Alan Knill v Marco van Basten

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Sabella's Socks

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An international story for the international break:

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/alanonemarcoknill-1979669

MARK HUGHES called it the greatest international debut he has seen.

Franz Beckenbauer said the Welsh debutant, who outshone the great Marco Van Basten, showed "so much intelligence and composure".

Ruud Gullit bought him a World Cup celebratory drink.

Who are we talking about? Ryan Giggs? Craig Bellamy?

The answer is somewhat less glamorous in the shape of ex-Halifax, Swansea City and Cardiff City defender Alan Knill!

His fairytale Wales story is detailed in a new book, One Cap Wonders, written by Cardiff-based journalist Grahame Lloyd and which is featured on BBC radio, starting tomorrow.

One-cap wonders? They include Tommy Smith, Alan Sunderland and Peter Davenport.

By far the most amazing tale in the book, however, surrounds little-known Knill.

A player so unknown that when injury-ravaged Wales boss Terry Yorath told the FAW he was putting the Swansea centre-back in his squad, the reaction was: "Who?"

Yorath says: "I had to take my choice to the Welsh FA committee and I got slaughtered.

"Although they never threw anybody out, they used to question my judgement.

"First they asked me why I had picked Colin Pascoe and wanted to know if he was a personal favourite of mine.

"I explained that my job was on the line and I thought Colin deserved to be in the squad.

"But when Alan's name came up, there was silence.

"To be truthful gentlemen', I said, 'I've got nobody else that I can pick'."

And there began the tale of Knill's extraordinary World Cup adventure.

One minute he was playing for the Swans at Southend, the next he was marking Van Basten in a crucial World Cup qualifier before 60,000 fans in Amsterdam's Olympic Stadium.

It gets more extraordinary. Holland, thanks to Van Basten, had just won the European Championships in Germany.

Van Basten destroyed Tony Adams and England with a hat-trick. Then he scored that volleyed wonder-goal in the 2-0 final victory over the USSR.

Next up, on September 14, 1988, it was Wales, an unknown called Knill, and visions of another Van Basten sackful of goals.

He didn't get a look-in. Knill played, as Beckenbauer says, like a seasoned top flight campaigner.

Only an 83rd-minute Gullit goal condemned Yorath's men to defeat - but Wales, and Knill in particular, won the moral victory.

Clearly bubbling at the recollection of his great night in the book, Knill says: "Holland probably had the best players in the world at the time. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would play against them.

"It dawned on me that I might be marking the great Marco Van Basten.

"I had mixed emotions. I can remember Terry saying that I couldn't lose.

"If I did well, then everything would be good for me. If I didn't, then it wouldn't be my fault but his for picking me."

Knill goes on: "After Terry had announced the team, a journalist asked me what it would be like marking Van Basten after his hat-trick against England in Euro '88.

"I meant to say, 'Maybe they gave him too much respect'. But what came out was, 'Maybe they gave him too much room!'

"That was in the English papers the next day. You know the sort of headlines: 'Stand in centre-half criticises England defence'.

"England's Mark Wright, in a good-luck telegram to his club teammate Dean Saunders, had a dig.

"I will always cringe at my comment, but it was a simple mistake.

"Terry didn't say anything, but I remember getting stick from my teammates!"

Ironically, though, the one thing Knill didn't give Van Basten was room.

He did give him a hard time though, so much so that the Dutch maestro, scourge of defenders throughout the world, didn't get a look-in.

Yorath smiles: "I put no pressure on Alan, except the words: 'You're marking Van Basten!'

"To be honest, I wasn't frightened for him.

"Van Basten may have been the best player in the world, but the Alan Knill I knew was capable of doing a job on him."

It was agony in the end - although Gullit-inspired, rather than Van Basten.

But the plaudits for Knill began.

"That was the best international debut I've seen," says current Wales boss Hughes.

"My one memory of that match is Alan marking Van Basten out of the match.

"Yet leading up to the game I had never actually heard of Alan."

The great Beckenbauer, whose Germany side were also in the qualifying group, said: "I was surprised to learn that he was a Division Three player.

"He showed so much intelligence and composure, he looked good enough to play in Division One."

Knill recalls how he celebrated in an Amsterdam club where he bumped into Gullit.

"He bought me a drink. Van Basten wasn't there - and I've never seen him again!"

Despite his super show, Knill never went on to win another Welsh cap as the likes of Kevin Ratcliffe, Eric Young and Mark Aizlewood dominated the centre-back positions for Wales.

Yorath says in the book: "As manager, I was never aware of how many caps players had won.

"It never crossed my thoughts Knilly would be a one-cap wonder.

"I have lots of football memories and his performance is up there with them, even though we were beaten."

