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1995–96 in English football

Football in England
Season1995–96
Men's football
FA Premier LeagueManchester United
First DivisionSunderland
Second DivisionSwindon Town
Third DivisionPreston North End
Football ConferenceStevenage Borough
FA CupManchester United
Football League TrophyRotherham United
League CupAston Villa
Charity ShieldEverton
1994–95 1996–97

The 1995–96 season was the 116th season of competitive football in England.

Overview of "Football in England" article

Overview

Premiership

Newcastle United were at one stage twelve points clear of Manchester United at the top of the table, but Alex Ferguson's relatively young and inexperienced side overhauled them during the second half of the season to win the title. Manchester United were England's entrants for the Champions League, while Newcastle United were joined in the UEFA Cup by Liverpool, the League Cup winners Aston Villa and Arsenal.

The teams relegated were Manchester City, Queens Park Rangers and Bolton Wanderers.

Division One

Sunderland and Derby County returned to the Premiership after a five-year exile, joined by Division One play-off winners Leicester City.

Watford and Luton Town, who had both been established top division sides a decade earlier, were relegated to the league's third tier. On the last day of the season they were joined by Millwall, who had been top of the division five months earlier but slumped dramatically after Mick McCarthy's departure for the Republic of Ireland manager's job.

Division Two

Swindon Town returned to Division One at the first attempt after lifting the Division Two championship trophy. They were joined by runners-up Oxford United, who were enjoying their first successful season since the mid-1980s, and playoff winners Bradford City.

Going down were Carlisle United, Swansea City (who got through five managers in a season), Brighton & Hove Albion (sinking further into a financial crisis) and Hull City.

Division Three

Preston North End, Gillingham, Bury and playoff winners Plymouth Argyle won promotion to Division Two. Preston's win made them the third club to win all four top tiers of English football, next to Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley.

Torquay United finished at the bottom of Division Three, having won just five games all season, but were saved from demotion because Conference champions Stevenage Borough did not meet the league's required minimum stadium capacity.

1995–96 in English football Overview articles: 36

Successful managers

Alex Ferguson guided Manchester United to a unique second double of the league title and FA Cup.

Brian Little guided Aston Villa to victory in the League Cup as well as a fourth-place finish in the Premiership.

Peter Reid brought some long-awaited success to Sunderland as they finished champions of Division One and won promotion to the Premiership.

Experienced manager Jim Smith achieved another managerial success by winning promotion to the Premiership with Derby County.

Martin O'Neill achieved his third promotion in four seasons by winning promotion to the Premiership with Leicester City.

Steve McMahon succeeded in getting Swindon Town back into Division One at the first attempt as they were crowned champions of Division Two.

Denis Smith built on the success he achieved earlier in his career (with York City and later Sunderland) by gaining promotion to Division One with Oxford United.

Gary Peters had a dream start to his reign as Preston North End manager as they were crowned champions of Division Three.

Stan Ternent finally enjoyed some success in his long management and coaching career by winning promotion to Division Two with Bury.

Neil Warnock achieved the fifth promotion of his managerial career (and his fourth via the playoffs) by winning the Division Three playoffs with Plymouth Argyle.

Chris Kamara got Bradford City promoted via the Division 2 play offs just 6 months after taking over as manager. The feat was all the more amazing considering they lost 0–2 at home to Blackpool in the 1st leg of the play off semi final. A 3–0 victory in the 2nd leg saw Bradford City reach Wembley for the first ever time defeating Notts County 2–0 in the final with goals from 19-year-old local boy Des Hamilton and Kamara's first signing Mark Stallard.

Tony Pulis guided Gillingham F.C.out of Division Three and was named the Manager of the Season.[1]

1995–96 in English football Successful managers articles: 19

Successful players

Alan Shearer topped the Premiership scoring charts with 31 goals, the highest number of goals in the league charted at the time. Shearer was followed closely by Robbie Fowler on 28, Ian Wright and Les Ferdinand, who won the PFA Players' Player of the Year award.

Steve McManaman led the assists chart with 25 assists this season, also a new record for the league.

Eric Cantona was awarded the FWA Footballer of the Year for his comeback and galvanising influence over a successful young Manchester United side.

1995–96 in English football Successful players articles: 8

Events

Double delight for United

Manchester United made history as the first English club to win the double of the league title and FA Cup twice. They did so despite having sold key players Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis before the start of the season. Manager Alex Ferguson selected young players like Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Gary Neville and Phil Neville, alongside more experienced players Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister and Eric Cantona. Cantona, who returned from his suspension to spearhead United's chase for trophies, was voted the FWA Footballer of the Year.

At Christmas, United trailed Newcastle United by 12 points. On 27 December they beat Newcastle 2–0 to cut the gap to seven points, and a 1–0 win at St. James' Park on 4 March cut the gap to a single point. A 1–0 win against Tottenham Hotspur on 24 March put United on top of the Premiership and they remained in that position for the rest of the season. On the final day of the season they confirmed their status as Premiership champions for the third time in four seasons thanks to a 3–0 away win over Middlesbrough, who were managed by former United captain Bryan Robson.

