MX23RW : Monday, October 14 11:14:09| >> :600:124574478:124574478:

On this day: Benfica appoint Graeme Souness

Eighteen years ago today, former Liverpool midfielder Graeme Souness was appointed the new manager of Portuguese club Benfica.

During the late 1990s, there was somewhat of a British invasion on Benfica.

Scott Minto, Brian Deane, Michael Thomas, Dean Saunders, Mark Pembridge, Steve Harkness and Gary Charles all arrived in Lisbon, thanks largely to the man that was placed in charge of the team 18 years ago today.

One of Dr Joao Vale e Azevedo's key promises during his electoral campaign was that he would secure the services of a manager that he believed would return the good times to the ailing club. It turned out that the boss in question was Graeme Souness, who had recently left Serie B side Torino after only four months at the helm.

Prior to the Scot's arrival, Benfica had embarked on a five-game winless streak and also exited the UEFA Cup at the first-round stage at the hands of French side Bastia.

However, upon his appointment, Souness was in defiant mood when he said: "My aim is to play soccer the fans enjoy. We're only eight weeks into the season and Benfica still have a chance of the title."

Almost immediately the club's debts started to spiral out of control, but to Souness's credit, on the pitch he was able to guide the team to a second-placed finish and Champions League qualification, which sparked the start of his British spree.

Minto was already at the club when Souness joined up, with striker Deane arriving in early 1998. The rest of the contingent arrived after that, but it's hard to suggest that any of them were a success in the Portuguese capital as the wheels started to fall off the Souness machine.

The team were booted out of the Champions League in the group stages following a harrowing defeat to minnows HJK Helsinki, while a number of players - including a young Nuno Gomes - were critical of Souness's tactics. The fact that he also loaned out Deco, rather than play him, did not help the former Liverpool midfielder's cause.

Results and performances were so negative as the 1998-99 season wore on that supporters would frequently jeer Souness and his players, particularly those that he had signed.

The situation came to a head in April 1999 when Souness was first informed that he would be replaced in the summer by Jupp Heynckes, then placed on gardening leave before he was finally locked out of the training ground by the president. Unsurprisingly, soon after Souness departed, so did most of the British players that he had recruited.

body check tags ::
Share this article now:
Instagram - Follow Sports Mole
Former footballer Teddy Sheringham in action during the Pro-Am ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on May 21, 2014
Read Next:
OTD: Sheringham nets historic goal
>

Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool88002061424
2Manchester CityMan City85122791816
3Arsenal84311311215
4Leicester CityLeicester8422147714
5Chelsea84221814414
6Crystal Palace842288014
7Burnley8332119212
8West Ham UnitedWest Ham83321111012
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs83231412211
10Bournemouth83231313011
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves82421111010
12Manchester UnitedMan Utd82339819
13Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd82337709
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8233810-29
15Aston Villa8224131218
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8224513-88
17Southampton8215815-77
18Everton8215613-77
19Norwich CityNorwich82061021-116
20Watford8035420-163

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!