Derby County

Derby County slideshow

FILE PHOTO: Fulham vs Derby County - London - May 14, 2018 Fulham players celebrate after the match Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County
FILE PHOTO: Fulham vs Derby County - London - May 14, 2018 Fulham players celebrate after the match Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien/File Photo
Ahead of the Championship play-off final between Fulham and Aston Villa this Saturday, Ivan Speck speaks to those caught up in play-off drama of years gone. 'I said to the linesman - if I save this, do we win?' May 30, 1999: League Two play-off final Manchester City 2 (Horlock 90, Dickov 90+5) Gillingham 2 (Asaba 81, Taylor 87) After extra time, City won 3-1 on penalties Blue Moon rising. Carl Asaba and Bob Taylor gave Gillingham a late 2-0 lead. With City fans streaming out of Wembley, Kevin Horlock reduced the deficit before, controversially, referee Mark Halsey added on five minutes. In the last of those, Paul Dickov equalised. In the penalty shoot-out, 20-year-old City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver saved two Gillingham spot-kicks. Nicky Weaver, Manchester City goalkeeper I wasn’t that nervous beforehand. I think I played 55 games that year. I’d just turned 20 and the nerves don’t really kick in at that age. That said, early in the second half, I came out of my area and kicked the ball straight to one of their midfield players, who missed an open goal. If that had gone in, I could have been the villain, not the hero. I remember thinking it was only a few nights before that Manchester United had scored two in the dying minutes in Barcelona against Bayern Munich to win the Champions League. It wasn’t impossible, but something had to happen quickly. When we equalised, I came running down the pitch and did a big slide, Klinsmann-style. Everyone was just going wild. We’d come back from absolutely nowhere. I can’t imagine how the Gillingham players felt. Carl Asaba tries to break away from Manchester City's Lee Crooks in the 1999 play-off final Credit: PA We’d practised penalties every day after training, but I wasn’t that great at saving them that week. The biggest thing was that they were taken at the City end. When it came to the decisive kick, I remember saying to the linesman: ‘If I save this one, is that it?’ I made myself as big as I could, dived to my left, got two big hands on the ball, pulled a stupid face and went off on a mad run around Wembley. I just didn’t want the feeling inside me to end. I should have gone straight over to their keeper, but I was young and it didn’t enter my mind. It was life-changing for me. I had so much nervous excitement within me that I went on holiday and just sat on a sunbed for two weeks to come back to reality. That game was the first step in City getting back to where they needed to be. I dread to think what would have happened if we hadn’t gone up. To see where City are now, it’s unthinkable. Andy Hessenthaler, Gillingham captain We were massive underdogs. We had finished pretty much neck and neck in the table but on status, City were always going to be favourites. We rode our luck early on. They should have had a penalty in the first minute, but we got stronger and they were getting frustrated. When we scored, we were dreaming. You’d be a liar if you were on that pitch and you didn’t think you had won that match at 2-0. I certainly did. When five minutes went up on the board, my first thought was: ‘Where have the officials got that from?’ I just couldn’t work it out. I still can’t. Extra-time was a non-event because everyone was so shattered. Deep down I wasn’t that confident about penalties because of what had happened. It didn’t surprise me that we lost. There were lots of tears. It took me a while to pull myself together, I was that emotional. When you’re watching their captain lift the trophy, you think it should be you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Fortunately, we went back to Wembley the year after and beat Wigan this time. 'I missed the penalty, and our fans started singing my name' May 25, 1998: Championship play-off final Charlton Athletic 4 (Mendonca 23, 71, 103, Rufus 85) Sunderland 4 (Quinn 50, 73, Phillips 58, Summerbee 99) After extra-time, Charlton won 7-6 on penalties The most open play-off final ever. Sunderland fan Clive Mendonca scored a hat-trick with Richard Rufus heading in Charlton’s other goal. Sunderland replied through their attacking duo of Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, as well as Nicky Summerbee. Sunderland-born Michael Gray missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out. Alan Curbishley, Charlton manager Going into the final, we had to win it. We had big plans for The Valley, but there were bids on the table from Premier League clubs for three or four of our players. If we didn’t make it, we would have had to sell them. The team would have been broken up. We measured out a training pitch the same size as Wembley to help us, but the heat made it such an open game. I expected goals, but no-one in their wildest dreams expected it to be 4-4. It’s an iconic final. Clive Mendonca was our striker, and he was Sunderland born and bred. I knew we had signed a centre forward who could get us promotion or near promotion. He was a deadly finisher but come the day of the final, he was as nervous as anybody, playing against his boyhood team and trying to get us into the Premier League. But you won’t see a better hat-trick at Wembley for its coolness. None of the goals were ever in doubt. Clive Mendonca scores the opening goal at Wembley Credit: Action Images I felt confident about the penalty shoot-out. Our goalkeeper Sasa Ilic had turned up at the training ground with his kit eight months before and asked if he could have a trial. After the first couple of training sessions, I told him: ‘We’re going to give you some travel expenses.’ I paid it out of my own pocket because I didn’t want him to wait a month for them. I watched every penalty up until Mickey Gray’s last one for Sunderland. My assistant Keith Peacock said: ‘Don’t watch this one. It’s a left-footer and he’s going to miss it.’ I put my head in my hands. When I didn’t hear the roar from their fans, I knew we had won. Peter Reid was the first person to come in our dressing room. He congratulated every one of our players on winning promotion. I’m not too sure I could have done that. The Sunderland coach had inadvertently blocked ours in after the game, so the only way we could get to our reception near Wembley was by walking with the trophy along Wembley Way. The Sunderland fans clapped us and wanted their photo taken with the trophy and the players. So when Sunderland went up the next year, we sent them a case of champagne. Michael Gray, Sunderland defender The heat felt like 120-degrees pitch-side and we had been designated to wear our away shirt, which was double-layered. It felt like you were wearing an overcoat. Every time we scored a goal, we thought that was it, they’re not going to get back into it, but they kept coming and coming. There were some great goals and Clive Mendonca was incredible. We’d practised penalties at the Stadium of Light. I’d taken maybe 20 and stuck every one of them away, but I remember Peter Reid saying: ‘Let’s wait until there are 80,000 there and see if you fancy taking one then.’ He was right. It went to sudden death. I was only 23, but I looked at our two centre-halves Darren Williams and Jody Craddock who were younger than me and then at our centre forward Danny Dichio. His boots were off and he was sat on the floor. That walk to the penalty spot is the loneliest walk you’ll ever make in your life. Even though there are 80,000 people there, you can actually hear yourself put the ball down on the grass. I picked my spot but as I ran up I saw Sasa Ilic shuffling across to his left, which was where I was going. I knew he was going to save it even when it was rolling there. Sasa Ilic celebrates winning the penalty shoot-out at Wembley Credit: Getty Images The kit man came over, then Quinny, Kevin Ball and Lee Clark. Then Peter came across and gave me a big hug. It felt like forever, but it was only five or six minutes. It was a lonely place. And then all I could hear was the Sunderland supporters starting to sing my name. I’ve never forgotten that. Never. That emotion, the feeling of missing that penalty stayed with me for as long as I wore a Sunderland shirt, which was 12-and-a-half years. Peter Reid was first class with me. I got back home after Wembley. He rang up and said: ‘Pack a bag, you’re coming to stay with me for three days.’ It was exactly what I needed. It got me away from everybody. Peter Reid consoles Michael Gray after his missed penalty Credit: ALLSPORT There wasn’t a day went by without someone wanting to ask me about it. I knew what it meant to everybody. My life was Sunderland. It was my club and I didn’t want to let anybody down ever again. I tried to block it out, but my only freedom from that question was crossing the white line and playing football. I went back to pre-season two weeks earlier than everybody else just to get a head start. No distractions. The next season we won the league with over 100 points. But it was always there. I knew what had happened the season before. That penalty miss was probably the defining moment of me becoming an adult. I was a bit of tearaway and it made me a stronger character to reach the goals I dreamed of when I was a young kid – getting promoted with Sunderland, playing for my country, playing at Wembley again. But it still hits you hard, even 20 years on. 'Party? I was in bed by half past 10' May 24, 2014: Championship play-off final Queens Park Rangers 1 (Zamora 90) Derby County 0 Grand larceny. After quietly dominating, Derby exerted total control in the second half when Rangers’ Gary O’Neil was sent off for a 58th-minute professional foul. The Derby onslaught of the QPR goal continued until Rangers broke away in the 90th minute and substitute Bobby Zamora stroked home an undeserved winner. Steve McClaren, Derby manager Harry Redknapp, QPR’s manager, and I were friends and we worked together for three months at Rangers that season. We developed a great relationship over that time - Harry was a delight to work with. Fantastic experience, great stories, nice restaurants and red wine on a Friday night! But going back to Derby was huge for me. It was a job I always wanted because I’d played there and I’d been assistant to Jim Smith, so to return as manager was completing the set. Walking out took me back to the first England game at the new Wembley when we opened it against Brazil. I had the same feeling of pride walking out with my team. Football is all about those moments. In terms of the match, we were exactly where we wanted to be. They had gone down to 10 men, we were camped in their box and I felt it was just a matter of time – wear them down, keep them running and moving. That’s what we’d done to teams all season and that would see us across the line. I could only see one scenario, us winning. I didn’t even mind if we went into extra-time because we were in total control. Until we ran out of control. Bobby Zamora's superb strike seals victory for Derby in the play-off final Credit: Action Images But then came Bobby Zamora’s goal - probably our only mistake of the afternoon. They had barely got across our halfway line, but they got into our box at the worst possible time. It was devastating for us because it was a near perfect performance of controlling the game. The Gods weren’t with us. The commentator said: ‘Harry Houdini’ and he certainly was. We all felt like sinking to the ground because of the injustice and the devastation of losing. Harry Redknapp, QPR manager Steve McClaren’s enthusiasm and coaching were top-class when he worked for us, but the Derby job came along and he was a loss to us when he went. There was very little in the game in the first half - they had a penalty shout - but then the sending-off came. I thought it was a bit harsh. It wasn’t a clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity. All I thought about then was extra-time and penalties. Could we hang on? We came under severe pressure, but it wasn’t like they were peppering us. Everybody thinks they battered us, but I don’t remember Rob Green making many world-class saves. Still, I couldn’t see us scoring. And then what an amazing goal from Bobby Zamora. Poor Richard Keogh made a ricket and had a bad touch. Bobby didn’t hesitate and stuck it straight in the top corner. I went back to Loftus Road and popped my head into the party there for about two minutes. Then I just shot out, had something to eat and had an early night. I think I was in bed by half past 10. Sky Bet is the proud title sponsor of the EFL.
How it feels to win - and lose - the most pressurised game in football
Ahead of the Championship play-off final between Fulham and Aston Villa this Saturday, Ivan Speck speaks to those caught up in play-off drama of years gone. 'I said to the linesman - if I save this, do we win?' May 30, 1999: League Two play-off final Manchester City 2 (Horlock 90, Dickov 90+5) Gillingham 2 (Asaba 81, Taylor 87) After extra time, City won 3-1 on penalties Blue Moon rising. Carl Asaba and Bob Taylor gave Gillingham a late 2-0 lead. With City fans streaming out of Wembley, Kevin Horlock reduced the deficit before, controversially, referee Mark Halsey added on five minutes. In the last of those, Paul Dickov equalised. In the penalty shoot-out, 20-year-old City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver saved two Gillingham spot-kicks. Nicky Weaver, Manchester City goalkeeper I wasn’t that nervous beforehand. I think I played 55 games that year. I’d just turned 20 and the nerves don’t really kick in at that age. That said, early in the second half, I came out of my area and kicked the ball straight to one of their midfield players, who missed an open goal. If that had gone in, I could have been the villain, not the hero. I remember thinking it was only a few nights before that Manchester United had scored two in the dying minutes in Barcelona against Bayern Munich to win the Champions League. It wasn’t impossible, but something had to happen quickly. When we equalised, I came running down the pitch and did a big slide, Klinsmann-style. Everyone was just going wild. We’d come back from absolutely nowhere. I can’t imagine how the Gillingham players felt. Carl Asaba tries to break away from Manchester City's Lee Crooks in the 1999 play-off final Credit: PA We’d practised penalties every day after training, but I wasn’t that great at saving them that week. The biggest thing was that they were taken at the City end. When it came to the decisive kick, I remember saying to the linesman: ‘If I save this one, is that it?’ I made myself as big as I could, dived to my left, got two big hands on the ball, pulled a stupid face and went off on a mad run around Wembley. I just didn’t want the feeling inside me to end. I should have gone straight over to their keeper, but I was young and it didn’t enter my mind. It was life-changing for me. I had so much nervous excitement within me that I went on holiday and just sat on a sunbed for two weeks to come back to reality. That game was the first step in City getting back to where they needed to be. I dread to think what would have happened if we hadn’t gone up. To see where City are now, it’s unthinkable. Andy Hessenthaler, Gillingham captain We were massive underdogs. We had finished pretty much neck and neck in the table but on status, City were always going to be favourites. We rode our luck early on. They should have had a penalty in the first minute, but we got stronger and they were getting frustrated. When we scored, we were dreaming. You’d be a liar if you were on that pitch and you didn’t think you had won that match at 2-0. I certainly did. When five minutes went up on the board, my first thought was: ‘Where have the officials got that from?’ I just couldn’t work it out. I still can’t. Extra-time was a non-event because everyone was so shattered. Deep down I wasn’t that confident about penalties because of what had happened. It didn’t surprise me that we lost. There were lots of tears. It took me a while to pull myself together, I was that emotional. When you’re watching their captain lift the trophy, you think it should be you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Fortunately, we went back to Wembley the year after and beat Wigan this time. 'I missed the penalty, and our fans started singing my name' May 25, 1998: Championship play-off final Charlton Athletic 4 (Mendonca 23, 71, 103, Rufus 85) Sunderland 4 (Quinn 50, 73, Phillips 58, Summerbee 99) After extra-time, Charlton won 7-6 on penalties The most open play-off final ever. Sunderland fan Clive Mendonca scored a hat-trick with Richard Rufus heading in Charlton’s other goal. Sunderland replied through their attacking duo of Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, as well as Nicky Summerbee. Sunderland-born Michael Gray missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out. Alan Curbishley, Charlton manager Going into the final, we had to win it. We had big plans for The Valley, but there were bids on the table from Premier League clubs for three or four of our players. If we didn’t make it, we would have had to sell them. The team would have been broken up. We measured out a training pitch the same size as Wembley to help us, but the heat made it such an open game. I expected goals, but no-one in their wildest dreams expected it to be 4-4. It’s an iconic final. Clive Mendonca was our striker, and he was Sunderland born and bred. I knew we had signed a centre forward who could get us promotion or near promotion. He was a deadly finisher but come the day of the final, he was as nervous as anybody, playing against his boyhood team and trying to get us into the Premier League. But you won’t see a better hat-trick at Wembley for its coolness. None of the goals were ever in doubt. Clive Mendonca scores the opening goal at Wembley Credit: Action Images I felt confident about the penalty shoot-out. Our goalkeeper Sasa Ilic had turned up at the training ground with his kit eight months before and asked if he could have a trial. After the first couple of training sessions, I told him: ‘We’re going to give you some travel expenses.’ I paid it out of my own pocket because I didn’t want him to wait a month for them. I watched every penalty up until Mickey Gray’s last one for Sunderland. My assistant Keith Peacock said: ‘Don’t watch this one. It’s a left-footer and he’s going to miss it.’ I put my head in my hands. When I didn’t hear the roar from their fans, I knew we had won. Peter Reid was the first person to come in our dressing room. He congratulated every one of our players on winning promotion. I’m not too sure I could have done that. The Sunderland coach had inadvertently blocked ours in after the game, so the only way we could get to our reception near Wembley was by walking with the trophy along Wembley Way. The Sunderland fans clapped us and wanted their photo taken with the trophy and the players. So when Sunderland went up the next year, we sent them a case of champagne. Michael Gray, Sunderland defender The heat felt like 120-degrees pitch-side and we had been designated to wear our away shirt, which was double-layered. It felt like you were wearing an overcoat. Every time we scored a goal, we thought that was it, they’re not going to get back into it, but they kept coming and coming. There were some great goals and Clive Mendonca was incredible. We’d practised penalties at the Stadium of Light. I’d taken maybe 20 and stuck every one of them away, but I remember Peter Reid saying: ‘Let’s wait until there are 80,000 there and see if you fancy taking one then.’ He was right. It went to sudden death. I was only 23, but I looked at our two centre-halves Darren Williams and Jody Craddock who were younger than me and then at our centre forward Danny Dichio. His boots were off and he was sat on the floor. That walk to the penalty spot is the loneliest walk you’ll ever make in your life. Even though there are 80,000 people there, you can actually hear yourself put the ball down on the grass. I picked my spot but as I ran up I saw Sasa Ilic shuffling across to his left, which was where I was going. I knew he was going to save it even when it was rolling there. Sasa Ilic celebrates winning the penalty shoot-out at Wembley Credit: Getty Images The kit man came over, then Quinny, Kevin Ball and Lee Clark. Then Peter came across and gave me a big hug. It felt like forever, but it was only five or six minutes. It was a lonely place. And then all I could hear was the Sunderland supporters starting to sing my name. I’ve never forgotten that. Never. That emotion, the feeling of missing that penalty stayed with me for as long as I wore a Sunderland shirt, which was 12-and-a-half years. Peter Reid was first class with me. I got back home after Wembley. He rang up and said: ‘Pack a bag, you’re coming to stay with me for three days.’ It was exactly what I needed. It got me away from everybody. Peter Reid consoles Michael Gray after his missed penalty Credit: ALLSPORT There wasn’t a day went by without someone wanting to ask me about it. I knew what it meant to everybody. My life was Sunderland. It was my club and I didn’t want to let anybody down ever again. I tried to block it out, but my only freedom from that question was crossing the white line and playing football. I went back to pre-season two weeks earlier than everybody else just to get a head start. No distractions. The next season we won the league with over 100 points. But it was always there. I knew what had happened the season before. That penalty miss was probably the defining moment of me becoming an adult. I was a bit of tearaway and it made me a stronger character to reach the goals I dreamed of when I was a young kid – getting promoted with Sunderland, playing for my country, playing at Wembley again. But it still hits you hard, even 20 years on. 'Party? I was in bed by half past 10' May 24, 2014: Championship play-off final Queens Park Rangers 1 (Zamora 90) Derby County 0 Grand larceny. After quietly dominating, Derby exerted total control in the second half when Rangers’ Gary O’Neil was sent off for a 58th-minute professional foul. The Derby onslaught of the QPR goal continued until Rangers broke away in the 90th minute and substitute Bobby Zamora stroked home an undeserved winner. Steve McClaren, Derby manager Harry Redknapp, QPR’s manager, and I were friends and we worked together for three months at Rangers that season. We developed a great relationship over that time - Harry was a delight to work with. Fantastic experience, great stories, nice restaurants and red wine on a Friday night! But going back to Derby was huge for me. It was a job I always wanted because I’d played there and I’d been assistant to Jim Smith, so to return as manager was completing the set. Walking out took me back to the first England game at the new Wembley when we opened it against Brazil. I had the same feeling of pride walking out with my team. Football is all about those moments. In terms of the match, we were exactly where we wanted to be. They had gone down to 10 men, we were camped in their box and I felt it was just a matter of time – wear them down, keep them running and moving. That’s what we’d done to teams all season and that would see us across the line. I could only see one scenario, us winning. I didn’t even mind if we went into extra-time because we were in total control. Until we ran out of control. Bobby Zamora's superb strike seals victory for Derby in the play-off final Credit: Action Images But then came Bobby Zamora’s goal - probably our only mistake of the afternoon. They had barely got across our halfway line, but they got into our box at the worst possible time. It was devastating for us because it was a near perfect performance of controlling the game. The Gods weren’t with us. The commentator said: ‘Harry Houdini’ and he certainly was. We all felt like sinking to the ground because of the injustice and the devastation of losing. Harry Redknapp, QPR manager Steve McClaren’s enthusiasm and coaching were top-class when he worked for us, but the Derby job came along and he was a loss to us when he went. There was very little in the game in the first half - they had a penalty shout - but then the sending-off came. I thought it was a bit harsh. It wasn’t a clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity. All I thought about then was extra-time and penalties. Could we hang on? We came under severe pressure, but it wasn’t like they were peppering us. Everybody thinks they battered us, but I don’t remember Rob Green making many world-class saves. Still, I couldn’t see us scoring. And then what an amazing goal from Bobby Zamora. Poor Richard Keogh made a ricket and had a bad touch. Bobby didn’t hesitate and stuck it straight in the top corner. I went back to Loftus Road and popped my head into the party there for about two minutes. Then I just shot out, had something to eat and had an early night. I think I was in bed by half past 10. Sky Bet is the proud title sponsor of the EFL.