On 11 May, United faced Liverpool in the FA Cup final at Wembley. A late goal from Cantona saw United make history and lift the FA Cup as England's first 'double double' winners.

Venables out, Hoddle in

Terry Venables announced in January that he would not be continuing as England manager after the 1996 European Championships, so the FA began their hunt for his successor. The likes of Alex Ferguson, Howard Kendall, Steve Coppell, Gerry Francis and Kevin Keegan were all linked with the job, but all quickly ruled themselves out either because of club commitments or a lack of experience.

In the end, the 39-year-old Chelsea manager Glenn Hoddle agreed to take charge of the England team on a four-year contract. Hoddle's successor at Chelsea was the 33-year-old Dutch legend Ruud Gullit.

Euro '96: So close for England

In 1996 England hosted the European Championships for the first time. They went through to the quarter-finals after drawing with Switzerland and beating Scotland and the Netherlands in the group stages. They drew 0–0 with Spain in the quarter finals but England went through on penalties. A goal by Alan Shearer gave them an early lead over Germany in the semi-finals, but the Germans forced extra-time and England lost the ensuing penalty shoot-out. Germany went on to beat Czech Republic 2–1 in the final.

European competitions

English clubs endured a tough time in European competition during the 1995–96 season. Manchester United, Liverpool and Leeds United suffered early exits from the UEFA Cup, while Blackburn Rovers were eliminated from the Champions League at the group stages and Everton were dumped out of the Cup Winners Cup in the Second Round. That left Nottingham Forest as the only English club still in Europe after Christmas.

Forest took on Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals and lost 2–1 away in the first leg. Jürgen Klinsmann scored twice as the German side defeated Forest 5–1 at the City ground and went on to win the competition.

Bosman ruling

A legal challenge in the European Court of Human Rights by the Belgian midfielder Jean-Marc Bosman gave out-of-contract players aged 23 or above the right to become free agents and move to other clubs for no fee. There was widespread controversy following the announcement, as many clubs feared that they would lose expensively signed players for nothing. The Bosman ruling also saw an end to the three foreigner rule which restricted teams to fielding a maximum of three players born outside the country that they were employed in. In the Premiership, the limit of three foreigners in a match squad had covered Welsh, Scottish and Northern and Southern Irish players. The Bosman ruling allowed clubs in EU countries to field an unlimited number of players who were of EU nationalities, although they were still restricted to fielding 3 players of non-EU nationalities.

1995–96 in English football Events articles: 44

Honours

Competition Winner
FA Premier League Manchester United (10/3*)
FA Cup Manchester United (9*)
Football League Cup Aston Villa (5)
Football League First Division Sunderland
Football League Second Division Swindon Town
Football League Third Division Preston North End
FA Community Shield Everton

English national team

As England was hosting the 1996 UEFA European Football Championship the English national team did not play any competitive fixtures up until the championships themselves but played a number of friendlies this season.

Date Opposition Venue Result
6 September 1995 Colombia Wembley Stadium, London D 0-0
11 October 1995 Norway Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo D 0-0
15 November 1995 Switzerland Wembley Stadium, London W 3-1
12 December 1995 Portugal Wembley Stadium, London D 1-1
27 March 1996 Bulgaria Wembley Stadium, London W 1-0
24 April 1996 Croatia Wembley Stadium, London D 0-0
18 May 1996 Hungary Wembley Stadium, London W 3-0
23 May 1996 China Workers Stadium, Beijing W 3-0

1995–96 in English football Honours articles: 10

League tables

Premiership

Manchester United were Premiership champions for the third time in four seasons, after Newcastle United led for most of the season, the Tyneside club's lead having peaked at 10 points just before Christmas. United also won the FA Cup to complete the double. The star of their season was undoubtedly striker Eric Cantona, who returned from his eight-month suspension at the beginning of October to spearhead United's attack with 19 goals in all competitions, several of them in crucial late season games as they took the initiative in the title race, and the last being the winning goal in the FA Cup final.

Liverpool continued to show signs of a return to their former glory by finishing third and ending the season as runners-up in the FA Cup final. Aston Villa, enjoying a revival with a reshaped squad under Brian Little, finished fourth and won the Football League Cup. Arsenal built the foundations for a revival under new manager Bruce Rioch by finishing fifth and coming within a goal of reaching the League Cup final. However, Rioch was gone by the start of the following season after a dispute with the club's directors.

FA Cup holders Everton failed to retain the cup and finished in sixth place in the league one place outside of a UEFA Cup place.

Blackburn Rovers failed to retain their league title and finished seventh in the league, with Alan Shearer finding the net more than 30 times for the third season in a row.

Nottingham Forest finished ninth in the league and were the only English side to progress to the last eight of any of the European competitions, doing so in reaching the quarter-final UEFA Cup. 1995-96 was one of the worst seasons ever for English clubs in European competitions.

