David Hannant: How Matt Le Tissier ruined my first Norwich City game
PUBLISHED: 17:00 16 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:07 16 April 2020
Every football supporter has their own story of the first time they watched their beloved club, in person.
Even if it is the most ordinary of matches, ask any football fan and they will likely be able to tell you when it was and what the score was – even if they recall very little about the game itself.
While the latter sentiment is true about my first game – it’s all a bit of a blur – I will certainly never be able to forget the score.
It also makes it nice and easy for me to find out the exact date of it – put it this way, it was a very, very Googleable result.
And in a happy(ish) coincidence it was actually surprisingly close to its anniversary, something I only realised on searching it after deciding to write about it.
My first visit to Carrow Road for a game (I feel I may have been to open days before) was on April 9, 1994. I was six.
The game in question was quite something – it isn’t every day that nine goals are scored in a single Premier League match.
I thought I’d tease mentioning the match out so those who like guessing games can try and figure it out – those unfortunate enough to have also been there will no doubt have figured it out.
My first game was Norwich City 4, Southampton 5.
My second was a drab 1-0 defeat against Sheffield United, the following game, so I suspect you see my point about it being a less than Googleable result, assuming I didn’t know the year.
For entertainment value, I probably couldn’t have asked for much more from my maiden voyage into the world of live football. There were goals galore, decent goals at that, and a last-minute winner.
In fact, were the game not between two fairly unfashionable teams and at a point of the season where very little was riding on it, it probably would still now be reeled out in lists of all-time greatest Premier League games.
For example, had it been between Liverpool and Newcastle, it would be replayed over and over again.
The match had so much to talk about, but my memories now revolve around one man and one man alone: Matt Le Tissier.
Le Tiss has always been something of a footballing enigma to me. He was a Rolls-Royce of a player, just seemed to glide around the pitch and was one of the players who could effortlessly make the game look easy.
He also provided another of my footballing firsts – the first hat-trick I saw in the flesh.
I hated him from that point. How dare he ruin the first match I’ve ever watched with his sheer brilliance? What a rotter.
I watched the highlights of that game before writing this column and it’s odd to think how different it looked in my memory.
So much of it had escaped me. For example, I had no memory at all of Jeremy Goss scoring a terrific header to put City in the lead for the second time.
Oddly enough, when recently speaking to the man himself about his work on a dementia study, I mentioned that I had a hard time thinking of any time he used his head. When you think of Gossy you think of belting volleys, not bullet headers.
I could definitely have told you Chris Sutton scored at least twice, but other than that, I could recall very little about the game.
In my distorted memory of proceedings I also had it in my head that Le Tiss had scored directly from a corner to win it at the death.
In reality, while it was him that took the decisive corner it was Ken Monkou who headed home that heartbreaking last-gasp winner for the Saints.
That goal going in is probably the only part I can picture from the game in memory – and that’s only really seeing lots of people in my way and then the net rippling all the way down the other end.
It’s funny how the memory only really picks up snapshots and wider images.
In thinking about this column I asked my old man what he could remember from the game, and his story is much the same.
He obviously remembered the result – who could forget a scoreline like that?
He also recalled that damn Le Tissier scoring a hat-trick – who could forget that?
He also said he remembered me asking him the following question over and over. “We are going to win? Right?” to which he would nervously reply: “I don’t know, I think so.”
He then recalled me moaning all the way home.
No surprise there.
My first game was certainly a memorable one in terms of the score – but I wouldn’t trade it.
It took me quite a few games to actually see City win – on my seventh birthday against QPR, another high scoring affair.
However, I’m glad my first game was such a humdinger – how about yours? Drop me an email.