As for the FAW, Yorath says: "Alan could have made himself and me look fools against Holland."

He goes on to claim somewhat preposterously in the book: "I'm sure there were plenty of people in the Welsh FA who wished that he had been diabolical and we had been beaten five or six nil.

"Afterwards they found it very difficult to admit he had played well ? in fact, nobody said anything.

"Afterwards, there were more questions about why I had picked him. They forgot the performance and were just thinking about where he was playing his football."

Which was with Swansea in the Football League basement.

Knill's next game was against Brentford at the Vetch.

"I had a nightmare, couldn't lift myself.

"I had a much harder time dealing with Gary Blissett than Van Basten!"

Funny old game football, isn't it?
 

itsinyerblood

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Lovely bit of of recollection, well done the OP.

Whoda thunk it? Our Knilly containing an all-time great? What a player (Knilly that is) and what an insight into why we're so good tactically. UTMB
 

BushBlade

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An international story for the international break:

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/alanonemarcoknill-1979669

MARK HUGHES called it the greatest international debut he has seen.

Franz Beckenbauer said the Welsh debutant, who outshone the great Marco Van Basten, showed "so much intelligence and composure".

Ruud Gullit bought him a World Cup celebratory drink.

Who are we talking about? Ryan Giggs? Craig Bellamy?

The answer is somewhat less glamorous in the shape of ex-Halifax, Swansea City and Cardiff City defender Alan Knill!

His fairytale Wales story is detailed in a new book, One Cap Wonders, written by Cardiff-based journalist Grahame Lloyd and which is featured on BBC radio, starting tomorrow.

One-cap wonders? They include Tommy Smith, Alan Sunderland and Peter Davenport.

By far the most amazing tale in the book, however, surrounds little-known Knill.

A player so unknown that when injury-ravaged Wales boss Terry Yorath told the FAW he was putting the Swansea centre-back in his squad, the reaction was: "Who?"

Yorath says: "I had to take my choice to the Welsh FA committee and I got slaughtered.

"Although they never threw anybody out, they used to question my judgement.

"First they asked me why I had picked Colin Pascoe and wanted to know if he was a personal favourite of mine.

"I explained that my job was on the line and I thought Colin deserved to be in the squad.

"But when Alan's name came up, there was silence.

"To be truthful gentlemen', I said, 'I've got nobody else that I can pick'."

And there began the tale of Knill's extraordinary World Cup adventure.

One minute he was playing for the Swans at Southend, the next he was marking Van Basten in a crucial World Cup qualifier before 60,000 fans in Amsterdam's Olympic Stadium.

It gets more extraordinary. Holland, thanks to Van Basten, had just won the European Championships in Germany.

Van Basten destroyed Tony Adams and England with a hat-trick. Then he scored that volleyed wonder-goal in the 2-0 final victory over the USSR.

Next up, on September 14, 1988, it was Wales, an unknown called Knill, and visions of another Van Basten sackful of goals.

He didn't get a look-in. Knill played, as Beckenbauer says, like a seasoned top flight campaigner.

Only an 83rd-minute Gullit goal condemned Yorath's men to defeat - but Wales, and Knill in particular, won the moral victory.

Clearly bubbling at the recollection of his great night in the book, Knill says: "Holland probably had the best players in the world at the time. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would play against them.

"It dawned on me that I might be marking the great Marco Van Basten.

"I had mixed emotions. I can remember Terry saying that I couldn't lose.

"If I did well, then everything would be good for me. If I didn't, then it wouldn't be my fault but his for picking me."

Knill goes on: "After Terry had announced the team, a journalist asked me what it would be like marking Van Basten after his hat-trick against England in Euro '88.

"I meant to say, 'Maybe they gave him too much respect'. But what came out was, 'Maybe they gave him too much room!'

"That was in the English papers the next day. You know the sort of headlines: 'Stand in centre-half criticises England defence'.

"England's Mark Wright, in a good-luck telegram to his club teammate Dean Saunders, had a dig.

"I will always cringe at my comment, but it was a simple mistake.

"Terry didn't say anything, but I remember getting stick from my teammates!"

Ironically, though, the one thing Knill didn't give Van Basten was room.

He did give him a hard time though, so much so that the Dutch maestro, scourge of defenders throughout the world, didn't get a look-in.

Yorath smiles: "I put no pressure on Alan, except the words: 'You're marking Van Basten!'

"To be honest, I wasn't frightened for him.

"Van Basten may have been the best player in the world, but the Alan Knill I knew was capable of doing a job on him."

It was agony in the end - although Gullit-inspired, rather than Van Basten.

But the plaudits for Knill began.

"That was the best international debut I've seen," says current Wales boss Hughes.

"My one memory of that match is Alan marking Van Basten out of the match.

