25 years on - Anderton and Calderwood relive England v Scotland, Euro 96
Fri 18 June 2021, 11:00|Tottenham Hotspur
England play host to Scotland in Euro 2020 at Wembley this evening (8pm) - 25 years on from a memorable meeting with the ‘Auld Enemy’ at ‘the old Wembley’ at Euro 96, a match that had so many stories, one of the goals of the century, a huge knock-on effect to England’s eventual progress to the semi-finals - and nine current or former* Spurs players...
To mark the occasion, we’ve turned the clock back to 15 June 1996 and that glorious summer day at the home of football with Darren Anderton and Colin Calderwood, Spurs team-mates for six years, but sworn enemies for 90 minutes...
England were criticised after their opener, a 1-1 draw with Switzerland, while Scotland took heart from a goalless draw against highly fancied Netherlands. It was game on...
Darren: “Anxious, nervous, tense, exciting... the build-up was a bit of a nightmare because we were garbage against Switzerland and we were getting battered left, right and centre from the media. I would probably say it was the most pressure I’ve experienced before a game. If we’d got beat, we were pretty much out. We all believed we were a good team, but we’d nearly lost the week before and we were now playing against team-mates, ex-team-mates, players who knew everything about us, and all the pressure was on. It was crazy tense, right up until we scored the second goal. Also, my dad was Scottish, and this was the biggest game I’d played in. It was quite the build-up, a long week after Switzerland. We just wanted to get on with it.”
Colin: “We knew it was huge. We’d had a draw with Holland, England drew with Switzerland, so a draw wouldn’t have been the worst result for us, that would have played into our hands. The spotlight was more on England than Scotland, being hosts, and after what was perceived as a poor result against Switzerland. We were up for it, we knew a draw was a better result for us than for England.”
What was said in the dressing rooms before such a big occasion?
Darren: “It was all about belief. We came back in after the Switzerland and there were a few of us, including myself, just thankful to be back in the starting 11, with that belief from Terry Venables that we could do the business. As the week wore on, you forgot about the Switzerland game and it was Terry being Terry, nothing ridiculous, reiterating why we were there, what we were good at and if we performed, we’d win, simple as that. Terry, Don Howe, Bryan Robson, massive people within the game, all gave you the belief that it would be alright.”
Colin: “It was very clear, the manager and staff all felt we could pose England problems, and, at some point, we’d be able to break down their defence. They highlighted the quality of their set plays, which were really good at the time, Darren taking most of them. I must admit, without being blasé about it, there was a strong feeling that we wouldn’t get beaten.”
How did it feel to walk out of Wembley’s famous old tunnel and into the arena?
Darren: “That was mad, the atmosphere was ridiculous. Nuts. The biggest thing I remember was looking up into the crowd and seeing my mum and dad. My mum was going mad and pointing down. I was wondering, ‘what’s going on?’, but Rod Stewart was sat in front of her! She was buzzing! I always remember that, it took away all that tension. I just remember thinking, ‘calm down mum’.”
Colin: “I’d done it at club level, play-offs, and that meant I had some sort of experience of the moment. I didn’t have any sense of the history of it all, at that time. The way the game played out has certainly added to that legendary status and the fixture being so iconic.”
Everything hinged on 60 seconds - David Seaman’s penalty save to Gazza memorably making it 2-0. How often had Darren and Colin thought about those 60 seconds since, and that sense of 'what if'..?
Darren: “A lot! Especially at the moment, when I’m doing a few interviews and that game always gets brought up, everyone brings up Gazza’s goal. It was a goal made in Tottenham, Teddy to me, to Gazza. I love that, love being part of such an iconic goal. For me, not only would it have gone 1-1, but it was deja-vu in terms of what had happened the week before against Switzerland, when we’d gone a goal ahead, got edgy, Scotland this time got a little control, a few misplaced passes and you are trying to hang on. David Seaman then makes the penalty save and the goal… it’s one of the best goals I’ve ever been on a pitch to witness with the magnitude of the whole situation, the celebrations, the stadium erupting. To answer the question, yes, quite a lot! That minute sums it all up. It could have been a disaster but turned into the success that everyone stills talks about now.”
Colin: “Not too often, I must admit! England had a really good 20 minutes at the start of the second half. Before that, it was even-stevens. The period after those 20 minutes, when we had a couple of half-chances, culminated in the penalty kick. We were chasing the game and it looked like it could be the same as Switzerland for England, we score that penalty, and it plays out a draw. On reflection, had that gone in, I don’t think England would have scored again and we’d have taken a point.”
25 years on
And how about 25 years on? What are their memories now?
Darren: “25 years - that’s annoying, isn’t it? 25 years, scary. Yet when you talk about it, it feels like it’s only last year. It’s mad. It’s a long time, but you watch it, watch Gazza’s goal back and it seems like yesterday. I’ve enjoyed talking about it all, some of the favourite memories of my career.”
Colin: “A lot of people watched the game when it was replayed on TV last year and spoke about how well Scotland played. People didn’t remember that. It’s all about the Gazza goal, really. My abiding memory 25 years on is sitting in the drugs testing room with Alan Shearer, both of us trying to produce a sample! He didn’t speak to me, I didn’t speak to him! That’s one of my biggest memories!”
Darren is now based in the USA while Colin was appointed assistant manager of Northampton Town this week...
*Did you get the nine current and former Spurs players on duty at Wembley that day? They were - Darren Anderton, Sol Campbell, Les Ferdinand, Paul Gascoigne, Jamie Redknapp, Teddy Sheringham, Ian Walker, Colin Calderwood and Gordon Durie.