Football: That was the season that was

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FOREIGN POLICY

Six best overseas buys

Gianfranco Zola (Parma-Chelsea) pounds 4.5m

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Molde-Man Utd) pounds 1.5m

Patrick Vieira (Milan-Arsenal) pounds 3.5m

Benito Carbone (Internazionale-Sheffield Wed) pounds 3m

Aljosa Asanovic (Hadjuk Split-Derby) pounds 900,000

Franck Leboeuf (Strasbourg-Chelsea) pounds 2.5m

Karel Poborsky (Slavia Prague-Man Utd ) pounds 3.5m

Sasa Curcic (Bolton-Aston Villa) pounds 4m

Florin Raducioiu (Espanol-West Ham) pounds 2.4m

Nikola Jerkan (Real Oviedo-Nottm Forest) pounds 1m

Jordi Cruyff (Barcelona-Man Utd) pounds 1.4m

Regis Genaux (Standard Liege-Coventry) pounds 1m

Eleven overseas stars of the Nationwide League

Benny Gall (Denmark) - Shrewsbury Town

Stephane Pounwatchy (France) - Carlisle

Arjan de Zeeuw (Netherlands) - Barnsley

Mauricio Tarrico (Argentina) - Ipswich

Roberto Martinez (Spain) - Wigan

Richard Sneekes (Netherlands) - West Brom

Per Frandsen (Denmark) - Bolton

Clint Marcelle (Trinidad) - Barnsley

Georgi Kinkladze (Georgia) - Man City

Edinho (Brazil) - Bradford City

Petr Kachuro (Belarus) -- Sheffield United

THE RUMOUR

MILL

A season of stories yet to happen

August: Arsenal to pay pounds 13m for George Weah (News of the World)...Villa to pay pounds 5m for Stan Collymore (Mirror).

September: George Graham to manage Blackburn (People)...Les Ferdinand to join Everton (Mirror/Express).

October: Jack Charlton to manage Blackburn (Mail)...Middlesbrough to swap Emerson for Paul Ince (People).

November: Bruce Rioch to manage Blackburn (Mirror)...Manchester United to pay pounds 12m for Fabrizio Ravanelli (NOTW).

December: Juventus to pay pounds 12m for Steve McManaman... Manchester United to pay pounds 20m for Ronaldo (Mail/NOTW).

January: Paolo Maldini to join Chelsea (People)...Man United to pay pounds 7m for Joao Pinto (Mirror).

February: Arsenal bid pounds 8m for Giuseppe Signori (Mirror)...Gianluca Vialli to join Southampton (NOTW).

March: Everton to pay pounds 8m for George Weah (People)...Ravanelli bound for Internazionale (NOTW).

April: Arsenal to spend pounds 8m on McManaman (People)...Chelsea bid pounds 6.5m for Faustino Asprilla (Mirror).

WHAT A

CRACKER

Ten classic matches

Newcastle 4 Aston Villa 3 (Premiership, 30 Sep)

Newcastle 5 Man Utd 0 (Prem, 20 Oct)

Southampton 6 Man Utd 3 (Prem, 26 Oct)

Liverpool 5 Middlesbrough 1 (Prem, 14 Dec)

Middlesbrough 2 Liverpool 1 (Coca-Cola Cup, 8 Jan)

Everton 2 Bradford 3 (FA Cup, 25 Jan)

Chelsea 4 Liverpool 2 (FA Cup, 26 Jan)

Newcastle 4 Leicester 3 (Prem, 2 Feb)

Liverpool 4 Newcastle 3 (Prem, 20 Mar)

Middlesbro 3 Chesterfield 3 (FA Cup, 13 Apr)

WHAT A

LET-DOWN

Ten big disappointments

Arsenal in Europe

Tony Yeboah

Tottenham

England against Italy

Karel Poborsky

Everton

Gianluca Vialli

Kevin Keegan

Nick Barmby

Bryan Roy (again)

A CAUTIONARY TALE

Eleven players with nine cards or more

Igor Stimac (Derby)

Slaven Bilic (West Ham)

Carlton Palmer (Leeds)

Ian Wright (Arsenal)

Billy McKinlay (Blackburn)

Justin Edinburgh (Tottenham)

Emerson (Middlesbrough)

Patrick Vieira (Arsenal)

David Batty (Newcastle)

Gary Speed (Everton)

John Hartson (West Ham)

CHANTS WOULD BE A FINE THING

"If you cannae beat the Ajax, beat your wife"

Celtic fans at Old Firm match.

"40,000 cockneys, 40,000 cockneys..."

Leeds fans draw attention to the broad appeal of Manchester United on a Christmas visit to Old Trafford.

"David May, superstar, got more medals than Shear-ar"

United fans, after the England striker joined Newcastle.

"Paul McGrath limps on water"

Banner in the crowd at Derby.

"We'll score again, don't know where, don't know when"

Leeds fans get used to George Graham.

"David James, superstar, drops more bollocks than Grobbelaar."

Man United fans during the pivotal 3-1 win at Liverpool.

NOISES

OFF

"He has no experience of English football. He's come from Japan. And now he's telling everyone how to organise our football. Unless you have been in the situation and had the experience, you cannot comment. He should keep his mouth shut."

Alex Ferguson after Arsene Wenger opposed extending the season.

"I've got to play for a Frenchman? You've got to be joking."