Bolton Wanderers were relegated in bottom place, having won just twice before New Year's Day, with not even an improvement under caretaker manager Colin Todd helping them. Queens Park Rangers were unable to recover from the sale of star striker Les Ferdinand to Newcastle and finished second bottom, ending 13 seasons in the top division. Manchester City were the last team to be relegated, eventually undone by their failure to win in their first 11 matches, but they did manage to take the fight to the last day of the season. Coventry City and Southampton stayed up on goal difference.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification or relegation
1 Manchester United (C) 38 25 7 6 73 35 +38 82 Qualification for the Champions League group stage
2 Newcastle United 38 24 6 8 66 37 +29 78 Qualification for the UEFA Cup first round
3 Liverpool 38 20 11 7 70 34 +36 71 Qualification for the Cup Winners' Cup first round[a]
4 Aston Villa 38 18 9 11 52 35 +17 63 Qualification for the UEFA Cup first round
5 Arsenal 38 17 12 9 49 32 +17 63
6 Everton 38 17 10 11 64 44 +20 61
7 Blackburn Rovers 38 18 7 13 61 47 +14 61
8 Tottenham Hotspur 38 16 13 9 50 38 +12 61
9 Nottingham Forest 38 15 13 10 50 54 −4 58
10 West Ham United 38 14 9 15 43 52 −9 51
11 Chelsea 38 12 14 12 46 44 +2 50
12 Middlesbrough 38 11 10 17 35 50 −15 43
13 Leeds United 38 12 7 19 40 57 −17 43
14 Wimbledon 38 10 11 17 55 70 −15 41
15 Sheffield Wednesday 38 10 10 18 48 61 −13 40
16 Coventry City 38 8 14 16 42 60 −18 38
17 Southampton 38 9 11 18 34 52 −18 38
18 Manchester City (R) 38 9 11 18 33 58 −25 38 Relegation to the Football League First Division
19 Queens Park Rangers (R) 38 9 6 23 38 57 −19 33
20 Bolton Wanderers (R) 38 8 5 25 39 71 −32 29
Source: Premier League
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored.
(C) Champion; (R) Relegated.
Notes:
  1. ^ Liverpool qualified for the Cup Winners' Cup as FA Cup runners-up, as winners Manchester United already qualified for the Champions League. They defaulted their UEFA Cup spot from league position to Arsenal.

Leading goalscorer: Alan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers) - 31

Division One

Sunderland gave their best performance in years by clinching the Division One title, and were joined among the elite by runners-up Derby County and play-off winners Leicester City. Crystal Palace conceded a last-minute Leicester winner at Wembley, and would have gone up automatically had it not been for their dismal first half of the season.

Luton Town, Watford and Millwall, who had all played in the top flight at some stage in the last nine seasons, went down to Division Two. Millwall had been top of the league five months before going down on the final day of the season before a 6–0 defeat at Sunderland signaled a dramatic decline in their fortunes.

Oldham Athletic narrowly avoided a second relegation in three seasons, while Wolverhampton Wanderers finished 20th and the last safe place was secured by Portsmouth. Norwich City and Birmingham City finished in the bottom half of the table after both enjoying spells at the top during the first half of the season. West Bromwich Albion finished 12th after a dramatic season where they had looked like promotion contenders in the autumn, before enduring a 14-match winless run where they picked up just one point and dropped into the relegation zone.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Promotion or relegation
1 Sunderland 46 22 17 7 59 33 +26 83 Football League Champions, promoted to FA Premier League
2 Derby County 46 21 16 9 71 51 +20 79 Promoted to FA Premier League
3 Crystal Palace 46 20 15 11 67 48 +19 75 Participated in play-offs
4 Stoke City 46 20 13 13 60 49 +11 73
5 Leicester City 46 19 14 13 66 60 +6 71 Promoted to Premier League through play-offs
6 Charlton Athletic 46 17 20 9 57 45 +12 71 Participated in play-offs
7 Ipswich Town 46 19 12 15 79 69 +10 69
8 Huddersfield Town 46 17 12 17 61 58 +3 63
9 Sheffield United 46 16 14 16 57 54 +3 62
10 Barnsley 46 14 18 14 60 66 −6 60
11 West Bromwich Albion 46 16 12 18 60 68 −8 60
12 Port Vale 46 15 15 16 59 66 −7 60
13 Tranmere Rovers 46 14 17 15 64 60 +4 59
14 Southend United 46 15 14 17 52 61 −9 59
15 Birmingham City 46 15 13 18 61 64 −3 58
16 Norwich City 46 14 15 17 59 55 +4 57
17 Grimsby Town 46 14 14 18 55 69 −14 56
18 Oldham Athletic 46 14 14 18 54 50 +4 56
19 Reading 46 13 17 16 54 63 −9 56
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 46 13 16 17 56 62 −6 55
21 Portsmouth 46 13 13 20 61 69 −8 52
22 Millwall 46 13 13 20 43 63 −20 52 Relegated
23 Watford 46 10 18 18 62 70 −8 48
24 Luton Town 46 11 12 23 40 64 −24 45
Source:

Leading goalscorer: John Aldridge (Tranmere Rovers) - 27

Division Two

Swindon Town secured an immediate return to Division One by winning the Division Two title. They were joined by local rivals and runners-up Oxford United, while the final promotion place went to playoff winners Bradford City whose Wembley glory gave Chris Kamara a dream start in management. [50]

Blackpool, who missed out on automatic promotion by one place, attained their highest league finish for more than 20 years but a playoff semi-final failure cost them a place in Division One and cost Sam Allardyce his job. Crewe Alexandra were defeated in the playoffs for the second season running, while beaten finalists Notts County had been relegated the season before.