Ahead of the Championship play-off final between Fulham and Aston Villa this Saturday, Ivan Speck speaks to those caught up in play-off drama of years gone. 'I said to the linesman - if I save this, do we win?' May 30, 1999: League Two play-off final Manchester City 2 (Horlock 90, Dickov 90+5) Gillingham 2 (Asaba 81, Taylor 87) After extra time, City won 3-1 on penalties Blue Moon rising. Carl Asaba and Bob Taylor gave Gillingham a late 2-0 lead. With City fans streaming out of Wembley, Kevin Horlock reduced the deficit before, controversially, referee Mark Halsey added on five minutes. In the last of those, Paul Dickov equalised. In the penalty shoot-out, 20-year-old City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver saved two Gillingham spot-kicks. Nicky Weaver, Manchester City goalkeeper I wasn’t that nervous beforehand. I think I played 55 games that year. I’d just turned 20 and the nerves don’t really kick in at that age. That said, early in the second half, I came out of my area and kicked the ball straight to one of their midfield players, who missed an open goal. If that had gone in, I could have been the villain, not the hero. I remember thinking it was only a few nights before that Manchester United had scored two in the dying minutes in Barcelona against Bayern Munich to win the Champions League. It wasn’t impossible, but something had to happen quickly. When we equalised, I came running down the pitch and did a big slide, Klinsmann-style. Everyone was just going wild. We’d come back from absolutely nowhere. I can’t imagine how the Gillingham players felt. Carl Asaba tries to break away from Manchester City's Lee Crooks in the 1999 play-off final Credit: PA We’d practised penalties every day after training, but I wasn’t that great at saving them that week. The biggest thing was that they were taken at the City end. When it came to the decisive kick, I remember saying to the linesman: ‘If I save this one, is that it?’ I made myself as big as I could, dived to my left, got two big hands on the ball, pulled a stupid face and went off on a mad run around Wembley. I just didn’t want the feeling inside me to end. I should have gone straight over to their keeper, but I was young and it didn’t enter my mind. It was life-changing for me. I had so much nervous excitement within me that I went on holiday and just sat on a sunbed for two weeks to come back to reality. That game was the first step in City getting back to where they needed to be. I dread to think what would have happened if we hadn’t gone up. To see where City are now, it’s unthinkable. Andy Hessenthaler, Gillingham captain We were massive underdogs. We had finished pretty much neck and neck in the table but on status, City were always going to be favourites. We rode our luck early on. They should have had a penalty in the first minute, but we got stronger and they were getting frustrated. When we scored, we were dreaming. You’d be a liar if you were on that pitch and you didn’t think you had won that match at 2-0. I certainly did. When five minutes went up on the board, my first thought was: ‘Where have the officials got that from?’ I just couldn’t work it out. I still can’t. Extra-time was a non-event because everyone was so shattered. Deep down I wasn’t that confident about penalties because of what had happened. It didn’t surprise me that we lost. There were lots of tears. It took me a while to pull myself together, I was that emotional. When you’re watching their captain lift the trophy, you think it should be you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Fortunately, we went back to Wembley the year after and beat Wigan this time. 'I missed the penalty, and our fans started singing my name' May 25, 1998: Championship play-off final Charlton Athletic 4 (Mendonca 23, 71, 103, Rufus 85) Sunderland 4 (Quinn 50, 73, Phillips 58, Summerbee 99) After extra-time, Charlton won 7-6 on penalties The most open play-off final ever. Sunderland fan Clive Mendonca scored a hat-trick with Richard Rufus heading in Charlton’s other goal. Sunderland replied through their attacking duo of Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, as well as Nicky Summerbee. Sunderland-born Michael Gray missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out. Alan Curbishley, Charlton manager Going into the final, we had to win it. We had big plans for The Valley, but there were bids on the table from Premier League clubs for three or four of our players. If we didn’t make it, we would have had to sell them. The team would have been broken up. We measured out a training pitch the same size as Wembley to help us, but the heat made it such an open game. I expected goals, but no-one in their wildest dreams expected it to be 4-4. It’s an iconic final. Clive Mendonca was our striker, and he was Sunderland born and bred. I knew we had signed a centre forward who could get us promotion or near promotion. He was a deadly finisher but come the day of the final, he was as nervous as anybody, playing against his boyhood team and trying to get us into the Premier League. But you won’t see a better hat-trick at Wembley for its coolness. None of the goals were ever in doubt. Clive Mendonca scores the opening goal at Wembley Credit: Action Images I felt confident about the penalty shoot-out. Our goalkeeper Sasa Ilic had turned up at the training ground with his kit eight months before and asked if he could have a trial. After the first couple of training sessions, I told him: ‘We’re going to give you some travel expenses.’ I paid it out of my own pocket because I didn’t want him to wait a month for them. I watched every penalty up until Mickey Gray’s last one for Sunderland. My assistant Keith Peacock said: ‘Don’t watch this one. It’s a left-footer and he’s going to miss it.’ I put my head in my hands. When I didn’t hear the roar from their fans, I knew we had won. Peter Reid was the first person to come in our dressing room. He congratulated every one of our players on winning promotion. I’m not too sure I could have done that. The Sunderland coach had inadvertently blocked ours in after the game, so the only way we could get to our reception near Wembley was by walking with the trophy along Wembley Way. The Sunderland fans clapped us and wanted their photo taken with the trophy and the players. So when Sunderland went up the next year, we sent them a case of champagne. Michael Gray, Sunderland defender The heat felt like 120-degrees pitch-side and we had been designated to wear our away shirt, which was double-layered. It felt like you were wearing an overcoat. Every time we scored a goal, we thought that was it, they’re not going to get back into it, but they kept coming and coming. There were some great goals and Clive Mendonca was incredible. We’d practised penalties at the Stadium of Light. I’d taken maybe 20 and stuck every one of them away, but I remember Peter Reid saying: ‘Let’s wait until there are 80,000 there and see if you fancy taking one then.’ He was right. It went to sudden death. I was only 23, but I looked at our two centre-halves Darren Williams and Jody Craddock who were younger than me and then at our centre forward Danny Dichio. His boots were off and he was sat on the floor. That walk to the penalty spot is the loneliest walk you’ll ever make in your life. Even though there are 80,000 people there, you can actually hear yourself put the ball down on the grass. I picked my spot but as I ran up I saw Sasa Ilic shuffling across to his left, which was where I was going. I knew he was going to save it even when it was rolling there. Sasa Ilic celebrates winning the penalty shoot-out at Wembley Credit: Getty Images The kit man came over, then Quinny, Kevin Ball and Lee Clark. Then Peter came across and gave me a big hug. It felt like forever, but it was only five or six minutes. It was a lonely place. And then all I could hear was the Sunderland supporters starting to sing my name. I’ve never forgotten that. Never. That emotion, the feeling of missing that penalty stayed with me for as long as I wore a Sunderland shirt, which was 12-and-a-half years. Peter Reid was first class with me. I got back home after Wembley. He rang up and said: ‘Pack a bag, you’re coming to stay with me for three days.’ It was exactly what I needed. It got me away from everybody. Peter Reid consoles Michael Gray after his missed penalty Credit: ALLSPORT There wasn’t a day went by without someone wanting to ask me about it. I knew what it meant to everybody. My life was Sunderland. It was my club and I didn’t want to let anybody down ever again. I tried to block it out, but my only freedom from that question was crossing the white line and playing football. I went back to pre-season two weeks earlier than everybody else just to get a head start. No distractions. The next season we won the league with over 100 points. But it was always there. I knew what had happened the season before. That penalty miss was probably the defining moment of me becoming an adult. I was a bit of tearaway and it made me a stronger character to reach the goals I dreamed of when I was a young kid – getting promoted with Sunderland, playing for my country, playing at Wembley again. But it still hits you hard, even 20 years on. 'Party? I was in bed by half past 10' May 24, 2014: Championship play-off final Queens Park Rangers 1 (Zamora 90) Derby County 0 Grand larceny. After quietly dominating, Derby exerted total control in the second half when Rangers’ Gary O’Neil was sent off for a 58th-minute professional foul. The Derby onslaught of the QPR goal continued until Rangers broke away in the 90th minute and substitute Bobby Zamora stroked home an undeserved winner. Steve McClaren, Derby manager Harry Redknapp, QPR’s manager, and I were friends and we worked together for three months at Rangers that season. We developed a great relationship over that time - Harry was a delight to work with. Fantastic experience, great stories, nice restaurants and red wine on a Friday night! But going back to Derby was huge for me. It was a job I always wanted because I’d played there and I’d been assistant to Jim Smith, so to return as manager was completing the set. Walking out took me back to the first England game at the new Wembley when we opened it against Brazil. I had the same feeling of pride walking out with my team. Football is all about those moments. In terms of the match, we were exactly where we wanted to be. They had gone down to 10 men, we were camped in their box and I felt it was just a matter of time – wear them down, keep them running and moving. That’s what we’d done to teams all season and that would see us across the line. I could only see one scenario, us winning. I didn’t even mind if we went into extra-time because we were in total control. Until we ran out of control. Bobby Zamora's superb strike seals victory for Derby in the play-off final Credit: Action Images But then came Bobby Zamora’s goal - probably our only mistake of the afternoon. They had barely got across our halfway line, but they got into our box at the worst possible time. It was devastating for us because it was a near perfect performance of controlling the game. The Gods weren’t with us. The commentator said: ‘Harry Houdini’ and he certainly was. We all felt like sinking to the ground because of the injustice and the devastation of losing. Harry Redknapp, QPR manager Steve McClaren’s enthusiasm and coaching were top-class when he worked for us, but the Derby job came along and he was a loss to us when he went. There was very little in the game in the first half - they had a penalty shout - but then the sending-off came. I thought it was a bit harsh. It wasn’t a clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity. All I thought about then was extra-time and penalties. Could we hang on? We came under severe pressure, but it wasn’t like they were peppering us. Everybody thinks they battered us, but I don’t remember Rob Green making many world-class saves. Still, I couldn’t see us scoring. And then what an amazing goal from Bobby Zamora. Poor Richard Keogh made a ricket and had a bad touch. Bobby didn’t hesitate and stuck it straight in the top corner. I went back to Loftus Road and popped my head into the party there for about two minutes. Then I just shot out, had something to eat and had an early night. I think I was in bed by half past 10. Sky Bet is the proud title sponsor of the EFL.
How it feels to win - and lose - the most pressurised game in football
Ahead of the Championship play-off final between Fulham and Aston Villa this Saturday, Ivan Speck speaks to those caught up in play-off drama of years gone. 'I said to the linesman - if I save this, do we win?' May 30, 1999: League Two play-off final Manchester City 2 (Horlock 90, Dickov 90+5) Gillingham 2 (Asaba 81, Taylor 87) After extra time, City won 3-1 on penalties Blue Moon rising. Carl Asaba and Bob Taylor gave Gillingham a late 2-0 lead. With City fans streaming out of Wembley, Kevin Horlock reduced the deficit before, controversially, referee Mark Halsey added on five minutes. In the last of those, Paul Dickov equalised. In the penalty shoot-out, 20-year-old City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver saved two Gillingham spot-kicks. Nicky Weaver, Manchester City goalkeeper I wasn’t that nervous beforehand. I think I played 55 games that year. I’d just turned 20 and the nerves don’t really kick in at that age. That said, early in the second half, I came out of my area and kicked the ball straight to one of their midfield players, who missed an open goal. If that had gone in, I could have been the villain, not the hero. I remember thinking it was only a few nights before that Manchester United had scored two in the dying minutes in Barcelona against Bayern Munich to win the Champions League. It wasn’t impossible, but something had to happen quickly. When we equalised, I came running down the pitch and did a big slide, Klinsmann-style. Everyone was just going wild. We’d come back from absolutely nowhere. I can’t imagine how the Gillingham players felt. Carl Asaba tries to break away from Manchester City's Lee Crooks in the 1999 play-off final Credit: PA We’d practised penalties every day after training, but I wasn’t that great at saving them that week. The biggest thing was that they were taken at the City end. When it came to the decisive kick, I remember saying to the linesman: ‘If I save this one, is that it?’ I made myself as big as I could, dived to my left, got two big hands on the ball, pulled a stupid face and went off on a mad run around Wembley. I just didn’t want the feeling inside me to end. I should have gone straight over to their keeper, but I was young and it didn’t enter my mind. It was life-changing for me. I had so much nervous excitement within me that I went on holiday and just sat on a sunbed for two weeks to come back to reality. That game was the first step in City getting back to where they needed to be. I dread to think what would have happened if we hadn’t gone up. To see where City are now, it’s unthinkable. Andy Hessenthaler, Gillingham captain We were massive underdogs. We had finished pretty much neck and neck in the table but on status, City were always going to be favourites. We rode our luck early on. They should have had a penalty in the first minute, but we got stronger and they were getting frustrated. When we scored, we were dreaming. You’d be a liar if you were on that pitch and you didn’t think you had won that match at 2-0. I certainly did. When five minutes went up on the board, my first thought was: ‘Where have the officials got that from?’ I just couldn’t work it out. I still can’t. Extra-time was a non-event because everyone was so shattered. Deep down I wasn’t that confident about penalties because of what had happened. It didn’t surprise me that we lost. There were lots of tears. It took me a while to pull myself together, I was that emotional. When you’re watching their captain lift the trophy, you think it should be you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Fortunately, we went back to Wembley the year after and beat Wigan this time. 'I missed the penalty, and our fans started singing my name' May 25, 1998: Championship play-off final Charlton Athletic 4 (Mendonca 23, 71, 103, Rufus 85) Sunderland 4 (Quinn 50, 73, Phillips 58, Summerbee 99) After extra-time, Charlton won 7-6 on penalties The most open play-off final ever. Sunderland fan Clive Mendonca scored a hat-trick with Richard Rufus heading in Charlton’s other goal. Sunderland replied through their attacking duo of Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, as well as Nicky Summerbee. Sunderland-born Michael Gray missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out. Alan Curbishley, Charlton manager Going into the final, we had to win it. We had big plans for The Valley, but there were bids on the table from Premier League clubs for three or four of our players. If we didn’t make it, we would have had to sell them. The team would have been broken up. We measured out a training pitch the same size as Wembley to help us, but the heat made it such an open game. I expected goals, but no-one in their wildest dreams expected it to be 4-4. It’s an iconic final. Clive Mendonca was our striker, and he was Sunderland born and bred. I knew we had signed a centre forward who could get us promotion or near promotion. He was a deadly finisher but come the day of the final, he was as nervous as anybody, playing against his boyhood team and trying to get us into the Premier League. But you won’t see a better hat-trick at Wembley for its coolness. None of the goals were ever in doubt. Clive Mendonca scores the opening goal at Wembley Credit: Action Images I felt confident about the penalty shoot-out. Our goalkeeper Sasa Ilic had turned up at the training ground with his kit eight months before and asked if he could have a trial. After the first couple of training sessions, I told him: ‘We’re going to give you some travel expenses.’ I paid it out of my own pocket because I didn’t want him to wait a month for them. I watched every penalty up until Mickey Gray’s last one for Sunderland. My assistant Keith Peacock said: ‘Don’t watch this one. It’s a left-footer and he’s going to miss it.’ I put my head in my hands. When I didn’t hear the roar from their fans, I knew we had won. Peter Reid was the first person to come in our dressing room. He congratulated every one of our players on winning promotion. I’m not too sure I could have done that. The Sunderland coach had inadvertently blocked ours in after the game, so the only way we could get to our reception near Wembley was by walking with the trophy along Wembley Way. The Sunderland fans clapped us and wanted their photo taken with the trophy and the players. So when Sunderland went up the next year, we sent them a case of champagne. Michael Gray, Sunderland defender The heat felt like 120-degrees pitch-side and we had been designated to wear our away shirt, which was double-layered. It felt like you were wearing an overcoat. Every time we scored a goal, we thought that was it, they’re not going to get back into it, but they kept coming and coming. There were some great goals and Clive Mendonca was incredible. We’d practised penalties at the Stadium of Light. I’d taken maybe 20 and stuck every one of them away, but I remember Peter Reid saying: ‘Let’s wait until there are 80,000 there and see if you fancy taking one then.’ He was right. It went to sudden death. I was only 23, but I looked at our two centre-halves Darren Williams and Jody Craddock who were younger than me and then at our centre forward Danny Dichio. His boots were off and he was sat on the floor. That walk to the penalty spot is the loneliest walk you’ll ever make in your life. Even though there are 80,000 people there, you can actually hear yourself put the ball down on the grass. I picked my spot but as I ran up I saw Sasa Ilic shuffling across to his left, which was where I was going. I knew he was going to save it even when it was rolling there. Sasa Ilic celebrates winning the penalty shoot-out at Wembley Credit: Getty Images The kit man came over, then Quinny, Kevin Ball and Lee Clark. Then Peter came across and gave me a big hug. It felt like forever, but it was only five or six minutes. It was a lonely place. And then all I could hear was the Sunderland supporters starting to sing my name. I’ve never forgotten that. Never. That emotion, the feeling of missing that penalty stayed with me for as long as I wore a Sunderland shirt, which was 12-and-a-half years. Peter Reid was first class with me. I got back home after Wembley. He rang up and said: ‘Pack a bag, you’re coming to stay with me for three days.’ It was exactly what I needed. It got me away from everybody. Peter Reid consoles Michael Gray after his missed penalty Credit: ALLSPORT There wasn’t a day went by without someone wanting to ask me about it. I knew what it meant to everybody. My life was Sunderland. It was my club and I didn’t want to let anybody down ever again. I tried to block it out, but my only freedom from that question was crossing the white line and playing football. I went back to pre-season two weeks earlier than everybody else just to get a head start. No distractions. The next season we won the league with over 100 points. But it was always there. I knew what had happened the season before. That penalty miss was probably the defining moment of me becoming an adult. I was a bit of tearaway and it made me a stronger character to reach the goals I dreamed of when I was a young kid – getting promoted with Sunderland, playing for my country, playing at Wembley again. But it still hits you hard, even 20 years on. 'Party? I was in bed by half past 10' May 24, 2014: Championship play-off final Queens Park Rangers 1 (Zamora 90) Derby County 0 Grand larceny. After quietly dominating, Derby exerted total control in the second half when Rangers’ Gary O’Neil was sent off for a 58th-minute professional foul. The Derby onslaught of the QPR goal continued until Rangers broke away in the 90th minute and substitute Bobby Zamora stroked home an undeserved winner. Steve McClaren, Derby manager Harry Redknapp, QPR’s manager, and I were friends and we worked together for three months at Rangers that season. We developed a great relationship over that time - Harry was a delight to work with. Fantastic experience, great stories, nice restaurants and red wine on a Friday night! But going back to Derby was huge for me. It was a job I always wanted because I’d played there and I’d been assistant to Jim Smith, so to return as manager was completing the set. Walking out took me back to the first England game at the new Wembley when we opened it against Brazil. I had the same feeling of pride walking out with my team. Football is all about those moments. In terms of the match, we were exactly where we wanted to be. They had gone down to 10 men, we were camped in their box and I felt it was just a matter of time – wear them down, keep them running and moving. That’s what we’d done to teams all season and that would see us across the line. I could only see one scenario, us winning. I didn’t even mind if we went into extra-time because we were in total control. Until we ran out of control. Bobby Zamora's superb strike seals victory for Derby in the play-off final Credit: Action Images But then came Bobby Zamora’s goal - probably our only mistake of the afternoon. They had barely got across our halfway line, but they got into our box at the worst possible time. It was devastating for us because it was a near perfect performance of controlling the game. The Gods weren’t with us. The commentator said: ‘Harry Houdini’ and he certainly was. We all felt like sinking to the ground because of the injustice and the devastation of losing. Harry Redknapp, QPR manager Steve McClaren’s enthusiasm and coaching were top-class when he worked for us, but the Derby job came along and he was a loss to us when he went. There was very little in the game in the first half - they had a penalty shout - but then the sending-off came. I thought it was a bit harsh. It wasn’t a clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity. All I thought about then was extra-time and penalties. Could we hang on? We came under severe pressure, but it wasn’t like they were peppering us. Everybody thinks they battered us, but I don’t remember Rob Green making many world-class saves. Still, I couldn’t see us scoring. And then what an amazing goal from Bobby Zamora. Poor Richard Keogh made a ricket and had a bad touch. Bobby didn’t hesitate and stuck it straight in the top corner. I went back to Loftus Road and popped my head into the party there for about two minutes. Then I just shot out, had something to eat and had an early night. I think I was in bed by half past 10. Sky Bet is the proud title sponsor of the EFL.
Ahead of the Championship play-off final between Fulham and Aston Villa this Saturday, Ivan Speck speaks to those caught up in play-off drama of years gone. 'I said to the linesman - if I save this, do we win?' May 30, 1999: League Two play-off final Manchester City 2 (Horlock 90, Dickov 90+5) Gillingham 2 (Asaba 81, Taylor 87) After extra time, City won 3-1 on penalties Blue Moon rising. Carl Asaba and Bob Taylor gave Gillingham a late 2-0 lead. With City fans streaming out of Wembley, Kevin Horlock reduced the deficit before, controversially, referee Mark Halsey added on five minutes. In the last of those, Paul Dickov equalised. In the penalty shoot-out, 20-year-old City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver saved two Gillingham spot-kicks. Nicky Weaver, Manchester City goalkeeper I wasn’t that nervous beforehand. I think I played 55 games that year. I’d just turned 20 and the nerves don’t really kick in at that age. That said, early in the second half, I came out of my area and kicked the ball straight to one of their midfield players, who missed an open goal. If that had gone in, I could have been the villain, not the hero. I remember thinking it was only a few nights before that Manchester United had scored two in the dying minutes in Barcelona against Bayern Munich to win the Champions League. It wasn’t impossible, but something had to happen quickly. When we equalised, I came running down the pitch and did a big slide, Klinsmann-style. Everyone was just going wild. We’d come back from absolutely nowhere. I can’t imagine how the Gillingham players felt. Carl Asaba tries to break away from Manchester City's Lee Crooks in the 1999 play-off final Credit: PA We’d practised penalties every day after training, but I wasn’t that great at saving them that week. The biggest thing was that they were taken at the City end. When it came to the decisive kick, I remember saying to the linesman: ‘If I save this one, is that it?’ I made myself as big as I could, dived to my left, got two big hands on the ball, pulled a stupid face and went off on a mad run around Wembley. I just didn’t want the feeling inside me to end. I should have gone straight over to their keeper, but I was young and it didn’t enter my mind. It was life-changing for me. I had so much nervous excitement within me that I went on holiday and just sat on a sunbed for two weeks to come back to reality. That game was the first step in City getting back to where they needed to be. I dread to think what would have happened if we hadn’t gone up. To see where City are now, it’s unthinkable. Andy Hessenthaler, Gillingham captain We were massive underdogs. We had finished pretty much neck and neck in the table but on status, City were always going to be favourites. We rode our luck early on. They should have had a penalty in the first minute, but we got stronger and they were getting frustrated. When we scored, we were dreaming. You’d be a liar if you were on that pitch and you didn’t think you had won that match at 2-0. I certainly did. When five minutes went up on the board, my first thought was: ‘Where have the officials got that from?’ I just couldn’t work it out. I still can’t. Extra-time was a non-event because everyone was so shattered. Deep down I wasn’t that confident about penalties because of what had happened. It didn’t surprise me that we lost. There were lots of tears. It took me a while to pull myself together, I was that emotional. When you’re watching their captain lift the trophy, you think it should be you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Fortunately, we went back to Wembley the year after and beat Wigan this time. 'I missed the penalty, and our fans started singing my name' May 25, 1998: Championship play-off final Charlton Athletic 4 (Mendonca 23, 71, 103, Rufus 85) Sunderland 4 (Quinn 50, 73, Phillips 58, Summerbee 99) After extra-time, Charlton won 7-6 on penalties The most open play-off final ever. Sunderland fan Clive Mendonca scored a hat-trick with Richard Rufus heading in Charlton’s other goal. Sunderland replied through their attacking duo of Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, as well as Nicky Summerbee. Sunderland-born Michael Gray missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out. Alan Curbishley, Charlton manager Going into the final, we had to win it. We had big plans for The Valley, but there were bids on the table from Premier League clubs for three or four of our players. If we didn’t make it, we would have had to sell them. The team would have been broken up. We measured out a training pitch the same size as Wembley to help us, but the heat made it such an open game. I expected goals, but no-one in their wildest dreams expected it to be 4-4. It’s an iconic final. Clive Mendonca was our striker, and he was Sunderland born and bred. I knew we had signed a centre forward who could get us promotion or near promotion. He was a deadly finisher but come the day of the final, he was as nervous as anybody, playing against his boyhood team and trying to get us into the Premier League. But you won’t see a better hat-trick at Wembley for its coolness. None of the goals were ever in doubt. Clive Mendonca scores the opening goal at Wembley Credit: Action Images I felt confident about the penalty shoot-out. Our goalkeeper Sasa Ilic had turned up at the training ground with his kit eight months before and asked if he could have a trial. After the first couple of training sessions, I told him: ‘We’re going to give you some travel expenses.’ I paid it out of my own pocket because I didn’t want him to wait a month for them. I watched every penalty up until Mickey Gray’s last one for Sunderland. My assistant Keith Peacock said: ‘Don’t watch this one. It’s a left-footer and he’s going to miss it.’ I put my head in my hands. When I didn’t hear the roar from their fans, I knew we had won. Peter Reid was the first person to come in our dressing room. He congratulated every one of our players on winning promotion. I’m not too sure I could have done that. The Sunderland coach had inadvertently blocked ours in after the game, so the only way we could get to our reception near Wembley was by walking with the trophy along Wembley Way. The Sunderland fans clapped us and wanted their photo taken with the trophy and the players. So when Sunderland went up the next year, we sent them a case of champagne. Michael Gray, Sunderland defender The heat felt like 120-degrees pitch-side and we had been designated to wear our away shirt, which was double-layered. It felt like you were wearing an overcoat. Every time we scored a goal, we thought that was it, they’re not going to get back into it, but they kept coming and coming. There were some great goals and Clive Mendonca was incredible. We’d practised penalties at the Stadium of Light. I’d taken maybe 20 and stuck every one of them away, but I remember Peter Reid saying: ‘Let’s wait until there are 80,000 there and see if you fancy taking one then.’ He was right. It went to sudden death. I was only 23, but I looked at our two centre-halves Darren Williams and Jody Craddock who were younger than me and then at our centre forward Danny Dichio. His boots were off and he was sat on the floor. That walk to the penalty spot is the loneliest walk you’ll ever make in your life. Even though there are 80,000 people there, you can actually hear yourself put the ball down on the grass. I picked my spot but as I ran up I saw Sasa Ilic shuffling across to his left, which was where I was going. I knew he was going to save it even when it was rolling there. Sasa Ilic celebrates winning the penalty shoot-out at Wembley Credit: Getty Images The kit man came over, then Quinny, Kevin Ball and Lee Clark. Then Peter came across and gave me a big hug. It felt like forever, but it was only five or six minutes. It was a lonely place. And then all I could hear was the Sunderland supporters starting to sing my name. I’ve never forgotten that. Never. That emotion, the feeling of missing that penalty stayed with me for as long as I wore a Sunderland shirt, which was 12-and-a-half years. Peter Reid was first class with me. I got back home after Wembley. He rang up and said: ‘Pack a bag, you’re coming to stay with me for three days.’ It was exactly what I needed. It got me away from everybody. Peter Reid consoles Michael Gray after his missed penalty Credit: ALLSPORT There wasn’t a day went by without someone wanting to ask me about it. I knew what it meant to everybody. My life was Sunderland. It was my club and I didn’t want to let anybody down ever again. I tried to block it out, but my only freedom from that question was crossing the white line and playing football. I went back to pre-season two weeks earlier than everybody else just to get a head start. No distractions. The next season we won the league with over 100 points. But it was always there. I knew what had happened the season before. That penalty miss was probably the defining moment of me becoming an adult. I was a bit of tearaway and it made me a stronger character to reach the goals I dreamed of when I was a young kid – getting promoted with Sunderland, playing for my country, playing at Wembley again. But it still hits you hard, even 20 years on. 'Party? I was in bed by half past 10' May 24, 2014: Championship play-off final Queens Park Rangers 1 (Zamora 90) Derby County 0 Grand larceny. After quietly dominating, Derby exerted total control in the second half when Rangers’ Gary O’Neil was sent off for a 58th-minute professional foul. The Derby onslaught of the QPR goal continued until Rangers broke away in the 90th minute and substitute Bobby Zamora stroked home an undeserved winner. Steve McClaren, Derby manager Harry Redknapp, QPR’s manager, and I were friends and we worked together for three months at Rangers that season. We developed a great relationship over that time - Harry was a delight to work with. Fantastic experience, great stories, nice restaurants and red wine on a Friday night! But going back to Derby was huge for me. It was a job I always wanted because I’d played there and I’d been assistant to Jim Smith, so to return as manager was completing the set. Walking out took me back to the first England game at the new Wembley when we opened it against Brazil. I had the same feeling of pride walking out with my team. Football is all about those moments. In terms of the match, we were exactly where we wanted to be. They had gone down to 10 men, we were camped in their box and I felt it was just a matter of time – wear them down, keep them running and moving. That’s what we’d done to teams all season and that would see us across the line. I could only see one scenario, us winning. I didn’t even mind if we went into extra-time because we were in total control. Until we ran out of control. Bobby Zamora's superb strike seals victory for Derby in the play-off final Credit: Action Images But then came Bobby Zamora’s goal - probably our only mistake of the afternoon. They had barely got across our halfway line, but they got into our box at the worst possible time. It was devastating for us because it was a near perfect performance of controlling the game. The Gods weren’t with us. The commentator said: ‘Harry Houdini’ and he certainly was. We all felt like sinking to the ground because of the injustice and the devastation of losing. Harry Redknapp, QPR manager Steve McClaren’s enthusiasm and coaching were top-class when he worked for us, but the Derby job came along and he was a loss to us when he went. There was very little in the game in the first half - they had a penalty shout - but then the sending-off came. I thought it was a bit harsh. It wasn’t a clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity. All I thought about then was extra-time and penalties. Could we hang on? We came under severe pressure, but it wasn’t like they were peppering us. Everybody thinks they battered us, but I don’t remember Rob Green making many world-class saves. Still, I couldn’t see us scoring. And then what an amazing goal from Bobby Zamora. Poor Richard Keogh made a ricket and had a bad touch. Bobby didn’t hesitate and stuck it straight in the top corner. I went back to Loftus Road and popped my head into the party there for about two minutes. Then I just shot out, had something to eat and had an early night. I think I was in bed by half past 10. Sky Bet is the proud title sponsor of the EFL.
