2nd Premier League title
9th English title
West Ham United
|Champions League||Manchester United|
|Cup Winners' Cup||Arsenal
|UEFA Cup||Aston Villa
|Top goalscorer||Andy Cole (34)|
This article describes the FA Premier League 1993-94 season.
Newcastle United and West Ham were promoted to the Premiership from the First Division as champions and runners-up respectively. The last promotion place was won by Swindon Town after their victory in the 1992-93 playoff final. Newcastle had been relegated from the old First Division in 1989 and West Ham United had been relegated the season before the start of the Premier League. Swindon had never played top division football before. They had won the old First Division playoffs in 1990 but were later denied promotion because of financial irregularities.
Just before the start of the season, Roy Keane became the most expensive footballer signed by an English football team. The then 22-year-old Irish midfielder left relegated Nottingham Forest and was transferred to Manchester United for £3.75 million.
During the 1993-94 season, many players were transferred between Premiership clubs for seven-figure fees exceeding £1 million. They included David White (Manchester City to Leeds United), David Rocastle (Leeds United to Manchester City), Roy Wegerle (Blackburn Rovers to Coventry City) and Tim Flowers (Southampton to Blackburn Rovers). At £2.5 million, Flowers became the most expensive goalkeeper in English football.
Manchester United led the 1993-94 Premier League for much of the season, eventually finishing as champions eight points ahead of runners-up Blackburn Rovers. They also won the FA Cup after beating Chelsea 4-0 in the final, thereby becoming only the 4th team to achieve this feat in the 20th century (after Tottenham in 1961, Arsenal in 1971 and Liverpool in 1986).
Finishing runners-up in the Premiership were Blackburn Rovers. In third place came Newcastle United, whose 22-year-old striker Andy Cole was the Premiership's leading scorer with 34 goals in 40 games, with a total of 41 goals in all competitions. In fourth place came Arsenal, who achieved success in European competition with a 1-0 win over Parma in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final.
Swindon Town managed just five league wins all season and were relegated in bottom place having conceded 100 league goals in 42 games. Oldham Athletic, who had avoided relegation on goal difference the previous season, were relegated on the final day of the season after failing to win at Norwich City. The final relegation place went to Sheffield United, who were relegated from the top flight after a 3-2 defeat at Chelsea. On 15 April, 2006 Sheffield United became the first of these sides to return to the Premiership after winning promotion from the Football League Championship.
Champions League 1994–95
|2||Blackburn Rovers||42||25||9||8||63||36||+27||84||UEFA Cup 1994–95
Winners' Cup 1994–95
|9||Queens Park Rangers||42||16||12||14||62||61||+1||60|
|10||Aston Villa||42||15||12||15||46||50||−4||57||UEFA Cup 1994–95
|13||West Ham United||42||13||13||16||47||58||−11||52|
Winners' Cup 1994–95
|20||Sheffield United||42||8||18||16||42||60||−18||42||Relegated to Football
Division One 1994–95
Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points
1 Arsenal qualified for the Cup Winners' Cup as defending champions
2 Aston Vila qualified for the UEFA Cup as UEFA Fair Play Award winners
3 Chelsea qualified for the Cup Winners' Cup as FA Cup runners-up
P = Games Played; W = Games Won; D = Games Drawn; L = Games Lost; F = Goals For; A = Goals Against; Pts = Points
|Average Goals per game:||2.58|
Arsenal conquered their goalscoring problems which had restricted them to 10th place a year earlier, though they surrendered their defence of both domestic cup competitions. This time round they finished 4th in the league, and at one stage looked like the most likely team to threaten Manchester United's lead. But the real success of the campaign was a 1-0 win over Parma in Copenhagen which gave them glory in the European Cup Winners' Cup and their first European trophy since 1970.
1993-94 saw a great deal of change at Arsenal. The season began with the club's longest-serving player, 34-year-old defender David O'Leary, signing for Leeds United and out-of-favour midfielder Colin Pates joining Brighton. Irish winger Eddie McGoldrick was captured from Crystal Palace and his arrival led to the sale of fellow winger Anders Limpar to Everton a few months later.
Aston Villa were never anywhere near the title race that they had looked likely to win for much of the previous season, as they finished 10th in the table a year after coming second. But their compensation for this shortcoming was victory in the Coca-Cola Cup final against Manchester United - a 3-1 scoreline ending the opposition's hope of becoming the first English team to win all three major domestic trophies in the same season. The likes of Dean Saunders and Paul McGrath were as consistent and reliable as ever, though a few older players including Garry Parker, Kevin Richardson and Shaun Teale were starting to look a little past their best.