Carlisle United, Swansea City, Brighton & Hove Albion and Hull City were relegated to Division Three. York City, who made headlines by knocking Manchester United out of the League Cup early in the season, avoided relegation by three points after beating Brighton in their delayed final fixture of the season, sending Carlisle down.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Promotion or relegation
1 Swindon Town 46 25 17 4 71 34 +37 92 Division Champions, promoted
2 Oxford United 46 24 11 11 76 39 +37 83 Promoted
3 Blackpool 46 23 13 10 67 40 +27 82 Participated in play-offs
4 Notts County 46 21 15 10 63 39 +24 78
5 Crewe Alexandra 46 22 7 17 77 60 +17 73
6 Bradford City 46 22 7 17 71 69 +2 73 Promoted through play-offs
7 Chesterfield 46 20 12 14 56 51 +5 72
8 Wrexham 46 18 16 12 76 55 +21 70
9 Stockport County 46 19 13 14 61 47 +14 70
10 Bristol Rovers 46 20 10 16 57 60 −3 70
11 Walsall 46 19 12 15 60 45 +15 69
12 Wycombe Wanderers 46 15 15 16 63 59 +4 60
13 Bristol City 46 15 15 16 55 60 −5 60
14 Bournemouth 46 16 10 20 51 70 −19 58
15 Brentford 46 15 13 18 43 49 −6 58
16 Rotherham United 46 14 14 18 54 62 −8 56
17 Burnley 46 14 13 19 56 68 −12 55
18 Shrewsbury Town 46 13 14 19 58 70 −12 53
19 Peterborough United 46 13 13 20 59 66 −7 52
20 York City 46 13 13 20 58 73 −15 52
21 Carlisle United 46 12 13 21 57 72 −15 49 Relegated
22 Swansea City 46 11 14 21 43 79 −36 47
23 Brighton & Hove Albion 46 10 10 26 46 69 −23 40
24 Hull City 46 5 16 25 36 78 −42 31
Source:

Leading goalscorer: Marcus Stewart (Bristol Rovers) - 21

Division Three

Preston North End got on the right path towards better days by sealing the Division Three title. Joining them in Division Two were runners-up Gillingham (after seven years in the league's basement division), third placed Bury and playoff winners Plymouth Argyle.

Torquay United finished at the bottom of the league by quite a margin, but avoided relegation because Conference champions Stevenage Borough did not meet the required Football League stadium capacity standards. Scarborough endured another torrid season, finishing second from bottom in the league for the second season in succession.

Lincoln City climbed up to 18th place under John Beck, who took over in October after the club had propped up the Football League. Fulham suffered the lowest finish of their history by finishing 17th, and weeks before the end of the season they appointed Micky Adams as player-manager in hope that the former Coventry and Southampton defender could revive the club after a decade of decline. Cambridge United finished 16th in the table, a mere four years after narrowly missing out on promotion to the inaugural Premier League.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Promotion
1 Preston North End 46 23 17 6 78 38 +40 86 Division Champions, promoted
2 Gillingham 46 22 17 7 49 20 +29 83 Promoted
3 Bury 46 22 13 11 66 48 +18 79
4 Plymouth Argyle 46 22 12 12 68 49 +19 78 Promoted through play-offs
5 Darlington 46 20 18 8 60 42 +18 78 Participated in play-offs
6 Hereford United 46 20 14 12 65 47 +18 74
7 Colchester United 46 18 18 10 61 51 +10 72
8 Barnet 46 18 16 12 65 45 +20 70
9 Chester City 46 18 16 12 72 53 +19 70
10 Wigan Athletic 46 20 10 16 62 56 +6 70
11 Northampton Town 46 18 13 15 51 44 +7 67
12 Scunthorpe United 46 15 15 16 67 61 +6 60
13 Doncaster Rovers 46 16 11 19 49 60 −11 59
14 Exeter City 46 13 18 15 46 53 −7 57
15 Rochdale 46 14 13 19 57 61 −4 55
16 Cambridge United 46 14 12 20 61 71 −10 54
17 Fulham 46 12 17 17 57 63 −6 53
18 Mansfield Town 46 11 20 15 54 64 −10 53
19 Lincoln City 46 13 14 19 57 73 −16 53
20 Hartlepool United 46 12 13 21 47 67 −20 49
21 Leyton Orient 46 12 11 23 44 63 −19 47
22 Cardiff City 46 11 12 23 41 64 −23 45
23 Scarborough 46 8 16 22 39 69 −30 40
24 Torquay United 46 5 14 27 30 84 −54 29
Source:

Leading goalscorers: Steve White (Hereford United) - 30

1995–96 in English football League tables articles: 74

Diary of the season

1 July 1995: Nottingham Forest paid a club-record £2.5 million for Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Chris Bart-Williams, the day after they sold striker Stan Collymore to Liverpool for a national-record £8.5 million. Collymore's successor is Kevin Campbell, a £2.8million signing from Arsenal.

