh Insurance, dies in Southern France when his Bentley crashes into a tree.

19 July 1995 - Sheffield Wednesday sign Belgian midfielder Marc Degryse from Anderlecht for £1.5million.

24 July 1995 - Footballers Bruce Grobbelaar, Hans Segers and John Fashanu are charged with being involved in match-fixing and bribery.

26 July 1995 - Queen's Park Rangers sign Australia national football team captain Ned Zelic from Borussia Dortmund of Germany for £1.25million.

1 August 1995 - Everton sign Derby County defender Craig Short for £2.4million.

3 August 1995 - Coventry City buy winger John Salako from Crystal Palace for £1.5million.

5 August 1995 - Middlesbrough, newly promoted to the Premier League, pay a club record £5.25million for Tottenham forward Nick Barmby.

8 August 1995 - Eric Cantona announces his intention to depart from English football, but Manchester United refuse to terminate his contract. Middlesbrough, newly promoted to the Premier League under Cantona's former team-mate Bryan Robson, sign Tottenham Hotspur forward Nick Barmby for a club record £5.25million.

10 August 1995 - Eric Cantona changes his mind and announces his intention to stay at Manchester United after a discussion with manager Alex Ferguson. Newcastle United sign Reading goalkeeper Shaka Hislop for £1.575million.

16 August 1995 - Andrea Silenzi becomes the first Italian to play for a Premier League side when he agrees to join Nottingham Forest in a £1.8million move from Torino.

19 August 1995 - The FA Premier League season kicks off with a Manchester United side predominantly made up of young players suffers a 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa. Blackburn's defence of the league title begins with a 1-0 home win over Queen's Park Rangers, with Alan Shearer scoring the only goal. Matt Le Tissier scores a hat-trick for Southampton at The Dell but can't prevent them from losing 4-3 to Nottingham Forest. Newcastle United, one of the title favourites, begin in style with a 3-0 home win over Coventry City in which the debutant Les Ferdinand scores. Bolton Wanderers mark their comeback to the top flight after 15 years away on a low note at Selhurst Park, where they lose 3-2 to Wimbledon.

20 August 1995 - Middlesbrough's Premier League comeback sees record signing Nick Barmby score on his debut in a 1-1 draw against Arsenal at Highbury.

22 August 1995 - Les Ferdinand's fine start for Newcastle United continues as he scores twice in their 3-1 away win over Bolton Wanderers.

24 August 1995 - Everton pay a club record £5million for Manchester United winger Andrei Kanchelskis, who agreed to join the club weeks ago but his transfer was delayed due to legal difficulties.

26 August 1995 - 28,286 spectators watch Middlesbrough beat Chelsea 2-0 in their first game at the new Riverside Stadium, the first new stadium to be occupied by a top division club since Manchester City's Maine Road opened in 1923. Craig Hignett scores the first goal at the new stadium.

28 August 1995 - In the first clash between the two clubs since Blackburn were crowned Premier League champions, Manchester United beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 at Ewood Park. United's Roy Keane is sent off for two bookable offences.

29 August 1995 - Arsenal are held to a 1-1 draw at home by Nottingham Forest in the league, with Forest striker Kevin Campbell depriving his old club of the three points.

31 August 1995 - August draws to a close with Newcastle United top of the Premier League having won all three of their games so far, ahead of Leeds United and Manchester United on goal difference. Meanwhile, the three relegation places are currently occupied by winless Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur as well as pointless Southampton.[1] The race for a place in next season's Premier League is led by Millwall, while second place in Division One is occupied by Barnsley who have never played top division football before. Leicester City, Tranmere Rovers, Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic complete the top six.[2]

9 September 1995 - In their first meeting since the FA Cup Final, Manchester United beat Everton 3-2 in the league at Goodison Park. Lee Sharpe scores twice, while former United player Andrei Kanchelskis dislocates his shoulder in a collision with former team mate Nicky Butt and is ruled out for up to 10 games.

20 September 1995 - York City achieve a shock 3-0 away win over an under-strength Manchester United side in the League Cup second round first leg. United manage to win the second leg 3-1 but go out 4-3 on aggregate.

23 September 1995 -

    • - Long-serving Rangers striker Mark Hateley is transferred to FA Premier League strugglers Queens Park Rangers.
      • - Robbie Fowler scores four goals for Liverpool in their 5-0 league win over Bolton Wanderers at Anfield.
        • - Manchester United, whose predominantly young side was famously written off by many observers (most notably Alan Hansen) on the opening day of the season, go top of the Premier League with a goalless away draw against Sheffield Wednesday.
        • - After just over three years at Blackburn Rovers, Alan Shearer scores his 100th competitive goal for the club when he opens the scoring in a home league game against Coventry City. He adds two more goals in the game to help his side win 5-1.

24 September 1995 - Newcastle United regain their lead of the Premier League with a 2-0 home win over Chelsea, in which Les Ferdinand scores twice.

