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In the first gig of our farewell tour, Rob and Gary get detailed with Des as they cast their eye over the BBC's Top 20 Goals at Mexico 86. With just an hour at their disposal, they bravely manage to cover the first five on the list (well, they do go a little off-piste at times), with their favourite no surprise - who doesn't love an unemployed Brazilian right back?  Here's a link to the goals - - we'll cover the remaining 15 over the next few pods. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Lee is joined by Mike Gibbons and Scott Murray to talk about Liverpool under Dalglish (1985-1991) and we also hav a chat about some of our favourite defunct competition; not least of all the legendary Soccer Six. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Lee is joined by Mike Gibbons and Luton's own Carrie Dunn to talk about the Hatters' great 1987-88 season, plus a look back at England's last International Trophy: Le Tournoi De France 1997. See for privacy and opt-out information.
S1 Ep1: Italia 90

S1 Ep1: Italia 90


Welcome to Nessun Dorma, Episode 1. Lee Calvert, Gary Naylor and Rob Smyth chat football jeopardy, big headers, Kevin Sheedy and revel in the best (and worst) bits of Italia 90 from the characters to the memorable goals via Gazza and Tomas Skuhravy See for privacy and opt-out information.
Lee, Mike and Gary are here to chat through the next five goals in the Mexico 86 Top 20 rundown. This episode is part of our farewell tour and was originally content for patrons of the pod, hence some of the confusing references to such things at times. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Gary Naylor chats to Tom Whitworth about his book, When the Seagulls Follow the Trawler: Football in the 90s. They get into the thrills and spills of the tumultuous decade that saw the founding of the Premier League, the transformation of stadiums and Gareth Southgate disappoint us in a penalty shoot-out. Tom spoke to plenty of those who were there to witness and, indeed, to instigate the changes that reverberate down the years to today. See for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
We're back for another Extra Time and with the rescheduled Euro 2020 on the way, Mike has a chat with the author of the definitive history of the tournament. Jonathan O'Brien is an editor and writer for the Business Post in Ireland, and has written the recently published Euro Summits: The Story of the UEFA European Championship 1960 to 2016. Mike and Jonathan chew the fat over the writing of the book, the origins of the tournament, the buried treasure in its history, its most famous moments and its place in the international football calendar.Covering 60 years of competition, almost 300 matches and some of the greatest stories in the history of football, it's a momentous work and one that we highly recommend you purchase. It was published by Pitch Publishing and is available here:Euro Summits: The Story of the Uefa European Championships 1960 to 2016 See for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Our Gary talks to the much loved Pat Nevin about his new memoir, The Accidental Footballer, already a bestseller. En route, we hear about Tommy Tuchel and the alchemy of football management, why it really was better growing up on cinder pitches in the 70s and what it was like on the other side of the whitewash when Everton played Liverpool in the 1989 FA Cup Final.And why Gary thought Pat was lying next to him in bed. See for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
It’s a shift in focus in this episode as Nessun Dorma takes a look at the bottom half of the Premier League table, and the extraordinary denouement of the 1993-94 season.Gary, Mike and special guest Scott Murray pick over the bones of a dramatic final day scrap, with five teams fighting to avoid the two remaining passes through the trap door and into Division 1.Gary reflects on a remarkable comeback by Everton and his memories from the Gwladys Street End that day, as one of England’s grand old clubs sailed perilously close to the wind. Elsewhere we’ll lament the demise of Oldham, celebrate the most significant patch of Matt Le Tissier’s storied career and look at the shocking fall of Sheffield United, who were safe all day until the very last seconds at Stamford Bridge.There’s a lovely montage of the goals and changes in the table from that day here, with doors sliding all over the place: Premier League 1994 Last Day - Sheffield United relegatedOur Player of the Pod is Eric Gates, Ipswich Town’s man-in-the-hole before we really knew what the hole was. Paul Howarth joins us for a quick chat about the Tractor Boys' other beloved Geordie. See for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
We’re back with another Extra Time, our little offshoot that takes a broader look around the world of football culture. This week our guest is David Hartrick – publisher, podcaster and author of a fantastic new book, Silver Linings: Bobby Robson’s England.Mike sits down with David for an extended chat about the writing of the book, and an overview of Robson’s time in charge of the national side during the most turbulent decade in the history of English football. It’s a tenure that starts in disappointment and culminates with the cathartic rush of Italia ’90, with a whole lot more in between.We can’t recommend the book enough, and it’s available here: See for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
25 years after that night at Anfield; Lee, Mike and special guest Scott Murray consider Keegan, Evans, Collymore closing in and all the other kamikaze football that formed perhaps the greatest match of our lifetimes. We reflect on the match's impact on the title race as well as our personal remembrances alongside an almost minute by minute admiration of the sheer quality on show.As usual we also select a Player of the Pod,with Brazilian icon of uber-cool Socrates our pick for this episode. See for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Having looked at the Villa players individually, Lee, Gary and Mike return to discuss what they achieved collectively. The hors d’oeuvre is Villa’s first league title in 71 years, achieved after a Homeric tussle through the 1980-81 season with Bobby Robson’s Ipswich and using just 14(!) players.Follow that, as they say, and oh boy, did they. Villa then won the European Cup at the first time of asking in 1981-82, despite Tony Barton taking over from Ron Saunders halfway through the campaign, and then topped it off by beating Barcelona to win a comically violent European Super