How it feels to win - and lose - the most pressurised game in football
Ahead of the Championship play-off final between Fulham and Aston Villa this Saturday, Ivan Speck speaks to those caught up in play-off drama of years gone. 'I said to the linesman - if I save this, do we win?' May 30, 1999: League Two play-off final Manchester City 2 (Horlock 90, Dickov 90+5) Gillingham 2 (Asaba 81, Taylor 87) After extra time, City won 3-1 on penalties Blue Moon rising. Carl Asaba and Bob Taylor gave Gillingham a late 2-0 lead. With City fans streaming out of Wembley, Kevin Horlock reduced the deficit before, controversially, referee Mark Halsey added on five minutes. In the last of those, Paul Dickov equalised. In the penalty shoot-out, 20-year-old City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver saved two Gillingham spot-kicks. Nicky Weaver, Manchester City goalkeeper I wasn’t that nervous beforehand. I think I played 55 games that year. I’d just turned 20 and the nerves don’t really kick in at that age. That said, early in the second half, I came out of my area and kicked the ball straight to one of their midfield players, who missed an open goal. If that had gone in, I could have been the villain, not the hero. I remember thinking it was only a few nights before that Manchester United had scored two in the dying minutes in Barcelona against Bayern Munich to win the Champions League. It wasn’t impossible, but something had to happen quickly. When we equalised, I came running down the pitch and did a big slide, Klinsmann-style. Everyone was just going wild. We’d come back from absolutely nowhere. I can’t imagine how the Gillingham players felt. Carl Asaba tries to break away from Manchester City's Lee Crooks in the 1999 play-off final Credit: PA We’d practised penalties every day after training, but I wasn’t that great at saving them that week. The biggest thing was that they were taken at the City end. When it came to the decisive kick, I remember saying to the linesman: ‘If I save this one, is that it?’ I made myself as big as I could, dived to my left, got two big hands on the ball, pulled a stupid face and went off on a mad run around Wembley. I just didn’t want the feeling inside me to end. I should have gone straight over to their keeper, but I was young and it didn’t enter my mind. It was life-changing for me. I had so much nervous excitement within me that I went on holiday and just sat on a sunbed for two weeks to come back to reality. That game was the first step in City getting back to where they needed to be. I dread to think what would have happened if we hadn’t gone up. To see where City are now, it’s unthinkable. Andy Hessenthaler, Gillingham captain We were massive underdogs. We had finished pretty much neck and neck in the table but on status, City were always going to be favourites. We rode our luck early on. They should have had a penalty in the first minute, but we got stronger and they were getting frustrated. When we scored, we were dreaming. You’d be a liar if you were on that pitch and you didn’t think you had won that match at 2-0. I certainly did. When five minutes went up on the board, my first thought was: ‘Where have the officials got that from?’ I just couldn’t work it out. I still can’t. Extra-time was a non-event because everyone was so shattered. Deep down I wasn’t that confident about penalties because of what had happened. It didn’t surprise me that we lost. There were lots of tears. It took me a while to pull myself together, I was that emotional. When you’re watching their captain lift the trophy, you think it should be you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Fortunately, we went back to Wembley the year after and beat Wigan this time. 'I missed the penalty, and our fans started singing my name' May 25, 1998: Championship play-off final Charlton Athletic 4 (Mendonca 23, 71, 103, Rufus 85) Sunderland 4 (Quinn 50, 73, Phillips 58, Summerbee 99) After extra-time, Charlton won 7-6 on penalties The most open play-off final ever. Sunderland fan Clive Mendonca scored a hat-trick with Richard Rufus heading in Charlton’s other goal. Sunderland replied through their attacking duo of Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, as well as Nicky Summerbee. Sunderland-born Michael Gray missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out. Alan Curbishley, Charlton manager Going into the final, we had to win it. We had big plans for The Valley, but there were bids on the table from Premier League clubs for three or four of our players. If we didn’t make it, we would have had to sell them. The team would have been broken up. We measured out a training pitch the same size as Wembley to help us, but the heat made it such an open game. I expected goals, but no-one in their wildest dreams expected it to be 4-4. It’s an iconic final. Clive Mendonca was our striker, and he was Sunderland born and bred. I knew we had signed a centre forward who could get us promotion or near promotion. He was a deadly finisher but come the day of the final, he was as nervous as anybody, playing against his boyhood team and trying to get us into the Premier League. But you won’t see a better hat-trick at Wembley for its coolness. None of the goals were ever in doubt. Clive Mendonca scores the opening goal at Wembley Credit: Action Images I felt confident about the penalty shoot-out. Our goalkeeper Sasa Ilic had turned up at the training ground with his kit eight months before and asked if he could have a trial. After the first couple of training sessions, I told him: ‘We’re going to give you some travel expenses.’ I paid it out of my own pocket because I didn’t want him to wait a month for them. I watched every penalty up until Mickey Gray’s last one for Sunderland. My assistant Keith Peacock said: ‘Don’t watch this one. It’s a left-footer and he’s going to miss it.’ I put my head in my hands. When I didn’t hear the roar from their fans, I knew we had won. Peter Reid was the first person to come in our dressing room. He congratulated every one of our players on winning promotion. I’m not too sure I could have done that. The Sunderland coach had inadvertently blocked ours in after the game, so the only way we could get to our reception near Wembley was by walking with the trophy along Wembley Way. The Sunderland fans clapped us and wanted their photo taken with the trophy and the players. So when Sunderland went up the next year, we sent them a case of champagne. Michael Gray, Sunderland defender The heat felt like 120-degrees pitch-side and we had been designated to wear our away shirt, which was double-layered. It felt like you were wearing an overcoat. Every time we scored a goal, we thought that was it, they’re not going to get back into it, but they kept coming and coming. There were some great goals and Clive Mendonca was incredible. We’d practised penalties at the Stadium of Light. I’d taken maybe 20 and stuck every one of them away, but I remember Peter Reid saying: ‘Let’s wait until there are 80,000 there and see if you fancy taking one then.’ He was right. It went to sudden death. I was only 23, but I looked at our two centre-halves Darren Williams and Jody Craddock who were younger than me and then at our centre forward Danny Dichio. His boots were off and he was sat on the floor. That walk to the penalty spot is the loneliest walk you’ll ever make in your life. Even though there are 80,000 people there, you can actually hear yourself put the ball down on the grass. I picked my spot but as I ran up I saw Sasa Ilic shuffling across to his left, which was where I was going. I knew he was going to save it even when it was rolling there. Sasa Ilic celebrates winning the penalty shoot-out at Wembley Credit: Getty Images The kit man came over, then Quinny, Kevin Ball and Lee Clark. Then Peter came across and gave me a big hug. It felt like forever, but it was only five or six minutes. It was a lonely place. And then all I could hear was the Sunderland supporters starting to sing my name. I’ve never forgotten that. Never. That emotion, the feeling of missing that penalty stayed with me for as long as I wore a Sunderland shirt, which was 12-and-a-half years. Peter Reid was first class with me. I got back home after Wembley. He rang up and said: ‘Pack a bag, you’re coming to stay with me for three days.’ It was exactly what I needed. It got me away from everybody. Peter Reid consoles Michael Gray after his missed penalty Credit: ALLSPORT There wasn’t a day went by without someone wanting to ask me about it. I knew what it meant to everybody. My life was Sunderland. It was my club and I didn’t want to let anybody down ever again. I tried to block it out, but my only freedom from that question was crossing the white line and playing football. I went back to pre-season two weeks earlier than everybody else just to get a head start. No distractions. The next season we won the league with over 100 points. But it was always there. I knew what had happened the season before. That penalty miss was probably the defining moment of me becoming an adult. I was a bit of tearaway and it made me a stronger character to reach the goals I dreamed of when I was a young kid – getting promoted with Sunderland, playing for my country, playing at Wembley again. But it still hits you hard, even 20 years on. 'Party? I was in bed by half past 10' May 24, 2014: Championship play-off final Queens Park Rangers 1 (Zamora 90) Derby County 0 Grand larceny. After quietly dominating, Derby exerted total control in the second half when Rangers’ Gary O’Neil was sent off for a 58th-minute professional foul. The Derby onslaught of the QPR goal continued until Rangers broke away in the 90th minute and substitute Bobby Zamora stroked home an undeserved winner. Steve McClaren, Derby manager Harry Redknapp, QPR’s manager, and I were friends and we worked together for three months at Rangers that season. We developed a great relationship over that time - Harry was a delight to work with. Fantastic experience, great stories, nice restaurants and red wine on a Friday night! But going back to Derby was huge for me. It was a job I always wanted because I’d played there and I’d been assistant to Jim Smith, so to return as manager was completing the set. Walking out took me back to the first England game at the new Wembley when we opened it against Brazil. I had the same feeling of pride walking out with my team. Football is all about those moments. In terms of the match, we were exactly where we wanted to be. They had gone down to 10 men, we were camped in their box and I felt it was just a matter of time – wear them down, keep them running and moving. That’s what we’d done to teams all season and that would see us across the line. I could only see one scenario, us winning. I didn’t even mind if we went into extra-time because we were in total control. Until we ran out of control. Bobby Zamora's superb strike seals victory for Derby in the play-off final Credit: Action Images But then came Bobby Zamora’s goal - probably our only mistake of the afternoon. They had barely got across our halfway line, but they got into our box at the worst possible time. It was devastating for us because it was a near perfect performance of controlling the game. The Gods weren’t with us. The commentator said: ‘Harry Houdini’ and he certainly was. We all felt like sinking to the ground because of the injustice and the devastation of losing. Harry Redknapp, QPR manager Steve McClaren’s enthusiasm and coaching were top-class when he worked for us, but the Derby job came along and he was a loss to us when he went. There was very little in the game in the first half - they had a penalty shout - but then the sending-off came. I thought it was a bit harsh. It wasn’t a clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity. All I thought about then was extra-time and penalties. Could we hang on? We came under severe pressure, but it wasn’t like they were peppering us. Everybody thinks they battered us, but I don’t remember Rob Green making many world-class saves. Still, I couldn’t see us scoring. And then what an amazing goal from Bobby Zamora. Poor Richard Keogh made a ricket and had a bad touch. Bobby didn’t hesitate and stuck it straight in the top corner. I went back to Loftus Road and popped my head into the party there for about two minutes. Then I just shot out, had something to eat and had an early night. I think I was in bed by half past 10. Sky Bet is the proud title sponsor of the EFL.
Ahead of the Championship play-off final between Fulham and Aston Villa this Saturday, Ivan Speck speaks to those caught up in play-off drama of years gone. 'I said to the linesman - if I save this, do we win?' May 30, 1999: League Two play-off final Manchester City 2 (Horlock 90, Dickov 90+5) Gillingham 2 (Asaba 81, Taylor 87) After extra time, City won 3-1 on penalties Blue Moon rising. Carl Asaba and Bob Taylor gave Gillingham a late 2-0 lead. With City fans streaming out of Wembley, Kevin Horlock reduced the deficit before, controversially, referee Mark Halsey added on five minutes. In the last of those, Paul Dickov equalised. In the penalty shoot-out, 20-year-old City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver saved two Gillingham spot-kicks. Nicky Weaver, Manchester City goalkeeper I wasn’t that nervous beforehand. I think I played 55 games that year. I’d just turned 20 and the nerves don’t really kick in at that age. That said, early in the second half, I came out of my area and kicked the ball straight to one of their midfield players, who missed an open goal. If that had gone in, I could have been the villain, not the hero. I remember thinking it was only a few nights before that Manchester United had scored two in the dying minutes in Barcelona against Bayern Munich to win the Champions League. It wasn’t impossible, but something had to happen quickly. When we equalised, I came running down the pitch and did a big slide, Klinsmann-style. Everyone was just going wild. We’d come back from absolutely nowhere. I can’t imagine how the Gillingham players felt. Carl Asaba tries to break away from Manchester City's Lee Crooks in the 1999 play-off final Credit: PA We’d practised penalties every day after training, but I wasn’t that great at saving them that week. The biggest thing was that they were taken at the City end. When it came to the decisive kick, I remember saying to the linesman: ‘If I save this one, is that it?’ I made myself as big as I could, dived to my left, got two big hands on the ball, pulled a stupid face and went off on a mad run around Wembley. I just didn’t want the feeling inside me to end. I should have gone straight over to their keeper, but I was young and it didn’t enter my mind. It was life-changing for me. I had so much nervous excitement within me that I went on holiday and just sat on a sunbed for two weeks to come back to reality. That game was the first step in City getting back to where they needed to be. I dread to think what would have happened if we hadn’t gone up. To see where City are now, it’s unthinkable. Andy Hessenthaler, Gillingham captain We were massive underdogs. We had finished pretty much neck and neck in the table but on status, City were always going to be favourites. We rode our luck early on. They should have had a penalty in the first minute, but we got stronger and they were getting frustrated. When we scored, we were dreaming. You’d be a liar if you were on that pitch and you didn’t think you had won that match at 2-0. I certainly did. When five minutes went up on the board, my first thought was: ‘Where have the officials got that from?’ I just couldn’t work it out. I still can’t. Extra-time was a non-event because everyone was so shattered. Deep down I wasn’t that confident about penalties because of what had happened. It didn’t surprise me that we lost. There were lots of tears. It took me a while to pull myself together, I was that emotional. When you’re watching their captain lift the trophy, you think it should be you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Fortunately, we went back to Wembley the year after and beat Wigan this time. 'I missed the penalty, and our fans started singing my name' May 25, 1998: Championship play-off final Charlton Athletic 4 (Mendonca 23, 71, 103, Rufus 85) Sunderland 4 (Quinn 50, 73, Phillips 58, Summerbee 99) After extra-time, Charlton won 7-6 on penalties The most open play-off final ever. Sunderland fan Clive Mendonca scored a hat-trick with Richard Rufus heading in Charlton’s other goal. Sunderland replied through their attacking duo of Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, as well as Nicky Summerbee. Sunderland-born Michael Gray missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out. Alan Curbishley, Charlton manager Going into the final, we had to win it. We had big plans for The Valley, but there were bids on the table from Premier League clubs for three or four of our players. If we didn’t make it, we would have had to sell them. The team would have been broken up. We measured out a training pitch the same size as Wembley to help us, but the heat made it such an open game. I expected goals, but no-one in their wildest dreams expected it to be 4-4. It’s an iconic final. Clive Mendonca was our striker, and he was Sunderland born and bred. I knew we had signed a centre forward who could get us promotion or near promotion. He was a deadly finisher but come the day of the final, he was as nervous as anybody, playing against his boyhood team and trying to get us into the Premier League. But you won’t see a better hat-trick at Wembley for its coolness. None of the goals were ever in doubt. Clive Mendonca scores the opening goal at Wembley Credit: Action Images I felt confident about the penalty shoot-out. Our goalkeeper Sasa Ilic had turned up at the training ground with his kit eight months before and asked if he could have a trial. After the first couple of training sessions, I told him: ‘We’re going to give you some travel expenses.’ I paid it out of my own pocket because I didn’t want him to wait a month for them. I watched every penalty up until Mickey Gray’s last one for Sunderland. My assistant Keith Peacock said: ‘Don’t watch this one. It’s a left-footer and he’s going to miss it.’ I put my head in my hands. When I didn’t hear the roar from their fans, I knew we had won. Peter Reid was the first person to come in our dressing room. He congratulated every one of our players on winning promotion. I’m not too sure I could have done that. The Sunderland coach had inadvertently blocked ours in after the game, so the only way we could get to our reception near Wembley was by walking with the trophy along Wembley Way. The Sunderland fans clapped us and wanted their photo taken with the trophy and the players. So when Sunderland went up the next year, we sent them a case of champagne. Michael Gray, Sunderland defender The heat felt like 120-degrees pitch-side and we had been designated to wear our away shirt, which was double-layered. It felt like you were wearing an overcoat. Every time we scored a goal, we thought that was it, they’re not going to get back into it, but they kept coming and coming. There were some great goals and Clive Mendonca was incredible. We’d practised penalties at the Stadium of Light. I’d taken maybe 20 and stuck every one of them away, but I remember Peter Reid saying: ‘Let’s wait until there are 80,000 there and see if you fancy taking one then.’ He was right. It went to sudden death. I was only 23, but I looked at our two centre-halves Darren Williams and Jody Craddock who were younger than me and then at our centre forward Danny Dichio. His boots were off and he was sat on the floor. That walk to the penalty spot is the loneliest walk you’ll ever make in your life. Even though there are 80,000 people there, you can actually hear yourself put the ball down on the grass. I picked my spot but as I ran up I saw Sasa Ilic shuffling across to his left, which was where I was going. I knew he was going to save it even when it was rolling there. Sasa Ilic celebrates winning the penalty shoot-out at Wembley Credit: Getty Images The kit man came over, then Quinny, Kevin Ball and Lee Clark. Then Peter came across and gave me a big hug. It felt like forever, but it was only five or six minutes. It was a lonely place. And then all I could hear was the Sunderland supporters starting to sing my name. I’ve never forgotten that. Never. That emotion, the feeling of missing that penalty stayed with me for as long as I wore a Sunderland shirt, which was 12-and-a-half years. Peter Reid was first class with me. I got back home after Wembley. He rang up and said: ‘Pack a bag, you’re coming to stay with me for three days.’ It was exactly what I needed. It got me away from everybody. Peter Reid consoles Michael Gray after his missed penalty Credit: ALLSPORT There wasn’t a day went by without someone wanting to ask me about it. I knew what it meant to everybody. My life was Sunderland. It was my club and I didn’t want to let anybody down ever again. I tried to block it out, but my only freedom from that question was crossing the white line and playing football. I went back to pre-season two weeks earlier than everybody else just to get a head start. No distractions. The next season we won the league with over 100 points. But it was always there. I knew what had happened the season before. That penalty miss was probably the defining moment of me becoming an adult. I was a bit of tearaway and it made me a stronger character to reach the goals I dreamed of when I was a young kid – getting promoted with Sunderland, playing for my country, playing at Wembley again. But it still hits you hard, even 20 years on. 'Party? I was in bed by half past 10' May 24, 2014: Championship play-off final Queens Park Rangers 1 (Zamora 90) Derby County 0 Grand larceny. After quietly dominating, Derby exerted total control in the second half when Rangers’ Gary O’Neil was sent off for a 58th-minute professional foul. The Derby onslaught of the QPR goal continued until Rangers broke away in the 90th minute and substitute Bobby Zamora stroked home an undeserved winner. Steve McClaren, Derby manager Harry Redknapp, QPR’s manager, and I were friends and we worked together for three months at Rangers that season. We developed a great relationship over that time - Harry was a delight to work with. Fantastic experience, great stories, nice restaurants and red wine on a Friday night! But going back to Derby was huge for me. It was a job I always wanted because I’d played there and I’d been assistant to Jim Smith, so to return as manager was completing the set. Walking out took me back to the first England game at the new Wembley when we opened it against Brazil. I had the same feeling of pride walking out with my team. Football is all about those moments. In terms of the match, we were exactly where we wanted to be. They had gone down to 10 men, we were camped in their box and I felt it was just a matter of time – wear them down, keep them running and moving. That’s what we’d done to teams all season and that would see us across the line. I could only see one scenario, us winning. I didn’t even mind if we went into extra-time because we were in total control. Until we ran out of control. Bobby Zamora's superb strike seals victory for Derby in the play-off final Credit: Action Images But then came Bobby Zamora’s goal - probably our only mistake of the afternoon. They had barely got across our halfway line, but they got into our box at the worst possible time. It was devastating for us because it was a near perfect performance of controlling the game. The Gods weren’t with us. The commentator said: ‘Harry Houdini’ and he certainly was. We all felt like sinking to the ground because of the injustice and the devastation of losing. Harry Redknapp, QPR manager Steve McClaren’s enthusiasm and coaching were top-class when he worked for us, but the Derby job came along and he was a loss to us when he went. There was very little in the game in the first half - they had a penalty shout - but then the sending-off came. I thought it was a bit harsh. It wasn’t a clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity. All I thought about then was extra-time and penalties. Could we hang on? We came under severe pressure, but it wasn’t like they were peppering us. Everybody thinks they battered us, but I don’t remember Rob Green making many world-class saves. Still, I couldn’t see us scoring. And then what an amazing goal from Bobby Zamora. Poor Richard Keogh made a ricket and had a bad touch. Bobby didn’t hesitate and stuck it straight in the top corner. I went back to Loftus Road and popped my head into the party there for about two minutes. Then I just shot out, had something to eat and had an early night. I think I was in bed by half past 10. Sky Bet is the proud title sponsor of the EFL.