30 September 1995 -

    • - Newcastle United remain top of the Premier League with seven wins from their opening eight games, while Aston Villa are their nearest contenders but will be leapfrogged into second place if Manchester United beat Liverpool tomorrow in a much-anticipated game that sees the long-awaited return of Eric Cantona. Meanwhile, Manchester City prop up the top flight with just one point from their first eight games, while Southampton have climbed slightly to the highest relegation place and Bolton Wanderers have fallen to second from bottom after a reasonably good start to their first top flight campaign in 16 years.[3] Leicester City now lead Division One, with their nearest challengers Barnsley and Millwall level on points. Charlton Athletic, Huddersfield Town (searching for a second successive promotion to end 25 years outside the top flight) and Sunderland complete the top six.[4]
      • - Teddy Sheringham scores twice for Tottenham in their 3-1 home league win over Wimbledon, bringing his goals tally in the league this season to eight (with seven scored in September).

1 October 1995 - Eric Cantona returns from his 8-month suspension and scores late equaliser in a 2-2 home draw with Liverpool. Meanwhile, Newcastle extend their lead at the top of the Premier League with a 3-1 away win over Everton.

11 October 1995 - Everton striker Duncan Ferguson is sentenced to 3 months in prison for assault over his headbutt on Raith Rovers player John McStay while playing for Glasgow Rangers 18 months ago. He is the first footballer in British history to be sent to prison for an on-field offence, an unwanted milestone which Eric Cantona escaped on appeal earlier this year.

14 October 1995 - 20-year-old striker Paul Scholes scores the only goal of the Manchester derby at Old Trafford, with the result boosting United's title challenge and pushing City further into relegation trouble by extending their winless start to the season.

15 October 1995 - Bryan Robson pulls off one of the biggest surprises of 1995 by signing Brazilian midfielder Juninho, currently one of the most sought-after talents in world football, in a £4.75million deal.

21 October 1995 - Les Ferdinand scores a hat-trick in Newcastle's 6-1 home league win over Wimbledon, while Manchester United remain in strong contention in second place with a 4-1 away win over Chelsea.

28 October 1995 - The Football Association announces that the 72 Football League clubs will receive an extra £21million of television revenue after they failed to agree upon an initial sum of nearly £120million.[5] Despite fierce competition up front from the younger Stan Collymore and Robbie Fowler, Ian Rush still manages to impress for Liverpool as he scores twice in their 6-0 home league win over bottom-of-the-table Manchester City. Leeds United captain Gary McAllister scores a hat-trick in a 3-1 home league win over Coventry City.

30 October 1995 - 31-year-old striker John McGinlay scores for struggling Bolton Wanderers as they achieve a surprise 1-0 home win over Arsenal.

31 October 1995 - October draws to a close with Newcastle United still top, but with a one-point and one-game advantage over their nearest contenders Manchester United who are continuing to impress with Eric Cantona back from his suspension and spearheading an exciting side featuring several talented young players. Blackburn Rovers, however, are still only 11th in the league and 13 points adrift of the top place that they need to gain if the Premier League trophy is to remain at Ewood Park. The relegation battle features Manchester City still bottom of the table and winless after 11 games, with Bolton Wanderers and Southampton also in the bottom three. FA Cup holders Everton are continuing to struggle in the league, being just two points and two places clear of the drop zone.[6] Millwall lead the race for promotion to the Premier League, three points ahead of Leicester City at the top of Division One. West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland, Birmingham City (pushing for a second successive promotion to end 10 years outside the top flight) and Tranmere Rovers complete the top six.[7]

4 November 1995 - Manchester United surrender the chance to go top of the Premier League by losing 1-0 at Arsenal. Instead, Newcastle extend their lead with a 2-1 home win over Liverpool.

8 November 1995 - Chelsea sign Dan Petrescu from Sheffield Wednesday for a club record fee of £2.3million.

10 November 1995 - The Football Association withdraws its £118.5million television revenue deal with Football League clubs after they failed to meet a deadline for a decision on the deal.

10 November 1995 - Inter Milan manager Roy Hodgson discourages bids from other clubs for England midfielder Paul Ince, who joined them from Manchester United on 22 June but has been disappointing in Italy. Hodgson states that he is unaware of any difficulties at the club which might have prompted him to desire a transfer, despite interest from Arsenal who are looking to buy a new midfielder to take over from the unsettled John Jensen.

[4]

11 November 1995 - The first round of the FA Cup produces some memorable results. Northern Premier League side Marine go to Shrewsbury Town (Division Two) with hopes of performing a giant-killing feat, but end up on the receiving end of Shrewsbury's biggest-ever win of 11-2. Division Two crisis club Swansea City are thrashed 7-0 by Division Three Fulham at Craven Cottage. Another Division Two club, Bradford City, fight off a brave challenge from non-league Burton Albion to win 4-3 at Valley Parade. Hitchin Town pull off perhaps the biggest upset on the round by defeating Bristol Rovers 2-1 at Top Field. Dorchester Town's hopes of a giant-killing act against Oxford United at the Manor Ground are swiftly blown apart in a 9-1 defeat.

13 November 1995 - Former England manager Graham Taylor resigns after 20 months in charge of Wolverhampton Wanderers, who began the season as Division One promotion favourites but currently stand 19th in the table.