"Yet leading up to the game I had never actually heard of Alan."

The great Beckenbauer, whose Germany side were also in the qualifying group, said: "I was surprised to learn that he was a Division Three player.

"He showed so much intelligence and composure, he looked good enough to play in Division One."

Knill recalls how he celebrated in an Amsterdam club where he bumped into Gullit.

"He bought me a drink. Van Basten wasn't there - and I've never seen him again!"

Despite his super show, Knill never went on to win another Welsh cap as the likes of Kevin Ratcliffe, Eric Young and Mark Aizlewood dominated the centre-back positions for Wales.

Yorath says in the book: "As manager, I was never aware of how many caps players had won.

"It never crossed my thoughts Knilly would be a one-cap wonder.

"I have lots of football memories and his performance is up there with them, even though we were beaten."

As for the FAW, Yorath says: "Alan could have made himself and me look fools against Holland."

He goes on to claim somewhat preposterously in the book: "I'm sure there were plenty of people in the Welsh FA who wished that he had been diabolical and we had been beaten five or six nil.

"Afterwards they found it very difficult to admit he had played well ? in fact, nobody said anything.

"Afterwards, there were more questions about why I had picked him. They forgot the performance and were just thinking about where he was playing his football."

Which was with Swansea in the Football League basement.

Knill's next game was against Brentford at the Vetch.

"I had a nightmare, couldn't lift myself.

"I had a much harder time dealing with Gary Blissett than Van Basten!"

Funny old game football, isn't it?
What amazes me is that Yorath has to justify his squad selection to the FAW. Who the fuck are they? I’d have told them I pick who I like and if you don’t like it, pay me off. Can you imagine Giggs (or Hughes for that matter) being cross examined by a bunch of local league administrators?

I wonder how much of that went off at the English FA and how many managers were told who they should pick? Like ‘Stevie G’
 

BigBed

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An international story for the international break:

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/alanonemarcoknill-1979669

MARK HUGHES called it the greatest international debut he has seen.

Franz Beckenbauer said the Welsh debutant, who outshone the great Marco Van Basten, showed "so much intelligence and composure".

Ruud Gullit bought him a World Cup celebratory drink.

Who are we talking about? Ryan Giggs? Craig Bellamy?

The answer is somewhat less glamorous in the shape of ex-Halifax, Swansea City and Cardiff City defender Alan Knill!

His fairytale Wales story is detailed in a new book, One Cap Wonders, written by Cardiff-based journalist Grahame Lloyd and which is featured on BBC radio, starting tomorrow.

One-cap wonders? They include Tommy Smith, Alan Sunderland and Peter Davenport.

By far the most amazing tale in the book, however, surrounds little-known Knill.

A player so unknown that when injury-ravaged Wales boss Terry Yorath told the FAW he was putting the Swansea centre-back in his squad, the reaction was: "Who?"

Yorath says: "I had to take my choice to the Welsh FA committee and I got slaughtered.

"Although they never threw anybody out, they used to question my judgement.

"First they asked me why I had picked Colin Pascoe and wanted to know if he was a personal favourite of mine.

"I explained that my job was on the line and I thought Colin deserved to be in the squad.

"But when Alan's name came up, there was silence.

"To be truthful gentlemen', I said, 'I've got nobody else that I can pick'."

And there began the tale of Knill's extraordinary World Cup adventure.

One minute he was playing for the Swans at Southend, the next he was marking Van Basten in a crucial World Cup qualifier before 60,000 fans in Amsterdam's Olympic Stadium.

It gets more extraordinary. Holland, thanks to Van Basten, had just won the European Championships in Germany.

Van Basten destroyed Tony Adams and England with a hat-trick. Then he scored that volleyed wonder-goal in the 2-0 final victory over the USSR.

Next up, on September 14, 1988, it was Wales, an unknown called Knill, and visions of another Van Basten sackful of goals.

He didn't get a look-in. Knill played, as Beckenbauer says, like a seasoned top flight campaigner.

Only an 83rd-minute Gullit goal condemned Yorath's men to defeat - but Wales, and Knill in particular, won the moral victory.

Clearly bubbling at the recollection of his great night in the book, Knill says: "Holland probably had the best players in the world at the time. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would play against them.

"It dawned on me that I might be marking the great Marco Van Basten.

"I had mixed emotions. I can remember Terry saying that I couldn't lose.

"If I did well, then everything would be good for me. If I didn't, then it wouldn't be my fault but his for picking me."

Knill goes on: "After Terry had announced the team, a journalist asked me what it would be like marking Van Basten after his hat-trick against England in Euro '88.

"I meant to say, 'Maybe they gave him too much respect'. But what came out was, 'Maybe they gave him too much room!'

