April 2 2015 Latest news:
Sunday, August 17, 2014
City legend Jeremy Goss has put his career into words in GOSSY THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY. In the second of a two-part serialisation, we look at some of the high points of his career.
When we were drawn against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup second round, the immediate attitude from the lads was, “Yes! Bring it on.” Massive excitement followed, we were going to play one of the best teams in Europe and the favourites to win the UEFA Cup. This was dreamland stuff for us.
The gaffer and the coaching staff soon calmed us all down however, and started to map out a game plan with one thought in mind: how to beat them.
It was going to be a great trip, playing in one of the then most spectacular stadiums in Europe and against one of the continent’s best teams, in fact, one of its best ever.
And their squad wasn’t too bad either. A quick look at some of the players who we’d be up against was quite an eye opener – Jorginho, Christian Ziege, Jan Wouters, Mehmet Scholl and, of course, captain and leading noise in German football at the time, Lothar Matthaus.
Mike Walker had warned us not to let the game distract us from our Premier League progress and we didn’t, winning 2-1 at Chelsea a couple of days before we were due to fly out to Germany.
That meant we were still unbeaten away in the league that season – in fact, of the six away games we’d played, we’d won four and drawn two, scoring 19 goals in the process, the win at Stamford Bridge lifting us up to second place in the Premier League, a great boost to our preparations and confidence.
We’d shown, we’d proved that the great season we’d just enjoyed hadn’t been a fluke and that we were, again, genuine title contenders. Now we had to prove our win against Vitesse Arnhem hadn’t been a fluke either.
There are two things about that game that I’ll never forget – and no, neither are my goal. Well, all-right, make it three things, including the goal.
The first was the night before the match when we got the chance, as you do, to do some training in the ground where the match is going to be played, get the feel of the turf and the look and layout of the place, that sort of thing.
It wasn’t meant to be a serious or heavy session at all, just a light one, a few stretches, some jogging, a little ball work. Nothing too strenuous for the simple fact you don’t want to run the risk of losing someone to injury so close to the game – especially one of this magnitude. So you’d think we’d have been taking it easy. Dream on. We’re training in one of the greatest stadiums in the world, everything about it is immaculate, top class, the best of everything available.
So we were going to enjoy it and you know what, the management could not get us off that pitch.
We just wanted to stay out there, we’d have trained until midnight if we could. John Deehan is doing his nut, shouting at us, literally coming out onto the pitch and trying to drag us off, “Come on, get off, go to bed, get some rest”, all that sort of thing. Which we did, eventually. And very reluctantly.
Then there’s the night of the game itself. We’ve arrived and are settling ourselves down, we’ve had a walk around the pitch, grabbed a programme to look through and are getting ourselves focused for what’s to come, chatting on the running track or just having a little self time, taking it all in or maybe looking for friends and family in the crowd, it’s that calm before the storm thing.
• Jeremy Goss works as fundraising manager for the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind. To find out more about the charity, visit www.nnab.org or call 01603 629558.