17 November 1995 - Kenny Dalglish, director of football at Blackburn Rovers since June after guiding them to Premier League title glory, is reported to be in the running for the manager's job at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

18 November 1995 - Blackburn's dismal start to the season is giving way to improvement, as a 7-0 home win over Nottingham Forest suggests that they may at least come close to repeating last season's title glory.

24 November 1995 - The FA Premier League's foreign legion continues to expand with 26-year-old Swedish striker Tomas Brolin signing for Leeds United from Parma in a club record £4.5million deal. On the same day, Everton striker Duncan Ferguson is released from prison after serving 44 days of his three-month sentence for assault.

25 November 1995 - Steve Nicol returns to the Premier League less than a year after leaving Liverpool for a Notts County side now in Division Two, when he signs for a Sheffield Wednesday side looking to climb away from the relegation battle.[8]

27 November 1995 - The Football League signs a five-year television coverage deal worth £125million with BSkyB.[9]

30 November 1995 - November draws to a close with Newcastle United now leading by five points but Manchester United still pushing them hard after a generally good month which saw two comprehensive victories over Chelsea and Southampton. Manchester City have climbed off bottom place and out of the relegation zone with their first three wins of the season, while Bolton Wanderers, Coventry City and Queen's Park Rangers occupy the bottom three places. It is familiar ground for Coventry City, while a struggle is inevitable for Bolton Wanderers as it's their first top division campaign since 1979-80, but these are unfamiliar surroundings for a Queen's Park Rangers side who have never finished below ninth in their previous three top division campaigns but are now feeling the absence of Les Ferdinand who is now banging in goals at an impressive rate with top-of-the-table Newcastle United.[10] Millwall remain top of Division One. Grimsby Town emerge as surprise promotion contenders as they occupy second place in the league. Leicester City, Sunderland, Tranmere Rovers and Birmingham City complete the top six.[11]

2 December - Blackburn's revival and Alan Shearer's prolific goalscoring both continue as he scores a hat-trick in their 4-2 home win over West Ham United. Manchester United's title push, however, stalls when they are held to a 1-1 home draw by Chelsea.

3 December - Newcastle remain five points ahead of Manchester United after being held to a dramatic 3-3 draw at Wimbledon.

4 December - Dion Dublin scores a hat-trick for struggling Coventry City, but they still lose 4-3 to Sheffield Wednesday in the league at Hillsborough.

7 December 1995 - Mark McGhee steps down as manager of Division One promotion challengers Leicester City to manage relegation threatened Wolverhampton Wanderers.

9 December 1995 - Defending Premier League champions Blackburn Rovers suffer a shock 5-0 defeat at Coventry City, while in Division One Sunderland go top after beating previous leaders Millwall 6-0 at Roker Park.

12 December 1995 - Dave Bassett, the fifth longest serving manager in the English league, resigns as manager of Division One strugglers Sheffield United. On the same day, one of the highest scoring competitive games of the season sees Walsall defeat Torquay United 8-4 in the FA Cup second round replay at Bescot Stadium that followed a 1-1 draw in the first match at Plainmoor 10 days ago.

13 December 1995 - Howard Kendall, the former Everton manager, is named as the new manager of Sheffield United.

15 December 1995 - Queen's Park Rangers misfit Ned Zelic returns to Germany in a £1million move to Eintracht Frankfurt.

16 December 1995 -

    • - Blackburn Rovers left-back Graeme Le Saux suffers a serious ankle fracture in a 1-0 home win over Middlesbrough in the FA Premier League. He is set to be out of action for at least nine months and will miss Euro 96.
      • - Newcastle United go seven points ahead at the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 over Everton, while new Aston Villa striker Savo Milosevic answers the critics with a hat-trick in Villa's 4-1 home win over Coventry City.

17 December 1995 - Manchester United remain seven points adrift of Newcastle after losing 2-0 at Liverpool, where Robbie Fowler scores twice.

21 December 1995 - Norwich City's Martin O'Neill steps down as manager after just six months to take over at Leicester City, while Division One bottom club Luton Town replace Terry Westley with Bradford City's Lennie Lawrence. Meanwhile, England World Cup winner and Leeds United legend Jack Charlton steps down after nearly 10 years as manager of the Republic of Ireland national football team.

22 December 1995 - Bolton Wanderers, the bottom club in the Premier League, pay a club record £1.2million for Sheffield United striker Nathan Blake.

23 December 1995 - Coventry City give their survival hopes a major boost by beating Everton 2-1 at home. Robbie Fowler scores a hat-trick for Liverpool at home to Arsenal for the second season running as they win 3-1. Newcastle United extend their lead at the top of the league to 10 points with a 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest.

24 December 1995 - Newcastle remain 10 points ahead as their nearest rivals Manchester United lose 3-1 at Leeds United.

27 December 1995 - Manchester United cut the gap at the top of the FA Premier League to 7 points with a 2-0 home win over leaders Newcastle United.