The pre-season signing of 30-year-old midfielder Andy Townsend from Chelsea was one of the best pieces of business done so far by manager Ron Atkinson, while the capture of Guy Whittingham from Portsmouth proved to be a disappointment - the striker failed to score anything like the 47 goals he had done for his previous club a season earlier, and was loaned out to Wolves to gain more first-team chances.
It was another strong season for a resurgent Blackburn side, who were in the higher reaches of the Premiership all season long and at one stage were level on points with leaders Manchester United. The return of Alan Shearer from a long-term injury saw him make a swift return to his superb form of old, with the 23-year-old hitman scoring 31 goals in the league. In the end, though, it wasn't quite enough to snatch the title crown off Manchester United, and Kenny Dalglish's men had to settle for runners-up spot and a UEFA Cup place.
Blackburn fans were thrilled after the end of the season when 21-year-old Norwich striker Chris Sutton joined the club for an English record fee of £5million. With the most expensive striker-partnership in the country, the club's fans were given all the more reason to expect their team to succeed in at least one of the four major competitions that they would be contesting next season.
The appointment of Glenn Hoddle as Chelsea's new player-manager was awaited with much optimism for the new season, as previous managers had not been able to secure anything better than mid-table finishes in the three previous seasons. And as the 1993-94 season lagged away, it looked as though Hoddle's appointment had done little to boost Chelsea's mediocre fortunes as they hovered around the middle of the Premiership. In the end, they finished 14th - three places lower than last season. But an appearance in the FA Cup final meant that they would be qualifying for the European Cup Winners' Cup whether they won or not, as their opponents Manchester United had already won the Premiership title and qualified for the European Cup.
As the players entered the dressing rooms for half-time at Wembley, the scoreline was 0-0. But Chelsea's dream was shattered in the second half as United beat them 4-0, but at least they would be playing in Europe next season - for the first time in over 20 years. The wait for a major trophy, however, entered its 24th season.
Striker Mark Stein was added to the squad in mid-season, and quickly proved himself to be a competent Premiership goalscorer after impressing in the lower leagues. Pre-season signings Gavin Peacock was also impressive.
Coventry City's 27th successive season in the top flight began with a superb 3-0 win at Arsenal in which striker Mick Quinn scored a hat-trick. Coventry's surprisingly good form continued throughout the season, so it was a surprise to all when manager Bobby Gould handed in his notice in November. Phil Neal, formerly of Bolton Wanderers, was announced as Gould's successor and despite having no experienced outside the league's third tier, he was able to defy the odds and keep Coventry well clear of the relegation that they have been tipped for at least the last four seasons.
Everton's reputation as a club living on former glories (in this case glories within the last 10 years) was highlighted this season as they were never out of the relegation battle when just a few seasons ago they had been league champions.
Manager Howard Kendall's second spell as manager came to an end - of his own volition - in December just after they ended a seven-match winless run. As the new year dawned, Mike Walker was brought in as Kendall's successor and after his successful 18-month reign at Norwich City there was much optimism that Walker was the man to restore Everton to their former glory.
On the last day of the season, Everton went 2-0 down to Wimbledon and they looked all set for relegation - just seven years earlier they had been league champions. But a remarkable turnaround in the second half saw the Toffeemen cruise to a 3-2 victory and they were safe, with the final relegation places going to Sheffield United and Oldham Athletic.
Ipswich Town looked to improve on their 16th place finish of the previous campaign and manager John Lyall brought in Claus Thomsen and Ian Marshall to strengthen his goal-shy attack. Mick McGiven was made team manager and Lyall became Director of Football. Their initial form was promising, and in November they held Manchester United to a goalless draw at Old Trafford. But, as had happened a season earlier, their late season form took a dramatic slump and they found themselves in a relegation battle.
Ipswich's survival was secured on the final day of the season after fellow strugglers Sheffield United were beaten by Chelsea and Oldham Athletic failed to beat Norwich City.
After last season's 17th place finish and failure to win away from home (which came just one year after winning the league title), Howard Wilkinson decided to bolster his squad in order to avoid another torrid season. He paid a club record £2.7million for Sheffield United striker Brian Deane and by Christmas he had paid a further £2million for Manchester City's attacking midfielder David White. Leeds United were now well on the road to recovery, and that recovery process was completed at the end of the season when they finished fifth in the final table.
