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Filling The Void

Filling The Void: A Classic Premier League Battle

Two Premier League clubs loaded with marquis names duke it out in this early season battle between two of the top 4 clubs in the 1996/97 Season.

St. James Park by Joe89316is in the Public Domain

Filling The Void: A Classic Premier League Battle

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Having a hard time with this whole “social distancing” thing? Yeah – us too. Especially when it comes to the lack of sports. So, we here at The Turf thought we’d offer a way to help ease the pain and suffering. While we may not have any of the current sports leagues to watch live, there is PLENTY of archive footage available at our fingertips. We’ve scoured the internet and assembled some of the most iconic, noteworthy and remarkable sporting events we could find. We also found some mundane, run of the mill matches and contests, that seemed banal at first watch. However, at this point, we’ll take anything that resembles sports, right? Each day, we’ll feature one of the contests and provide you a link where you can relive the glory, exhilaration, and thrill from the comfort of your couch.

Today: Newcastle United v. Manchester United – 1996 Premier League

There was nothing special that led me to this game. Honestly, I was just searching for full match videos when this one popped up. Seeing the scoreline didn’t make me really want to watch it (I’m a Manchester United fan), but I pushed play anyway. Seeing the lineups made me decide to stick to it, despite knowing the outcome – simply because it was a match filled with players who would go on to become stars or even legends.

Where They Stood

There was a little bit of recent history between these two teams coming into this match. Earlier in the year, they had squared off in the FA Charity Shield, which Manchester United won handily – defeating the Magpies by a 4-0 scoreline. This clash took place on October 20, 1996, during Matchweek 9 in the Premier League season. Both teams were playing well – United was unbeaten thus far and Newcastle had won 6 in a row. At the time, Newcastle was top of the table and Manchester United sat in 4th place.

The Combatants

Household names littered both starting lineups – players who are among the best to ever play the game. Names like Eric Cantona, Peter Schmeichel, and David Beckham donned the shirt for the Red Devils – along with their current manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. They faced off against the likes of David Ginola, Les Ferdinand, Darren Peacock, as well as some guy named Alan Shearer – perhaps the greatest player ever to wear a Newcastle jersey.

The Aftermath

Despite Newcastle coming out on top in this match (and avenging their loss in the Charity Shield), Manchester United would go on to win the Premier League title that season. Surprisingly, Eric Cantona would retire at the end of the year, which led manager Sir Alex Ferguson to ultimately sign Teddy Sheringham from Tottenham Hotspur in June of 1997. Alan Shearer would continue his stellar career, retiring in 2006 as one of the most legendary goal scorers of all time. David Beckham was no slouch either – winning a slew of hardware with Manchester United and Real Madrid before moving to MLS with the LA Galaxy. The list of accomplishments from players who took the pitch (and their managers) on this day is pretty lengthy. It was a lot of fun to revisit this match and see some footage from “back in the day”. I hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane as well.

See you tomorrow. Stay Safe. Stay Smart. Wash Your Hands.

Joe is an actor who grew up eating, living and breathing sports. He spent many an afternoon on the soccer or baseball field in his youth (and even gave several other sports a shot) before a series of events put him on the path to pursuing a performing career. Subsequently, he's worked almost every other type of job you could imagine while trying to support that endeavor. Whenever he's not working any of those jobs, he can often be found watching, playing or discussing sports in some way. Most of that banter revolves around the Mets, Giants, Rangers or Manchester United. His short term goal is to fully convert his fiance into a rabid sports fan, not someone who leaves the room whenever he turns a game on.

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