Where Are They Now? #15 – 1997 FA Cup Final (Chelsea)

Where Are They Now? gears up for the FA Cup final on Saturday by revisiting a number of cup final squads all this week. We start with a look back to a time where the matchday squad only contained three named substitutes – 1997. Now for the victorious finalists Chelsea…

30. Frode Grodas (Goalkeeper)

Frode Grodas

Brought from Lillestrom in his homeland at the start of the season, Norwegian Grodas made 27 appearances in all competitions in his only full season including the cup final. After being demoted to the bench the following season, Grodas moved to London rivals Tottenham at the start of 1998 but didn’t make an appearance. He left England for Schalke in Germany in the summer of 1998, serving as a back up in his four year with the club making just six appearances in his time there. He also had a short loan spell at Racing Santander in Spain during 1999. He returned to Norway in 2002 with Honefoss and was their number 1 until his retirement at the end of the 2003 season. After a few years getting his coaching qualifications in Norway, Gordas took charge of HamKam for the 2006 season. He couldn’t keep the club up and was sacked at the end of the season. He returned to Lillestrom as goalkeeping coach in 2007 and served as a back-up when injuries occurred but was never needed to play. He left Lillestrom in 2010 to take on his current role as goalkeeping coach for the Norwegian national team.

2. Dan Petrescu (Right Wing Back)


Romanian wing back Petrescu was brought in from Sheffield Wednesday in 1995 and was Chelsea’s undisputed starter on the right side of the defence until falling out with boss Gianluca Vialli in 2000. After not even being named on the bench for Chelsea’s FA Cup victory in 2000, he moved to big spending Bradford City. His time at Bradford was short as former Chelsea boss Glenn Hoddle convinced him to move to Southampton in January 2001. The move quickly soured when Hoddle left for Tottenham after a few months and his replacement Stuart Gray never played Petrescu. Having played just twice in 2001/02, he returned to Romania with National Bucharest. He retired in May 2003. He moved into management first taking the reins at Rapid Bucharest for four months in 2004 before a 9 month spell at Polish side Wisla Krakow in 2006. His first real success came with Romanian side Unirea Urziceni. Appointed not long after the end of his Polish adventure, Petrescu took the newly promoted side to 5th and a cup final in 2008 before winning the league in 2009 to qualify for the Champions League. They finished third in their group above Scottish giants Rangers whom they beat 4-1 in Glasgow. However, Petrescu resigned as Unirea manager not long after the conclusion of the group. He was appointed manager of Russian side Kuban Krasnodar at the end of December 2009, leading them to the top division in Russia and keeping them there. He shockingly resigned in August 2012 and not long after took up the reins at Dynamo Moscow. He was recently fired from Dynamo after a poor season compounded by a heavy defeat to a struggling Anzhi side.

6. Steve Clarke (Centre Back)


A Chelsea legend, Clarke was a key member of the Chelsea back line until his retirement in the summer of 1998.  He moved straight into coaching becoming Ruud Gullit’s assistant at Newcastle in 1998 before taking charge of the team for a game after Gullit’s sacking. He returned to Chelsea as a youth coach before being promoted to assistant manager under Jose Mourinho in 2004. He remained in the role until his resignation in 2008 so that he could join Gianfranco Zola at West Ham. He served as Zola’s assistant until the Italian was fired in 2010 whereupon Clarke handed in his resignation. He was back in work by January 2011, serving as assistant to Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool before he was let go not long after Dalglish in the summer of 2012. Clarke was quickly appointed manager by West Brom but after a good first season he is currently on “gardening leave” until May 2014 having been placed there the previous December.

5. Franck Leboeuf (Centre Back)


Booked in the final, more information can be found in the sixth edition of “Where Are They Now?”