How it feels to win - and lose - the most pressurised game in football
Ahead of the Championship play-off final between Fulham and Aston Villa this Saturday, Ivan Speck speaks to those caught up in play-off drama of years gone. 'I said to the linesman - if I save this, do we win?' May 30, 1999: League Two play-off final Manchester City 2 (Horlock 90, Dickov 90+5) Gillingham 2 (Asaba 81, Taylor 87) After extra time, City won 3-1 on penalties Blue Moon rising. Carl Asaba and Bob Taylor gave Gillingham a late 2-0 lead. With City fans streaming out of Wembley, Kevin Horlock reduced the deficit before, controversially, referee Mark Halsey added on five minutes. In the last of those, Paul Dickov equalised. In the penalty shoot-out, 20-year-old City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver saved two Gillingham spot-kicks. Nicky Weaver, Manchester City goalkeeper I wasn’t that nervous beforehand. I think I played 55 games that year. I’d just turned 20 and the nerves don’t really kick in at that age. That said, early in the second half, I came out of my area and kicked the ball straight to one of their midfield players, who missed an open goal. If that had gone in, I could have been the villain, not the hero. I remember thinking it was only a few nights before that Manchester United had scored two in the dying minutes in Barcelona against Bayern Munich to win the Champions League. It wasn’t impossible, but something had to happen quickly. When we equalised, I came running down the pitch and did a big slide, Klinsmann-style. Everyone was just going wild. We’d come back from absolutely nowhere. I can’t imagine how the Gillingham players felt. Carl Asaba tries to break away from Manchester City's Lee Crooks in the 1999 play-off final Credit: PA We’d practised penalties every day after training, but I wasn’t that great at saving them that week. The biggest thing was that they were taken at the City end. When it came to the decisive kick, I remember saying to the linesman: ‘If I save this one, is that it?’ I made myself as big as I could, dived to my left, got two big hands on the ball, pulled a stupid face and went off on a mad run around Wembley. I just didn’t want the feeling inside me to end. I should have gone straight over to their keeper, but I was young and it didn’t enter my mind. It was life-changing for me. I had so much nervous excitement within me that I went on holiday and just sat on a sunbed for two weeks to come back to reality. That game was the first step in City getting back to where they needed to be. I dread to think what would have happened if we hadn’t gone up. To see where City are now, it’s unthinkable. Andy Hessenthaler, Gillingham captain We were massive underdogs. We had finished pretty much neck and neck in the table but on status, City were always going to be favourites. We rode our luck early on. They should have had a penalty in the first minute, but we got stronger and they were getting frustrated. When we scored, we were dreaming. You’d be a liar if you were on that pitch and you didn’t think you had won that match at 2-0. I certainly did. When five minutes went up on the board, my first thought was: ‘Where have the officials got that from?’ I just couldn’t work it out. I still can’t. Extra-time was a non-event because everyone was so shattered. Deep down I wasn’t that confident about penalties because of what had happened. It didn’t surprise me that we lost. There were lots of tears. It took me a while to pull myself together, I was that emotional. When you’re watching their captain lift the trophy, you think it should be you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Fortunately, we went back to Wembley the year after and beat Wigan this time. 'I missed the penalty, and our fans started singing my name' May 25, 1998: Championship play-off final Charlton Athletic 4 (Mendonca 23, 71, 103, Rufus 85) Sunderland 4 (Quinn 50, 73, Phillips 58, Summerbee 99) After extra-time, Charlton won 7-6 on penalties The most open play-off final ever. Sunderland fan Clive Mendonca scored a hat-trick with Richard Rufus heading in Charlton’s other goal. Sunderland replied through their attacking duo of Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, as well as Nicky Summerbee. Sunderland-born Michael Gray missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out. Alan Curbishley, Charlton manager Going into the final, we had to win it. We had big plans for The Valley, but there were bids on the table from Premier League clubs for three or four of our players. If we didn’t make it, we would have had to sell them. The team would have been broken up. We measured out a training pitch the same size as Wembley to help us, but the heat made it such an open game. I expected goals, but no-one in their wildest dreams expected it to be 4-4. It’s an iconic final. Clive Mendonca was our striker, and he was Sunderland born and bred. I knew we had signed a centre forward who could get us promotion or near promotion. He was a deadly finisher but come the day of the final, he was as nervous as anybody, playing against his boyhood team and trying to get us into the Premier League. But you won’t see a better hat-trick at Wembley for its coolness. None of the goals were ever in doubt. Clive Mendonca scores the opening goal at Wembley Credit: Action Images I felt confident about the penalty shoot-out. Our goalkeeper Sasa Ilic had turned up at the training ground with his kit eight months before and asked if he could have a trial. After the first couple of training sessions, I told him: ‘We’re going to give you some travel expenses.’ I paid it out of my own pocket because I didn’t want him to wait a month for them. I watched every penalty up until Mickey Gray’s last one for Sunderland. My assistant Keith Peacock said: ‘Don’t watch this one. It’s a left-footer and he’s going to miss it.’ I put my head in my hands. When I didn’t hear the roar from their fans, I knew we had won. Peter Reid was the first person to come in our dressing room. He congratulated every one of our players on winning promotion. I’m not too sure I could have done that. The Sunderland coach had inadvertently blocked ours in after the game, so the only way we could get to our reception near Wembley was by walking with the trophy along Wembley Way. The Sunderland fans clapped us and wanted their photo taken with the trophy and the players. So when Sunderland went up the next year, we sent them a case of champagne. Michael Gray, Sunderland defender The heat felt like 120-degrees pitch-side and we had been designated to wear our away shirt, which was double-layered. It felt like you were wearing an overcoat. Every time we scored a goal, we thought that was it, they’re not going to get back into it, but they kept coming and coming. There were some great goals and Clive Mendonca was incredible. We’d practised penalties at the Stadium of Light. I’d taken maybe 20 and stuck every one of them away, but I remember Peter Reid saying: ‘Let’s wait until there are 80,000 there and see if you fancy taking one then.’ He was right. It went to sudden death. I was only 23, but I looked at our two centre-halves Darren Williams and Jody Craddock who were younger than me and then at our centre forward Danny Dichio. His boots were off and he was sat on the floor. That walk to the penalty spot is the loneliest walk you’ll ever make in your life. Even though there are 80,000 people there, you can actually hear yourself put the ball down on the grass. I picked my spot but as I ran up I saw Sasa Ilic shuffling across to his left, which was where I was going. I knew he was going to save it even when it was rolling there. Sasa Ilic celebrates winning the penalty shoot-out at Wembley Credit: Getty Images The kit man came over, then Quinny, Kevin Ball and Lee Clark. Then Peter came across and gave me a big hug. It felt like forever, but it was only five or six minutes. It was a lonely place. And then all I could hear was the Sunderland supporters starting to sing my name. I’ve never forgotten that. Never. That emotion, the feeling of missing that penalty stayed with me for as long as I wore a Sunderland shirt, which was 12-and-a-half years. Peter Reid was first class with me. I got back home after Wembley. He rang up and said: ‘Pack a bag, you’re coming to stay with me for three days.’ It was exactly what I needed. It got me away from everybody. Peter Reid consoles Michael Gray after his missed penalty Credit: ALLSPORT There wasn’t a day went by without someone wanting to ask me about it. I knew what it meant to everybody. My life was Sunderland. It was my club and I didn’t want to let anybody down ever again. I tried to block it out, but my only freedom from that question was crossing the white line and playing football. I went back to pre-season two weeks earlier than everybody else just to get a head start. No distractions. The next season we won the league with over 100 points. But it was always there. I knew what had happened the season before. That penalty miss was probably the defining moment of me becoming an adult. I was a bit of tearaway and it made me a stronger character to reach the goals I dreamed of when I was a young kid – getting promoted with Sunderland, playing for my country, playing at Wembley again. But it still hits you hard, even 20 years on. 'Party? I was in bed by half past 10' May 24, 2014: Championship play-off final Queens Park Rangers 1 (Zamora 90) Derby County 0 Grand larceny. After quietly dominating, Derby exerted total control in the second half when Rangers’ Gary O’Neil was sent off for a 58th-minute professional foul. The Derby onslaught of the QPR goal continued until Rangers broke away in the 90th minute and substitute Bobby Zamora stroked home an undeserved winner. Steve McClaren, Derby manager Harry Redknapp, QPR’s manager, and I were friends and we worked together for three months at Rangers that season. We developed a great relationship over that time - Harry was a delight to work with. Fantastic experience, great stories, nice restaurants and red wine on a Friday night! But going back to Derby was huge for me. It was a job I always wanted because I’d played there and I’d been assistant to Jim Smith, so to return as manager was completing the set. Walking out took me back to the first England game at the new Wembley when we opened it against Brazil. I had the same feeling of pride walking out with my team. Football is all about those moments. In terms of the match, we were exactly where we wanted to be. They had gone down to 10 men, we were camped in their box and I felt it was just a matter of time – wear them down, keep them running and moving. That’s what we’d done to teams all season and that would see us across the line. I could only see one scenario, us winning. I didn’t even mind if we went into extra-time because we were in total control. Until we ran out of control. Bobby Zamora's superb strike seals victory for Derby in the play-off final Credit: Action Images But then came Bobby Zamora’s goal - probably our only mistake of the afternoon. They had barely got across our halfway line, but they got into our box at the worst possible time. It was devastating for us because it was a near perfect performance of controlling the game. The Gods weren’t with us. The commentator said: ‘Harry Houdini’ and he certainly was. We all felt like sinking to the ground because of the injustice and the devastation of losing. Harry Redknapp, QPR manager Steve McClaren’s enthusiasm and coaching were top-class when he worked for us, but the Derby job came along and he was a loss to us when he went. There was very little in the game in the first half - they had a penalty shout - but then the sending-off came. I thought it was a bit harsh. It wasn’t a clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity. All I thought about then was extra-time and penalties. Could we hang on? We came under severe pressure, but it wasn’t like they were peppering us. Everybody thinks they battered us, but I don’t remember Rob Green making many world-class saves. Still, I couldn’t see us scoring. And then what an amazing goal from Bobby Zamora. Poor Richard Keogh made a ricket and had a bad touch. Bobby didn’t hesitate and stuck it straight in the top corner. I went back to Loftus Road and popped my head into the party there for about two minutes. Then I just shot out, had something to eat and had an early night. I think I was in bed by half past 10. Sky Bet is the proud title sponsor of the EFL.
Ahead of the Championship play-off final between Fulham and Aston Villa this Saturday, Ivan Speck speaks to those caught up in play-off drama of years gone. 'I said to the linesman - if I save this, do we win?' May 30, 1999: League Two play-off final Manchester City 2 (Horlock 90, Dickov 90+5) Gillingham 2 (Asaba 81, Taylor 87) After extra time, City won 3-1 on penalties Blue Moon rising. Carl Asaba and Bob Taylor gave Gillingham a late 2-0 lead. With City fans streaming out of Wembley, Kevin Horlock reduced the deficit before, controversially, referee Mark Halsey added on five minutes. In the last of those, Paul Dickov equalised. In the penalty shoot-out, 20-year-old City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver saved two Gillingham spot-kicks. Nicky Weaver, Manchester City goalkeeper I wasn’t that nervous beforehand. I think I played 55 games that year. I’d just turned 20 and the nerves don’t really kick in at that age. That said, early in the second half, I came out of my area and kicked the ball straight to one of their midfield players, who missed an open goal. If that had gone in, I could have been the villain, not the hero. I remember thinking it was only a few nights before that Manchester United had scored two in the dying minutes in Barcelona against Bayern Munich to win the Champions League. It wasn’t impossible, but something had to happen quickly. When we equalised, I came running down the pitch and did a big slide, Klinsmann-style. Everyone was just going wild. We’d come back from absolutely nowhere. I can’t imagine how the Gillingham players felt. Carl Asaba tries to break away from Manchester City's Lee Crooks in the 1999 play-off final Credit: PA We’d practised penalties every day after training, but I wasn’t that great at saving them that week. The biggest thing was that they were taken at the City end. When it came to the decisive kick, I remember saying to the linesman: ‘If I save this one, is that it?’ I made myself as big as I could, dived to my left, got two big hands on the ball, pulled a stupid face and went off on a mad run around Wembley. I just didn’t want the feeling inside me to end. I should have gone straight over to their keeper, but I was young and it didn’t enter my mind. It was life-changing for me. I had so much nervous excitement within me that I went on holiday and just sat on a sunbed for two weeks to come back to reality. That game was the first step in City getting back to where they needed to be. I dread to think what would have happened if we hadn’t gone up. To see where City are now, it’s unthinkable. Andy Hessenthaler, Gillingham captain We were massive underdogs. We had finished pretty much neck and neck in the table but on status, City were always going to be favourites. We rode our luck early on. They should have had a penalty in the first minute, but we got stronger and they were getting frustrated. When we scored, we were dreaming. You’d be a liar if you were on that pitch and you didn’t think you had won that match at 2-0. I certainly did. When five minutes went up on the board, my first thought was: ‘Where have the officials got that from?’ I just couldn’t work it out. I still can’t. Extra-time was a non-event because everyone was so shattered. Deep down I wasn’t that confident about penalties because of what had happened. It didn’t surprise me that we lost. There were lots of tears. It took me a while to pull myself together, I was that emotional. When you’re watching their captain lift the trophy, you think it should be you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Fortunately, we went back to Wembley the year after and beat Wigan this time. 'I missed the penalty, and our fans started singing my name' May 25, 1998: Championship play-off final Charlton Athletic 4 (Mendonca 23, 71, 103, Rufus 85) Sunderland 4 (Quinn 50, 73, Phillips 58, Summerbee 99) After extra-time, Charlton won 7-6 on penalties The most open play-off final ever. Sunderland fan Clive Mendonca scored a hat-trick with Richard Rufus heading in Charlton’s other goal. Sunderland replied through their attacking duo of Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, as well as Nicky Summerbee. Sunderland-born Michael Gray missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out. Alan Curbishley, Charlton manager Going into the final, we had to win it. We had big plans for The Valley, but there were bids on the table from Premier League clubs for three or four of our players. If we didn’t make it, we would have had to sell them. The team would have been broken up. We measured out a training pitch the same size as Wembley to help us, but the heat made it such an open game. I expected goals, but no-one in their wildest dreams expected it to be 4-4. It’s an iconic final. Clive Mendonca was our striker, and he was Sunderland born and bred. I knew we had signed a centre forward who could get us promotion or near promotion. He was a deadly finisher but come the day of the final, he was as nervous as anybody, playing against his boyhood team and trying to get us into the Premier League. But you won’t see a better hat-trick at Wembley for its coolness. None of the goals were ever in doubt. Clive Mendonca scores the opening goal at Wembley Credit: Action Images I felt confident about the penalty shoot-out. Our goalkeeper Sasa Ilic had turned up at the training ground with his kit eight months before and asked if he could have a trial. After the first couple of training sessions, I told him: ‘We’re going to give you some travel expenses.’ I paid it out of my own pocket because I didn’t want him to wait a month for them. I watched every penalty up until Mickey Gray’s last one for Sunderland. My assistant Keith Peacock said: ‘Don’t watch this one. It’s a left-footer and he’s going to miss it.’ I put my head in my hands. When I didn’t hear the roar from their fans, I knew we had won. Peter Reid was the first person to come in our dressing room. He congratulated every one of our players on winning promotion. I’m not too sure I could have done that. The Sunderland coach had inadvertently blocked ours in after the game, so the only way we could get to our reception near Wembley was by walking with the trophy along Wembley Way. The Sunderland fans clapped us and wanted their photo taken with the trophy and the players. So when Sunderland went up the next year, we sent them a case of champagne. Michael Gray, Sunderland defender The heat felt like 120-degrees pitch-side and we had been designated to wear our away shirt, which was double-layered. It felt like you were wearing an overcoat. Every time we scored a goal, we thought that was it, they’re not going to get back into it, but they kept coming and coming. There were some great goals and Clive Mendonca was incredible. We’d practised penalties at the Stadium of Light. I’d taken maybe 20 and stuck every one of them away, but I remember Peter Reid saying: ‘Let’s wait until there are 80,000 there and see if you fancy taking one then.’ He was right. It went to sudden death. I was only 23, but I looked at our two centre-halves Darren Williams and Jody Craddock who were younger than me and then at our centre forward Danny Dichio. His boots were off and he was sat on the floor. That walk to the penalty spot is the loneliest walk you’ll ever make in your life. Even though there are 80,000 people there, you can actually hear yourself put the ball down on the grass. I picked my spot but as I ran up I saw Sasa Ilic shuffling across to his left, which was where I was going. I knew he was going to save it even when it was rolling there. Sasa Ilic celebrates winning the penalty shoot-out at Wembley Credit: Getty Images The kit man came over, then Quinny, Kevin Ball and Lee Clark. Then Peter came across and gave me a big hug. It felt like forever, but it was only five or six minutes. It was a lonely place. And then all I could hear was the Sunderland supporters starting to sing my name. I’ve never forgotten that. Never. That emotion, the feeling of missing that penalty stayed with me for as long as I wore a Sunderland shirt, which was 12-and-a-half years. Peter Reid was first class with me. I got back home after Wembley. He rang up and said: ‘Pack a bag, you’re coming to stay with me for three days.’ It was exactly what I needed. It got me away from everybody. Peter Reid consoles Michael Gray after his missed penalty Credit: ALLSPORT There wasn’t a day went by without someone wanting to ask me about it. I knew what it meant to everybody. My life was Sunderland. It was my club and I didn’t want to let anybody down ever again. I tried to block it out, but my only freedom from that question was crossing the white line and playing football. I went back to pre-season two weeks earlier than everybody else just to get a head start. No distractions. The next season we won the league with over 100 points. But it was always there. I knew what had happened the season before. That penalty miss was probably the defining moment of me becoming an adult. I was a bit of tearaway and it made me a stronger character to reach the goals I dreamed of when I was a young kid – getting promoted with Sunderland, playing for my country, playing at Wembley again. But it still hits you hard, even 20 years on. 'Party? I was in bed by half past 10' May 24, 2014: Championship play-off final Queens Park Rangers 1 (Zamora 90) Derby County 0 Grand larceny. After quietly dominating, Derby exerted total control in the second half when Rangers’ Gary O’Neil was sent off for a 58th-minute professional foul. The Derby onslaught of the QPR goal continued until Rangers broke away in the 90th minute and substitute Bobby Zamora stroked home an undeserved winner. Steve McClaren, Derby manager Harry Redknapp, QPR’s manager, and I were friends and we worked together for three months at Rangers that season. We developed a great relationship over that time - Harry was a delight to work with. Fantastic experience, great stories, nice restaurants and red wine on a Friday night! But going back to Derby was huge for me. It was a job I always wanted because I’d played there and I’d been assistant to Jim Smith, so to return as manager was completing the set. Walking out took me back to the first England game at the new Wembley when we opened it against Brazil. I had the same feeling of pride walking out with my team. Football is all about those moments. In terms of the match, we were exactly where we wanted to be. They had gone down to 10 men, we were camped in their box and I felt it was just a matter of time – wear them down, keep them running and moving. That’s what we’d done to teams all season and that would see us across the line. I could only see one scenario, us winning. I didn’t even mind if we went into extra-time because we were in total control. Until we ran out of control. Bobby Zamora's superb strike seals victory for Derby in the play-off final Credit: Action Images But then came Bobby Zamora’s goal - probably our only mistake of the afternoon. They had barely got across our halfway line, but they got into our box at the worst possible time. It was devastating for us because it was a near perfect performance of controlling the game. The Gods weren’t with us. The commentator said: ‘Harry Houdini’ and he certainly was. We all felt like sinking to the ground because of the injustice and the devastation of losing. Harry Redknapp, QPR manager Steve McClaren’s enthusiasm and coaching were top-class when he worked for us, but the Derby job came along and he was a loss to us when he went. There was very little in the game in the first half - they had a penalty shout - but then the sending-off came. I thought it was a bit harsh. It wasn’t a clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity. All I thought about then was extra-time and penalties. Could we hang on? We came under severe pressure, but it wasn’t like they were peppering us. Everybody thinks they battered us, but I don’t remember Rob Green making many world-class saves. Still, I couldn’t see us scoring. And then what an amazing goal from Bobby Zamora. Poor Richard Keogh made a ricket and had a bad touch. Bobby didn’t hesitate and stuck it straight in the top corner. I went back to Loftus Road and popped my head into the party there for about two minutes. Then I just shot out, had something to eat and had an early night. I think I was in bed by half past 10. Sky Bet is the proud title sponsor of the EFL.
How it feels to win - and lose - the most pressurised game in football
Ahead of the Championship play-off final between Fulham and Aston Villa this Saturday, Ivan Speck speaks to those caught up in play-off drama of years gone. 'I said to the linesman - if I save this, do we win?' May 30, 1999: League Two play-off final Manchester City 2 (Horlock 90, Dickov 90+5) Gillingham 2 (Asaba 81, Taylor 87) After extra time, City won 3-1 on penalties Blue Moon rising. Carl Asaba and Bob Taylor gave Gillingham a late 2-0 lead. With City fans streaming out of Wembley, Kevin Horlock reduced the deficit before, controversially, referee Mark Halsey added on five minutes. In the last of those, Paul Dickov equalised. In the penalty shoot-out, 20-year-old City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver saved two Gillingham spot-kicks. Nicky Weaver, Manchester City goalkeeper I wasn’t that nervous beforehand. I think I played 55 games that year. I’d just turned 20 and the nerves don’t really kick in at that age. That said, early in the second half, I came out of my area and kicked the ball straight to one of their midfield players, who missed an open goal. If that had gone in, I could have been the villain, not the hero. I remember thinking it was only a few nights before that Manchester United had scored two in the dying minutes in Barcelona against Bayern Munich to win the Champions League. It wasn’t impossible, but something had to happen quickly. When we equalised, I came running down the pitch and did a big slide, Klinsmann-style. Everyone was just going wild. We’d come back from absolutely nowhere. I can’t imagine how the Gillingham players felt. Carl Asaba tries to break away from Manchester City's Lee Crooks in the 1999 play-off final Credit: PA We’d practised penalties every day after training, but I wasn’t that great at saving them that week. The biggest thing was that they were taken at the City end. When it came to the decisive kick, I remember saying to the linesman: ‘If I save this one, is that it?’ I made myself as big as I could, dived to my left, got two big hands on the ball, pulled a stupid face and went off on a mad run around Wembley. I just didn’t want the feeling inside me to end. I should have gone straight over to their keeper, but I was young and it didn’t enter my mind. It was life-changing for me. I had so much nervous excitement within me that I went on holiday and just sat on a sunbed for two weeks to come back to reality. That game was the first step in City getting back to where they needed to be. I dread to think what would have happened if we hadn’t gone up. To see where City are now, it’s unthinkable. Andy Hessenthaler, Gillingham captain We were massive underdogs. We had finished pretty much neck and neck in the table but on status, City were always going to be favourites. We rode our luck early on. They should have had a penalty in the first minute, but we got stronger and they were getting frustrated. When we scored, we were dreaming. You’d be a liar if you were on that pitch and you didn’t think you had won that match at 2-0. I certainly did. When five minutes went up on the board, my first thought was: ‘Where have the officials got that from?’ I just couldn’t work it out. I still can’t. Extra-time was a non-event because everyone was so shattered. Deep down I wasn’t that confident about penalties because of what had happened. It didn’t surprise me that we lost. There were lots of tears. It took me a while to pull myself together, I was that emotional. When you’re watching their captain lift the trophy, you think it should be you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Fortunately, we went back to Wembley the year after and beat Wigan this time. 'I missed the penalty, and our fans started singing my name' May 25, 1998: Championship play-off final Charlton Athletic 4 (Mendonca 23, 71, 103, Rufus 85) Sunderland 4 (Quinn 50, 73, Phillips 58, Summerbee 99) After extra-time, Charlton won 7-6 on penalties The most open play-off final ever. Sunderland fan Clive Mendonca scored a hat-trick with Richard Rufus heading in Charlton’s other goal. Sunderland replied through their attacking duo of Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, as well as Nicky Summerbee. Sunderland-born Michael Gray missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out. Alan Curbishley, Charlton manager Going into the final, we had to win it. We had big plans for The Valley, but there were bids on the table from Premier League clubs for three or four of our players. If we didn’t make it, we would have had to sell them. The team would have been broken up. We measured out a training pitch the same size as Wembley to help us, but the heat made it such an open game. I expected goals, but no-one in their wildest dreams expected it to be 4-4. It’s an iconic final. Clive Mendonca was our striker, and he was Sunderland born and bred. I knew we had signed a centre forward who could get us promotion or near promotion. He was a deadly finisher but come the day of the final, he was as nervous as anybody, playing against his boyhood team and trying to get us into the Premier League. But you won’t see a better hat-trick at Wembley for its coolness. None of the goals were ever in doubt. Clive Mendonca scores the opening goal at Wembley Credit: Action Images I felt confident about the penalty shoot-out. Our goalkeeper Sasa Ilic had turned up at the training ground with his kit eight months before and asked if he could have a trial. After the first couple of training sessions, I told him: ‘We’re going to give you some travel expenses.’ I paid it out of my own pocket because I didn’t want him to wait a month for them. I watched every penalty up until Mickey Gray’s last one for Sunderland. My assistant Keith Peacock said: ‘Don’t watch this one. It’s a left-footer and he’s going to miss it.’ I put my head in my hands. When I didn’t hear the roar from their fans, I knew we had won. Peter Reid was the first person to come in our dressing room. He congratulated every one of our players on winning promotion. I’m not too sure I could have done that. The Sunderland coach had inadvertently blocked ours in after the game, so the only way we could get to our reception near Wembley was by walking with the trophy along Wembley Way. The Sunderland fans clapped us and wanted their photo taken with the trophy and the players. So when Sunderland went up the next year, we sent them a case of champagne. Michael Gray, Sunderland defender The heat felt like 120-degrees pitch-side and we had been designated to wear our away shirt, which was double-layered. It felt like you were wearing an overcoat. Every time we scored a goal, we thought that was it, they’re not going to get back into it, but they kept coming and coming. There were some great goals and Clive Mendonca was incredible. We’d practised penalties at the Stadium of Light. I’d taken maybe 20 and stuck every one of them away, but I remember Peter Reid saying: ‘Let’s wait until there are 80,000 there and see if you fancy taking one then.’ He was right. It went to sudden death. I was only 23, but I looked at our two centre-halves Darren Williams and Jody Craddock who were younger than me and then at our centre forward Danny Dichio. His boots were off and he was sat on the floor. That walk to the penalty spot is the loneliest walk you’ll ever make in your life. Even though there are 80,000 people there, you can actually hear yourself put the ball down on the grass. I picked my spot but as I ran up I saw Sasa Ilic shuffling across to his left, which was where I was going. I knew he was going to save it even when it was rolling there. Sasa Ilic celebrates winning the penalty shoot-out at Wembley Credit: Getty Images The kit man came over, then Quinny, Kevin Ball and Lee Clark. Then Peter came across and gave me a big hug. It felt like forever, but it was only five or six minutes. It was a lonely place. And then all I could hear was the Sunderland supporters starting to sing my name. I’ve never forgotten that. Never. That emotion, the feeling of missing that penalty stayed with me for as long as I wore a Sunderland shirt, which was 12-and-a-half years. Peter Reid was first class with me. I got back home after Wembley. He rang up and said: ‘Pack a bag, you’re coming to stay with me for three days.’ It was exactly what I needed. It got me away from everybody. Peter Reid consoles Michael Gray after his missed penalty Credit: ALLSPORT There wasn’t a day went by without someone wanting to ask me about it. I knew what it meant to everybody. My life was Sunderland. It was my club and I didn’t want to let anybody down ever again. I tried to block it out, but my only freedom from that question was crossing the white line and playing football. I went back to pre-season two weeks earlier than everybody else just to get a head start. No distractions. The next season we won the league with over 100 points. But it was always there. I knew what had happened the season before. That penalty miss was probably the defining moment of me becoming an adult. I was a bit of tearaway and it made me a stronger character to reach the goals I dreamed of when I was a young kid – getting promoted with Sunderland, playing for my country, playing at Wembley again. But it still hits you hard, even 20 years on. 'Party? I was in bed by half past 10' May 24, 2014: Championship play-off final Queens Park Rangers 1 (Zamora 90) Derby County 0 Grand larceny. After quietly dominating, Derby exerted total control in the second half when Rangers’ Gary O’Neil was sent off for a 58th-minute professional foul. The Derby onslaught of the QPR goal continued until Rangers broke away in the 90th minute and substitute Bobby Zamora stroked home an undeserved winner. Steve McClaren, Derby manager Harry Redknapp, QPR’s manager, and I were friends and we worked together for three months at Rangers that season. We developed a great relationship over that time - Harry was a delight to work with. Fantastic experience, great stories, nice restaurants and red wine on a Friday night! But going back to Derby was huge for me. It was a job I always wanted because I’d played there and I’d been assistant to Jim Smith, so to return as manager was completing the set. Walking out took me back to the first England game at the new Wembley when we opened it against Brazil. I had the same feeling of pride walking out with my team. Football is all about those moments. In terms of the match, we were exactly where we wanted to be. They had gone down to 10 men, we were camped in their box and I felt it was just a matter of time – wear them down, keep them running and moving. That’s what we’d done to teams all season and that would see us across the line. I could only see one scenario, us winning. I didn’t even mind if we went into extra-time because we were in total control. Until we ran out of control. Bobby Zamora's superb strike seals victory for Derby in the play-off final Credit: Action Images But then came Bobby Zamora’s goal - probably our only mistake of the afternoon. They had barely got across our halfway line, but they got into our box at the worst possible time. It was devastating for us because it was a near perfect performance of controlling the game. The Gods weren’t with us. The commentator said: ‘Harry Houdini’ and he certainly was. We all felt like sinking to the ground because of the injustice and the devastation of losing. Harry Redknapp, QPR manager Steve McClaren’s enthusiasm and coaching were top-class when he worked for us, but the Derby job came along and he was a loss to us when he went. There was very little in the game in the first half - they had a penalty shout - but then the sending-off came. I thought it was a bit harsh. It wasn’t a clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity. All I thought about then was extra-time and penalties. Could we hang on? We came under severe pressure, but it wasn’t like they were peppering us. Everybody thinks they battered us, but I don’t remember Rob Green making many world-class saves. Still, I couldn’t see us scoring. And then what an amazing goal from Bobby Zamora. Poor Richard Keogh made a ricket and had a bad touch. Bobby didn’t hesitate and stuck it straight in the top corner. I went back to Loftus Road and popped my head into the party there for about two minutes. Then I just shot out, had something to eat and had an early night. I think I was in bed by half past 10. Sky Bet is the proud title sponsor of the EFL.