3 July 1995: Alan Ball is appointed the new manager of Manchester City after 18 months as manager of Southampton.

5 July 1995: Aston Villa pay Leicester City midfielder Mark Draper for £3.25 million.

6 July 1995: Newcastle United sig French winger David Ginola from Paris St Germain for £2.5 million and striker Les Ferdinand from Queens Park Rangers for a club record fee of £6 million.

10 July 1995: England midfielder Paul Gascoigne returns to Britain after three years in with Lazio a £4.3-million move to Glasgow club Rangers.

12 July 1995: George Graham is banned from football worldwide for a year for accepting illegal payments, which had resulted in his sacking as Arsenal manager five months ago.

14 July 1995: Arsenal sign England captain David Platt from Sampdoria for £4.75million. Platt is now the world's costliest players, with his career transfer fees now totalling more than £22million.

17 July 1995: Mike Naylor, chairman and founder of the sponsors of the Football League, Endsleigh Insurance, dies in a car crash in France.

19 July 1995: Sheffield Wednesday sign Belgian midfielder Marc Degryse from Anderlecht for £1.5 million.

24 July 1995: Southampton goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar, Wimbledon goalkeeper Hans Segers and former Wimbledon and Aston Villa striker John Fashanu are charged with match-fixing and bribery.

26 July 1995: Queens Park Rangers sign Australia national football team captain Ned Zelic from Borussia Dortmund of Germany for £1.25million.

1 August 1995: Everton sign Derby County defender Craig Short for £2.4 million.

3 August 1995: Coventry City sign winger John Salako from Crystal Palace for £1.5 million.

5 August 1995: Middlesbrough pay a club-record £5.25 million for Tottenham forward Nick Barmby.[2]

8 August 1995: Eric Cantona announces his intention to leave English football, but Manchester United refused to terminate his contract.[3]

10 August 1995: Cantona announces his intention to stay with Manchester United after a discussion with Alex Ferguson in Paris. Newcastle United sign Reading goalkeeper Shaka Hislop for £1.575 million.

12 August 1995: The Football League season begins. Relegated Crystal Palace begin their bid for an immediate return to the Premier League with a dramatic 4–3 home win over Barnsley. Oldham, who went down a year earlier, start the season well with a 3–0 home win over newly promoted Huddersfield. Portsmouth beat Southend 4–2 at Fratton Park.[4]

13 August 1995: A Vinny Samways goal gives Everton a 1–0 win over Blackburn in the FA Charity Shield. Norwich City begin their quest for an immediate return to the Premier League by beating Luton Town 3–1 at Kenilworth Road.[5]

16 August 1995: Andrea Silenzi becomes first Italian to play for a Premier League side when he joins Nottingham Forest in a £1.8million move from Torino.

19 August 1995: The FA Premier League season begins with Manchester United defeated 3–1 at Aston Villa, which sparks immediate criticism throughout the media due to the number of young players in the team as well as the fact that United have sold three key players this summer and not made any major signings. Blackburn Rovers begin their defence of the Premier League title with a 1–0 win at home against Queens Park Rangers. Matt Le Tissier scores a hat-trick for Southampton at The Dell but they lost 4–3 to Nottingham Forest. Newcastle United beat Coventry City 3–0 at home, with record signing Les Ferdinand scoring on his debut. Bolton Wanderers lose 3–2 to Wimbledon at Selhurst Park in their first top flight game since May 1980.

20 August 1995: Middlesbrough's Nick Barmby scores on his debut, a 1–1 draw against Arsenal at Highbury.

23 August 995: Manchester United bounce back from their opening day defeat with a 2–1 home win over West Ham United.

24 August 1995: Everton complete their club record £5 million signing of Manchester United winger Andrei Kanchelskis, more than a month after their offer for Kanchelskis was first accepted.

26 August 1995: Middlesbrough defeat Chelsea 2–0 in their first game at the new Riverside Stadium, with Craig Hignett scoring the stadium's first goal. Manchester United beat Wimbledon 3–1 at Old Trafford. Leeds are top of the league for the first time since their 1992 title triumph after a 2–0 home win over Aston Villa.[6]

27 August 1995: Newcastle United go top of the Premier League with a 2–0 win at Sheffield Wednesday.[7]

28 August 1995: Manchester United defeat Blackburn Rovers 2–1, despite being reduced to 10 men after Roy Keane was sent off for two bookable offences.