Cup final. We reflect on the legacy of these achievements and ask why this team seems to be so underappreciated in English football. See for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Once upon a time in the Midlands, there was a moneyball miracle. Come and join Lee, Gary and Mike as they travel all the way back to 1980, one of the outer markers of the Nessun Dorma time period, to look at Aston Villa’s epic achievements at the start of that decade.In part one we take a look at how that team was assembled by manager Ron Saunders, running the rule over players like Allan Evans, Dennis Mortimer, Gordon Cowans, Tony Morley, Peter Withe and one of English football’s greatest lost talents, Gary Shaw. Firstly though we kick things off with our Player of the Pod, and reflect on the career of jet-heeled winger Andrei Kanchelskis See for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In 1983, Ajax decided not to renew the contract of Johan Cruyff, reasoning he was past it at the age of 36. So Cruyff, in the highest possible dudgeon, signed for their bitter rivals Feyenoord – and then won the Double with them, despite an 8-2 defeat at Ajax along the way. Rob talks to Andy Bollen, author of Fierce Genius, about that extraordinary final season and what it tells us about one of the greatest footballers of all time. See for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In Part Two, Keegan goes into full Keegan mode, with the smiles broad as England take a 2-0 lead against Portugal in their first group match. The panel reflect on why David Beckham was right in his belief that it was a precarious lead as Portugal eventually cruised to an easier victory than the 2-3 scoreline suggests.After a 1-0 win over a ponderous Germany in which Keegan’s lack of tactical nous mattered less than his ability to motivate players, the epic drama concludes with the tragicomic defeat to Romania, Phil Neville’s impetuous late foul and the subsequent penalty leaving England, with Fowler, Owen and Scholes looking on from the bench, needing a goal that doesn’t come.In the epilogue, a miserable farewell to the miserable old Wembley Stadium sees Didi Hamann skid in a long-range winner and Keegan resign in the toilets, some players in tears and Keegan himself writing his obituary as an England manager - "I'm not up to it”. He may not have been, but Rob, Lee and Gary, with the perspective of 20 years, find that there’s much to commend about the lad from Doncaster whose heart was always to be found just below the T-shirt line we hear so much about these days. See for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Kevin Keegan - England manager? What a loser!Lee, Rob and Gary unwrap that reductive statement and conclude that while Joseph Kevin Keegan may have lost, he was no loser.In Part One, the initial focus is on the optimism that beamed out of little KK, striding out at Wembley in the sunshine, basking in the love of a capacity crowd, Poland seen off in a Euro 2000 qualifier, a Paul Scholes hat-trick the high for both player and manager in an England shirt / blazer.After an examination of the curious relationship between Keegan and Michael Owen, the remainder of England’s qualifying campaign is tracked through to its conclusion in a nervy 0-1 home loss to Scotland after a 0-2 win in the play-off first leg, England stumbling into the Euros. It was a portent of things to come.Player of the Pod this month is Chelsea’s charismatic Number 10, the man we loved to love, Gianfranco Zola.The panel track his career from the footballing backwater of lower league Sardinia to understudying Maradona (and more) at Napoli, European success at Parma, then bringing his crooked smile and dancing feet to Stamford Bridge. There's goals and glory in the Chelsea years before he keeps his word to fans on the island of his birth and finishes his playing career at Cagliari. See for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Gary, Rob and Mike are back to discuss the transformation of Arsenal during Arsène Wenger’s first full season.We take an in-depth look at two Premier League classics, as Arsenal chin Manchester United home and away. The latter of those at Old Trafford was part of one of the most Homeric runs in English football history, as Arsenal went unbeaten from Boxing Day 1997 until 3 May 1998 to rip the league title away from Alex Ferguson’s seemingly unassailable team.We look at how a futuristic and frighteningly quick attack was grafted onto George Graham’s legendary back five, creating a hybrid that swept all before it and completed the second Double in Arsenal’s history. See for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Arsène? Who could ever forget him. Yet in September 1996 Arsène Charles Ernest Wenger was a relative unknown in the UK when he left Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan to take charge of Arsenal. Gary, Rob and Mike discuss his early impact at the club, from broccoli to booze restrictions and how boring, boring Arsenal would eventually become breathtaking. We then take in the early part of their 1997-98 season, where Denis Bergkamp was on fire and Ian Wright broke the club scoring record. Don’t be too put off though, Spurs fans: the episode kicks off with us taking more care of Steve Archibald by inducting him into our Underrated Hall of Fame. See for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
We’ve arrived at the last eight in France, and Gary, Rob and Mike have much to discuss.Settle in for a chat about two of the greatest World Cup matches of the modern era, one of the most celebrated goals in the history of the tournament, the bombshell story that broke just before the final and a Petit goal that’s anything but.We also reflect on the tournament as a whole, picking our favourite moments and matches, and run the rule over the FIFA All-Star squad. Then – and only then – are we done with the 1998 World Cup. See for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
That isn’t a misprint – we really have spun the thick end of two hours out of one round of World Cup football. Gary, Rob and Mike return for a review of the last 16 in France. We look at a devastating performance by Ronaldo, the World Cup’s first ever golden goal and there’s an extended segment on an epic tussle between England and Argentina that goes on almost as long as the game itself. Around that we also take a look back at the career of Michel Platini and note the recent passing of Liverpool and England goalkeeping legend Ray Clemence. See for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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