Ahead of the Championship play-off final between Fulham and Aston Villa this Saturday, Ivan Speck speaks to those caught up in play-off drama of years gone. 'I said to the linesman - if I save this, do we win?' May 30, 1999: League Two play-off final Manchester City 2 (Horlock 90, Dickov 90+5) Gillingham 2 (Asaba 81, Taylor 87) After extra time, City won 3-1 on penalties Blue Moon rising. Carl Asaba and Bob Taylor gave Gillingham a late 2-0 lead. With City fans streaming out of Wembley, Kevin Horlock reduced the deficit before, controversially, referee Mark Halsey added on five minutes. In the last of those, Paul Dickov equalised. In the penalty shoot-out, 20-year-old City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver saved two Gillingham spot-kicks. Nicky Weaver, Manchester City goalkeeper I wasn’t that nervous beforehand. I think I played 55 games that year. I’d just turned 20 and the nerves don’t really kick in at that age. That said, early in the second half, I came out of my area and kicked the ball straight to one of their midfield players, who missed an open goal. If that had gone in, I could have been the villain, not the hero. I remember thinking it was only a few nights before that Manchester United had scored two in the dying minutes in Barcelona against Bayern Munich to win the Champions League. It wasn’t impossible, but something had to happen quickly. When we equalised, I came running down the pitch and did a big slide, Klinsmann-style. Everyone was just going wild. We’d come back from absolutely nowhere. I can’t imagine how the Gillingham players felt. Carl Asaba tries to break away from Manchester City's Lee Crooks in the 1999 play-off final Credit: PA We’d practised penalties every day after training, but I wasn’t that great at saving them that week. The biggest thing was that they were taken at the City end. When it came to the decisive kick, I remember saying to the linesman: ‘If I save this one, is that it?’ I made myself as big as I could, dived to my left, got two big hands on the ball, pulled a stupid face and went off on a mad run around Wembley. I just didn’t want the feeling inside me to end. I should have gone straight over to their keeper, but I was young and it didn’t enter my mind. It was life-changing for me. I had so much nervous excitement within me that I went on holiday and just sat on a sunbed for two weeks to come back to reality. That game was the first step in City getting back to where they needed to be. I dread to think what would have happened if we hadn’t gone up. To see where City are now, it’s unthinkable. Andy Hessenthaler, Gillingham captain We were massive underdogs. We had finished pretty much neck and neck in the table but on status, City were always going to be favourites. We rode our luck early on. They should have had a penalty in the first minute, but we got stronger and they were getting frustrated. When we scored, we were dreaming. You’d be a liar if you were on that pitch and you didn’t think you had won that match at 2-0. I certainly did. When five minutes went up on the board, my first thought was: ‘Where have the officials got that from?’ I just couldn’t work it out. I still can’t. Extra-time was a non-event because everyone was so shattered. Deep down I wasn’t that confident about penalties because of what had happened. It didn’t surprise me that we lost. There were lots of tears. It took me a while to pull myself together, I was that emotional. When you’re watching their captain lift the trophy, you think it should be you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Fortunately, we went back to Wembley the year after and beat Wigan this time. 'I missed the penalty, and our fans started singing my name' May 25, 1998: Championship play-off final Charlton Athletic 4 (Mendonca 23, 71, 103, Rufus 85) Sunderland 4 (Quinn 50, 73, Phillips 58, Summerbee 99) After extra-time, Charlton won 7-6 on penalties The most open play-off final ever. Sunderland fan Clive Mendonca scored a hat-trick with Richard Rufus heading in Charlton’s other goal. Sunderland replied through their attacking duo of Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, as well as Nicky Summerbee. Sunderland-born Michael Gray missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out. Alan Curbishley, Charlton manager Going into the final, we had to win it. We had big plans for The Valley, but there were bids on the table from Premier League clubs for three or four of our players. If we didn’t make it, we would have had to sell them. The team would have been broken up. We measured out a training pitch the same size as Wembley to help us, but the heat made it such an open game. I expected goals, but no-one in their wildest dreams expected it to be 4-4. It’s an iconic final. Clive Mendonca was our striker, and he was Sunderland born and bred. I knew we had signed a centre forward who could get us promotion or near promotion. He was a deadly finisher but come the day of the final, he was as nervous as anybody, playing against his boyhood team and trying to get us into the Premier League. But you won’t see a better hat-trick at Wembley for its coolness. None of the goals were ever in doubt. Clive Mendonca scores the opening goal at Wembley Credit: Action Images I felt confident about the penalty shoot-out. Our goalkeeper Sasa Ilic had turned up at the training ground with his kit eight months before and asked if he could have a trial. After the first couple of training sessions, I told him: ‘We’re going to give you some travel expenses.’ I paid it out of my own pocket because I didn’t want him to wait a month for them. I watched every penalty up until Mickey Gray’s last one for Sunderland. My assistant Keith Peacock said: ‘Don’t watch this one. It’s a left-footer and he’s going to miss it.’ I put my head in my hands. When I didn’t hear the roar from their fans, I knew we had won. Peter Reid was the first person to come in our dressing room. He congratulated every one of our players on winning promotion. I’m not too sure I could have done that. The Sunderland coach had inadvertently blocked ours in after the game, so the only way we could get to our reception near Wembley was by walking with the trophy along Wembley Way. The Sunderland fans clapped us and wanted their photo taken with the trophy and the players. So when Sunderland went up the next year, we sent them a case of champagne. Michael Gray, Sunderland defender The heat felt like 120-degrees pitch-side and we had been designated to wear our away shirt, which was double-layered. It felt like you were wearing an overcoat. Every time we scored a goal, we thought that was it, they’re not going to get back into it, but they kept coming and coming. There were some great goals and Clive Mendonca was incredible. We’d practised penalties at the Stadium of Light. I’d taken maybe 20 and stuck every one of them away, but I remember Peter Reid saying: ‘Let’s wait until there are 80,000 there and see if you fancy taking one then.’ He was right. It went to sudden death. I was only 23, but I looked at our two centre-halves Darren Williams and Jody Craddock who were younger than me and then at our centre forward Danny Dichio. His boots were off and he was sat on the floor. That walk to the penalty spot is the loneliest walk you’ll ever make in your life. Even though there are 80,000 people there, you can actually hear yourself put the ball down on the grass. I picked my spot but as I ran up I saw Sasa Ilic shuffling across to his left, which was where I was going. I knew he was going to save it even when it was rolling there. Sasa Ilic celebrates winning the penalty shoot-out at Wembley Credit: Getty Images The kit man came over, then Quinny, Kevin Ball and Lee Clark. Then Peter came across and gave me a big hug. It felt like forever, but it was only five or six minutes. It was a lonely place. And then all I could hear was the Sunderland supporters starting to sing my name. I’ve never forgotten that. Never. That emotion, the feeling of missing that penalty stayed with me for as long as I wore a Sunderland shirt, which was 12-and-a-half years. Peter Reid was first class with me. I got back home after Wembley. He rang up and said: ‘Pack a bag, you’re coming to stay with me for three days.’ It was exactly what I needed. It got me away from everybody. Peter Reid consoles Michael Gray after his missed penalty Credit: ALLSPORT There wasn’t a day went by without someone wanting to ask me about it. I knew what it meant to everybody. My life was Sunderland. It was my club and I didn’t want to let anybody down ever again. I tried to block it out, but my only freedom from that question was crossing the white line and playing football. I went back to pre-season two weeks earlier than everybody else just to get a head start. No distractions. The next season we won the league with over 100 points. But it was always there. I knew what had happened the season before. That penalty miss was probably the defining moment of me becoming an adult. I was a bit of tearaway and it made me a stronger character to reach the goals I dreamed of when I was a young kid – getting promoted with Sunderland, playing for my country, playing at Wembley again. But it still hits you hard, even 20 years on. 'Party? I was in bed by half past 10' May 24, 2014: Championship play-off final Queens Park Rangers 1 (Zamora 90) Derby County 0 Grand larceny. After quietly dominating, Derby exerted total control in the second half when Rangers’ Gary O’Neil was sent off for a 58th-minute professional foul. The Derby onslaught of the QPR goal continued until Rangers broke away in the 90th minute and substitute Bobby Zamora stroked home an undeserved winner. Steve McClaren, Derby manager Harry Redknapp, QPR’s manager, and I were friends and we worked together for three months at Rangers that season. We developed a great relationship over that time - Harry was a delight to work with. Fantastic experience, great stories, nice restaurants and red wine on a Friday night! But going back to Derby was huge for me. It was a job I always wanted because I’d played there and I’d been assistant to Jim Smith, so to return as manager was completing the set. Walking out took me back to the first England game at the new Wembley when we opened it against Brazil. I had the same feeling of pride walking out with my team. Football is all about those moments. In terms of the match, we were exactly where we wanted to be. They had gone down to 10 men, we were camped in their box and I felt it was just a matter of time – wear them down, keep them running and moving. That’s what we’d done to teams all season and that would see us across the line. I could only see one scenario, us winning. I didn’t even mind if we went into extra-time because we were in total control. Until we ran out of control. Bobby Zamora's superb strike seals victory for Derby in the play-off final Credit: Action Images But then came Bobby Zamora’s goal - probably our only mistake of the afternoon. They had barely got across our halfway line, but they got into our box at the worst possible time. It was devastating for us because it was a near perfect performance of controlling the game. The Gods weren’t with us. The commentator said: ‘Harry Houdini’ and he certainly was. We all felt like sinking to the ground because of the injustice and the devastation of losing. Harry Redknapp, QPR manager Steve McClaren’s enthusiasm and coaching were top-class when he worked for us, but the Derby job came along and he was a loss to us when he went. There was very little in the game in the first half - they had a penalty shout - but then the sending-off came. I thought it was a bit harsh. It wasn’t a clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity. All I thought about then was extra-time and penalties. Could we hang on? We came under severe pressure, but it wasn’t like they were peppering us. Everybody thinks they battered us, but I don’t remember Rob Green making many world-class saves. Still, I couldn’t see us scoring. And then what an amazing goal from Bobby Zamora. Poor Richard Keogh made a ricket and had a bad touch. Bobby didn’t hesitate and stuck it straight in the top corner. I went back to Loftus Road and popped my head into the party there for about two minutes. Then I just shot out, had something to eat and had an early night. I think I was in bed by half past 10. Sky Bet is the proud title sponsor of the EFL.
How it feels to win - and lose - the most pressurised game in football
Ahead of the Championship play-off final between Fulham and Aston Villa this Saturday, Ivan Speck speaks to those caught up in play-off drama of years gone. 'I said to the linesman - if I save this, do we win?' May 30, 1999: League Two play-off final Manchester City 2 (Horlock 90, Dickov 90+5) Gillingham 2 (Asaba 81, Taylor 87) After extra time, City won 3-1 on penalties Blue Moon rising. Carl Asaba and Bob Taylor gave Gillingham a late 2-0 lead. With City fans streaming out of Wembley, Kevin Horlock reduced the deficit before, controversially, referee Mark Halsey added on five minutes. In the last of those, Paul Dickov equalised. In the penalty shoot-out, 20-year-old City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver saved two Gillingham spot-kicks. Nicky Weaver, Manchester City goalkeeper I wasn’t that nervous beforehand. I think I played 55 games that year. I’d just turned 20 and the nerves don’t really kick in at that age. That said, early in the second half, I came out of my area and kicked the ball straight to one of their midfield players, who missed an open goal. If that had gone in, I could have been the villain, not the hero. I remember thinking it was only a few nights before that Manchester United had scored two in the dying minutes in Barcelona against Bayern Munich to win the Champions League. It wasn’t impossible, but something had to happen quickly. When we equalised, I came running down the pitch and did a big slide, Klinsmann-style. Everyone was just going wild. We’d come back from absolutely nowhere. I can’t imagine how the Gillingham players felt. Carl Asaba tries to break away from Manchester City's Lee Crooks in the 1999 play-off final Credit: PA We’d practised penalties every day after training, but I wasn’t that great at saving them that week. The biggest thing was that they were taken at the City end. When it came to the decisive kick, I remember saying to the linesman: ‘If I save this one, is that it?’ I made myself as big as I could, dived to my left, got two big hands on the ball, pulled a stupid face and went off on a mad run around Wembley. I just didn’t want the feeling inside me to end. I should have gone straight over to their keeper, but I was young and it didn’t enter my mind. It was life-changing for me. I had so much nervous excitement within me that I went on holiday and just sat on a sunbed for two weeks to come back to reality. That game was the first step in City getting back to where they needed to be. I dread to think what would have happened if we hadn’t gone up. To see where City are now, it’s unthinkable. Andy Hessenthaler, Gillingham captain We were massive underdogs. We had finished pretty much neck and neck in the table but on status, City were always going to be favourites. We rode our luck early on. They should have had a penalty in the first minute, but we got stronger and they were getting frustrated. When we scored, we were dreaming. You’d be a liar if you were on that pitch and you didn’t think you had won that match at 2-0. I certainly did. When five minutes went up on the board, my first thought was: ‘Where have the officials got that from?’ I just couldn’t work it out. I still can’t. Extra-time was a non-event because everyone was so shattered. Deep down I wasn’t that confident about penalties because of what had happened. It didn’t surprise me that we lost. There were lots of tears. It took me a while to pull myself together, I was that emotional. When you’re watching their captain lift the trophy, you think it should be you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Fortunately, we went back to Wembley the year after and beat Wigan this time. 'I missed the penalty, and our fans started singing my name' May 25, 1998: Championship play-off final Charlton Athletic 4 (Mendonca 23, 71, 103, Rufus 85) Sunderland 4 (Quinn 50, 73, Phillips 58, Summerbee 99) After extra-time, Charlton won 7-6 on penalties The most open play-off final ever. Sunderland fan Clive Mendonca scored a hat-trick with Richard Rufus heading in Charlton’s other goal. Sunderland replied through their attacking duo of Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, as well as Nicky Summerbee. Sunderland-born Michael Gray missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out. Alan Curbishley, Charlton manager Going into the final, we had to win it. We had big plans for The Valley, but there were bids on the table from Premier League clubs for three or four of our players. If we didn’t make it, we would have had to sell them. The team would have been broken up. We measured out a training pitch the same size as Wembley to help us, but the heat made it such an open game. I expected goals, but no-one in their wildest dreams expected it to be 4-4. It’s an iconic final. Clive Mendonca was our striker, and he was Sunderland born and bred. I knew we had signed a centre forward who could get us promotion or near promotion. He was a deadly finisher but come the day of the final, he was as nervous as anybody, playing against his boyhood team and trying to get us into the Premier League. But you won’t see a better hat-trick at Wembley for its coolness. None of the goals were ever in doubt. Clive Mendonca scores the opening goal at Wembley Credit: Action Images I felt confident about the penalty shoot-out. Our goalkeeper Sasa Ilic had turned up at the training ground with his kit eight months before and asked if he could have a trial. After the first couple of training sessions, I told him: ‘We’re going to give you some travel expenses.’ I paid it out of my own pocket because I didn’t want him to wait a month for them. I watched every penalty up until Mickey Gray’s last one for Sunderland. My assistant Keith Peacock said: ‘Don’t watch this one. It’s a left-footer and he’s going to miss it.’ I put my head in my hands. When I didn’t hear the roar from their fans, I knew we had won. Peter Reid was the first person to come in our dressing room. He congratulated every one of our players on winning promotion. I’m not too sure I could have done that. The Sunderland coach had inadvertently blocked ours in after the game, so the only way we could get to our reception near Wembley was by walking with the trophy along Wembley Way. The Sunderland fans clapped us and wanted their photo taken with the trophy and the players. So when Sunderland went up the next year, we sent them a case of champagne. Michael Gray, Sunderland defender The heat felt like 120-degrees pitch-side and we had been designated to wear our away shirt, which was double-layered. It felt like you were wearing an overcoat. Every time we scored a goal, we thought that was it, they’re not going to get back into it, but they kept coming and coming. There were some great goals and Clive Mendonca was incredible. We’d practised penalties at the Stadium of Light. I’d taken maybe 20 and stuck every one of them away, but I remember Peter Reid saying: ‘Let’s wait until there are 80,000 there and see if you fancy taking one then.’ He was right. It went to sudden death. I was only 23, but I looked at our two centre-halves Darren Williams and Jody Craddock who were younger than me and then at our centre forward Danny Dichio. His boots were off and he was sat on the floor. That walk to the penalty spot is the loneliest walk you’ll ever make in your life. Even though there are 80,000 people there, you can actually hear yourself put the ball down on the grass. I picked my spot but as I ran up I saw Sasa Ilic shuffling across to his left, which was where I was going. I knew he was going to save it even when it was rolling there. Sasa Ilic celebrates winning the penalty shoot-out at Wembley Credit: Getty Images The kit man came over, then Quinny, Kevin Ball and Lee Clark. Then Peter came across and gave me a big hug. It felt like forever, but it was only five or six minutes. It was a lonely place. And then all I could hear was the Sunderland supporters starting to sing my name. I’ve never forgotten that. Never. That emotion, the feeling of missing that penalty stayed with me for as long as I wore a Sunderland shirt, which was 12-and-a-half years. Peter Reid was first class with me. I got back home after Wembley. He rang up and said: ‘Pack a bag, you’re coming to stay with me for three days.’ It was exactly what I needed. It got me away from everybody. Peter Reid consoles Michael Gray after his missed penalty Credit: ALLSPORT There wasn’t a day went by without someone wanting to ask me about it. I knew what it meant to everybody. My life was Sunderland. It was my club and I didn’t want to let anybody down ever again. I tried to block it out, but my only freedom from that question was crossing the white line and playing football. I went back to pre-season two weeks earlier than everybody else just to get a head start. No distractions. The next season we won the league with over 100 points. But it was always there. I knew what had happened the season before. That penalty miss was probably the defining moment of me becoming an adult. I was a bit of tearaway and it made me a stronger character to reach the goals I dreamed of when I was a young kid – getting promoted with Sunderland, playing for my country, playing at Wembley again. But it still hits you hard, even 20 years on. 'Party? I was in bed by half past 10' May 24, 2014: Championship play-off final Queens Park Rangers 1 (Zamora 90) Derby County 0 Grand larceny. After quietly dominating, Derby exerted total control in the second half when Rangers’ Gary O’Neil was sent off for a 58th-minute professional foul. The Derby onslaught of the QPR goal continued until Rangers broke away in the 90th minute and substitute Bobby Zamora stroked home an undeserved winner. Steve McClaren, Derby manager Harry Redknapp, QPR’s manager, and I were friends and we worked together for three months at Rangers that season. We developed a great relationship over that time - Harry was a delight to work with. Fantastic experience, great stories, nice restaurants and red wine on a Friday night! But going back to Derby was huge for me. It was a job I always wanted because I’d played there and I’d been assistant to Jim Smith, so to return as manager was completing the set. Walking out took me back to the first England game at the new Wembley when we opened it against Brazil. I had the same feeling of pride walking out with my team. Football is all about those moments. In terms of the match, we were exactly where we wanted to be. They had gone down to 10 men, we were camped in their box and I felt it was just a matter of time – wear them down, keep them running and moving. That’s what we’d done to teams all season and that would see us across the line. I could only see one scenario, us winning. I didn’t even mind if we went into extra-time because we were in total control. Until we ran out of control. Bobby Zamora's superb strike seals victory for Derby in the play-off final Credit: Action Images But then came Bobby Zamora’s goal - probably our only mistake of the afternoon. They had barely got across our halfway line, but they got into our box at the worst possible time. It was devastating for us because it was a near perfect performance of controlling the game. The Gods weren’t with us. The commentator said: ‘Harry Houdini’ and he certainly was. We all felt like sinking to the ground because of the injustice and the devastation of losing. Harry Redknapp, QPR manager Steve McClaren’s enthusiasm and coaching were top-class when he worked for us, but the Derby job came along and he was a loss to us when he went. There was very little in the game in the first half - they had a penalty shout - but then the sending-off came. I thought it was a bit harsh. It wasn’t a clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity. All I thought about then was extra-time and penalties. Could we hang on? We came under severe pressure, but it wasn’t like they were peppering us. Everybody thinks they battered us, but I don’t remember Rob Green making many world-class saves. Still, I couldn’t see us scoring. And then what an amazing goal from Bobby Zamora. Poor Richard Keogh made a ricket and had a bad touch. Bobby didn’t hesitate and stuck it straight in the top corner. I went back to Loftus Road and popped my head into the party there for about two minutes. Then I just shot out, had something to eat and had an early night. I think I was in bed by half past 10. Sky Bet is the proud title sponsor of the EFL.