Tony Adams, on hearing of Wenger's appointment as Arsenal manager.

"The new manager has given us unbelievable belief."

Paul Merson.

"After the Coca-Cola Cup final at Wembley I apologised to Juninho. I said: 'Sorry, but this is what I was told to do.' Morally, I don't enjoy man marking. I believe players should be free to express themselves. After all this is show business."

Pontus Kaamark, the Leicester defender detailed to snuff out the Brazilian's Wembley presence.

"He went missing on the way to the Stockport game because he thought he was going to be sub. He had every chance of playing, but he was shopping with his in-laws in Harvey Nicholls."

Harry Redknapp on West Ham's Romanian enigma, Florin Raducioiu.

"Upon my little boy's head I swear I never said that English players are too knackered, too overweight and too drunk."

Fabrizio Ravanelli, "misquoted" again in the Italian press.

"Good enough for the homeless but not for an international striker."

Pierre van Hooijdonk turns down Celtic's pounds 7,000-a-week.

"He's just handed in a written transfer request. The handwriting was beautiful."

Kenny Dalglish, receiving notice to quit from David Ginola.

"The moment I turned up for training and saw Zola I knew it was time for me to go."

John Spencer, squeezed out at Chelsea.

"Because he's a footballer, a thug and he's French."

Art critic Gavin Stamp, asked by Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight why Eric Cantona's portrait would not hang in the National Gallery.

"Watching Manchester City is probably the best laxative you can take."

Phil Neal, caretaker manager at Maine Road.

"You should never say never in football because you never know what's round the corner."

Frank Clark, ahead of departure from Nottingham Forest.

"It's going to be my epitaph, innit? Deep in the shit - where he started."

Dave Bassett on joining Forest.

"It's the only place in the world where the managers have to calm the interviewers down."

Tommy Burns, former Celtic manager, on Glasgow derbies.

"In the last three or four months he has been different. He has aged 20 years in three months."

Emlyn Hughes on Kevin Keegan.

"I know where he should have put his flag up and he'd have got plenty of help."

Ron Atkinson, former Coventry manager, displeased with a goal at Stamford Bridge.

"It would be great if Wimbledon got into Europe. Usually a small squad of players travels abroad, followed by several thousand wild-eyed drunken fans. If Wimbledon got there it would be the other way round."

Frank Skinner.

"Spurs are just like Wimbledon with fans."

Jimmy Greaves.

"Martin Keown is up everyone's backside."

Trevor Brooking on Match of the Day. We think we knew what he meant...

"I made a two-fingered gesture towards the fans to show that I had scored twice. Somehow that must have been misinterpreted."

Paul Peschisolido after being spoken to by the police at Port Vale.

"Most referees deserve a slap around the face."

Danny Baker on Mike Reed during the broadcast that cost his BBC job.

"Hereford will not die. We've had 25 wonderful years and we'll be back. When I took over I had hair. Not any longer. I was going to wear a toupee if we won today. Now I'll use it to wipe away my tears."

Peter Hill, Hereford chairman.

READY

TO GO

Eleven players ready for a change of scene

Paul Warhurst (Blackburn)

Rob Jones (Liverpool)

Gianluca Vialli (Chelsea)

Bryan Roy (Nottm Forest)

Ronny Rosenthal (Tottenham)

Iain Dowie (West Ham)

John Barnes (Liverpool)

Gary Walsh (Middlesbrough)

Ian Woan (Nottm Forest)

Dean Holdsworth (Wimbledon)

Carl Tiler (Aston Villa)

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

Eleven of the season's emerging talents

Rio Ferdinand (West Ham)

Michael Owen (Liverpool)

Danny Granville (Chelsea)

Darren Huckerby (Coventry)

Stephen Hughes (Arsenal)

Paul Hughes (Chelsea)

Michael Bridges (Sunderland)

James Scowcroft (Ipswich)

David Hughes (Aston Villa)

Martin Bullock (Barnsley)

Mark Jackson (Leeds)

THE TREATMENT

TABLE

Eleven players whom fate sidelined

Dimitri Kharin (Chelsea)

Gary Charles (Aston Villa)

Michael Duberry (Chelsea)

Gary Mabbutt (Tottenham)

Andy Hinchcliffe (Everton)

Steve Stone (Nottm Forest)

Barry Venison (Southampton)

Wayne Collins (Sheffield Wed)

Ben Thatcher (Wimbledon)

Niall Quinn (Sunderland)

Chris Armstrong (Tottenham)

THE DESK CLEARERS

Eight Premiership ex-managers

Bruce Rioch (sacked)

Ray Harford (resigned)

Howard Wilkinson (sacked)

Ron Atkinson (moved "upstairs")

Kevin Keegan (resigned)

Frank Clark (resigned)

Stuart Pearce (stood down)

Joe Royle (resigned)

PREMIERSHIP TEAM OF THE SEASON

(Based on most appearances in team of the week)

PETER SCHMEICHEL

Manchester Utd

SOL CAMPBELL

Tottenham Hotspur

GARETH SOUTHGATE

Aston Villa

FRANCK LEBOEUF

Chelsea

DAVID BECKHAM

Manchester Utd

NEIL LENNON

Leicester

PATRICK VIEIRA

Arsenal

JULIAN DICKS

West Ham

JUNINHO

Middlesbrough

GIANFRANCO ZOLA

Chelsea

DENNIS BERGKAMP

Arsenal

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