"That was in the English papers the next day. You know the sort of headlines: 'Stand in centre-half criticises England defence'.

"England's Mark Wright, in a good-luck telegram to his club teammate Dean Saunders, had a dig.

"I will always cringe at my comment, but it was a simple mistake.

"Terry didn't say anything, but I remember getting stick from my teammates!"

Ironically, though, the one thing Knill didn't give Van Basten was room.

He did give him a hard time though, so much so that the Dutch maestro, scourge of defenders throughout the world, didn't get a look-in.

Yorath smiles: "I put no pressure on Alan, except the words: 'You're marking Van Basten!'

"To be honest, I wasn't frightened for him.

"Van Basten may have been the best player in the world, but the Alan Knill I knew was capable of doing a job on him."

It was agony in the end - although Gullit-inspired, rather than Van Basten.

But the plaudits for Knill began.

"That was the best international debut I've seen," says current Wales boss Hughes.

"My one memory of that match is Alan marking Van Basten out of the match.

"Yet leading up to the game I had never actually heard of Alan."

The great Beckenbauer, whose Germany side were also in the qualifying group, said: "I was surprised to learn that he was a Division Three player.

"He showed so much intelligence and composure, he looked good enough to play in Division One."

Knill recalls how he celebrated in an Amsterdam club where he bumped into Gullit.

"He bought me a drink. Van Basten wasn't there - and I've never seen him again!"

Despite his super show, Knill never went on to win another Welsh cap as the likes of Kevin Ratcliffe, Eric Young and Mark Aizlewood dominated the centre-back positions for Wales.

Yorath says in the book: "As manager, I was never aware of how many caps players had won.

"It never crossed my thoughts Knilly would be a one-cap wonder.

"I have lots of football memories and his performance is up there with them, even though we were beaten."

As for the FAW, Yorath says: "Alan could have made himself and me look fools against Holland."

He goes on to claim somewhat preposterously in the book: "I'm sure there were plenty of people in the Welsh FA who wished that he had been diabolical and we had been beaten five or six nil.

"Afterwards they found it very difficult to admit he had played well ? in fact, nobody said anything.

"Afterwards, there were more questions about why I had picked him. They forgot the performance and were just thinking about where he was playing his football."

Which was with Swansea in the Football League basement.

Knill's next game was against Brentford at the Vetch.

"I had a nightmare, couldn't lift myself.

"I had a much harder time dealing with Gary Blissett than Van Basten!"

Funny old game football, isn't it?
Clicked on this hoping for a bit of rough jelly wrestling, imagine my disappointment!!:D
 

Steve Mackan

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Davalon

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And sadly his Mum and Dad were away on holiday and didn't get the chance to go and see him play.
 

Sabella's Socks

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Those lucky enough to have bought Dem Blades Annual may have read my article on this game which has the benefit of a brilliant illustration (part 3 below) of the great man too, although no such illustration of Van Basten.

View attachment 45057

Apologies for not giving credit where it's due. I genuinely couldn't remember where I'd first heard/read the story, but it was in the Dem Blades annual.

I came across the article in OP, and a few others like it, because I was trying to find out which team Knill supported as a boy. I think it's Southampton.
 

Steve Mackan

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Apologies for not giving credit where it's due. I genuinely couldn't remember where I'd first heard/read the story, but it was in the Dem Blades annual.

I came across the article in OP, and a few others like it, because I was trying to find out which team Knill supported as a boy. I think it's Southampton.

No need for apologies :)

It's a great story wherever it is read.
 

RealMcCoy

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No need for apologies :)

It's a great story wherever it is read.

I’ve always assumed, without really even thinking about it, that your avatar/logo/trademark is clever in the way it gives a meaningful nod to the iconic shape of shaving products from the 50’s through to the 80’s(?). I am right aren’t I?

At the risk of making a complete idiot of myself, I wonder how many of our younger fans “get” this reference? The shape is no longer as ubiquitous as it was, if indeed it is now ever seen other than on a fans t shirt.

Roll on the next game.....
 

Steve Mackan

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I’ve always assumed, without really even thinking about it, that your avatar/logo/trademark is clever in the way it gives a meaningful nod to the iconic shape of shaving products from the 50’s through to the 80’s(?). I am right aren’t I?

At the risk of making a complete idiot of myself, I wonder how many of our younger fans “get” this reference? The shape is no longer as ubiquitous as it was, if indeed it is now ever seen other than on a fans t shirt.

Roll on the next game.....

Hahah I'll put that idea to my designing co-partner in the Dem Blades adventure. But his idea, I am sure, was to turn the D and E 90 degrees so it looks a little like a person in a blades jersey. Send us a link of the shaving products?
 

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