MIDDLESBROUGH 2 CITY 0
FA Premier League
19th August 1992
scorer Slaven(15 & 17)
City Coton, Hill, I Brightwell, Curle, Vonk, White, Lake, Quinn, Holden, Simpson, McMahon – subs Sheron(8), Reid(unused), Margetson(unused)
Middlesbrough Ironside, Morris, Phillips, Kernaghan, Whyte, Peake, Slaven, Falconer, Wilkinson, Wright, Hendrie – subs Mustoe(82), Pollock(unused), Roberts(unused)
PAUL LAKE’S CAREER IS THREATENED
The squad travelled to Teeside, staying overnight in a luxurious olde worlde hotel. After a hearty breakfast we ventured outside for a few stretches, followed by a quick game of head tennis on the lawn. My knee felt terrible, like a stone in a beer can, I hovered around the sidelines, limiting my involvement as best I could, before slipping back to my hotel room, flopping down on the bed , flicking on MTV and phoning down to room service for a bucket of ice.
… As the coach swung onto the forecourt that evening, a feeling of dread took over. My knee clearly hadn’t recovered from Monday’s game and playing two fixtures in three days was just plain ridiculous.
… With half an hour to go before kick off, I warmed up near the dentre circle, practising some short and long passing with Steve McMahon. The City fans chanted my name incessantly but, consumed with guilt, I couldn’t bring myself to face the away end, purposely training with my back to it to avoid any eye contact. I knew I wasn’t fit for purpose that night, and I shouldn’t have been on the pitch pretending that I was. Not only wasI deluding myself, I was conning all those Blues who’d put their faith in me. I felt like a fraudster. Overcome by a sense of foreboding, I barely took in any of Peter Reid’s pre-match team talk. I just sat there, nodding and saying “yes, gaffer” in the right places, while slathering deep heat on my blasted, bloated knee.
… I had to muster up all my courage to start the game, hoping that a late surge of adrenalin would anaesthetise the pain. I became more angst-ridden with each stride and, ten minutes into the action, all my worst fears were realised. A simple pass to McMahon followed by a sharp turn to follow the play was enough for my suspect ligament to snap for the third time in my career.
Once again, I found myself at the familiar vantage point, lying spread eagled on the deck with a scrum of concerned faces looking down at me. As I was carried off by Skip and Eamonn, shielding my face in the crook of my elbow. I’m sure I heard a collective sigh from the away end.
You’re not the only ones to feel let down, I felt like screaming.
In the post-match dressing room Quinny shared my devastation admitting that seeing me flat out on the pitch had contributed to his sending off three minutes later, after an anger fuelled late challenge.
NIALL QUINN IS SENT OFF