After three seasons of failing to make a serious challenge for the league title, the Liverpool board of directors finally ran out of patience with manager Graeme Souness after an FA Cup exit at the hands of Division One underdogs Bristol City and he was removed at the end of January, less than three years after being appointed. The Liverpool tradition of promoting "boot room" men to the manager's seat continued as long-serving coach Roy Evans was named as manager. The transition came too late to bring anything more than an eighth-place finish to the red half of Merseyside, though they at least stayed well clear of the relegation zone which so very nearly claimed their neighbours Everton.
There were some bright spots to the club's toughest season for over 30 years. Young striker Robbie Fowler broke into the first team and claimed 12 Premiership goals in 28 games, as well as scoring all five goals in a Coca-Cola Cup clash with Fulham. He forced record signing Nigel Clough out of the first team for much of the season, and formed a strong partnership with the ageing but still prolific Ian Rush. Youngsters like Jamie Redknapp and Steve McManaman were also impressive, with both players possessing all the qualities of future international stars.
City were a competitive, attacking side during Reid's three seasons as manager, when they finished fifth in his first season and ninth in the next two campaigns. But under Horton, they found it increasingly difficult to find the net - just 36 goals were scored in the league all season, and no player scored more than 6 goals. The mid-season sale of David White to Leeds United robbed them of one of their last quality performers, and his replacement David Rocastle (signed from Leeds in a separate deal) failed to live up to expectations.
Despite their lack of goals, City avoided the drop and finished 16th - their lowest finish since relegation in 1987. Horton sought to reverse this decline by bringing in Nicky Summerbee, Uwe Rosler and Paul Walsh, while David Rocastle moved to Chelsea after less than a year at Maine Road.
A 2-1 win at Aston Villa took defending champions Manchester United to the top of the table in late August, and they remained there for the rest of the season. As 1994 dawned, they had suffered just one league defeat and were 16 points ahead of anyone else. Most bookmakers had closed their books and handed the title to United, with even their closest rivals admitting defeat. The only slight blip of this almost totally successful period was a shock European Cup exit against Turkish side Galatasaray in the second round.
But United entered a month of madness in March when they looked as though they might end up with nothing. Eric Cantona, the club's top scorer, was sent off against bottom-of-the-table Swindon Town at the County Ground, and three days later received his marching orders again, this time against Arsenal at Highbury. Both matches ended 2-2. Shortly after this, United's treble bid was ended by a 3-1 defeat against Aston Villa in the Coca-Cola Cup final and in the title race, Blackburn Rovers drew level on points.
United quickly returned to form after beating Oldham Athletic 4-1 in the FA Cup semi-final replay, and their title was clinched on May Day with a 2-1 win at Ipswich. On 14 May, they became only the sixth club in England to have won the league title and FA Cup in the same season by crushing Chelsea 4-0 at Wembley.
25-goal striker Eric Cantona received the PFA Player of the Year award, while the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Ince and Lee Sharpe continued to shine. Roy Keane justified his tag as the most expensively signed footballer in England, while veterans Mark Hughes, Brian McClair and Steve Bruce continued to excel despite their advancing years.
The end of the season also saw the club's longest serving player and joint captain Bryan Robson quit Old Trafford after 13 years to become the new player-manager of Middlesbrough. Also heading out on the exit door at the end of the season were Les Sealey, Clayton Blackmore, Mike Phelan, Colin McKee, Neil Whitworth and Giuliano Maiorana.
With United's squad arguably the finest in England, Ferguson's only close-season signing was David May from Blackburn Rovers. May, 24, was signed by Ferguson in hope that he would develop into an eventual long-term successor to Steve Bruce.
Back in the top flight after a five-year exile, Kevin Keegan's resurgent Newcastle side never looked back after gaining promotion as Division One champions. The return of Peter Beardsley created a prolific striker partnership with the young Andy Cole which produced 59 goals in the Premiership alone and almost single handedly secured a third place finish and UEFA Cup qualification - the club's first foray into Europe since the 1970s. Cole also collected the PFA Young Player of the Year award, having scored a club record of 41 goals in all competitions.