20. Frank Sinclair (Centre Back)


A product of Chelsea’s youth system, Sinclair was only with the club for one more season as new boss Gianluca Vialli didn’t play him. He joined Leicester in the summer of 1998, helping them to the League Cup in 2000. His time at Leicester is more famous for very different reasons. Firstly, he became notorious for scoring own goals at the club including a streak of two in consecutive weekends. Secondly, he was part of some unsavoury incidents including shouting, swearing and vomiting at American tourists at a Heathrow hotel not long after 9/11 while he was one of three Leicester players arrested in Spain on sexual assault charges during a team trip in 2004. He was released by Leicester that summer and joined Burnley, becoming a key member of the side and being named club captain. He left for Huddersfield in 2007, on loan before moving permanently. His spell at Huddersfield was short and began a nomadic ending to his career with spells at Lincoln, Wycombe, Wrexham and Hendon before joining current club Colwyn Bay in 2012. He was intially only playing but in February 2013 he was appointed player-manager, a position he still holds.

17. Scott Minto (Left Wing Back)


A regular on the left of defence when fit, the cup final proved to be Minto’s last game for Chelsea as he left for Portuguese giants Benfica in the summer. He made 31 appearances in his time in Lisbon before returning to England to sign with West Ham in January 1999. His time at the Hammers was plagued by injury but he did help them to their highest ever finish in the Premier League in 1999. He left the club in the summer of 2003 to finish his career at Rotherham United where he retired in 2006. Minto moved into broadcasting and currently fronts Sky’s La Liga coverage. He has also done commentary for radio, Soccer Saturday on Sky and occasionally appears on Talksport.

11. Dennis Wise (Centre Midfield/Captain)


One of the Crazy Gang at Wimbledon, Wise captained Chelsea in the final. An influential and important player at the club, Wise left in the summer of 2001 for Leicester after over 400 games for Chelsea. His time at Leicester is infamous as he was suspended then sacked in the summer of 2002 after breaking team mate Callum Davidson’s jaw in training. He joined Millwall in September and became player-manager in 2003. He led the club to the FA Cup final in 2004 and, consequently, took them into the UEFA Cup. He left the club at the end of his contract in the summer of 2005, joining Southampton as a player before becoming caretaker but left after his spell as caretaker manager ended in December. He joined Coventry in January 2006 and retired that summer. He moved into full-time management with Swindon in 2006, leading them towards the top before leaving after just three months to take the manager job at Leeds in September 2006. Wise couldn’t keep a struggling Leeds side in Championship as they were relegated in 2007. Wise led them to 3rd in League 1 before resigning in January 2008 to take an executive role at Newcastle. His role was something along the lines of “identifying young players” and “travelling around Europe”. Manager Kevin Keegan left in September 2008 which caused great pressure on Wise, owner Mike Ashley and fellow executive Tony Jimenez to resign from the fans. Wise eventually leave Newcastle in April 2009. He has not worked in football since.

16. Roberto Di Matteo (Centre Midfield)

Di Matteo

The scorer of the opening goal after just 42 seconds, Di Matteo was also booked in the final. Signed the previous summer from Lazio, the Italian was a key figure as Chelsea began to re-emerge as somewhat of a force in the Premier League again. He helped them into the Champions League but his career was sadly cut short by a triple leg fracture he sustained against Swiss side St. Gallen at the start of the 2000/01 season. He eventually retired in February 2002. He moved into management in 2008 with League 1 side MK Dons and guided them to the play-off final but lost to Scunthorpe on penalties. He left MK Dons after a season for West Brom who had recently been relegated to the Championship. He led them back to the Premier League but after some poor form, he was sacked in February 2011. He returned to Chelsea that summer to be Andre Villas-Boas’ assistant. He became caretaker after AVB was sacked in March 2012. He led the team to the Champions League and FA Cup that year and earned the permanent job that summer. However, he was in November of that year after a loss at Juventus in the Champions League. He is still out of work.

24. Eddie Newton (Centre Midfield)

Eddie Newton

The scorer of Chelsea’s second goal, Newton was also booked in the final. He stayed at Chelsea for two more seasons before leaving at the end of his contract in the summer of 1999 after over 170 games for the club. He only had short spells at clubs for the rest of his career, playing at Birmingham, Barnet, Oxford and Hayes before retiring due to injury in 2001. He moved into coaching with Di Matteo, acting as his assistant at MK Dons, West Brom and Chelsea. He has not worked in football since but is a director in New Vision Sports Ltd.

