Players | Managers | Clubs | Grounds | National Teams | Leagues & Cups
    The Beautiful Game
    Football Stories


17/12/94 v Coventry (a) 0-0 Premiership

"We got awarded a late penalty and I think Pedro [Peter Beardsley] must have been off the pitch because we weren't sure who would take it. I would normally have volunteered, despite usually taking a lot of stick from the lads about missing one for Portsmouth in the FA Cup semi-final.

However, the Thursday before the game my daughter had been born and on Thursday night she had been taken into intensive care. I didn't tell anyone, even her mother, and I was sick with worry. I didn't travel down with the team and only met up later with them on Friday night. By that time they had found a blockage and cleared it and Jay was not in any danger but I still couldn't sleep all Friday night. So by the time it came to the game I hadn't slept for three days and although I think I was OK to play at the end of the game I was absolutely shattered.

When it came to the penalty I don't think I was in any mental state to take the pressure of a last minute penalty and Coley reluctantly stepped up. I'm not sure why Rob Lee didn't take it and if Ruel Fox was playing, he'd usually have fancied his chances. Anyway, Cole missed and we went away with just the one point. Penalty taking is definitely more about mental strength than technique. Beardsley and Shearer were the best I've played with - you've got to have no fear about missing and apart from that one this season against you-know-who I've never seen Al nervous or upset if he misses. The other player I'd put in the same category is Matt Le Tissier at Southampton who had a fantastic penalty record."

All quotes are taken from John Beresford's interviews for