Kevin Keegan looked to the continent for additions to his squad after the season was over, signing World Cup stars Marc Hottiger (Swiss full-back) and Philippe Albert (Belgian) centre-back. He was also linked with a move for Derby striker Paul Kitson, perhaps feeling he needed one last piece in the jigsaw to bolster Newcastle in their quest to win the league title for the first time since 1927.
Norwich's achievements in 1992-93 were outstanding - a club-best third place finish and their first ever European place. All of this had been achieved with a relatively tight transfer budget and one of the Premiership's smaller fan bases.
Manager Mike Walker's achievements were far from over as the campaign began. They were close behind runaway leaders Manchester United in the title race, but most impressively eliminated Bayern Munich from the UEFA Cup in the second round; in doing so, they became the only English side to beat Bayern on their own soil. The dream came to an end in the third round as the Canaries were eliminated by Inter Milan.
Walker quit the club in January to take over at Everton, and his assistant John Deehan took over. Deehan was unable to keep up the momentum, and Norwich slumped to 12th place in the final table, the decline accelerated by a 10-match winless run which was the longest of any Premier League club during the season. The record-breaking sale of young striker Chris Sutton left Norwich with a big hole to fill in their attack, and the only major signing of the close season was midfielder Mike Milligan from Oldham.
Oldham Athletic's luck finally ran out on the final day of the season as their failure to beat Norwich City condemned them to relegation after three years in the top flight. A year earlier, they had won their final three games of the season to stay up on goal difference, and this time round they had looked more than capable of beating the drop without needing any last-gasp "Houdini" survival acts. They even looked on course for their first-ever FA Cup final as they entered the final minute of the semi-final beating Manchester United 1-0.
But Mark Hughes then equalised for United and forced a replay, in which the Latics were crushed 4-1 at Maine Road. The team seemed to lose its fighting spirit in the final weeks of the season that followed this defeat, and the results of other relegation-threatened teams would have sent them down even if they had managed to beat Norwich on that final day.
Yet there was no pressure for manager Joe Royle, the longest-serving manager in any division, to be removed from his position. The board kept faith in him and he kept faith in his players, with Mike Milligan (to Norwich City) being the only significant departure of the close season.
Queens Park Rangers had another strong season, though they dipped slightly in the final table to finish ninth a year after they had finished above all the other London clubs in fifth place. Manager Gerry Francis was even linked with the England job when Graham Taylor quit, but it went to Terry Venables - a former QPR manager himself.
Once again, striker Les Ferdinand was prolific up front and his name was constantly linked with big-money moves to top clubs as well as a regular England place. The rest of the squad performed solidly without attracting many headlines.
Sheffield United had defied the odds and beaten the drop comfortably in all of their three previous top flight seasons - even their first season, when they failed to win any of their first 17 games but still managed to finish a secure 13th. Then they overcame early-season troubles to secure ninth and 14th place finishes, as well as reaching an FA Cup semi-final.
But this time, manager Dave Bassett's luck finally ran out on the last day of the season. Needing a point, the Blades were several places clear of the relegation zone at half time, however an amazing sequence of events followed by a last minute goal from Mark Stein gave Chelsea a 3-2 win over the Blades, and combined with the unlikely positive results for the three teams above them, this defeat condemned the club to relegation. Many people put this disappointment down to the pre-season sale of striker Brian Deane to Leeds, and the failure of Jostein Flo to establish himself as a regular goalscorer.
Sheffield Wednesday finished seventh in the league for the second season running, but they could have finished even higher had key striker David Hirst not missed so much of the season due to injury. Young striker Gordon Watson proved himself to be a highly competent deputy, scoring 12 league goals in his first season as a regular player.
Wednesday's best success in 1993-94 came in the Coca-Cola Cup. They drew with Manchester United in the semi-final first leg, but were defeated in the return game during which Ryan Giggs scored a classic goal. This ended any hope of the Owls winning a major trophy or qualifying for Europe.
Trevor Francis responded to this disappointment by signing Klas Ingesson and Guy Whittingham to give the strikerforce some much-needed support. These reinforcements also gave Owls fans some much-needed hope of silverware, a year after they'd been on the losing side in both domestic cup finals.
Southampton were on the receiving end of Britain's first £2million goalkeeper deal in November when they sold 26-year-old shot-stopper Tim Flowers to Blackburn Rovers. This windfall put pressure on manager Ian Branfoot to bolster a Saints squad which was right in the middle of a relegation battle. The much-needed investment never came, and Branfoot was dismissed just after Christmas. Former player Alan Ball was drafted in as Branfoot's replacement, and guided the Saints to safety to guarantee their 17th successive season of top division football.