30 December 1995 - Manchester United cut the gap at the top to 4 points with a 2-1 win over QPR. Despite Blackburn looking unlikely to retain their league title, striker Alan Shearer's fine form continues as he takes his Premier League tally for the club since joining them in 1992 to 100 goals in a 2-1 home win over Tottenham.[12]

31 December 1995 - 1995 ends with Newcastle United's lead cut from 10 points to four in the space of a week by a resurgent Manchester United, although Kevin Keegan's men still have a game in hand. Manchester City, Queen's Park Rangers and Bolton Wanderers occupy the three relegation places, with Southampton and Coventry City directly above them. Back at the top end of the table, Liverpool are proving the strongest threat to the top two, while Tottenham Hotspur's good run of form is starting to suggest that they might pose a threat in the title race. Also in contention are Arsenal, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough.[13] Derby County are now top of Division One with Sunderland in second place and the playoff zone occupied by Leicester City, Birmingham City, Huddersfield Town and Charlton Athletic. Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield United, two teams who began the season among the promotion favourites, have slipped into a relegation zone that is propped up by Luton Town.[14]

1 January 1996 - Manchester United suffer their heaviest Premier League defeat yet when they lose 4-1 at Tottenham, four years to the day that they suffered a similar humiliation at home to QPR in the last season of the pre-Premiership First Division. The gap between themselves and Newcastle United is now seven points wide.

2 January 1996 - Roy McFarland is sacked as manager of Bolton Wanderers, bottom of the FA Premier League, who promote his assistant Colin Todd to the manager's seat. Newcastle United re-establish a seven-point lead at the top of the league by beating Arsenal 2-0 at home.

6 January 1996 - Ian Rush breaks Denis Law's goalscoring record in the FA Cup with two goals for Liverpool in their 7-0 win over Rochdale in the third round, while an 80th minute goal from Eric Cantona forces a 2-2 draw for Sunderland in a scare for Manchester United against the Wearsiders at Old Trafford.

10 January 1996 - Terry Venables announces that he will quit as England manager after Euro 96 in order to concentrate on clearing his name in legal disputes with Alan Sugar over his dismissal from Tottenham Hotspur in June 1993.

15 January 1996 - Bryan Robson, Middlesbrough F.C. manager and England assistant manager, is rumoured by the media to be in line to succeed Terry Venables as England manager after Euro 96. Kevin Keegan, Glenn Hoddle and Gerry Francis are also reported to be favourites for the job, but none of them have expressed any interest in it.

16 January 1996 - Sunderland's battle with Manchester United in the FA Cup third round ends in the replay at Roker Park after late goals from Nicky Butt and Andy Cole give United a 2-1 win.

17 January 1996 - One of the most surprising results of the FA Cup third round sees Sheffield United eliminate Arsenal with a 1-0 replay win at Bramall Lane in which out-of-favour Carl Veart is the unlikely hero with the winning goal.

20 January 1996 - Neil Ruddock and Robbie Fowler both score twice in Liverpool's 5-0 home win over Leeds United in the league.

23 January 1996 - Blackburn Rovers block a move by the Irish Football Association to try to appoint their director of football Kenny Dalglish as the new national coach.

24 January 1996 - Nigel Clough, who has been forced out of the Liverpool side by the emergence of Robbie Fowler and arrival of Stan Collymore since he joined the club three summers ago, is sold to Manchester City for £1.5million.

27 January 1996 - Reading's hopes of achieving a giant-killing feat against Manchester United in the FA Cup third round are quickly blown apart when United win 3-0 at Elm Park. Among the scorers is Paul Parker, scoring only his second goal for the club and making a rare appearance as he has been displaced by Gary Neville as United's first choice right-back over the last two seasons.

30 January 1996 - Bryan Robson is reported to be the Football Association's preferred choice for the England manager's job.

31 January 1996 - January draws to a close with Newcastle United still top and with a nine-point lead over Manchester United as well as a game in hand. The threat from Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur is becoming increasingly distant, while Aston Villa have muscled in on the top five and are also making good progress in both of the cups. Manchester City, Queen's Park Rangers and Bolton Wanderers continue to prop up the rest of the Premier League while Middlesbrough's recent slip has seen alarm bells ringing in the direction of relegation when a month ago they were pushing for a top-five place. Manchester United make a surprise £500,000 move for Manchester City goalkeeper Tony Coton, signed for £500,000 as cover for Peter Schmeichel.[15] Derby County remain top of Division One, with Charlton Athletic second and the playoff zone being occupied by Huddersfield Town, Sunderland, Leicester City and a Southend United side who have enjoyed a recent fine run of form under player-manager Ronnie Whelan. West Bromwich Albion, who were in the promotion hunt three months ago, have slipped into the relegation battle and are only a goal away from falling into the bottom three.[16]

4 February 1996 - Gavin Peacock scores a hat-trick in Chelsea's 5-0 win over Middlesbrough in the league.

5 February 1996 - Millwall manager Mick McCarthy, 39, is appointed manager of the Republic of Ireland team.

6 February 1996 - Jimmy Kelly, 22-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder, is jailed for five years for the manslaughter of a woman he kicked in the head during a Liverpool nightclub brawl.

