This week in Premier League history: Dowie downs Palace, Crazy Gang vs. Culture Club, Dad’s Army outgun Spurs

    To celebrate 25 years of the Premier League @Sid_Lambert goes back to where it all began, taking us through the ups and downs of the 92-93 season.

    Dowie downs Palace

    Crystal Palace 1 - 2 Southampton 26 September 1992

    To the untrained eye, there wasn't much to admire about Iain Dowie. In the most tribal of sports, he was one of the rare players that could unite the football world. No matter your club or crest, all agreed that you'd rather not see Dowie in your starting line-up.

    There were the cheap barbs about his appearance: He was so ugly that he had to trick or treat over the phone, or that he once tried to enter an ugly contest and was told "no professionals". But beauty was by no means a pre-requisite to being a fan favourite in the 90s. Just ask Terry Hurlock.

    No, the real disdain was for Dowie's exploits - or lack of them - on the pitch. His 1-in-4 goalscoring average hardly set the pulses racing, and by 1992-93 his stock had fallen so dramatically that he was behind ageing strike duo Kerry Dixon and David Speedie in the pecking order at The Dell.

    Six weeks into a rotten start to the season and Ian Branfoot faced a game that many believed could dictate one of the relegation spots in the inaugural Premier League. Like Southampton, Palace were struggling to find their feet, though a 2-0 win at Everton the previous week (courtesy of a Chris Armstrong double) gave them cause for optimism.

    Saints had won just one of their first seven fixtures. Dixon looked like a larger, paler shadow of the striker he'd been at Stamford Bridge, and Speedie managed to dart around the pitch like a wasp with an amphetamine addiction, whilst having little discernible impact on the game.

    It was at these moments that Matt Le Tissier would often come to the rescue. However, Branfoot's kick-and-rush policy was limiting Le God's impact on games.

    Thus Dowie started at Selhurst Park, to the rather muted delight of travelling Saints fans who were already hoping for divine intervention to save their season. Ten minutes into the game and they were crossing their fingers in desperation. Francis Benali clattered Simon Osborn and the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped John Salako, only to clip the post with his effort. The Saints' prayers had been answered.

    Still, the first-half was all Palace and it took a heroic header off the line from Micky Adams to keep the visitors level. With a minute left of the first half, Saints went ahead with their first shot on target. And what a corker it was. Tim Flowers' punt downfield was misjudged by Lee Sinnott allowing Dowie to steal a march on his marker. These were the sort of errors normally went unpunished. And as Dowie waited for the ball to drop, whilst swinging back his left peg, few in the Selhurst Park crowd felt a sense of danger.

    How wrong they were.

    Dowie let rip with a volley that smashed into the top corner. The Irishman seemed just as shocked as anyone else. In a moment of elation he tried an ungainly front flip that morphed halfway through into a forward roll, and ended with Dowie flat on his arse cheeks with his shorts scrunched up his backside.

    Palace equalised through a scrambled Eric Young effort from a corner and dominated the entirety of the game only for Dowie to prove an unlikely match-winner.

    With two minutes to go, Perry Groves did enough to distract Nigel Martyn who fumbled a high ball. And there was that man again. Dowie swept the ball into the net to make himself an unlikely hero. He celebrated in front of the away fans with a modified version of an Irish jig. Knees high, arms pumping, he looked utterly ridiculous.

    But who cares? With two swings of his left foot, he'd gone from zero to hero.

    Bright makes it a dark day for Spurs

    Sheffield Wednesday 2 – 0 Tottenham Hotspur, 27 September 1992

    Spurs travelled to Hillsborough on Super Sunday undefeated in their last six outings to this part of the Steel City.

    Spurs fielded seven players under the age of 22. And it turned out they didn’t like it up ‘em. Wednesday’s Dad’s Army ran them ragged. Mark Bright smashed Wednesday into an early lead and then it was the turn of Viv Anderson to remind Sky viewers that it may be a whole new game, but if you leave a big old bastard unmarked in the box he can still do damage.

    From Chris Waddle's corner, the 36-year-old former England defender nodded home the decisive goal. Trevor Francis’s side could have scored more but saved their energy for tougher tests ahead.

    Meanwhile, beleaguered Spurs coaches Ray Clemence and Doug Livermore did their best to assure their fans (and chairman) that they’d bounce back.

    Don’t panic, Mr Sugar.

    Crazy Gang beat the Culture Club (again)

    Liverpool 2 – 3 Wimbledon, 26 September 1992

    Another Saturday afternoon and another dreadful Liverpool performance. After Ronny Rosenthal's embarrassment at Villa Park, this time it was a collective failure at Anfield.

    Wimbledon hustled, harried and hurt their way to an impressive win, which included all the attributes of a stereotypical Graeme Souness Liverpool performance. Unbalanced team? Check. Kamikaze defending? Check. Lightweight midfield? Check. At least young Steve McManaman was back to bolster the frontline, though the youngster couldn't win a game which his team-mates seemed so intent on losing.

    The tone was set as early as the 12th minute. John Fashanu exchanged the clumsiest one-two in association football history with Robbie Earle and bore down on goal. Centre halves Mark Wright and Torben Piechnik parted quicker than Katie Price's legs at the PFA awards. Fashanu, after several ungainly attempts to control the ball, had all the time in the world to poke home the opener.

    Refusing to be upstaged by the ineptitude in front of him, Bruce Grobbelaar decided to get in on the act. A rank long ball from Justin Skinner was just too tempting for the Clown Prince. He charged out of his goal and punched the ball right into the path of Robbie Earle.

    At this point, it's easy to feel sorry for Brucie. Anyone else in blue and his blushes would surely have been spared. Unfortunately, Earle was the ace in the Dons' pack. The beauty amongst the beasts (though Dean Holdsworth's flawlessly gelled hair deserves special mention). Without even affording himself the luxury of an extra touch, the Jamaican cushion-volleyed the ball goalwards from 30 yards into the unguarded net.

    There was a comeback of sorts. Jan Molby puffed and wheezed his way outside of the centre circle to score a penalty and when McManaman tapped home an equaliser, Souness wondered if he'd turned a corner.

    No such luck, Graeme..

    Another hoof, another header, and another hapless piece of defending let Robbie Earle waltz into the area to make it 3-2.

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. Souness looked to his right on the subs' bench for inspiration. These were the times when Kenny Dalglish might have called upon Peter Beardsley, but Souness – in his infinite wisdom - had already flogged him to Everton.

    Instead on came Istvan Kozma, the Hungarian signed from mighty Dunfermline.

    Anyway, Liverpool lost and tumbled to 19th place. There were only three worse teams than them in the Premier League. On this performance, that seemed like quite an achievement.

    About the author: Sid Lambert is a football writer who has recently released his highly-acclaimed book Cashing In. It tells the story of Ray Cash, a 19-year-old footballer making his way through the murky world of the Premier League back in 1992, when football changed forever. You can buy it here.