Ball also managed to keep on to iconic striker Matt Le Tissier, who was once again outstanding with a prolific goalscoring record, to give Saints hope of Premiership survival - and more - for the upcoming season. Le Tissier's brilliance earned him international recognition, though not as frequently as he would perhaps have liked, and was perhaps the only thing that stood between Southampton and the drop zone for at least the last three seasons.
Three years after winning promotion, and then being denied top flight football for financial irregularities, The Robins finally reached the elite after 73 years of trying thanks to a pulsating 4-3 win over Leicester City in the Division One playoff final. The only downside to this superb triumph was the departure of player-manager Glenn Hoddle to Chelsea. His assistant John Gorman was left behind to pick up the pieces, and it took 16 games for Swindon to record their first top division win.
Swindon never adjusted to the pace of Premiership football, winning just five games and becoming the first top division team in 30 years to concede 100 league goals. They would have fared worse still had it not been for the strong form of Norwegian striker Jan Åge Fjørtoft, who was on target 12 times in the league.
John Gorman spoke of his hope that Swindon would soon return to the Premiership by saying that they "wouldn't be in Division One for long"....
Tottenham Hotspur were full of excitement in the close season when, after the controversial dismissal of chief executive and former manager Terry Venables, former player Ossie Ardiles returned to the club as manager. He quickly set about bringing the glory days back to White Hart Lane by creating a new style of attacking football which regularly featured up to FIVE players in the forward positions. Striker Teddy Sheringham was prolific once again, scoring 14 goals despite being restricted to just 19 league games due to injuries.
But the new regime failed to deliver, and Tottenham finished 15th in the final table. This dismal showing was hardly helped by Sheringham's injury problems, but the rest of the side failed to come close to Sheringham when it came to scoring goals. Defeats were all too frequent, with a seven-match losing run in mid-season being the longest succession of defeats endured by any Premier League team during the season.
This was soon to be the least of Tottenham's worries, as the Football Association announced that they were investigating financial irregularities which had occurred at the club during the 1980s under the chairmanship of Irving Scholar. The hammer blow was delivered when Tottenham were found guilty on all the charges and received the heaviest punishment ever imposed on an English club; they were fined £600,000 as well as having 12 league points deducted for the 1994-95 season and being banned from that season's FA Cup. Chairman Alan Sugar quickly appealed against the ruling, backing up his argument with the fact that the people responsible were no longer at the club.
A defiant Ardiles, fearful that the 12-point deduction might end up costing them their Premiership status, made a momentous transfer swoop for German striker Jürgen Klinsmann and Romanian midfielders Ilie Dumitrescu and Gheorghe Popescu.
West Ham United made a sound return to the top flight a year after being relegated, as they overcame the sale of 25-year-old captain Julian Dicks to Liverpool and achieved a 13th place finish in the Premiership. Their form throughout the season was solid and they were never seriously threatened by relegation, and they even finished above their expensively-assembled local rivals Tottenham. The veteran striker-partnership of Trevor Morley and Lee Chapman scored goals at a decent rate and rarely showed much sign of their age - 32 and 34 respectively. It was a solid season from a hard-working but unremarkable squad who defied the odds to keep clear of trouble without making a serious bid for honours.
Those who thought that Joe Kinnear was too inexperienced to keep Wimbledon football club, the Premiership's smallest side in terms of financial resources and fan base (and without even their own home), in the top flight were quickly proved wrong. The consistent goalscoring of striker Dean Holdsworth returned Wimbledon to their winning ways after two mediocre seasons and they quickly re-established themselves as one of the hardest-to-beat sides in England. They finished sixth in the table - equalling their highest-ever finish - and of all the London clubs, only Arsenal finished above them. They finished higher than much more fancied sides including Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa and Tottenham. The only frustration endured by Dons supporters was what could have been achieved with a higher transfer budget and perhaps even their own home.
|Andy Cole||34||Newcastle United|
|Alan Shearer||31||Blackburn Rovers|
|Matt Le Tissier||25||Southampton|
|Chris Sutton||Norwich City|
|Peter Beardsley||21||Newcastle United|
|Mark Bright||19||Sheffield Wednesday|
|Eric Cantona||18||Manchester United|
|Rod Wallace||Leeds United|