30 August 1995: Newcastle are the month-end leaders in the Premier League with a 1–0 home win over Middlesbrough, with second-placed Leeds being held to a 1–1 draw at Southampton.[8]

2 September 1995: The upcoming international fixtures mean that there is no action in the Premier League this weekend, but it is business as usual in the Football League. Newly-promoted Birmingham City win 5–0 at Barnsley in Division One. Millwall go top of the table with a 1–0 win over Portsmouth at Fratton Park. Sheffield United's 3–1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion leaves them bottom of the table and still looking for their first point of the season after five games.[9]

9 September 1995: In their first meeting since the FA Cup Final, Manchester United defeat Everton 3–2. Lee Sharpe scored twice, and former United player Andrei Kanchelskis is taken off with a dislocated shoulder. United are now level on points with leaders Newcastle, who lose 1–0 at Southampton. Wimbledon go third with a 1–0 home win over Liverpool. In Division One, Sheffield United pick up their first points of the season with a 2–1 home win over Norwich City.[10]

11 September 1995: A London derby at Upton Park sees Chelsea beat West Ham 3–1.[11]

16 September 1995: Newcastle United and Manchester United remain level on points at the top of the Premier League after both managing home victories. Aston Villa move into third place with a 2–0 home win over Wimbledon.[12]

20 September 1995: York City defeat Manchester United 3–0 in the League Cup second-round first leg at Old Trafford.

23 September 1995: Manchester United go top of the Premier League after drawing 0–0 at Sheffield Wednesday. Defending champions Blackburn snap out of a recent run of dismal form and defeat Coventry City 5–1 at Ewood Park with Alan Shearer scoring a hat-trick. Liverpool remain third after a 5–2 home win over Bolton. Tony Yeboah scored a hat-trick for Leeds in a 4–2 win at Wimbledon. Manchester City are bottom of the table with one point from their first seven games, losing 1–0 at home to Middlesbrough today.[13]

24 September 1995: Newcastle go back to the top of the Premier League with a 2–0 home win over Chelsea.[14]

26 September 1995: Manchester United are knocked out of the UEFA Cup on away goals after drawing 2–2 at home to Russian side Rotor Volgograd in the first round second leg, but still maintain their 39-year unbeaten run in European competitions following a late equaliser by goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel - the club's first goalkeeper to score a goal in any competitions since Alex Stepney in 1973.[15]

30 September 1995: Manchester City's terrible start to the season continues with a 3–0 defeat at Nottingham Forest, which makes it one point from their first eight league games. Aston Villa go second with a 3–0 away win over their former manager Ron Atkinson's new club Coventry City.[16]

1 October 1995: Eric Cantona returns from his eight-month suspension to score a late equaliser from the penalty spot in a 2–2 home draw with Liverpool. Newcastle extend their lead to four points with a 3–1 win at Everton.[17]

3 October 1995: York City eliminate Manchester United from the League Cup despite their Premier League opponents winning 3–1 in the second round second leg at Bootham Crescent.[18]

11 October 1995: Everton striker Duncan Ferguson is sentenced to three months' imprisonment for assault for his headbutt of Raith Rovers player John McStay 18 months ago, making him the first British professional footballer to be imprisoned for an on-field offence.

14 October 1995: 20-year-old striker Paul Scholes scores the only goal of the Manchester derby at Old Trafford, aiding United's title challenge and pushing City further into relegation trouble. Newcastle remain four points ahead at the top with a 3–2 win at QPR. Arsenal go third by beating Leeds 3–0 at Elland Road.[19]

15 October 1995: Middlesbrough sign 22-year-old Brazilian midfielder Juninho in a £4.75million deal.

21 October 1995: Les Ferdinand scores a hat-trick in Newcastle's 6–1 home league win against Wimbledon, and Manchester United remain in second place with a 4–1 away victory over Chelsea. The gap remains four points wide. Middlesbrough fine start to life back in the Premier League continues with a 1–0 home win over QPR keeping their hold on fourth place. Down in Division One, West Bromwich go second with a 2–1 home win over Portsmouth, sparking hope at The Hawthorns that Albion are close to ending their decade-long absence from the top flight.[20]

28 October 1995: The Football Association announces that the 72 Football League clubs would receive an additional £21 million in television revenue after they failed to agree on an initial sum of nearly £120 million.[21] Liverpool's Ian Rush scores twice in a 6–0 home league win against Manchester City, who are still without a win after 11 games, and Leeds United captain Gary McAllister scores a hat-trick in a 3–1 home league win over Coventry City. Millwall knock Leicester off the top of Division One with a 2–1 win over West Bromwich Albion, while Leicester lose 3–2 at home to Crystal Palace.[22]

30 October 1995: Striker John McGinlay scores for struggling Bolton Wanderers in a surprise 1–0 home win against Arsenal.

