COLIN HENDRY and Chris Sutton could have been playing in each other's positions today had their true vocations not been spotted. Blackburn Rovers' visit to Everton stirs memories of another player who switched roles - and clubs - with striking consequences.
Fred Pickering was a mediocre full-back who Blackburn converted into a centre-forward good enough to land an pounds 85,000 move to Everton 34 years ago this month. There he partnered Roy Vernon, whose talents Rovers had also cashed in on. The timing of Pickering's transfer was disastrous for the Ewood Park club, who had been well placed to win the championship for the first time in 50 years. They had to wait until 1995 to finish top.
Howard Kendall, now in his fourth spell at Everton, was player-manager at both clubs. In 1981, during his first stint in the Goodison hot seat, he went back to Blackburn for his coach, Mick Heaton, goalkeeper Jim Arnold, and Glenn "Killer" Keeley, the Hendry of his day, who was sent off half an hour into his one loan appearance (a 5-0 home defeat by Liverpool).
Keith Newton, who himself started in attack, had represented England as a Second Division right-back before Everton bought him from Blackburn. Others with a dual connection include Harry Leyland, Matt Woods, Duncan McKenzie, John Bailey, Alan Irvine and Bobby Mimms. However, it was not until Kenny Dalglish was united with Jack Walker's wallet in 1991 that Rovers reversed the drain in talent, signing Mike Newell for pounds 1.1m.
Ten things that Arsenal's Liberian Christopher
might be missing
1 His home city, the war-ravaged capital, Monrovia. Like Highbury, its inhabitants would prefer to be elsewhere.
2 Gurley Street, the liveliest area in Monrovia for bars and clubs.
3 A glass of home brew palm wine, often accompanied in Liberia by a home- grown grass spliff. Not the kind of thing that any Gunner would indulge in, of course.
4 Swimming, fishing and watersports at Lake Piso.
5 A trip to the Firestone rubber plantation, the world's largest. Said to be as interesting as Arsenal sides of the Eighties, but more flexible.
6 A day trip to Bangor beach, one of several close to the Liberian capital.
7 A bottle of Club beer in a chop bar (roadside cafe).
8 Pepper soup and fufu (fermented cassava).
9 Buying cheap, quality
suits on Benson Street, Monrovia's Saville Row.
10 Development plans rooted in reality. President Charles Taylor wants his country to improve "step by step." Arsenal want to buy Wembley stadium.
NAME OF THE GAME
No 26: THE McCAIN STADIUM
Grounds bearing the name of a sponsor - such as Bolton's Reebok Stadium or Stoke's Britannia Stadium - are a comparatively recent development, but Scarborough changed the name of their home as long ago as 1988. McCain Foods, one of the biggest employers in the town, have sponsored what was the Athletic Ground for 10 years and are expected to renew their agreement when it expires next year.
On 13 March 1991, Manchester United travelled to Southampton without a League win for two months.
Trailing the First Division's joint leaders, Arsenal and Liverpool, by 16 points, United were unable to end their lean spell, and managed only a 1-1 draw, with Paul Ince scoring for the visitors after Neil Ruddock had put the Saints ahead.
United's patch of indifferent form (blamed on their preoccupation with European glory) was not the only subject that week to be echoed now. Terry Venables and Paul Gascoigne, both currently being linked to Crystal Palace, were making news seven years ago as well.
Venables' attempt to buy Tottenham put him in the headlines, while Gazza was linked to Lazio, and then moved for pounds 8.5m.
As Bristol City and Bristol Rovers prepare for their vital Second Division promotion game today, supporters of the two clubs might think back to the 1989-90 season. It was a remarkable year for the Bristol clubs, who finished first and second in the old Third Division.
Their first meeting at Ashton Gate in September finished goalless, but as the season wore on Joe Jordan's City began to set the pace.
City went top in January and, apart from a brief spell in March, stayed there until the penultimate game of the season when they faced their greatest rivals. Gerry Francis's Rovers, who won 15 and drew five of their last 21 games, won 3-0 to displace City at the top of the table. Both teams won their final matches and filled the two automatic promotion places.
THis WEEK'S TRANSFERS
Free transfers or undisclosed fees unless stated
Nikos Dabizas (defender) Olympiakos (Gr) to Newcastle (pounds 2m); Andy Roberts (midfielder) Crystal Palace to Wimbledon (pounds 1.6m); Marlon Beresford (goalkeeper) Burnley to Middlesbrough (pounds 400,000); Jamie Clapham (defender) Tottenham to Ipswich (pounds 300,000); Paul Devlin (forward) Birmingham to Sheffield Utd (pounds 200,000); Lee Makel (midfielder) Huddersfield to Hearts (pounds 75,000); Jason van Blerk (defender) Manchester City to West Bromwich Albion (pounds 50,000); Iffy Onuora (forward) Gillingham to Swindon; David Kerslake (defender) Ipswich to Swindon; O'Neill Donaldson (forward) Sheffield Wednesday to Stoke; Chris Kiwomya (forward) Arsenal to Huddersfield; Richard Jobson (defender) Leeds to Manchester City; Neil Whitworth (defender) Kilmarnock to Wigan; Julian Alsop (forward) Bristol Rovers to Swansea; Damien Hilton (forward) Norwich to Brighton; Gary Martindale (forward) Notts County to Rotherham; Craig Midgley (forward) Bradford City Hartlepool.
Steve Nicol (defender) Sheffield Wednesday to West Bromwich Albion; Paul Beesley (defender) Manchester City to West Bromwich; John Spencer (forward) Queen's Park Rangers to Everton; Dave Barnett (defender) Dunfermline to Port Vale; Andy Walker (forward) Sheffield Utd to Raith Rovers; Jan Veenhof (defender) Groningen (Neth) to Ipswich (trial).Reuse content