The 44-year-old former defender had pledged his future to Derby County back in January, but has been appointed the Potters' new boss
Relegated Stoke City announce Rowett as new manager
The 44-year-old former defender had pledged his future to Derby County back in January, but has been appointed the Potters' new boss
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - May 14, 2018 Derby County manager Gary Rowett before the match Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien
FILE PHOTO: Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - May 14, 2018 Derby County manager Gary Rowett before the match Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien
Gary Rowett has left Derby County to take the vacant manager’s job at Stoke City.
Stoke City appoint Gary Rowett as manager on three-year contract
Gary Rowett has left Derby County to take the vacant manager’s job at Stoke City.
Gary Rowett has asked Derby County for permission to begin talks with Stoke City over the manager's role at bet365 Stadium.
Derby's Rowett seeks permission for Stoke talks
Gary Rowett has asked Derby County for permission to begin talks with Stoke City over the manager's role at bet365 Stadium.
​​Derby County striker Matej Vydra looks set to leave Pride Park this summer after the Rams failed to gain promotion to the Premier League after losing to Fulham in their play-off semi-final. According to ​The Telegraph, Gary Rowett’s side will look to offload a number of players during the transfer window to help bring down their wage bill, including their star man Vydra. Finishing the season as top goal scorer in the Championship, the 26-year-old front man will certainly be on the radar of a...
Watford Should Look to Re-Sign Their Former Talisman and Championship Top Scorer This Summer
​​Derby County striker Matej Vydra looks set to leave Pride Park this summer after the Rams failed to gain promotion to the Premier League after losing to Fulham in their play-off semi-final. According to ​The Telegraph, Gary Rowett’s side will look to offload a number of players during the transfer window to help bring down their wage bill, including their star man Vydra. Finishing the season as top goal scorer in the Championship, the 26-year-old front man will certainly be on the radar of a...
​​Derby County striker Matej Vydra looks set to leave Pride Park this summer after the Rams failed to gain promotion to the Premier League after losing to Fulham in their play-off semi-final. According to ​The Telegraph, Gary Rowett’s side will look to offload a number of players during the transfer window to help bring down their wage bill, including their star man Vydra. Finishing the season as top goal scorer in the Championship, the 26-year-old front man will certainly be on the radar of a...
Watford Should Look to Re-Sign Their Former Talisman and Championship Top Scorer This Summer
​​Derby County striker Matej Vydra looks set to leave Pride Park this summer after the Rams failed to gain promotion to the Premier League after losing to Fulham in their play-off semi-final. According to ​The Telegraph, Gary Rowett’s side will look to offload a number of players during the transfer window to help bring down their wage bill, including their star man Vydra. Finishing the season as top goal scorer in the Championship, the 26-year-old front man will certainly be on the radar of a...
​​Derby County striker Matej Vydra looks set to leave Pride Park this summer after the Rams failed to gain promotion to the Premier League after losing to Fulham in their play-off semi-final. According to ​The Telegraph, Gary Rowett’s side will look to offload a number of players during the transfer window to help bring down their wage bill, including their star man Vydra. Finishing the season as top goal scorer in the Championship, the 26-year-old front man will certainly be on the radar of a...
Watford Should Look to Re-Sign Their Former Talisman and Championship Top Scorer This Summer
​​Derby County striker Matej Vydra looks set to leave Pride Park this summer after the Rams failed to gain promotion to the Premier League after losing to Fulham in their play-off semi-final. According to ​The Telegraph, Gary Rowett’s side will look to offload a number of players during the transfer window to help bring down their wage bill, including their star man Vydra. Finishing the season as top goal scorer in the Championship, the 26-year-old front man will certainly be on the radar of a...
​​Derby County striker Matej Vydra looks set to leave Pride Park this summer after the Rams failed to gain promotion to the Premier League after losing to Fulham in their play-off semi-final. According to ​The Telegraph, Gary Rowett’s side will look to offload a number of players during the transfer window to help bring down their wage bill, including their star man Vydra. Finishing the season as top goal scorer in the Championship, the 26-year-old front man will certainly be on the radar of a...
Watford Should Look to Re-Sign Their Former Talisman and Championship Top Scorer This Summer
​​Derby County striker Matej Vydra looks set to leave Pride Park this summer after the Rams failed to gain promotion to the Premier League after losing to Fulham in their play-off semi-final. According to ​The Telegraph, Gary Rowett’s side will look to offload a number of players during the transfer window to help bring down their wage bill, including their star man Vydra. Finishing the season as top goal scorer in the Championship, the 26-year-old front man will certainly be on the radar of a...
​​Derby County striker Matej Vydra looks set to leave Pride Park this summer after the Rams failed to gain promotion to the Premier League after losing to Fulham in their play-off semi-final. According to ​The Telegraph, Gary Rowett’s side will look to offload a number of players during the transfer window to help bring down their wage bill, including their star man Vydra. Finishing the season as top goal scorer in the Championship, the 26-year-old front man will certainly be on the radar of a...
Watford Should Look to Re-Sign Their Former Talisman and Championship Top Scorer This Summer
​​Derby County striker Matej Vydra looks set to leave Pride Park this summer after the Rams failed to gain promotion to the Premier League after losing to Fulham in their play-off semi-final. According to ​The Telegraph, Gary Rowett’s side will look to offload a number of players during the transfer window to help bring down their wage bill, including their star man Vydra. Finishing the season as top goal scorer in the Championship, the 26-year-old front man will certainly be on the radar of a...
Stoke are close to appointing Gary Rowett as their new manager after agreeing to pay the £1.8m compensation fee. Relegated Stoke have returned for Rowett, their No 1 target in January after the dismissal of Mark Hughes, and are hoping to agree a deal in the next 48 hours as they prepare for the Championship. Rowett was top of Stoke's list in the New Year, yet opted to stay at Pride Park as negotiations over a new contract were advanced, subsequently guiding Derby to the Championship play-offs. But Stoke have revived their long-term interest in the former defender and want him to lead their promotion challenge following relegation from the Premier League. It is understood the move is being driven by John Coates, Stoke's influential vice-chairman, who has admired Rowett for some time. Sources at Stoke have revealed that Rowett has been on Stoke's radar since his start at Burton Albion, with the 44-year-old also impressing in spells at Birmingham City and Derby. Rowett signed a new £1.5m a year contract in January and it is understood compensation is just under the £2m mark. Stoke parted company with Paul Lambert last Friday and are keen to bring in a new manager by the end of the week. Derby issued a statement on Monday evening. It read: "Derby County Football Club can confirm that Gary Rowett has asked for permission to speak with Stoke City regarding the vacant manager’s position at the bet365 Stadium. "The club is now in discussion with Stoke regarding the matter and will update our supporters in due course." Rowett's past achievements include leading Burton to the League Two play-offs on two occasions, while he finished sixth with Derby in his first full season in charge. Fulham lost the first leg at Pride Park but went through as winners after a 2-0 home win last Monday. Derby are set to slash their budget after missing out on promotion, with owner Mel Morris determined to lower the club's cost base. As a result, leading scorer Matej Vydra is likely to be sold to the highest bidder. Stoke, meanwhile, have the incentive of parachute payments and are making a huge attempt to seal a swift return to the top-flight. Though stars such as England goalkeeper Jack Butland, Xherdan Shaqiri and Joe Allen could be sold, Stoke are focusing on building a competitive squad capable of mounting a serious challenge. Rowett is the man they want to lead them into a new era and his appointment could even be confirmed on Tuesday.
Stoke in talks to appoint Gary Rowett of Derby as new manager
Stoke are close to appointing Gary Rowett as their new manager after agreeing to pay the £1.8m compensation fee. Relegated Stoke have returned for Rowett, their No 1 target in January after the dismissal of Mark Hughes, and are hoping to agree a deal in the next 48 hours as they prepare for the Championship. Rowett was top of Stoke's list in the New Year, yet opted to stay at Pride Park as negotiations over a new contract were advanced, subsequently guiding Derby to the Championship play-offs. But Stoke have revived their long-term interest in the former defender and want him to lead their promotion challenge following relegation from the Premier League. It is understood the move is being driven by John Coates, Stoke's influential vice-chairman, who has admired Rowett for some time. Sources at Stoke have revealed that Rowett has been on Stoke's radar since his start at Burton Albion, with the 44-year-old also impressing in spells at Birmingham City and Derby. Rowett signed a new £1.5m a year contract in January and it is understood compensation is just under the £2m mark. Stoke parted company with Paul Lambert last Friday and are keen to bring in a new manager by the end of the week. Derby issued a statement on Monday evening. It read: "Derby County Football Club can confirm that Gary Rowett has asked for permission to speak with Stoke City regarding the vacant manager’s position at the bet365 Stadium. "The club is now in discussion with Stoke regarding the matter and will update our supporters in due course." Rowett's past achievements include leading Burton to the League Two play-offs on two occasions, while he finished sixth with Derby in his first full season in charge. Fulham lost the first leg at Pride Park but went through as winners after a 2-0 home win last Monday. Derby are set to slash their budget after missing out on promotion, with owner Mel Morris determined to lower the club's cost base. As a result, leading scorer Matej Vydra is likely to be sold to the highest bidder. Stoke, meanwhile, have the incentive of parachute payments and are making a huge attempt to seal a swift return to the top-flight. Though stars such as England goalkeeper Jack Butland, Xherdan Shaqiri and Joe Allen could be sold, Stoke are focusing on building a competitive squad capable of mounting a serious challenge. Rowett is the man they want to lead them into a new era and his appointment could even be confirmed on Tuesday.
Steve McClaren is back in English football with QPR, 14 months after being dismissed by Derby County.
QPR appoint Steve McClaren as new manager on two-year contract
Steve McClaren is back in English football with QPR, 14 months after being dismissed by Derby County.
Derby County likely to sell top scorer Matej Vydra after missing out on Premier League
Derby County likely to sell top scorer Matej Vydra after missing out on Premier League
Derby County likely to sell top scorer Matej Vydra after missing out on Premier League
Tim Ream, the Fulham defender, has hailed Ryan Sessegnon as a unique talent after the teenager guided his side to the Championship play-off final. Sessegnon, who turns 18 on Friday, scored the first goal and created the second as Fulham overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit to defeat Derby County and record the first play-off win in their history. Sessegnon is Fulham’s top scorer with 16 goals this season, and Ream likened the left winger to a “sponge” who plays with the maturity of a veteran. “First and foremost, he has done some incredible things this season,” said Ream. “There is no doubting his talent and his ability and his work-rate and his attitude. It’s something that you don’t often see with young players these days. “He’s completely different to any of the young players who are up and coming, in every aspect of his game. Ryan Sessegnon scored Fulham's first goal against Derby to help secure their place in the play-off final Credit: Reuters “He’s the quietest kid I have ever met. I liken him to a sponge: he takes everything on board. “You can’t argue with his approach this year. It is just amazing what he has done and what he continues to do.” The play-off final will be Fulham’s first trip to Wembley in 43 years, and Ream added: “I don’t see why playing at Wembley is going to be any different for him. “I have never seen a kid so calm in the face of the media. He does not yearn for the limelight. He does not want it, or rather he does not ask for it. He just goes about his business and does his own thing. Pick your England World Cup 2018 squad “Nobody needs to change him. He has taken everything as it comes this year and done it like a 35-year-old veteran. It’s amazing.” Ream added that Slavisa Jokanovic’s side, who finished third in the Championship after a 23-game unbeaten run was ended on the final day of the season, had “no fear” ahead of the play-off final. “You don’t go 23 games unbeaten without being confident,” he said. “Obviously we rode our luck in some games but we know that we are more than capable of beating every team in this division. We have proven that in the second half of the season. You respect everyone and you fear nobody.”
Ryan Sessegnon 'does not yearn for the limelight - he just goes about his business', says Fulham's Tim Ream
Tim Ream, the Fulham defender, has hailed Ryan Sessegnon as a unique talent after the teenager guided his side to the Championship play-off final. Sessegnon, who turns 18 on Friday, scored the first goal and created the second as Fulham overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit to defeat Derby County and record the first play-off win in their history. Sessegnon is Fulham’s top scorer with 16 goals this season, and Ream likened the left winger to a “sponge” who plays with the maturity of a veteran. “First and foremost, he has done some incredible things this season,” said Ream. “There is no doubting his talent and his ability and his work-rate and his attitude. It’s something that you don’t often see with young players these days. “He’s completely different to any of the young players who are up and coming, in every aspect of his game. Ryan Sessegnon scored Fulham's first goal against Derby to help secure their place in the play-off final Credit: Reuters “He’s the quietest kid I have ever met. I liken him to a sponge: he takes everything on board. “You can’t argue with his approach this year. It is just amazing what he has done and what he continues to do.” The play-off final will be Fulham’s first trip to Wembley in 43 years, and Ream added: “I don’t see why playing at Wembley is going to be any different for him. “I have never seen a kid so calm in the face of the media. He does not yearn for the limelight. He does not want it, or rather he does not ask for it. He just goes about his business and does his own thing. Pick your England World Cup 2018 squad “Nobody needs to change him. He has taken everything as it comes this year and done it like a 35-year-old veteran. It’s amazing.” Ream added that Slavisa Jokanovic’s side, who finished third in the Championship after a 23-game unbeaten run was ended on the final day of the season, had “no fear” ahead of the play-off final. “You don’t go 23 games unbeaten without being confident,” he said. “Obviously we rode our luck in some games but we know that we are more than capable of beating every team in this division. We have proven that in the second half of the season. You respect everyone and you fear nobody.”
Derby County likely to sell top scorer Matej Vydra after missing out on Premier League
Derby County likely to sell top scorer Matej Vydra after missing out on Premier League
Derby County likely to sell top scorer Matej Vydra after missing out on Premier League
Derby County are facing the prospect of losing top scorer Matej Vydra after missing out on promotion to the Premier League. Vydra is set to be sold this summer as Derby move to slash their budget following the defeat to Fulham in the Championship play-off semi-final. The Czech Republic international scored 22 goals in all competitions this season and Derby are likely to demand at least £8m for the striker, signed from Watford in August 2016. Mel Morris, the Derby owner, admitted earlier this year that little investment would be made if the club failed to win promotion and it is understood he wants the wage bill lowering significantly. Derby’s wage bill is currently around £35m and Morris wants to drastically reduce that figure as the East Midlanders prepare for a 11th consecutive season in the Championship. Derby County lost 2-1 to Fulham in the play-off semi-final Credit: reuters Vydra, 26, is their most sellable asset after an excellent season, while there could also be interest in goalkeeper Scott Carson and Republic of Ireland international Richard Keogh. Derby could also listen to offers for Chris Martin – a likely target for incoming Queens Park Rangers manager Steve McClaren – and Ikechi Anya. Rowett said: "I'd want to make sure we're in a position to still challenge regardless of what we have to do financially. "Any manager would tell you that you would love to get in the play-offs and have a summer where you can recruit very strongly and try to improve the side. But the reality is, after lots of years and lots of managers doing that, I am the manager who has to balance it all out a little bit more."
Derby County likely to sell top scorer Matej Vydra after missing out on Premier League
Derby County are facing the prospect of losing top scorer Matej Vydra after missing out on promotion to the Premier League. Vydra is set to be sold this summer as Derby move to slash their budget following the defeat to Fulham in the Championship play-off semi-final. The Czech Republic international scored 22 goals in all competitions this season and Derby are likely to demand at least £8m for the striker, signed from Watford in August 2016. Mel Morris, the Derby owner, admitted earlier this year that little investment would be made if the club failed to win promotion and it is understood he wants the wage bill lowering significantly. Derby’s wage bill is currently around £35m and Morris wants to drastically reduce that figure as the East Midlanders prepare for a 11th consecutive season in the Championship. Derby County lost 2-1 to Fulham in the play-off semi-final Credit: reuters Vydra, 26, is their most sellable asset after an excellent season, while there could also be interest in goalkeeper Scott Carson and Republic of Ireland international Richard Keogh. Derby could also listen to offers for Chris Martin – a likely target for incoming Queens Park Rangers manager Steve McClaren – and Ikechi Anya. Rowett said: "I'd want to make sure we're in a position to still challenge regardless of what we have to do financially. "Any manager would tell you that you would love to get in the play-offs and have a summer where you can recruit very strongly and try to improve the side. But the reality is, after lots of years and lots of managers doing that, I am the manager who has to balance it all out a little bit more."
Derby County are facing the prospect of losing top scorer Matej Vydra after missing out on promotion to the Premier League. Vydra is set to be sold this summer as Derby move to slash their budget following the defeat to Fulham in the Championship play-off semi-final. The Czech Republic international scored 22 goals in all competitions this season and Derby are likely to demand at least £8m for the striker, signed from Watford in August 2016. Mel Morris, the Derby owner, admitted earlier this year that little investment would be made if the club failed to win promotion and it is understood he wants the wage bill lowering significantly. Derby’s wage bill is currently around £35m and Morris wants to drastically reduce that figure as the East Midlanders prepare for a 11th consecutive season in the Championship. Derby County lost 2-1 to Fulham in the play-off semi-final Credit: reuters Vydra, 26, is their most sellable asset after an excellent season, while there could also be interest in goalkeeper Scott Carson and Republic of Ireland international Richard Keogh. Derby could also listen to offers for Chris Martin – a likely target for incoming Queens Park Rangers manager Steve McClaren – and Ikechi Anya. Rowett said: "I'd want to make sure we're in a position to still challenge regardless of what we have to do financially. "Any manager would tell you that you would love to get in the play-offs and have a summer where you can recruit very strongly and try to improve the side. But the reality is, after lots of years and lots of managers doing that, I am the manager who has to balance it all out a little bit more."
Derby County likely to sell top scorer Matej Vydra after missing out on Premier League
Derby County are facing the prospect of losing top scorer Matej Vydra after missing out on promotion to the Premier League. Vydra is set to be sold this summer as Derby move to slash their budget following the defeat to Fulham in the Championship play-off semi-final. The Czech Republic international scored 22 goals in all competitions this season and Derby are likely to demand at least £8m for the striker, signed from Watford in August 2016. Mel Morris, the Derby owner, admitted earlier this year that little investment would be made if the club failed to win promotion and it is understood he wants the wage bill lowering significantly. Derby’s wage bill is currently around £35m and Morris wants to drastically reduce that figure as the East Midlanders prepare for a 11th consecutive season in the Championship. Derby County lost 2-1 to Fulham in the play-off semi-final Credit: reuters Vydra, 26, is their most sellable asset after an excellent season, while there could also be interest in goalkeeper Scott Carson and Republic of Ireland international Richard Keogh. Derby could also listen to offers for Chris Martin – a likely target for incoming Queens Park Rangers manager Steve McClaren – and Ikechi Anya. Rowett said: "I'd want to make sure we're in a position to still challenge regardless of what we have to do financially. "Any manager would tell you that you would love to get in the play-offs and have a summer where you can recruit very strongly and try to improve the side. But the reality is, after lots of years and lots of managers doing that, I am the manager who has to balance it all out a little bit more."
Tim Ream, the Fulham defender, has hailed Ryan Sessegnon as a unique talent after the teenager guided his side to the Championship play-off final. Sessegnon, who turns 18 on Friday, scored the first goal and created the second as Fulham overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit to defeat Derby County and record the first play-off win in their history. Sessegnon is Fulham’s top scorer with 16 goals this season, and Ream likened the left winger to a “sponge” who plays with the maturity of a veteran. “First and foremost, he has done some incredible things this season,” said Ream. “There is no doubting his talent and his ability and his work-rate and his attitude. It’s something that you don’t often see with young players these days. “He’s completely different to any of the young players who are up and coming, in every aspect of his game. Ryan Sessegnon scored Fulham's first goal against Derby to help secure their place in the play-off final Credit: Reuters “He’s the quietest kid I have ever met. I liken him to a sponge: he takes everything on board. “You can’t argue with his approach this year. It is just amazing what he has done and what he continues to do.” The play-off final will be Fulham’s first trip to Wembley in 43 years, and Ream added: “I don’t see why playing at Wembley is going to be any different for him. “I have never seen a kid so calm in the face of the media. He does not yearn for the limelight. He does not want it, or rather he does not ask for it. He just goes about his business and does his own thing. Pick your England World Cup 2018 squad “Nobody needs to change him. He has taken everything as it comes this year and done it like a 35-year-old veteran. It’s amazing.” Ream added that Slavisa Jokanovic’s side, who finished third in the Championship after a 23-game unbeaten run was ended on the final day of the season, had “no fear” ahead of the play-off final. “You don’t go 23 games unbeaten without being confident,” he said. “Obviously we rode our luck in some games but we know that we are more than capable of beating every team in this division. We have proven that in the second half of the season. You respect everyone and you fear nobody.”
Ryan Sessegnon 'does not yearn for the limelight - he just goes about his business', says Fulham's Tim Ream
Tim Ream, the Fulham defender, has hailed Ryan Sessegnon as a unique talent after the teenager guided his side to the Championship play-off final. Sessegnon, who turns 18 on Friday, scored the first goal and created the second as Fulham overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit to defeat Derby County and record the first play-off win in their history. Sessegnon is Fulham’s top scorer with 16 goals this season, and Ream likened the left winger to a “sponge” who plays with the maturity of a veteran. “First and foremost, he has done some incredible things this season,” said Ream. “There is no doubting his talent and his ability and his work-rate and his attitude. It’s something that you don’t often see with young players these days. “He’s completely different to any of the young players who are up and coming, in every aspect of his game. Ryan Sessegnon scored Fulham's first goal against Derby to help secure their place in the play-off final Credit: Reuters “He’s the quietest kid I have ever met. I liken him to a sponge: he takes everything on board. “You can’t argue with his approach this year. It is just amazing what he has done and what he continues to do.” The play-off final will be Fulham’s first trip to Wembley in 43 years, and Ream added: “I don’t see why playing at Wembley is going to be any different for him. “I have never seen a kid so calm in the face of the media. He does not yearn for the limelight. He does not want it, or rather he does not ask for it. He just goes about his business and does his own thing. Pick your England World Cup 2018 squad “Nobody needs to change him. He has taken everything as it comes this year and done it like a 35-year-old veteran. It’s amazing.” Ream added that Slavisa Jokanovic’s side, who finished third in the Championship after a 23-game unbeaten run was ended on the final day of the season, had “no fear” ahead of the play-off final. “You don’t go 23 games unbeaten without being confident,” he said. “Obviously we rode our luck in some games but we know that we are more than capable of beating every team in this division. We have proven that in the second half of the season. You respect everyone and you fear nobody.”
Sheltering just metres from Craven Cottage and an army of angry Derby County football fans, Tennis Podcast presenters David Law & Catherine Whitaker hunkered down to digest the extraordinary and contrasting title wins in Madrid for Alex Zverev and Petra Kvitova. Which of the two will go further at Roland Garros? Is Zverev a genuine threat to the all-conquering Rafael Nadal? And can we just take a moment to marvel at Kvitova, who 18 months ago nearly lost her career, or worse, in a knife attack in her own home. Plus, there's analysis of Nadal's surprise defeat to Dominic Thiem, and chat about the sizeable win of Kyle Edmund over Novak Djokovic. On the subject of Djokovic, legendary American sport broadcaster and Tennis Podcast listener Mary Carillo texts in her thoughts as the pod team try to get to the bottom of why Djokovic isn’t the force he once was. Do all great champions eventually burn out? All that as well as a Serena Williams comeback update, Brit success, and a rare mention for Tom Okker. The Tennis Podcast is produced weekly throughout the year and daily during the Grand Slam tournaments, in association with Telegraph Sport and Eurosport, and presented by Catherine Whitaker (Eurosport) and David Law (BBC 5 Live, BT Sport). How to listen to The Tennis Podcast: Listen: http://po.st/TP405 iTunes - http://po.st/TP405Apple Download: http://po.st/ TP405Download
Tennis Podcast: Will Petra Kvitova and Alex Zverev triumph in Paris, and what's happened to Novak Djokovic?