4 November 1995: Manchester United lose 1–0 at Arsenal with an early goal from Dennis Bergkamp, their first Premier League defeat since the opening day of the season, and Newcastle extended their lead to five points with a 2–1 home win over Liverpool, with Steve Howey scoring a late winner. Manchester City finally win a Premier League at the 12th attempt, being Bolton 1–0 at Maine Road. In Division One, Sheffield United climb off the bottom of the table and out of the bottom three with a 4–1 home win over Portsmouth. Tranmere beat Derby 5-1 and Stoke beat Luton 5–0.[23]

6 November 1995: Nottingham Forest go third in the Premier League with a 4–1 win over Wimbledon, who remain fourth from bottom.[24]

8 November 1995: Chelsea sign Romanian defender Dan Petrescu from Sheffield Wednesday for a club record fee of £2.3million.

10 November 1995: The FA withdraws its £118.5-million television deal with Football League clubs after they failed to meet a deadline.[25]

11 November 1995: In the FA Cup's first round, Shrewsbury Town defeat Northern Premier League side Marine by a club-record 11-2 and Division Two crisis club Swansea City lose 7–0 to Division Three side Fulham. Division Two's Bradford City are made to work hard for a 4–3 win over non-league Burton Albion. Hitchin Town, another non-league side, eliminate Bristol Rovers with a 2–1 win. Dorchester Town lose 9–1 to Oxford United.

13 November 1995: Former England manager Graham Taylor resigns after 20 months managing Wolverhampton Wanderers, who began the season as Division One promotion favourites but have fallen to 17th.

17 November 1995: Kenny Dalglish, director of football at Blackburn Rovers since June after guiding them to the Premier League title, is reported to be in the running to be the new Wolves manager.

18 November 1995: Alan Shearer scores a hat-trick for Blackburn in their 7–0 home win over Nottingham Forest, while leaders Newcastle are held to a 1–1 draw at Aston Villa, enabling Manchester United to cut the gap at the top to six points (and having the advantage of a game in hand) with their 4–1 home win over Southampton.[26]

22 November 1995: Manchester United beat Coventry City 4–0 at Highfield Road to cut the gap at the top to three points and sent their opponents to the bottom of the Premier League table. Bolton miss the chance to climb out of the bottom three as they lose 3–2 at Chelsea. Manchester City's slow improvement continues with a 1–0 win over Wimbledon at Maine Road.[27]

24 November 1995: Leeds United pay a club record £4.5million for Parma's Swedish striker Tomas Brolin.. Everton striker Duncan Ferguson was released from prison after serving 44 days of his three-month sentence for assault.

25 November 1995: 34-year-old defender Steve Nicol returns to the Premier League less than a year after leaving Liverpool for a Notts County side now in Division Two, signing for Sheffield Wednesday.[28]Newcastle United remain in the driving seat at the top of the Premier League with a 2–1 home win over Leeds. Coventry and Wimbledon both grind out a point in the battle for Premier League survival with a thrilling 3–3 draw at Highfield Road.[29]

27 November 1995: The Football League signs a five-year television-coverage deal worth £125 million with BSkyB.[30]Manchester United are held to a 1–1 draw with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground, with Eric Cantona converting a penalty to equalise in the second half after the home side took the lead. They have now played as many games as leaders Newcastle but are still five points behind.[31]

2 December 1995: Alan Shearer scores a hat-trick in Blackburn's 4–2 home win against West Ham United, and Manchester United are held to a 1–1 home draw by Chelsea, meaning that Newcastle could be on the verge of a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League.[32]

3 December 1995: Newcastle are held to a 3–3 draw at Wimbledon, limiting their lead at the top of the table to five points. Sunderland overtake Millwall at the top of Division One with a 1–0 win over Crystal Palace at Roker Park.[33]

4 December 1995: Coventry striker Dion Dublin finds himself in the situation of scoring a hat-trick for the losing side when the Sky Blues lose 4–3 to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough in the Premier League. Coventry are bottom of the table, having won just one of their first 16 Premier League games.

7 December 1995: Mark McGhee leaves Division One promotion challengers Leicester City after a year in charge to become manager of Wolves.

9 December 1995: Defending Premier League champions Blackburn Rovers are beaten 5–0 at Coventry, and in Division One Sunderland beat Millall 6–0 to maintain their lead of the table with a 6–0 win at Roker Park. Manchester United drop two points when they are held to a 2–2 draw at home to Sheffield Wednesday in the Premier League, but leaders Newcastle drop all three points when they lose 1–0 at Chelsea, meaning that their lead is cut to four points when a victory would have put them seven points ahead.[34]

10 December 1995: Having fallen into the bottom three yesterday when other results went against him, Wolves climb three places in Division One when a 3–2 win at Luton ends their six-match winless run in the league.[35]

12 December 1995: Dave Bassett, the fifth-longest-serving manager in the English league, resigns as manager of Division One's Sheffield United after nearly eight years in charge. Walsall beat Torquay United 8–4 in the FA Cup second-round replay at Bescot Stadium which followed a 1–1 draw in the first match at Plainmoor 10 days ago.