8 February 1996 - The Department of Employment refuses to issue work permits to Marc Hottiger (who has agreed a deal to move from Newcastle United to Everton F.C.) and Ilie Dumitrescu (who has agreed a deal to move from Tottenham Hotspur to West Ham). Meanwhile, Crystal Palace (16th in Division One) appoint Dave Bassett as manager, ending Steve Coppell's short-lived second spell as manager.

10 February 1996 - Newcastle United break their transfer record yet again with a £6.7million move for Parma and Colombia striker Faustino Asprilla.

14 February 1996 - Former Liverpool manager Bob Paisley dies aged 77 four years after announcing that he had Alzheimer's disease. On the same day, Liverpool's neighbours Everton surrender their defence of the FA Cup with a fourth round replay shock defeat at the hands of Port Vale, while West Ham United's FA Cup dreams are ended with a 3-0 hammering at the hands of Division One underdogs Grimsby Town.

17 February 1996 - Middlesbrough's recent slump continues as they lose 4-1 at home to resurgent bottom-of-the-table Bolton Wanderers.

24 February 1996 - Manchester City boost their own survival bid and do neighbouring United's title bid a favour by holding leaders Newcastle United to a 3-3 draw at Maine Road.

25 February 1996 - Newcastle are now just four points ahead at the top of the Premier League as Manchester United triumph 6-0 at Bolton Wanderers.

28 February 1996 - Swindon Town and Huddersfield Town, the last remaining non Premier League teams in the FA Cup, are defeated in fifth round replays, meaning that the quarter-finals will be a rare case of a top flight only affair.

29 February 1996 - February draws to a close with Newcastle United still top, but a few missed opportunities from them and a run of strong results from Manchester United has cut the gap at the top to just four points, and all eyes are on next week's showdown between the top two on Tyneside, which is billed by many as the "title decider". Meanwhile, Liverpool's good form has kept them in line with the top two. Bolton Wanderers are still bottom with a mere 16 points and a 6-0 destruction by Manchester United leaving their Premier League survival looking less and likely. Manchester City and Queen's Park Rangers are faring little better, while Southampton, Wimbledon and Coventry City are only clear of the drop zone because they have a better goal difference than Manchester City.[17] Derby County and Sunderland lead the pack in Division One, with Charlton Athletic, Huddersfield Town, Barnsley and Stoke City completing the top six. Crystal Palace, who were battling relegation a few weeks ago, are now just one point outside the playoff zone.[18]

4 March 1996 - Manchester United cut Newcastle United's FA Premier League lead to a single point thanks to an Eric Cantona goal in a 1-0 win at St James' Park.

5 March 1996 - Arsenal bid for a UEFA Cup place is bolstered when they beat Manchester City 3-1 at Highbury.

7 March 1996 - Marc Hottiger and Ilie Dumitrescu finally receive the necessary work permits to complete their long-awaited transfers.

11 March 1996 - Manchester United remain in line for a unique second double by defeating Southampton 2-0 in the FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford.

16 March 1996 - Manchester United go top of the FA Premier League on goal difference with a 1-1 away draw against Queen's Park Rangers.

18 March 1996 - Newcastle regain their lead of the Premier League with a 3-0 home win over West Ham.

20 March 1996 - A goal from Eric Cantona puts Manchester United back on top of the Premier League on goal difference as they beat Arsenal 1-0 at Old Trafford.

23 March 1996 - Arsenal further aid Manchester United's title bid by beating Newcastle United 2-0 at Highbury and sending Alex Ferguson's team back on top of the table on goal difference.

24 March 1996 - Aston Villa defeat Leeds United 3-0 in the Football League Cup final, while Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 to give themselves a three-point lead over Newcastle.

25 March 1996 - To celebrate England hosting this year's European Championships, an edition of stamps commemorating five deceased legends of the English game is announced. Following a poll among the public, the players selected are Dixie Dean, Bobby Moore, Duncan Edwards, Billy Wright and Danny Blanchflower. With the exception of the Northern Irish Blanchflower, all of the players chosen were former England internationals.

28 March 1996 - Relegation battlers Manchester City make a last-ditch attempt to bolster their attack in the Premier League relegation run-in by signing Georgian striker Mikhail Kavelashvili from Alania Vladikavkaz for £1.4million.

30 March 1996 - Queen's Park Rangers keep their fading survival hopes alive with a 3-0 home win over fellow strugglers Southampton, while in the race for a UEFA Cup place, Andrei Kanchelskis scores twice as Everton beat Blackburn 3-0 at Ewood Park.

