It is a moment recalled with great humour, but as Richard Sutcliffe reports, those on the end of the Jimmy Glass goal 20 years ago never recovered.
THE NAME Jimmy Glass is a familiar one to football fans.
With good reason, too, as no goalkeeper in the history of the game has surely scored a more timely goal than the one that saved Carlisle United’s Football League status.
Glass’s winner five minutes into stoppage time on the final day of the 1998-99 season generated headlines around the world.
It has since become a staple part of any ‘100 Greatest Sporting Moments’ list, while also featuring on every quiz show going, from Question of Sport to University Challenge.
Less well remembered, other than on Yorkshire’s east coast, are the fall guys that day in May, 1999.
It was another five minutes before I found out it was true. Everyone was devastated. Relegation is never nice.Tony Parks
Scarborough, after a dozen years in the League, fell through the trapdoor marked ‘Conference’ as a result of Glass’s heroics at Brunton Park and never recovered.
“I joined Scarborough on loan from Burnley a couple of months before the end of the season,” Tony Parks, in goal that fateful day for the Seadogs, told The Yorkshire Post ahead of today’s 20th anniversary.
“Obviously, the ending was not what we hoped but Scarborough were a good club. A nice little stadium and a good atmosphere around the place. I used to enjoy going to the beach for training.
“There were some good players there as well, lads like Jamie Hoyland. I liked the manager (Colin Addison), too. We weren’t given a chance when I arrived but gradually we started to claw things around.”
Scarborough’s season had ended a couple of minutes before Carlisle won the corner that prompted Glass to abandon his own penalty area and head upfield.
Having beaten Halifax Town and Plymouth Argyle already during the final week, Colin Addison’s Seadogs knew another three points against Peterborough United would be enough to guarantee safety.
Posh, however, went ahead inside seven minutes, Richard Scott silencing the home fans in a bumper crowd of 4,769. Not long afterwards, David Farrell struck the crossbar for the visitors as Scarborough’s day threatened to turn sour.
Eventually, though, Boro got a toehold back in the game. Ben Worrall hit the bar before Darren Roberts equalised, the striker slamming a shot past Mark Tyler after cutting in from the left.
The half-time whistle blew three minutes later with Carlisle also drawing at home to Plymouth. As it stood, Scarborough were safe.
Boro’s prospects looked even brighter early after the restart, as news filtered through that Carlisle had fallen behind.
Addison’s side, sensing their big chance had arrived, poured forward in search of the winner. It did not come, Roberts wasting the best chance when played through by Michael McNaughton only to hesitate and fire over.
The nerves returned when Carlisle equalised just after the hour. But, as the final whistle blew back on the east coast with Scarborough having taken a precious point from a 1-1 draw, many invaded the pitch to celebrate a great escape. A little under 145 miles away at Brunton Park, Carlisle were still playing but there were only seconds to go. Then, though, Glass wrote himself into football folklore by latching on to a rebound and firing into the Plymouth net from close range.
Thousands poured on to the pitch in celebration. Glass, only signed a fortnight or so earlier due to the Cumbrians having no senior goalkeeper, disappeared under a scrum of bodies. ‘I genuinely couldn’t breathe as 50, 60, 70 fans piled on top,’ he later recalled.
That breathless feeling was one shared by those at the McCain Stadium. “We got back into the dressing room thinking we had done enough,” added Parks, who won the UEFA Cup for Tottenham Hotspur in 1984 by saving a penalty from Anderlecht’s Arnór Guðjohnsen in the shoot-out.
“The scores were level at Carlisle and there wasn’t long left so we thought that was that.
“But then someone said, ‘Carlisle have scored, Jimmy Glass got it’. I remember thinking, ‘Well that can’t be right, he is in goal’.
“It was another five minutes before I found out it was true. Everyone was devastated. Relegation is never nice. I suffered it as a coach at Aston Villa and that was awful. You feel personally responsible and that is how it was at Scarborough.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing but maybe the signings could have been made a bit earlier.”
As Scarborough faced up to life outside the League, there was talk of an appeal. Glass had been signed after the transfer deadline, permission only being granted due to Derby County recalling Richard Knight to leave Carlisle without a senior goalkeeper.
Seadogs chairman John Russell argued this was the Cumbrians’ own fault, having sold Tony Caig to Blackpool on deadline day. ‘It seems there is one rule for us and one rule for (Carlisle owner) Michael Knighton,’ said Russell, annoyed that Boro had been prevented from signing a replacement ‘keeper for the injured Tony Elliott in November due to a transfer embargo that was only lifted after an 11-game run featuring eight defeats.
The League, however, were having none of it. A vote by the 72 clubs had previously approved a change of rules regarding the registering of a goalkeeper in emergencies after the deadline.
Scarborough were down and, just eight years later, out of business altogether.
Beginning of the end for the Seadogs...
RELEGATION from the Football League in 1999 proved to be the beginning of the end for Scarborough.
Once back in the Conference, defeats and debts quickly piled up. Administration followed just 15 months after Jimmy Glass had dramatically sent the Seadogs down, the first of three stints for the troubled club.
There was still the odd highlight on the pitch, not least the day Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea came to the East coast in the FA Cup. John Terry netted the only goal.
But the plug was finally pulled on 128 years of history in 2007, debts of £2.5m leading to Scarborough being wound up in the High Court.
“Relegation, even at that early stage, felt like the beginning of the end for the club,” said Tony Parks, now coaching young goalkeepers after stints at Watford and Villa. “Some can cope with being relegated from the League but I did worry about Scarborough.”
Scarborough Athletic were formed from the ruins of the old club but it was another decade before senior football returned to the seaside town, those intervening years having been spent in exile at Bridlington Town.
“I was not there long but I look out for all my old teams,” added Parks. “It is good to hear the new club is doing well and getting good crowds.
“To go out of the League like we did was hard. I knew Jimmy Glass as a kid but I have not seen him since. I was told recently he never has to pay for a pint in Carlisle. I am not surprised.
“If I am honest, I am not a fan of ‘keepers going up at the end of games. It can cause more problems than it solves. And it is rare that the ploy works. Unfortunately for us at Scarborough, it did that day for Jimmy.”