Sheltering just metres from Craven Cottage and an army of angry Derby County football fans, Tennis Podcast presenters David Law & Catherine Whitaker hunkered down to digest the extraordinary and contrasting title wins in Madrid for Alex Zverev and Petra Kvitova. Which of the two will go further at Roland Garros? Is Zverev a genuine threat to the all-conquering Rafael Nadal? And can we just take a moment to marvel at Kvitova, who 18 months ago nearly lost her career, or worse, in a knife attack in her own home. Plus, there's analysis of Nadal's surprise defeat to Dominic Thiem, and chat about the sizeable win of Kyle Edmund over Novak Djokovic. On the subject of Djokovic, legendary American sport broadcaster and Tennis Podcast listener Mary Carillo texts in her thoughts as the pod team try to get to the bottom of why Djokovic isn’t the force he once was. Do all great champions eventually burn out? All that as well as a Serena Williams comeback update, Brit success, and a rare mention for Tom Okker. The Tennis Podcast is produced weekly throughout the year and daily during the Grand Slam tournaments, in association with Telegraph Sport and Eurosport, and presented by Catherine Whitaker (Eurosport) and David Law (BBC 5 Live, BT Sport). How to listen to The Tennis Podcast: Listen: http://po.st/TP405 iTunes - http://po.st/TP405Apple Download: http://po.st/ TP405Download
A goal and an assist from Ryan Sessegnon saw Fulham reach the Championship play-off final at the expense of Derby County.
Fulham 2 Derby County 0 (2-1 agg): Sessegnon leads comeback to book play-off final spot
A goal and an assist from Ryan Sessegnon saw Fulham reach the Championship play-off final at the expense of Derby County.
They rose to applaud Archie Gemmill at the Scottish Football Writers’ Association annual dinner in Glasgow on Sunday night, when he was the recipient of the organisation’s first ever lifetime achievement award. The standing ovation that marked the high-water mark of Gemmill’s career, however, was accorded him on June 11, 1978, in Mendoza, Argentina. That was when Gemmill produced one of the greatest goals seen in the World Cup, in the improbable circumstances of a previously farcical Scotland campaign, in the Scots’ final group game and against a Dutch side who finished runners up at the World Cup. Gemmill’s contribution became so totemic that it has featured in the movie ‘Trainspotting’ and in a tribute dance by English National Ballet. With Scotland needing to win by three goals to qualify for the next stage, after potentially ruinous setbacks against Peru and Iran, they led 2-1 midway through the second half, at which point the ball broke to Gemmill just outside the Dutch penalty area. He skipped past Wim Jansen – later to become manager of Celtic – avoided a robust challenge by Jan Poortvliet, nutmegged the usually imperturbable Ruud Krol and completed his slalom run with a perfect chip over the advancing goalkeeper, Jan Jongbloed. As Gemmill turned to celebrate, the entire global contingent in the press and broadcast seats stood to salute his wizardry. Sunday’s accolade acknowledged a playing career which included 43 caps and eight goals for Scotland and a club career that saw him perform in midfield for St Mirren, Preston, Derby County (twice), Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic plus management stints with Rotherham United and Scotland under 19s but - as the 71-year-old acknowledged, with a mixture of pride and resignation – it always comes back to that goal in Mendoza, even though the Dutch scored again to knock the Scots out. Gemmill before a match against Brazil in 1977 Credit: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK “Whenever a World Cup comes around people want to ask about the goal,” Gemmill said. “It was fantastic at the time, even if it didn't help us a great deal in the tournament itself, but over the years, it's given a few people some joy – and a bit of hope, I suppose for the future. “It was a special moment for me. I’d like to think it'll be remembered long after I’m gone. I'm not the type to watch it. I couldn't tell you the last time I saw the goal. “As a player, I always thought my job was just to play as well as I possibly could. If anything came of it, great. If not, you had to try even harder next time, but even people at home in Derby still ask me about the goal and, the odd time I come back up to Scotland, it's all anyone wants to talk about – nothing else.” Credit: GETTY CREATIVE A decade elapsed between Gemmill’s international debut against Belgium in 1971 and his final appearance, against Northern Ireland. He might have reached the 50-cap mark, but for the fact that he was never in favour with a certain Scotland manager. “Before Tommy Docherty took over, I was well in the squad, but he bombed me out totally,” Gemmill said. “We played England in 1972 and I was opposite Alan Ball, who was getting the better of me. “Docherty took me off just into the second half and that was me. I was never in another squad for three years. Docherty also came to Derby and got rid of me from there as well. “Similarly, I was Scotland captain when Ally MacLeod took over and he gave it to someone else, but I always came back, because you want to play for your country as many times as you can. “I got 43 caps but in those three years I was out, I could have got to 50 and into the Hall of Fame. It would have been a landmark for me. “Players, probably with less ability, get to 50 caps now because there are so many games, but you have to live for your time. Throughout my football career, I always had to try and prove a point to someone. I never coasted. “Brian Clough got rid of me at Derby and when I went to Birmingham I was bombed out there as well, but the year Derby got rid of me I was voted their player of their year. Then, the year I left Birmingham, I was their player of the year as well. “When I started out, I was ever so tiny. I'm not that much bigger now. For Scotland U15's I played in a trial match and scored a couple of goals, but the squad was named to play England at Wembley and I wasn't even in it because I was too wee. I was told I’d never make it because of my size, but I had a bit of skill and tenacity about me.” And what of the prospects now for Scotland, managed by Gemmill’s former international team mate, Alex McLeish? “Gordon Strachan was probably only a matter of minutes away from getting us to the World Cup play-offs,” said Gemmill. “It looks like one or two talented youngsters are starting to come through - we just have to hope that these kids fulfil their promise in a Scotland jersey.” Archie Gemmill was speaking as the winner of the SFWA's first ever Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Scottish Power.
Archie Gemmill says he'll never be allowed to forget career-defining World Cup wonder goal
They rose to applaud Archie Gemmill at the Scottish Football Writers’ Association annual dinner in Glasgow on Sunday night, when he was the recipient of the organisation’s first ever lifetime achievement award. The standing ovation that marked the high-water mark of Gemmill’s career, however, was accorded him on June 11, 1978, in Mendoza, Argentina. That was when Gemmill produced one of the greatest goals seen in the World Cup, in the improbable circumstances of a previously farcical Scotland campaign, in the Scots’ final group game and against a Dutch side who finished runners up at the World Cup. Gemmill’s contribution became so totemic that it has featured in the movie ‘Trainspotting’ and in a tribute dance by English National Ballet. With Scotland needing to win by three goals to qualify for the next stage, after potentially ruinous setbacks against Peru and Iran, they led 2-1 midway through the second half, at which point the ball broke to Gemmill just outside the Dutch penalty area. He skipped past Wim Jansen – later to become manager of Celtic – avoided a robust challenge by Jan Poortvliet, nutmegged the usually imperturbable Ruud Krol and completed his slalom run with a perfect chip over the advancing goalkeeper, Jan Jongbloed. As Gemmill turned to celebrate, the entire global contingent in the press and broadcast seats stood to salute his wizardry. Sunday’s accolade acknowledged a playing career which included 43 caps and eight goals for Scotland and a club career that saw him perform in midfield for St Mirren, Preston, Derby County (twice), Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic plus management stints with Rotherham United and Scotland under 19s but - as the 71-year-old acknowledged, with a mixture of pride and resignation – it always comes back to that goal in Mendoza, even though the Dutch scored again to knock the Scots out. Gemmill before a match against Brazil in 1977 Credit: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK “Whenever a World Cup comes around people want to ask about the goal,” Gemmill said. “It was fantastic at the time, even if it didn't help us a great deal in the tournament itself, but over the years, it's given a few people some joy – and a bit of hope, I suppose for the future. “It was a special moment for me. I’d like to think it'll be remembered long after I’m gone. I'm not the type to watch it. I couldn't tell you the last time I saw the goal. “As a player, I always thought my job was just to play as well as I possibly could. If anything came of it, great. If not, you had to try even harder next time, but even people at home in Derby still ask me about the goal and, the odd time I come back up to Scotland, it's all anyone wants to talk about – nothing else.” Credit: GETTY CREATIVE A decade elapsed between Gemmill’s international debut against Belgium in 1971 and his final appearance, against Northern Ireland. He might have reached the 50-cap mark, but for the fact that he was never in favour with a certain Scotland manager. “Before Tommy Docherty took over, I was well in the squad, but he bombed me out totally,” Gemmill said. “We played England in 1972 and I was opposite Alan Ball, who was getting the better of me. “Docherty took me off just into the second half and that was me. I was never in another squad for three years. Docherty also came to Derby and got rid of me from there as well. “Similarly, I was Scotland captain when Ally MacLeod took over and he gave it to someone else, but I always came back, because you want to play for your country as many times as you can. “I got 43 caps but in those three years I was out, I could have got to 50 and into the Hall of Fame. It would have been a landmark for me. “Players, probably with less ability, get to 50 caps now because there are so many games, but you have to live for your time. Throughout my football career, I always had to try and prove a point to someone. I never coasted. “Brian Clough got rid of me at Derby and when I went to Birmingham I was bombed out there as well, but the year Derby got rid of me I was voted their player of their year. Then, the year I left Birmingham, I was their player of the year as well. “When I started out, I was ever so tiny. I'm not that much bigger now. For Scotland U15's I played in a trial match and scored a couple of goals, but the squad was named to play England at Wembley and I wasn't even in it because I was too wee. I was told I’d never make it because of my size, but I had a bit of skill and tenacity about me.” And what of the prospects now for Scotland, managed by Gemmill’s former international team mate, Alex McLeish? “Gordon Strachan was probably only a matter of minutes away from getting us to the World Cup play-offs,” said Gemmill. “It looks like one or two talented youngsters are starting to come through - we just have to hope that these kids fulfil their promise in a Scotland jersey.” Archie Gemmill was speaking as the winner of the SFWA's first ever Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Scottish Power.
They rose to applaud Archie Gemmill at the Scottish Football Writers’ Association annual dinner in Glasgow on Sunday night, when he was the recipient of the organisation’s first ever lifetime achievement award. The standing ovation that marked the high-water mark of Gemmill’s career, however, was accorded him on June 11, 1978, in Mendoza, Argentina. That was when Gemmill produced one of the greatest goals seen in the World Cup, in the improbable circumstances of a previously farcical Scotland campaign, in the Scots’ final group game and against a Dutch side who finished runners up at the World Cup. Gemmill’s contribution became so totemic that it has featured in the movie ‘Trainspotting’ and in a tribute dance by English National Ballet. With Scotland needing to win by three goals to qualify for the next stage, after potentially ruinous setbacks against Peru and Iran, they led 2-1 midway through the second half, at which point the ball broke to Gemmill just outside the Dutch penalty area. He skipped past Wim Jansen – later to become manager of Celtic – avoided a robust challenge by Jan Poortvliet, nutmegged the usually imperturbable Ruud Krol and completed his slalom run with a perfect chip over the advancing goalkeeper, Jan Jongbloed. As Gemmill turned to celebrate, the entire global contingent in the press and broadcast seats stood to salute his wizardry. Sunday’s accolade acknowledged a playing career which included 43 caps and eight goals for Scotland and a club career that saw him perform in midfield for St Mirren, Preston, Derby County (twice), Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic plus management stints with Rotherham United and Scotland under 19s but - as the 71-year-old acknowledged, with a mixture of pride and resignation – it always comes back to that goal in Mendoza, even though the Dutch scored again to knock the Scots out. Gemmill before a match against Brazil in 1977 Credit: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK “Whenever a World Cup comes around people want to ask about the goal,” Gemmill said. “It was fantastic at the time, even if it didn't help us a great deal in the tournament itself, but over the years, it's given a few people some joy – and a bit of hope, I suppose for the future. “It was a special moment for me. I’d like to think it'll be remembered long after I’m gone. I'm not the type to watch it. I couldn't tell you the last time I saw the goal. “As a player, I always thought my job was just to play as well as I possibly could. If anything came of it, great. If not, you had to try even harder next time, but even people at home in Derby still ask me about the goal and, the odd time I come back up to Scotland, it's all anyone wants to talk about – nothing else.” Credit: GETTY CREATIVE A decade elapsed between Gemmill’s international debut against Belgium in 1971 and his final appearance, against Northern Ireland. He might have reached the 50-cap mark, but for the fact that he was never in favour with a certain Scotland manager. “Before Tommy Docherty took over, I was well in the squad, but he bombed me out totally,” Gemmill said. “We played England in 1972 and I was opposite Alan Ball, who was getting the better of me. “Docherty took me off just into the second half and that was me. I was never in another squad for three years. Docherty also came to Derby and got rid of me from there as well. “Similarly, I was Scotland captain when Ally MacLeod took over and he gave it to someone else, but I always came back, because you want to play for your country as many times as you can. “I got 43 caps but in those three years I was out, I could have got to 50 and into the Hall of Fame. It would have been a landmark for me. “Players, probably with less ability, get to 50 caps now because there are so many games, but you have to live for your time. Throughout my football career, I always had to try and prove a point to someone. I never coasted. “Brian Clough got rid of me at Derby and when I went to Birmingham I was bombed out there as well, but the year Derby got rid of me I was voted their player of their year. Then, the year I left Birmingham, I was their player of the year as well. “When I started out, I was ever so tiny. I'm not that much bigger now. For Scotland U15's I played in a trial match and scored a couple of goals, but the squad was named to play England at Wembley and I wasn't even in it because I was too wee. I was told I’d never make it because of my size, but I had a bit of skill and tenacity about me.” And what of the prospects now for Scotland, managed by Gemmill’s former international team mate, Alex McLeish? “Gordon Strachan was probably only a matter of minutes away from getting us to the World Cup play-offs,” said Gemmill. “It looks like one or two talented youngsters are starting to come through - we just have to hope that these kids fulfil their promise in a Scotland jersey.” Archie Gemmill was speaking as the winner of the SFWA's first ever Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Scottish Power.
Archie Gemmill says he'll never be allowed to forget career-defining World Cup wonder goal
They rose to applaud Archie Gemmill at the Scottish Football Writers’ Association annual dinner in Glasgow on Sunday night, when he was the recipient of the organisation’s first ever lifetime achievement award. The standing ovation that marked the high-water mark of Gemmill’s career, however, was accorded him on June 11, 1978, in Mendoza, Argentina. That was when Gemmill produced one of the greatest goals seen in the World Cup, in the improbable circumstances of a previously farcical Scotland campaign, in the Scots’ final group game and against a Dutch side who finished runners up at the World Cup. Gemmill’s contribution became so totemic that it has featured in the movie ‘Trainspotting’ and in a tribute dance by English National Ballet. With Scotland needing to win by three goals to qualify for the next stage, after potentially ruinous setbacks against Peru and Iran, they led 2-1 midway through the second half, at which point the ball broke to Gemmill just outside the Dutch penalty area. He skipped past Wim Jansen – later to become manager of Celtic – avoided a robust challenge by Jan Poortvliet, nutmegged the usually imperturbable Ruud Krol and completed his slalom run with a perfect chip over the advancing goalkeeper, Jan Jongbloed. As Gemmill turned to celebrate, the entire global contingent in the press and broadcast seats stood to salute his wizardry. Sunday’s accolade acknowledged a playing career which included 43 caps and eight goals for Scotland and a club career that saw him perform in midfield for St Mirren, Preston, Derby County (twice), Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic plus management stints with Rotherham United and Scotland under 19s but - as the 71-year-old acknowledged, with a mixture of pride and resignation – it always comes back to that goal in Mendoza, even though the Dutch scored again to knock the Scots out. Gemmill before a match against Brazil in 1977 Credit: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK “Whenever a World Cup comes around people want to ask about the goal,” Gemmill said. “It was fantastic at the time, even if it didn't help us a great deal in the tournament itself, but over the years, it's given a few people some joy – and a bit of hope, I suppose for the future. “It was a special moment for me. I’d like to think it'll be remembered long after I’m gone. I'm not the type to watch it. I couldn't tell you the last time I saw the goal. “As a player, I always thought my job was just to play as well as I possibly could. If anything came of it, great. If not, you had to try even harder next time, but even people at home in Derby still ask me about the goal and, the odd time I come back up to Scotland, it's all anyone wants to talk about – nothing else.” Credit: GETTY CREATIVE A decade elapsed between Gemmill’s international debut against Belgium in 1971 and his final appearance, against Northern Ireland. He might have reached the 50-cap mark, but for the fact that he was never in favour with a certain Scotland manager. “Before Tommy Docherty took over, I was well in the squad, but he bombed me out totally,” Gemmill said. “We played England in 1972 and I was opposite Alan Ball, who was getting the better of me. “Docherty took me off just into the second half and that was me. I was never in another squad for three years. Docherty also came to Derby and got rid of me from there as well. “Similarly, I was Scotland captain when Ally MacLeod took over and he gave it to someone else, but I always came back, because you want to play for your country as many times as you can. “I got 43 caps but in those three years I was out, I could have got to 50 and into the Hall of Fame. It would have been a landmark for me. “Players, probably with less ability, get to 50 caps now because there are so many games, but you have to live for your time. Throughout my football career, I always had to try and prove a point to someone. I never coasted. “Brian Clough got rid of me at Derby and when I went to Birmingham I was bombed out there as well, but the year Derby got rid of me I was voted their player of their year. Then, the year I left Birmingham, I was their player of the year as well. “When I started out, I was ever so tiny. I'm not that much bigger now. For Scotland U15's I played in a trial match and scored a couple of goals, but the squad was named to play England at Wembley and I wasn't even in it because I was too wee. I was told I’d never make it because of my size, but I had a bit of skill and tenacity about me.” And what of the prospects now for Scotland, managed by Gemmill’s former international team mate, Alex McLeish? “Gordon Strachan was probably only a matter of minutes away from getting us to the World Cup play-offs,” said Gemmill. “It looks like one or two talented youngsters are starting to come through - we just have to hope that these kids fulfil their promise in a Scotland jersey.” Archie Gemmill was speaking as the winner of the SFWA's first ever Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Scottish Power.
They rose to applaud Archie Gemmill at the Scottish Football Writers’ Association annual dinner in Glasgow on Sunday night, when he was the recipient of the organisation’s first ever lifetime achievement award. The standing ovation that marked the high-water mark of Gemmill’s career, however, was accorded him on June 11, 1978, in Mendoza, Argentina. That was when Gemmill produced one of the greatest goals seen in the World Cup, in the improbable circumstances of a previously farcical Scotland campaign, in the Scots’ final group game and against a Dutch side who finished runners up at the World Cup. Gemmill’s contribution became so totemic that it has featured in the movie ‘Trainspotting’ and in a tribute dance by English National Ballet. With Scotland needing to win by three goals to qualify for the next stage, after potentially ruinous setbacks against Peru and Iran, they led 2-1 midway through the second half, at which point the ball broke to Gemmill just outside the Dutch penalty area. He skipped past Wim Jansen – later to become manager of Celtic – avoided a robust challenge by Jan Poortvliet, nutmegged the usually imperturbable Ruud Krol and completed his slalom run with a perfect chip over the advancing goalkeeper, Jan Jongbloed. As Gemmill turned to celebrate, the entire global contingent in the press and broadcast seats stood to salute his wizardry. Sunday’s accolade acknowledged a playing career which included 43 caps and eight goals for Scotland and a club career that saw him perform in midfield for St Mirren, Preston, Derby County (twice), Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic plus management stints with Rotherham United and Scotland under 19s but - as the 71-year-old acknowledged, with a mixture of pride and resignation – it always comes back to that goal in Mendoza, even though the Dutch scored again to knock the Scots out. Gemmill before a match against Brazil in 1977 Credit: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK “Whenever a World Cup comes around people want to ask about the goal,” Gemmill said. “It was fantastic at the time, even if it didn't help us a great deal in the tournament itself, but over the years, it's given a few people some joy – and a bit of hope, I suppose for the future. “It was a special moment for me. I’d like to think it'll be remembered long after I’m gone. I'm not the type to watch it. I couldn't tell you the last time I saw the goal. “As a player, I always thought my job was just to play as well as I possibly could. If anything came of it, great. If not, you had to try even harder next time, but even people at home in Derby still ask me about the goal and, the odd time I come back up to Scotland, it's all anyone wants to talk about – nothing else.” Credit: GETTY CREATIVE A decade elapsed between Gemmill’s international debut against Belgium in 1971 and his final appearance, against Northern Ireland. He might have reached the 50-cap mark, but for the fact that he was never in favour with a certain Scotland manager. “Before Tommy Docherty took over, I was well in the squad, but he bombed me out totally,” Gemmill said. “We played England in 1972 and I was opposite Alan Ball, who was getting the better of me. “Docherty took me off just into the second half and that was me. I was never in another squad for three years. Docherty also came to Derby and got rid of me from there as well. “Similarly, I was Scotland captain when Ally MacLeod took over and he gave it to someone else, but I always came back, because you want to play for your country as many times as you can. “I got 43 caps but in those three years I was out, I could have got to 50 and into the Hall of Fame. It would have been a landmark for me. “Players, probably with less ability, get to 50 caps now because there are so many games, but you have to live for your time. Throughout my football career, I always had to try and prove a point to someone. I never coasted. “Brian Clough got rid of me at Derby and when I went to Birmingham I was bombed out there as well, but the year Derby got rid of me I was voted their player of their year. Then, the year I left Birmingham, I was their player of the year as well. “When I started out, I was ever so tiny. I'm not that much bigger now. For Scotland U15's I played in a trial match and scored a couple of goals, but the squad was named to play England at Wembley and I wasn't even in it because I was too wee. I was told I’d never make it because of my size, but I had a bit of skill and tenacity about me.” And what of the prospects now for Scotland, managed by Gemmill’s former international team mate, Alex McLeish? “Gordon Strachan was probably only a matter of minutes away from getting us to the World Cup play-offs,” said Gemmill. “It looks like one or two talented youngsters are starting to come through - we just have to hope that these kids fulfil their promise in a Scotland jersey.” Archie Gemmill was speaking as the winner of the SFWA's first ever Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Scottish Power.
Archie Gemmill says he'll never be allowed to forget career-defining World Cup wonder goal
They rose to applaud Archie Gemmill at the Scottish Football Writers’ Association annual dinner in Glasgow on Sunday night, when he was the recipient of the organisation’s first ever lifetime achievement award. The standing ovation that marked the high-water mark of Gemmill’s career, however, was accorded him on June 11, 1978, in Mendoza, Argentina. That was when Gemmill produced one of the greatest goals seen in the World Cup, in the improbable circumstances of a previously farcical Scotland campaign, in the Scots’ final group game and against a Dutch side who finished runners up at the World Cup. Gemmill’s contribution became so totemic that it has featured in the movie ‘Trainspotting’ and in a tribute dance by English National Ballet. With Scotland needing to win by three goals to qualify for the next stage, after potentially ruinous setbacks against Peru and Iran, they led 2-1 midway through the second half, at which point the ball broke to Gemmill just outside the Dutch penalty area. He skipped past Wim Jansen – later to become manager of Celtic – avoided a robust challenge by Jan Poortvliet, nutmegged the usually imperturbable Ruud Krol and completed his slalom run with a perfect chip over the advancing goalkeeper, Jan Jongbloed. As Gemmill turned to celebrate, the entire global contingent in the press and broadcast seats stood to salute his wizardry. Sunday’s accolade acknowledged a playing career which included 43 caps and eight goals for Scotland and a club career that saw him perform in midfield for St Mirren, Preston, Derby County (twice), Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic plus management stints with Rotherham United and Scotland under 19s but - as the 71-year-old acknowledged, with a mixture of pride and resignation – it always comes back to that goal in Mendoza, even though the Dutch scored again to knock the Scots out. Gemmill before a match against Brazil in 1977 Credit: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK “Whenever a World Cup comes around people want to ask about the goal,” Gemmill said. “It was fantastic at the time, even if it didn't help us a great deal in the tournament itself, but over the years, it's given a few people some joy – and a bit of hope, I suppose for the future. “It was a special moment for me. I’d like to think it'll be remembered long after I’m gone. I'm not the type to watch it. I couldn't tell you the last time I saw the goal. “As a player, I always thought my job was just to play as well as I possibly could. If anything came of it, great. If not, you had to try even harder next time, but even people at home in Derby still ask me about the goal and, the odd time I come back up to Scotland, it's all anyone wants to talk about – nothing else.” Credit: GETTY CREATIVE A decade elapsed between Gemmill’s international debut against Belgium in 1971 and his final appearance, against Northern Ireland. He might have reached the 50-cap mark, but for the fact that he was never in favour with a certain Scotland manager. “Before Tommy Docherty took over, I was well in the squad, but he bombed me out totally,” Gemmill said. “We played England in 1972 and I was opposite Alan Ball, who was getting the better of me. “Docherty took me off just into the second half and that was me. I was never in another squad for three years. Docherty also came to Derby and got rid of me from there as well. “Similarly, I was Scotland captain when Ally MacLeod took over and he gave it to someone else, but I always came back, because you want to play for your country as many times as you can. “I got 43 caps but in those three years I was out, I could have got to 50 and into the Hall of Fame. It would have been a landmark for me. “Players, probably with less ability, get to 50 caps now because there are so many games, but you have to live for your time. Throughout my football career, I always had to try and prove a point to someone. I never coasted. “Brian Clough got rid of me at Derby and when I went to Birmingham I was bombed out there as well, but the year Derby got rid of me I was voted their player of their year. Then, the year I left Birmingham, I was their player of the year as well. “When I started out, I was ever so tiny. I'm not that much bigger now. For Scotland U15's I played in a trial match and scored a couple of goals, but the squad was named to play England at Wembley and I wasn't even in it because I was too wee. I was told I’d never make it because of my size, but I had a bit of skill and tenacity about me.” And what of the prospects now for Scotland, managed by Gemmill’s former international team mate, Alex McLeish? “Gordon Strachan was probably only a matter of minutes away from getting us to the World Cup play-offs,” said Gemmill. “It looks like one or two talented youngsters are starting to come through - we just have to hope that these kids fulfil their promise in a Scotland jersey.” Archie Gemmill was speaking as the winner of the SFWA's first ever Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Scottish Power.