31 March 1996 - March draws to a close with Manchester United as leaders with a three-point margin over Newcastle United who have two games in hand, while Liverpool - like Manchester United - are still in contention for a unique second double, though with a far steeper task ahead of them. Aston Villa's FA Cup semi-final defeat to Liverpool has put paid to any hopes they might have had of a unique domestic treble, but at least their boardroom already has the League Cup on display and they are still within a shout of the league title. Arsenal have edged their local rivals Tottenham Hotspur out of the top five, while at the other end of the table Bolton Wanderers and Queen's Park Rangers have recently enjoyed a slight improvement to keep their survival hopes alive (though they continue to prop up the rest of the top flight), while Manchester City have climbed out of the drop zone at the expense of Southampton.[19] Sunderland have stormed to the top of Division One and are four points ahead of second placed Derby County, also having a game in hand. Crystal Palace's revival has continued and they stand third. Charlton Athletic, Ipswich Town and Stoke City complete the top six. A resurgent Wolverhampton Wanderers are now just three points outside the playoff zone.[20]

3 April 1996 - Liverpool and Newcastle United play out the match of the season in a 4-3 thriller at Anfield. Robbie Fowler and Stan Collymore both score twice for the hosts, who help aid Manchester United's title bid while denting Newcastle's which they had looked so certain to win only a couple of months ago.

5 April 1996 - Resurgent Middlesbrough move closer to survival and mid table security with a 3-1 home win over a Sheffield Wednesday side still in a precarious position.

6 April 1996 - Manchester United retain their lead of the Premier League with a 3-2 win over City in the Manchester derby at Maine Road - a result which puts their neighbours deeper into relegation trouble.

8 April 1996 - Coventry City defender David Busst suffers a compound leg fracture in the 1-0 Premier League defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford; he is expected to be out of action for at least a year and there are fears that he may never play senior football again. Meanwhile, the result helps United move closer to the title - while Newcastle's hopes take another big blow when two late goals from Graham Fenton see Blackburn beat them 2-1 at Ewood Park. Queen's Park Rangers continue to keep their survival bid alive by beating Everton 3-1 at Loftus Road, a result which damages the visiting side's hopes of European qualification. Bolton Wanderers, the bottom placed club, also keep their faint survival hopes alive by beating Chelsea 2-1 at Burnden Park.

12 April 1996 - John Aldridge, 37, is appointed player-manager of Tranmere Rovers after John King's nine-year reign as manager came to an end.

13 April 1996 - Mark Hughes scores his first hat-trick for Chelsea as they beat Leeds United 4-1 in the league at Stamford Bridge. His old club Manchester United suffer a shock 3-1 defeat to relegation battlers Southampton, but are still six points clear at the top of the league.

14 April 1996 - Newcastle keep their title challenge alive by beating Aston Villa 1-0 and cutting Manchester United's lead to three points.

16 April 1996 - The Merseyside derby at Goodison Park ends in a 1-1 draw, with Andrei Kanchelskis scoring for Everton and Robbie Fowler for Liverpool.

17 April 1996 - The gap at the top of the Premier League remains three points wide as Manchester United and Newcastle United both achieve 1-0 home wins, against Leeds United and Southampton respectively.

20 April 1996 - Sunderland win promotion to the Premier League, meaning they will be playing the top division against both Middlesbrough and Newcastle United next season - for the first time since the 1970s.

22 April 1996 - With the Football Association still yet to decide on who will be the next England manager, midfielder Paul Gascoigne makes a public plea for Terry Venables to be persuaded to stay in the job.

25 April 1996 - The Football Association's hopes of appointed Bryan Robson as the new England manager are effectively ended when he agrees to remain at Middlesbrough until at least the end of the 1999-2000 season.

27 April 1996 - Bolton Wanderers are relegated after just one season in the Premier League as they lose 1-0 at home to Southampton, whose goal from Matt Le Tissier boosts their own survival bid. Queen's Park Rangers beat West Ham United 3-0 but it is too late to prevent their relegation from the top flight after 13 years. Manchester City, meanwhile, are still very much alive when a Steve Lomas goal gives them a surprise 1-0 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park, as are Coventry City after a 2-0 away win over Wimbledon in which Peter Ndlovu scores twice.

28 April 1996 - A 5-0 home win over Nottingham Forest moves Manchester United closer to their third league title in four seasons.

29 April 1996 -

    • - The Football Association offers Chelsea manager Glenn Hoddle the England manager's job. Hoddle, 38, has been in management since taking over at Swindon Town five years ago and took the Wiltshire club into the Premier League in 1993 before taking over at Chelsea, who reached the FA Cup final in his first season, the European Cup Winners' Cup semi-final in his second season, and the FA Cup semi-final this season, although they have never finished higher than 11th in the Premier League.
      • - Newcastle United remain in contention for the league title with a 1-0 away win over Leeds United.

30 April 1996 - With most clubs just having one game left to play in the Premier League, April draws to a close with Manchester United firm favourites for the title with a six-point advantage over Newcastle United, who have two games in hand and are now the only team able to prevent them from winning the first half of a unique second double. Aston Villa are now assured of a top-five finish, with the final UEFA Cup place now down to Arsenal, Everton, Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur. Queen's Park Rangers and Bolton Wanderers have had their relegation confirmed, while the final place is down to Wimbledon, Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry City, Southampton and Manchester City.[21] The race for the final automatic promotion place in Division One is still open between Derby County and Crystal Palace. Stoke City, Charlton Athletic and Leicester City complete the top six. Ipswich Town and Huddersfield Town are now the only teams who can muscle in on the top six.[22]

2 May 1996 -

      • - Former Manchester City chairman Peter Swales, who departed two years ago following the election of Francis Lee as his successor, dies aged 63 after suffering a heart attack.
        • - Newcastle United are held to a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest, leaving them needing a comprehensive win over Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the season to even scrape the league title which has eluded them since 1927.[23]

5 May 1996 - Manchester United clinch the FA Premier League title with a 3-0 away win over Middlesbrough on the final day of the season. They also clinch a place in the European Cup. The UEFA Cup places go to Newcastle United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Aston Villa. Going down to Division One are Manchester City, Queens Park Rangers and Bolton Wanderers.