13 December 1995: Former Everton manager Howard Kendall is named the new manager of Sheffield United.

15 December 1995: QPR sell Ned Zelic to Eintracht Frankfurt for £1million.

16 December 1995: Blackburn Rovers left back Graeme Le Saux fractures his ankle in a 1–0 home win against Middlesbrough in the FA Premier League, an injury which is set to rule him out of action until next season. Newcastle United go seven points ahead in the Premier League with a 1–0 victory over Everton, and Aston Villa striker Savo Milosevic scores a hat-trick in Villa's 4–1 home win against Coventry City. Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United clash at Hillsborough, with the hosts winning a thrilling match 6–2. Bolton remain bottom of the table after losing 2–1 at QPR, who climb out of the bottom three.[36]

17 December 1995: Manchester United remained seven points behind Newcastle after losing 2–0 at Liverpool, with Robbie Fowler scoring both of Liverpool's goals.

21 December 1995: Martin O'Neill resigns after six months as Norwich manager to take over at Leicester City, and Division One bottom club Luton Town replace Terry Westley with Bradford City's Lennie Lawrence. England World Cup winner Jack Charlton resigns after nearly 10 years as manager of the Republic of Ireland national football team.

22 December 1995: Bolton Wanderers, the bottom club in the Premier League, pay a club-record £1.2 million for Sheffield United striker Nathan Blake.

23 December 1995: Coventry City defeat Everton 2–1 at home. Robbie Fowler scores a hat-trick for Liverpool at home against Arsenal for the second season running in a 3–1 win. Newcastle United extend their lead to 10 points with a 3–1 win over Nottingham Forest. Middlesbrough go fifth with a 4–2 home win over West Ham. Derby go top of Division One with a 2–1 home win over Sunderland, who fall into second place.[37]

24 December 1995: Newcastle remain 10 points ahead as their nearest rivals, Manchester United, lose 3–1 at Leeds United. The top two will meet in three days time for a showdown at Old Trafford.

26 December 1995: A Boxing Day London derby at Highbury sees Arsenal beat QPR 3–0 to send the hosts fifth in the Premier League and leave the hosts fourth from bottom.[38]

27 December 1995: Manchester United cut the lead in the FA Premier League to seven points with a 2–0 home win against Newcastle with goals from Andy Cole and Roy Keane. The only other league action of the day sees Leeds keep their bid for a second successive UEFA Cup campaign on track with a 2–0 win over Bolton at Burnden Park.[39]

30 December 1995: Manchester United reduce Newcastle's lead to four points with a 2–1 win against struggling Queens Park Rangers. Alan Shearer scores his 100th goal for Backburn in a 2–1 home win against Tottenham.[40]

1 January 1996: Manchester United suffer their heaviest Premier League defeat yet when they lose 4–1 to Tottenham at White Hart Lane. They are still four points behind Newcastle, but Kevin Keegan's team have two games in hand. Liverpool muscle in on the top two with a 4–2 home win over Nottingham Forest. Bolton remain rooted to the bottom of the table with a 4–2 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.[41]

2 January 1996: Roy McFarland is was sacked as co-manager of Bolton Wanderers, with Colin Todd being put in sole charge.. Newcastle United regain a seven-point by defeating Arsenal 2–0 at home.

6 January 1996: Ian Rush breaks Denis Law's FA Cup goal-scoring record with two goals for Liverpool in their 7–0 win over Rochdale in the third round. An 80th-minute goal by Eric Cantona forces a 2–2 draw for Manchester United against Sunderland at Old Trafford, taking the tie to a replay at Roker Park.

10 January 1996: Terry Venables announces that he will resign as England manager after Euro 96 to concentrate on clearing his name in a legal dispute with Alan Sugar over his June 1993 dismissal from Tottenham Hotspur.

13 January 1996: Manchester United's title hopes are hit hard when they drop two points at home to Aston Villa, who hold them to a goalless draw. Their neighbours City are pushed deeper into relegation trouble with a 1–0 defeat at Tottenham, who move into third place. Down in Division One, Huddersfield boost their hopes of a second successive promotion with a 1–0 win at struggling Watford lifting them into second place. The Black Country derby ends in a goalless draw at the Hawthorns, with both Wolves and Albion on the brink of the relegation zone.[42]

14 January 1996: Newcastle are now nine points ahead with a game in hand at the top of the Premier League with a 1–0 win at Coventry. Charlton go second in Division One with a thrilling 4–3 away win over Birmingham, whose own promotion hopes are hit hard as a result.[43]

15 January 1996: Bryan Robson, Middlesbrough manager and England assistant manager, is reportedly in line to succeed Terry Venables as England manager after Euro 96.

16 January 1996: Sunderland take the lead against Manchester United in the FA Cup third round replay at Roker Park before Nicky Butt equalises and Andy Cole scores a late winner to give Alex Ferguson's team a 2–1 win and a fourth round clash with Reading at Elm Park.

17 January 1996: In