Ryan Sessegnon blows Derby County away to fire Fulham into play-off final
Ryan Sessegnon blows Derby County away to fire Fulham into play-off final
Ryan Sessegnon blows Derby County away to fire Fulham into play-off final
Fulham 2 Derby County 0 (2-1 on aggregate) At the end, the Fulham supporters kissed the turf, slid on their knees and raised the players onto their shoulders. Denis Odoi, the scorer of the goal that takes his side to the play-off final, was whisked off the field screaming ‘Wembley’ at the top of his lungs. Marcus Bettinelli, the Fulham goalkeeper, was a few yards behind him, surfing the crowd as he waved an enormous flag over and over again. “This is the kind of happiness we need,” said Slavisa Jokanovic, the Fulham manager. “These people deserve one of these nights.” His players deserved this night, too. On a picturesque evening at English football’s prettiest stadium, Fulham ripped into Derby County with their own unique brand of midfield style and forward muscle. They passed and growled, moved and battled, scored and scored again. At the heart of both goals, as ever, was the irrepressible Ryan Sessegnon, the teenager who has scored more goals for Fulham than anyone else this season. He blasted home the first, a bullet into the top corner, then created the second. “He is a special man,” said Jokanovic, forgetting that Sessegnon, who turns 18 on Friday, remains a boy for a few more days. “That has to be the best birthday present for me,” Sessegnon said. “I just try to play my normal game and I don’t let other people bother me. I just keep my head down and try to play.” Dennis Odoi scored Fulham's second with a wonderful header Credit: pa His intervention, not for the first time this season, came despite the left-winger seemingly struggling to find his feet in a furious, frantic game. He can be quiet, certainly, and he can clearly be nullified for large spells, but he simply cannot be kept away from the game's defining moments. There are more skilful teenagers in the English game, and more technically gifted players in his generation. Yet there can be few players of his ago who, so early in their careers, can so regularly have had this type of impact on this type of match. His goal, a rifled finish after Stefan Johansen’s chested pass, brought Fulham level in the tie, after their 1-0 defeat in the Midlands last week, before his corner allowed Odoi to head a winner which would have sent ripples coursing through the nearby Thames, such was the noise inside Craven Cottage. Craven Cottage was bouncing even before kick-off Credit: getty images Fulham will return to Wembley for the first time in 43 years, and they will do so just weeks after Shahid Khan, their owner who was here to watch his side, revealed his intention to buy the place. The trip to the national stadium, and the prospect of a return to the Premier League, is the least Fulham deserved from an evening played to an atmosphere so vibrant that the old wooden seats in the Johnny Haynes Stand were trembling before the first ball had even been struck. “My team played fantastic football,” Jokanovic said. “We controlled everything, we created many chances.” Most of those chances fell to Aleksandar Mitrovic, at his bullish best at centre forward. The Serbian went close with a series of efforts and was then denied by the wonderful reflexes of Derby’s Scott Carson. “We just could not seem to show any composure tonight,” bemoaned Gary Rowett, the Derby manager, whose side were soon punished, as the second half opened up, by Sessegnon’s boyish brilliance.
Ryan Sessegnon blows Derby County away to fire Fulham into play-off final
Fulham 2 Derby County 0 (2-1 on aggregate) At the end, the Fulham supporters kissed the turf, slid on their knees and raised the players onto their shoulders. Denis Odoi, the scorer of the goal that takes his side to the play-off final, was whisked off the field screaming ‘Wembley’ at the top of his lungs. Marcus Bettinelli, the Fulham goalkeeper, was a few yards behind him, surfing the crowd as he waved an enormous flag over and over again. “This is the kind of happiness we need,” said Slavisa Jokanovic, the Fulham manager. “These people deserve one of these nights.” His players deserved this night, too. On a picturesque evening at English football’s prettiest stadium, Fulham ripped into Derby County with their own unique brand of midfield style and forward muscle. They passed and growled, moved and battled, scored and scored again. At the heart of both goals, as ever, was the irrepressible Ryan Sessegnon, the teenager who has scored more goals for Fulham than anyone else this season. He blasted home the first, a bullet into the top corner, then created the second. “He is a special man,” said Jokanovic, forgetting that Sessegnon, who turns 18 on Friday, remains a boy for a few more days. “That has to be the best birthday present for me,” Sessegnon said. “I just try to play my normal game and I don’t let other people bother me. I just keep my head down and try to play.” Dennis Odoi scored Fulham's second with a wonderful header Credit: pa His intervention, not for the first time this season, came despite the left-winger seemingly struggling to find his feet in a furious, frantic game. He can be quiet, certainly, and he can clearly be nullified for large spells, but he simply cannot be kept away from the game's defining moments. There are more skilful teenagers in the English game, and more technically gifted players in his generation. Yet there can be few players of his ago who, so early in their careers, can so regularly have had this type of impact on this type of match. His goal, a rifled finish after Stefan Johansen’s chested pass, brought Fulham level in the tie, after their 1-0 defeat in the Midlands last week, before his corner allowed Odoi to head a winner which would have sent ripples coursing through the nearby Thames, such was the noise inside Craven Cottage. Craven Cottage was bouncing even before kick-off Credit: getty images Fulham will return to Wembley for the first time in 43 years, and they will do so just weeks after Shahid Khan, their owner who was here to watch his side, revealed his intention to buy the place. The trip to the national stadium, and the prospect of a return to the Premier League, is the least Fulham deserved from an evening played to an atmosphere so vibrant that the old wooden seats in the Johnny Haynes Stand were trembling before the first ball had even been struck. “My team played fantastic football,” Jokanovic said. “We controlled everything, we created many chances.” Most of those chances fell to Aleksandar Mitrovic, at his bullish best at centre forward. The Serbian went close with a series of efforts and was then denied by the wonderful reflexes of Derby’s Scott Carson. “We just could not seem to show any composure tonight,” bemoaned Gary Rowett, the Derby manager, whose side were soon punished, as the second half opened up, by Sessegnon’s boyish brilliance.
Ryan Sessegnon blows Derby County away to fire Fulham into play-off final
Ryan Sessegnon blows Derby County away to fire Fulham into play-off final
Ryan Sessegnon blows Derby County away to fire Fulham into play-off final
Fulham 2 Derby County 0 (2-1 on aggregate) At the end, the Fulham supporters kissed the turf, slid on their knees and raised the players onto their shoulders. Denis Odoi, the scorer of the goal that takes his side to the play-off final, was whisked off the field screaming ‘Wembley’ at the top of his lungs. Marcus Bettinelli, the Fulham goalkeeper, was a few yards behind him, surfing the crowd as he waved an enormous flag over and over again. “This is the kind of happiness we need,” said Slavisa Jokanovic, the Fulham manager. “These people deserve one of these nights.” His players deserved this night, too. On a picturesque evening at English football’s prettiest stadium, Fulham ripped into Derby County with their own unique brand of midfield style and forward muscle. They passed and growled, moved and battled, scored and scored again. At the heart of both goals, as ever, was the irrepressible Ryan Sessegnon, the teenager who has scored more goals for Fulham than anyone else this season. He blasted home the first, a bullet into the top corner, then created the second. “He is a special man,” said Jokanovic, forgetting that Sessegnon, who turns 18 on Friday, remains a boy for a few more days. “That has to be the best birthday present for me,” Sessegnon said. “I just try to play my normal game and I don’t let other people bother me. I just keep my head down and try to play.” Dennis Odoi scored Fulham's second with a wonderful header Credit: pa His intervention, not for the first time this season, came despite the left-winger seemingly struggling to find his feet in a furious, frantic game. He can be quiet, certainly, and he can clearly be nullified for large spells, but he simply cannot be kept away from the game's defining moments. There are more skilful teenagers in the English game, and more technically gifted players in his generation. Yet there can be few players of his ago who, so early in their careers, can so regularly have had this type of impact on this type of match. His goal, a rifled finish after Stefan Johansen’s chested pass, brought Fulham level in the tie, after their 1-0 defeat in the Midlands last week, before his corner allowed Odoi to head a winner which would have sent ripples coursing through the nearby Thames, such was the noise inside Craven Cottage. Craven Cottage was bouncing even before kick-off Credit: getty images Fulham will return to Wembley for the first time in 43 years, and they will do so just weeks after Shahid Khan, their owner who was here to watch his side, revealed his intention to buy the place. The trip to the national stadium, and the prospect of a return to the Premier League, is the least Fulham deserved from an evening played to an atmosphere so vibrant that the old wooden seats in the Johnny Haynes Stand were trembling before the first ball had even been struck. “My team played fantastic football,” Jokanovic said. “We controlled everything, we created many chances.” Most of those chances fell to Aleksandar Mitrovic, at his bullish best at centre forward. The Serbian went close with a series of efforts and was then denied by the wonderful reflexes of Derby’s Scott Carson. “We just could not seem to show any composure tonight,” bemoaned Gary Rowett, the Derby manager, whose side were soon punished, as the second half opened up, by Sessegnon’s boyish brilliance.
Ryan Sessegnon blows Derby County away to fire Fulham into play-off final
Fulham 2 Derby County 0 (2-1 on aggregate) At the end, the Fulham supporters kissed the turf, slid on their knees and raised the players onto their shoulders. Denis Odoi, the scorer of the goal that takes his side to the play-off final, was whisked off the field screaming ‘Wembley’ at the top of his lungs. Marcus Bettinelli, the Fulham goalkeeper, was a few yards behind him, surfing the crowd as he waved an enormous flag over and over again. “This is the kind of happiness we need,” said Slavisa Jokanovic, the Fulham manager. “These people deserve one of these nights.” His players deserved this night, too. On a picturesque evening at English football’s prettiest stadium, Fulham ripped into Derby County with their own unique brand of midfield style and forward muscle. They passed and growled, moved and battled, scored and scored again. At the heart of both goals, as ever, was the irrepressible Ryan Sessegnon, the teenager who has scored more goals for Fulham than anyone else this season. He blasted home the first, a bullet into the top corner, then created the second. “He is a special man,” said Jokanovic, forgetting that Sessegnon, who turns 18 on Friday, remains a boy for a few more days. “That has to be the best birthday present for me,” Sessegnon said. “I just try to play my normal game and I don’t let other people bother me. I just keep my head down and try to play.” Dennis Odoi scored Fulham's second with a wonderful header Credit: pa His intervention, not for the first time this season, came despite the left-winger seemingly struggling to find his feet in a furious, frantic game. He can be quiet, certainly, and he can clearly be nullified for large spells, but he simply cannot be kept away from the game's defining moments. There are more skilful teenagers in the English game, and more technically gifted players in his generation. Yet there can be few players of his ago who, so early in their careers, can so regularly have had this type of impact on this type of match. His goal, a rifled finish after Stefan Johansen’s chested pass, brought Fulham level in the tie, after their 1-0 defeat in the Midlands last week, before his corner allowed Odoi to head a winner which would have sent ripples coursing through the nearby Thames, such was the noise inside Craven Cottage. Craven Cottage was bouncing even before kick-off Credit: getty images Fulham will return to Wembley for the first time in 43 years, and they will do so just weeks after Shahid Khan, their owner who was here to watch his side, revealed his intention to buy the place. The trip to the national stadium, and the prospect of a return to the Premier League, is the least Fulham deserved from an evening played to an atmosphere so vibrant that the old wooden seats in the Johnny Haynes Stand were trembling before the first ball had even been struck. “My team played fantastic football,” Jokanovic said. “We controlled everything, we created many chances.” Most of those chances fell to Aleksandar Mitrovic, at his bullish best at centre forward. The Serbian went close with a series of efforts and was then denied by the wonderful reflexes of Derby’s Scott Carson. “We just could not seem to show any composure tonight,” bemoaned Gary Rowett, the Derby manager, whose side were soon punished, as the second half opened up, by Sessegnon’s boyish brilliance.
Ryan Sessegnon blows Derby County away to fire Fulham into play-off final
Ryan Sessegnon blows Derby County away to fire Fulham into play-off final
Ryan Sessegnon blows Derby County away to fire Fulham into play-off final
Fulham 2 Derby County 0 (2-1 on aggregate) At the end, the Fulham supporters kissed the turf, slid on their knees and raised the players onto their shoulders. Denis Odoi, the scorer of the goal that takes his side to the play-off final, was whisked off the field screaming ‘Wembley’ at the top of his lungs. Marcus Bettinelli, the Fulham goalkeeper, was a few yards behind him, surfing the crowd as he waved an enormous flag over and over again. “This is the kind of happiness we need,” said Slavisa Jokanovic, the Fulham manager. “These people deserve one of these nights.” His players deserved this night, too. On a picturesque evening at English football’s prettiest stadium, Fulham ripped into Derby County with their own unique brand of midfield style and forward muscle. They passed and growled, moved and battled, scored and scored again. At the heart of both goals, as ever, was the irrepressible Ryan Sessegnon, the teenager who has scored more goals for Fulham than anyone else this season. He blasted home the first, a bullet into the top corner, then created the second. “He is a special man,” said Jokanovic, forgetting that Sessegnon, who turns 18 on Friday, remains a boy for a few more days. “That has to be the best birthday present for me,” Sessegnon said. “I just try to play my normal game and I don’t let other people bother me. I just keep my head down and try to play.” Dennis Odoi scored Fulham's second with a wonderful header Credit: pa His intervention, not for the first time this season, came despite the left-winger seemingly struggling to find his feet in a furious, frantic game. He can be quiet, certainly, and he can clearly be nullified for large spells, but he simply cannot be kept away from the game's defining moments. There are more skilful teenagers in the English game, and more technically gifted players in his generation. Yet there can be few players of his ago who, so early in their careers, can so regularly have had this type of impact on this type of match. His goal, a rifled finish after Stefan Johansen’s chested pass, brought Fulham level in the tie, after their 1-0 defeat in the Midlands last week, before his corner allowed Odoi to head a winner which would have sent ripples coursing through the nearby Thames, such was the noise inside Craven Cottage. Craven Cottage was bouncing even before kick-off Credit: getty images Fulham will return to Wembley for the first time in 43 years, and they will do so just weeks after Shahid Khan, their owner who was here to watch his side, revealed his intention to buy the place. The trip to the national stadium, and the prospect of a return to the Premier League, is the least Fulham deserved from an evening played to an atmosphere so vibrant that the old wooden seats in the Johnny Haynes Stand were trembling before the first ball had even been struck. “My team played fantastic football,” Jokanovic said. “We controlled everything, we created many chances.” Most of those chances fell to Aleksandar Mitrovic, at his bullish best at centre forward. The Serbian went close with a series of efforts and was then denied by the wonderful reflexes of Derby’s Scott Carson. “We just could not seem to show any composure tonight,” bemoaned Gary Rowett, the Derby manager, whose side were soon punished, as the second half opened up, by Sessegnon’s boyish brilliance.
Ryan Sessegnon blows Derby County away to fire Fulham into play-off final
Fulham 2 Derby County 0 (2-1 on aggregate) At the end, the Fulham supporters kissed the turf, slid on their knees and raised the players onto their shoulders. Denis Odoi, the scorer of the goal that takes his side to the play-off final, was whisked off the field screaming ‘Wembley’ at the top of his lungs. Marcus Bettinelli, the Fulham goalkeeper, was a few yards behind him, surfing the crowd as he waved an enormous flag over and over again. “This is the kind of happiness we need,” said Slavisa Jokanovic, the Fulham manager. “These people deserve one of these nights.” His players deserved this night, too. On a picturesque evening at English football’s prettiest stadium, Fulham ripped into Derby County with their own unique brand of midfield style and forward muscle. They passed and growled, moved and battled, scored and scored again. At the heart of both goals, as ever, was the irrepressible Ryan Sessegnon, the teenager who has scored more goals for Fulham than anyone else this season. He blasted home the first, a bullet into the top corner, then created the second. “He is a special man,” said Jokanovic, forgetting that Sessegnon, who turns 18 on Friday, remains a boy for a few more days. “That has to be the best birthday present for me,” Sessegnon said. “I just try to play my normal game and I don’t let other people bother me. I just keep my head down and try to play.” Dennis Odoi scored Fulham's second with a wonderful header Credit: pa His intervention, not for the first time this season, came despite the left-winger seemingly struggling to find his feet in a furious, frantic game. He can be quiet, certainly, and he can clearly be nullified for large spells, but he simply cannot be kept away from the game's defining moments. There are more skilful teenagers in the English game, and more technically gifted players in his generation. Yet there can be few players of his ago who, so early in their careers, can so regularly have had this type of impact on this type of match. His goal, a rifled finish after Stefan Johansen’s chested pass, brought Fulham level in the tie, after their 1-0 defeat in the Midlands last week, before his corner allowed Odoi to head a winner which would have sent ripples coursing through the nearby Thames, such was the noise inside Craven Cottage. Craven Cottage was bouncing even before kick-off Credit: getty images Fulham will return to Wembley for the first time in 43 years, and they will do so just weeks after Shahid Khan, their owner who was here to watch his side, revealed his intention to buy the place. The trip to the national stadium, and the prospect of a return to the Premier League, is the least Fulham deserved from an evening played to an atmosphere so vibrant that the old wooden seats in the Johnny Haynes Stand were trembling before the first ball had even been struck. “My team played fantastic football,” Jokanovic said. “We controlled everything, we created many chances.” Most of those chances fell to Aleksandar Mitrovic, at his bullish best at centre forward. The Serbian went close with a series of efforts and was then denied by the wonderful reflexes of Derby’s Scott Carson. “We just could not seem to show any composure tonight,” bemoaned Gary Rowett, the Derby manager, whose side were soon punished, as the second half opened up, by Sessegnon’s boyish brilliance.
Soccer Football - Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - May 14, 2018 Fulham's Aboubakar Kamara is booked for simulation following this challenge with Derby's Scott Carson Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien
Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - May 14, 2018 Fulham's Aboubakar Kamara is booked for simulation following this challenge with Derby's Scott Carson Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien
Soccer Football - Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - May 14, 2018 Fulham's Aboubakar Kamara is shown a yellow card by referee Chris Kavanagh Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien
Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - May 14, 2018 Fulham's Aboubakar Kamara is shown a yellow card by referee Chris Kavanagh Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien
Soccer Football - Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - May 14, 2018 Fulham's Stefan Johansen in action with Derby's Kasey Palmer Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien
Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - May 14, 2018 Fulham's Stefan Johansen in action with Derby's Kasey Palmer Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien
Soccer Football - Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - May 14, 2018 Derby's Andreas Weimann goes down under a challenge from Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon leading to appeals for a penalty Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien
Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - May 14, 2018 Derby's Andreas Weimann goes down under a challenge from Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon leading to appeals for a penalty Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien
Soccer Football - Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - May 14, 2018 Fulham's Denis Odoi celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien
Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - Fulham vs Derby County - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - May 14, 2018 Fulham's Denis Odoi celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien
A goal and an assist from Ryan Sessegnon saw Fulham reach the Championship play-off final at the expense of Derby County.
Fulham 2 Derby County 0 (2-1 agg): Sessegnon leads comeback to book play-off final spot
A goal and an assist from Ryan Sessegnon saw Fulham reach the Championship play-off final at the expense of Derby County.
Fulham are going to Wembley! Championship play-off final awaits as Ryan Sessegnon, Denis Odoi earn 2-0 Craven Cottage win over Derby County
Fulham are going to Wembley! Championship play-off final awaits as Ryan Sessegnon, Denis Odoi earn 2-0 Craven Cottage win over Derby County
Fulham are going to Wembley! Championship play-off final awaits as Ryan Sessegnon, Denis Odoi earn 2-0 Craven Cottage win over Derby County
Fulham are going to Wembley! Championship play-off final awaits as Ryan Sessegnon, Denis Odoi earn 2-0 Craven Cottage win over Derby County
Fulham are going to Wembley! Championship play-off final awaits as Ryan Sessegnon, Denis Odoi earn 2-0 Craven Cottage win over Derby County
Fulham are going to Wembley! Championship play-off final awaits as Ryan Sessegnon, Denis Odoi earn 2-0 Craven Cottage win over Derby County
Fulham are going to Wembley! Championship play-off final awaits as Ryan Sessegnon, Denis Odoi earn 2-0 Craven Cottage win over Derby County
Fulham are going to Wembley! Championship play-off final awaits as Ryan Sessegnon, Denis Odoi earn 2-0 Craven Cottage win over Derby County
Fulham are going to Wembley! Championship play-off final awaits as Ryan Sessegnon, Denis Odoi earn 2-0 Craven Cottage win over Derby County
Fulham vs Derby County LIVE: Championship play-offs 2018 semi-final second leg - latest score, goal updates, TV channel, line-ups, predictions, betting tips and odds at Craven Cottage
Fulham vs Derby County LIVE: Championship play-offs 2018 semi-final second leg - latest score, goal updates, TV channel, line-ups, predictions, betting tips and odds at Craven Cottage
Fulham vs Derby County LIVE: Championship play-offs 2018 semi-final second leg - latest score, goal updates, TV channel, line-ups, predictions, betting tips and odds at Craven Cottage
Fulham vs Derby County LIVE: Championship play-offs 2018 semi-final second leg - latest score, goal updates, TV channel, line-ups, predictions, betting tips and odds at Craven Cottage
Fulham vs Derby County LIVE: Championship play-offs 2018 semi-final second leg - latest score, goal updates, TV channel, line-ups, predictions, betting tips and odds at Craven Cottage
Fulham vs Derby County LIVE: Championship play-offs 2018 semi-final second leg - latest score, goal updates, TV channel, line-ups, predictions, betting tips and odds at Craven Cottage
Fulham vs Derby County LIVE: Championship play-offs 2018 semi-final second leg as it happened - Fulham are off to Wembley after Craven Cottage victory
Fulham vs Derby County LIVE: Championship play-offs 2018 semi-final second leg as it happened - Fulham are off to Wembley after Craven Cottage victory
Fulham vs Derby County LIVE: Championship play-offs 2018 semi-final second leg as it happened - Fulham are off to Wembley after Craven Cottage victory
Fulham vs Derby County: Championship play-offs 2018 prediction, tickets, betting tips, odds, TV channel, live stream online, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head
Fulham vs Derby County: Championship play-offs 2018 prediction, tickets, betting tips, odds, TV channel, live stream online, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head
Fulham vs Derby County: Championship play-offs 2018 prediction, tickets, betting tips, odds, TV channel, live stream online, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head
Fulham vs Derby County: Championship play-offs 2018 prediction, tickets, betting tips, odds, TV channel, live stream online, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head
Fulham vs Derby County: Championship play-offs 2018 prediction, tickets, betting tips, odds, TV channel, live stream online, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head
Fulham vs Derby County: Championship play-offs 2018 prediction, tickets, betting tips, odds, TV channel, live stream online, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head
Fulham vs Derby County: Championship play-offs 2018 prediction, tickets, betting tips, odds, TV channel, live stream online, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head
Fulham vs Derby County: Championship play-offs 2018 prediction, tickets, betting tips, odds, TV channel, live stream online, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head
Fulham vs Derby County: Championship play-offs 2018 prediction, tickets, betting tips, odds, TV channel, live stream online, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head

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