10 May 1996 - Ruud Gullit accepts Chelsea's offer to become their player-manager in place of Glenn Hoddle. Gullit, who turns 34 on 1 September, will be the youngest manager in the Premier League as well as the top flight's only black and foreign manager.

11 May 1996 - Manchester United become the first English team to repeat the 'double' (and do so with a similar squad to the 1994 side) when a late Eric Cantona goal gives them a 1-0 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup final. Ian Rush has to settle for an FA Cup runners-up medal in his final game as a Liverpool player, having collected winner's medals in 1986, 1989 and 1992.

14 May 1996 - Middlesbrough agree a £4million fee for FC Porto's Brazilian midfielder Emerson.

24 May 1996 - Gianluca Vialli agrees to sign for Chelsea on a free transfer from Juventus.

27 May 1996 - With England's 22-man squad for Euro 96 yet to be confirmed, it is reported that the 35-year-old Newcastle United forward Peter Beardsley will not be part of it.

28 May 1996 -

1 June 1996 - Ian Rush leaves Liverpool after two spells (the first of which began in 1980, the second of which began in 1988) and joins Leeds United on a free transfer.

8 June 1996 - FIFA announces that all football agents involved in transfers must now be licenced. On the same day, the Premier League announces that teams will be able to select five substitutes in the match squad, an increase upon the previous limit of three substitutes, though only three of the named substitutes can be used.[25]

25 June 1996 - England bow out of Euro 96 in the semi-final, a Gareth Southgate penalty miss putting them out after a 1-1 draw with Germany.

30 June 1996 - Euro 96 is won by Germany, who beat Czech Republic 2-1 at Wembley with Oliver Bierhoff scoring both of his country's goals.

Transfer deals[edit]

For subsequent transfer deals see 1996-97 in English football.

Notable debutants[edit]

26 August 1995: Michael Brown, 18-year-old midfielder, makes his debut for Manchester City in a 1-0 defeat to QPR at Loftus Road in the Premier League.[26]

13 January 1996: Ian Harte, 18-year-old left-back, makes his debut as a substitute in a 2-0 home win for Leeds United against West Ham United in the Premier League.[27]

31 January 1996: Frank Lampard, 17-year-old midfielder, makes his debut for West Ham United in their 3-2 home win over Coventry City in the Premier League.[28]

30 March 1996: Harry Kewell, 18-year-old Australian winger, makes his debut for Leeds United against Middlesbrough in the Premier League.

5 May 1996: Rio Ferdinand, 18-year-old central defender, makes his debut for West Ham United in their 1-1 home draw with Sheffield Wednesday on the final day of the Premier League season.[29]

Retirements[edit]

19 July 1995: Alan Smith, 32-year-old Arsenal striker who helped them win five major trophies since joining them in 1987, retires after failing to recover from an ankle injury.[30]

10 October 1995: Clive Allen, 34-year-old striker, retires after being given a free transfer by Carlisle United after playing just three games for them in Division Two. His best days came at Tottenham Hotspur, where he scored 49 goals in all competitions in the 1986-87 season and was voted PFA Player of the Year.[31]

16 October 1995: David O'Leary, 37-year-old Leeds United defender, retires due to an achilles injury after 18 months out of action.[32]

11 November 1995: Jimmy Case, 41-year-old Brighton & Hove Albion player-manager, announces his retirement from playing. Case, who is best known for his time at Liverpool and Southampton, was the oldest outfield player registered in the English Football League or Premier League.[33]

11 November 1995: Simon Webster, 31-year-old West Ham United defender, retires after failing to recover from a broken leg suffered in a training ground collision with Julian Dicks.[33]

Deaths[edit]

