Soccer on TV

A Blast from the Past

So it was a lazy Sunday night and the viewing options were aplenty. There are the Oscars (yawn), The Wire (my favorite TV show, bar none, but one I watched later on via TIVO) and a rerun of a Chris Rock special (seen it too many times). I decided to go with, yes, you guessed it, some mid-90s EPL soccer.

The match is a 1995 encounter between Manchester United vs. Ipswich Town, a match I would have easily skipped past if not for hearing the announcer say, "the Canadian." It takes a second to realize that Frank Yallop just might be playing in this match. I rewind the match (really match highlights) to the beginning and I’m glad I did.

I started out wondering why in the world this match would be shown in the EPL archives series, but it eventually became clear as the goals began raining in. When the damage was done, Man U had scored nine goals on the day, with five coming from Andy Cole and at least three coming at the expense of Mr. San Jose Earthquakes himself, Yallop.

The first came with the score already 1-0 Man U. Yallop was near the midfield stripe trying to send a ball downfield only to have his pass picked off by Ryan Giggs, who proceeds to speed down the left flank before delivering a perfect cross that Cole finished off.

Giggs and Cole combined again when Giggs blazed down the left flank, turning Yallop around a few times before finding Cole with another perfect cross. I couldn’t help but think of how much the 1995 Giggs looked like the 2008 Lionel Messi.

Yallop’s nightmare day wasn’t over. Cole capped the day with a turn and shot goal from close range that came with Yallop draped all over his back. Yallop’s face told the story of the horrendous day and the gloomy look was a familiar one. It was the same one Yallop wore on the sidelines last summer as head coach of a struggling LA Galaxy squad. It was probably the same face Patrick Ianni had after being fried in the Pan Pacific Championship final against Gamba Osaka.

I know there’s plenty of present-day soccer to watch on a regular basis but whenever there is a chance to catch a glimpse of the past I highly recommend it. You never know what you will see.

  • Eric Anderson

    You need to preview all of the classic games they show on FSC so I know which ones to watch. Telling me about it after the fact doesn’t help much.


  • Another Eric Anderson

    Hey, guy with the same name as me: FSC shows the same archives over and over — I’ve seen the one Ives is talking about several times. FSC’s full weekly schedules are posted on their web site, http://www.foxsoccer.com


  • Ives

    First Eric Anderson, anything else I need to do?

    I was telling a story, not trying to preview the replay of a 13-year-old match.


  • Bob

    I like the Giggs/Messi comparison. I was explaining to a friend a while back that Giggs had incredible speed when he was in his prime. He is still a good player, but he is a much different player.


  • kpugs

    I was only just getting into the world game at this time, so while I don’t “remember” the match I’ve seen the highlights many times.

    I semi-like the Giggs/Messi thing. The problem is that Giggs has never been a pure goalscorer. I’ve seen him play up top at times in his career but he’s just not a striker.

    Messi is a goalscorer, pure and simple. He can obviously handle both wings (like Giggs) but he is a far more consistent scorer than Giggs, all while taking less free kicks. I think Giggs in his prime was also a step quicker.

    Having said that, if you have to find someone to compare Messi to, Giggs is as good or better than anyone. Especially since Giggs came through at a ridiculously young age and immediately dominated, as Messi is doing now.


  • kpugs

    First Eric Anderson:

    Maybe you should start your own awesome blog about how much of a moron you are, I promise you’ll get an audience way bigger than Ives’.

    You know what, maybe log in first, post your email address, don’t remain an anonymous coward. I’ll be happy to pick up my remote and take TWO FRICKING MINUTES EACH WEEK to tell you what’s on tv. Since you are too stupid to figure out for yourself what’s going to be on. You idiot.


  • frank

    Giggs has benefitted by playing internationally for Wales instead of England -while he never got to play in a WC, he also didn’t get the wear and tear on him that a top English player would have-therefore putting an extra 3-5 years on his career at Man U…


  • Andrew

    I feel like I might need to be named Eric Anderson to comment here.

    All the same, the big question I’m wondering is this: Who has more ridiculous hair–95 Giggs or 08 Messi?
    The subject’s on my mind since I was at a minor league indoor game last night, and one of the Cinci players had some Messi-anic (can I get away with that?) hair.


  • Ives

    KPugs, when I mentioned Giggs reminding me of present-day Messi, I just meant in terms of having top-end speed to just blow by people. Giggs at his fastest had the effortless top gear that Messi has. Wasn’t trying to say they’re similar players all around, but both are part of that rare breed who can seemingly hit a higher gear with the ball and with a defender trying to stop them.

    And I’ll have to pull out the YouTube clip of Giggs’ FA Cup dream goal against Arenal a while back to remind you that he too could score a mean goal in his day.


  • Marty Rose

    Yallop wasn’t the only Canadian embarrassed by Man U that day. Craig Forrest was the Ipswich goalkeeper. Thankfully, he has many other happier memories to draw upon – including practically single-handedly winning the Gold Cup for Canada in 2000.


  • Ted

    Giggs was/is the crown jewel of that group of players that came up together at Man U… Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary and Phil Neville, and of course, Giggs. Over 400 international appearances among the six of them. We probably won’t see a group of players like that for a long time.


  • northzax

    for all the talk about United having more money than others, the way to build long term success is through the youth system. that’s a golden generation for a country, let alone a club team.


  • Mark

    I’m pretty sure Craig Forrest was in goal for Ipswich that day.

    Before 2007, the last I heard of him was that he had retired because he was recovering from cancer. I was extremely happy to see him looking so well presenting coverage of Toronto’s first season on CBC.


  • reid

    Does anyone else want to scrape their eyes out with a rusty spoon when you realize they are airing indoor soccer on friday night on fsc.
    I guess its a mental block because i keep forgeting it until its too late, and there is nothing else on.
    I know getting rights to other stuff costs more money and blah blah.

    Watching these 30min condensed games is 10 times better then watching indoor


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