10. Mark Hughes (Striker)

Mark Hughes

Another key factor in Chelsea’s resurgence, Hughes was a big signing from Manchester United. Hughes scored crucial goals for the club right up until his departure in the summer of 1998 to Southampton. His time at Southampton saw a lack of goals but his experience helped them evade relegation. He was not part of new manager Glenn Hoddle’s plans and was sold to Everton in 2000. His time at Everton was short and he joined Blackburn later that year, helping them to promotion and winning the League Cup before retiring in 2002. Hughes’ first foray into management was with his homeland Wales. He was appointed in 1999 while playing for Southampton and almost took Wales to Euro 2004, losing to Russia in a play-off. He left Wales in September 2004 and joined Blackburn, leading them into Europe and three successive FA Cup semi finals during his spell in charge. He was allowed to join Manchester City in the summer of 2008 and was manager when the club was taken over by their current owners. After a summer of big spending in 2009, Hughes was sacked in December 2009. He returned to management in the summer of 2010, taking over at Fulham and leading them to eighth before resigning with claims that he wanted to progress. He joined QPR in January 2012 but, after lots of big spending, all Hughes succeeded in doing was saving them from relegation in 2012 before leaving them bottom when he was sacked in November of that year. He is currently manager of Stoke having been appointed in May 2013.

25. Gianfranco Zola (Striker)


Chelsea’s greatest ever player, Zola was replaced by Gianluca Vialli late on. He was the star of Chelsea’s side of the late 1990s and was a consistent performer right up until his final season when he won the club’s Player of the Year crown. He returned to Italy to play for his local side Cagliari, leading them to promotion and helping them stay up before retiring in 2005. He moved into coaching the following year with the Italian U21 side before becoming manager of West Ham in 2008. Zola impressed in his first season but was fired after only just keeping West Ham up in 2010. He was out of work until he was appointed Watford manager in the summer of 2012 and led them to the play-off final which they lost to Crystal Palace after extra time. He resigned in October 2013 and has been out of work since then.


13. Kevin Hitchcock (Goalkeeper)


A long-term servant to the club, Hitchcock was an unused substitute in the final. Despite signing in 1988, Hitchock only made 96 appearances for the club due to injuries before departing in 2001 to become goalkeeping coach at Watford. He then had spells doing goalkeeping coaching work at Blackburn, Manchester City, West Ham and Fulham when former team mates Hughes and Zola (in the case of West Ham) were in charge. He joined QPR with Hughes in 2012 and is still working at the club.

8. Andy Myers (Defender)


Another unused substitute, Myers was another product of the Chelsea youth system. He only made 84 league appearances for the club after debuting in 1991 and was sold to Bradford in 1999. He stayed with the club as they sank down the leagues before he left in 2003. He also had a short spell on loan at Portsmouth in 2000 while with the Bantams. He had short spells with Colchester and Brentford before retiring in 2005. He returned to Chelsea in 2011 as a youth coach and still holds this position.

9. Gianluca Vialli (Striker)


Left out of the side after clashing with manager Ruud Gullit, Vialli was a late substitute for Zola. He was named player-manager after Gullit’s sacking in February 1998 and led the club to the League Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup, Super Cup, Charity Shield, FA Cup and the quarter finals of the Champions League. He retired from playing in 1999 and was sacked in September 2000 after falling out with a number of key players like Zola and Petrescu. Vialli then became Watford manager in 2001 but a poor season saw him fired in 2002 before getting involved in a lengthy legal dispute over money. Vialli has since co-wrote a book on the difference between Italian and English football and is currently a pundit in Italy.

Ruud Gullit (Player-Manager)


The first ever non-British manager to win a major English trophy, Gullit was sacked in February 1998 after a disagreement with the board. He was quickly appointed Newcastle manager, leading them to the FA Cup final in 1998. He left in September 1999 after a loss to Sunderland and feuding with Alan Shearer and Rob Lee. His next venture was with Feyenoord in his native Holland for the 2004/05 season but his failure to win any trophies saw him leave after that one year. He was LA Galaxy manager for a year between 2007 and 2008 which was unsuccessful as was his last spell in management at Russian side Terek Grozny in 2011. He has also done some punditry work during major tournaments in the past.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s edition of “Where Are They Now?” featuring a new FA Cup final.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s