  • July 1995 – John Marshall, 16, England Youth international who died suddenly from a heart defect just before he was due to sign an apprenticeship with Everton.[34]
  • 13 July 1995 – Garth Butler, 72, played 134 games at full-back for Port Vale after the end of World War II, before an ankle injury halted his career in 1951.
  • August 1995 – Dennis Allen, 56, was a former player of Charlton Athletic, Reading and Portsmouth. He was a member of a strong footballing family, being the father of Martin Allen, the brother of Les Allen, and the uncle of Paul Allen, Clive Allen and Bradley Allen.
  • 23 August 1995 – Johnny Carey, 76, former Manchester United defender and Republic of Ireland international. Won the league in 1952, and the FA Cup in 1948. Later managed a number of clubs, including Blackburn Rovers, Everton, Leyton Orient and Nottingham Forest.
  • 14 September 1995 – Harold Shepherdson, 76, longtime assistant coach for the England national team, a role he held during England's 1966 World Cup victory.
  • 21 September 1995 – Michael Millett, 17, Wigan Athletic defender, died in a car crash one day before his 18th birthday. Had played three times for his club and was tipped by many to reach the highest level.
  • 25 September 1995 – Dave Bowen, 67, former Arsenal and Northampton Town defender, who won 19 caps for Wales and represented his country at the 1958 World Cup. Later became Northampton's most successful manager of all time, guiding the Cobblers from the fourth to the first division in four seasons.
  • 28 September 1995 – Albert Johanneson, 55, South African winger who played for Leeds United during the 1960s and played in their first league championship winning team in 1969. Moved to York City a year later. Died alone at his tower block flat in Leeds.
  • 23 October 1995 – James Mangham, 88, one of the oldest surviving league players, played twice in goal in the Third Division North for Nelson in the late 1920s.
  • 30 October 1995 – William "Taffy" Davies, 85, played 284 league games on the wing for Watford between 1930 and 1950, his career being disrupted by World War II. His only international recognition for Wales came in 1944 when he played for the wartime national side.
  • 25 November 1995 – Alan Nicholls, 22, former Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper, was killed in a motorcycle crash near Peterborough which also claimed the life of the motorcyclist whose motorcycle he was a passenger on. At the time of his death, was playing for Stalybridge Celtic in the Conference after a brief spell at Gillingham.
  • 14 December 1995 – Eddie Clamp, 61, played 214 times at wing-half for Wolverhampton Wanderers between 1953 and 1961, during which time the club won three league titles and an FA Cup. Was capped four times for England. Signed for Arsenal in 1961, later playing for Stoke City before playing his last senior game in 1965 for Peterborough United.
  • 29 December 1995 – Harry Cripps, 54, played 400 league games in Millwall's defence between 1961 and 1974, during which time Millwall enjoyed a 59-match unbeaten run at home at reached the Second Division with two successive promotions. Finished his career at Charlton Athletic, later serving the South London side as a coach, before moving into management with non-league Barking and then back in the Football League at Southend United.
  • 11 January 1996 – Bobby Cowell, 73, spent his entire playing career at Newcastle United, making 289 appearances in the league as a defender between 1946 and 1955, winning three FA Cups before his career was ended by injury.
  • 13 January 1996 – Bobby Langton, 77, former Blackburn Rovers and Preston North End left-winger who also won 11 caps for England.
  • 16 January 1996 – Harry Potts, 75, former Burnley player and manager. Played 165 league games for the Charets between 1946 and 1950, and was appointed manager in 1958, a post he held until 1970, winning the 1959-60 league title. He also had a second spell as Burnley manager between 1977 and 1979.
  • 16 January 1996 – Dai Ward, 61, former Bristol Rovers, Cardiff City, Watford and Brentford striker who made over 300 appearances in the Football League, averaging just over a goal every other game, and won two caps for Wales.
  • 9 February 1996 – Neil Franklin, 74, an outstanding centre-half with Stoke City, winning 27 England caps. In 1950, he agreed to join Santa Fé of the non-FIFA sanctioned Colombian league where he would allegedly receive "ten times his English wages", but returned to England disillusioned and never played top-flight football again.
  • 14 February 1996 – Bob Paisley, 77, former Liverpool manager who won a total of 21 trophies (including six league titles and three European Cups) between 1974 and 1983. He had previously been employed by the club as a player and later as a coach. After retiring, he remained at the club as a director and later president. At the time of his death he was still the most successful manager in English football.
  • 8 March 1996 – Alan Brown, 81, played 148 games as a centre-half for Huddersfield Town, Burnley and Notts County between 1933 and 1949. Later coached at Sheffield Wednesday before managing Burnley and Sunderland before returning to Sheffield Wednesday as manager, then managing Sunderland again before his managerial career ended in dismissal in November 1972, six months before his Roker Park successor Bob Stokoe guided the club to FA Cup glory.
  • 16 March 1996 – Dennis Jennings, 85, became Birmingham City's oldest player when he made his final appearance for them in May 1950 just before his 40th birthday, the last of 192 league appearances for the club he had first joined in 1936, having previously played for Huddersfield Town and Grimsby Town.
  • 1 May 1996 – Eric Houghton, 85, managed Aston Villa to a then record seventh FA Cup triumph in 1957, having served as a player for two decades after signing for them in 1927, scoring more than 200 goals in all competitions. He was also capped seven times by England. Houghton was the great-uncle of former England goalkeeper Chris Woods.
  • 2 May 1996 – Peter Swales, 63, who was chairman of Manchester City from 1973 to 1993, died after suffering a heart attack.[35]
  • 15 June 1996 – Allenby Chilton, 77, was centre-half in Manchester United's FA Cup winning side of 1948 and league champions of 1952, playing a total of nearly 400 games for the club between 1938 and 1955, when he transferred to Grimsby Town to become player-manager after losing his place in Matt Busby's team to Mark Jones, who went on to lose his life in the Munich crash of 1958. Chilton was capped twice by England in the early 1950s.

References[edit]

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