Sunday, 3 January 2010

A New Millenium Was Born ... Who Noticed ?

By the time the end of 1999 neared, the media had totally exasperated most sane people by their constant use of the buzz words “Millennium Bug”, where some sensationalist propaganda whipped up a frenzy which had worried Governments and massive global corporations sufficiently to blow millions of pounds in order to put safeguards in place to prevent total meltdown of computer infrastructure when the clocks turned 00:00 on the morning of January 1st 2000. Some people say that the fireworks which became a mainstay of New Years Eve celebrations that year were a waste of money, however, that was a drop in the Ocean compared to what had been wasted in preventing this predicted catastrophe. Bringing in the new millennium with a bang ? More like an anticlimactic whimper !

So what else did the Year 2000 bring ?


The big news story in the early part of the year saw “Doctor Death” himself, Harold Shipman brought to justice in January. He was jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering fifteen patients, but the number in reality was far greater. The disgraced lowlife committed suicide in his rotten prison cell four years later.

The infamous farmer Tony Martin was jailed for shooting dead a burglar who had targeted the land owner who had been the victim of several previous thefts. This still provokes mass debate to this day, with many sympathisers believing Martin’s actions were defendable.

“National Treasure” the Queen Mother, remembered for her fine set of rotten teeth, and choking on fish bones, celebrated her hundredth birthday in style, necking several bottles of Gin. Whether or not she received the traditional telegram from the Queen, as fellow coffin dodgers do is widely unknown !

The U.K., and many countries on the continent suffered mass fuel shortages in September, as tanker drivers blockaded refineries and ports as a protest against escalating oil costs. Panic buying on the forecourts resulted in garages running dry, and mass hysteria amongst the public.

In October, the first leader of the re-established Scottish Parliament, Donald Dewer, died in office, aged 63.


Following on from the “manufactured” boy and girl bands of the late 1990’s after the Britpop bubble burst, the music of 2000 was on the whole, quite forgettable. The novelty record was also big in this year, with “Bob The Builder” taking the Christmas Number One slot. Disturbingly, this was not only the biggest selling hit of the year, but also the tenth biggest seller of the decade ! Earlier in the year, Eminem stamped his authority on the top spot with “Stan” (sampling Dido’s track “Thank You”) following his successful 1999. The title track from summer blockbuster “The Beach”, was “Pure Shores” which gave girl band “All Saints” the first of their two number ones that year. Unfortunately, one of the most irritating and catchy anthems of the summer was “Who Let The Dogs Out ?” by the “Baha Men”, who released the track after it was used in a “Rugrats” movie and on a television advertisement. It became the fourth biggest selling single of 2000 in the U.K., certainly not the British record buying publics greatest moment ! Dance act "Sonique" hit the top spot in the Summer with “Feels So Good”, and Robbie Williams continued his ascent to pop superstardom with the catchy “Rock D.J.” taking the top spot, largely thanks to a rather tawdry video, in which he sported some dubious underpants and shed his skin. Lantern jawed songstress Sophie-Ellis Bextor became more famous than her Blue Peter fronting mother in this year, after having a big hit with “Spiller” entitled “Groovejet”.


It was a busy year in sport. 2000 of course saw Holland and Belgium as joint hosts of the Euro 2000 championship, where France proved they were no one hit wonders to win the tournament, making them reigning World Cup and European Champions. The people of England bade a fond farewell to the old Wembley in October, but perhaps not in the fairytale manner which would have been preferred, after a 1-0 loss to Germany in the final England game to be played there. This prompted manager Kevin Keegan to quit his post, and his successor was a certain Swede, enter Sven-Goran Eriksson.

It was not just the International football scene which took column space in 2000, there was also plenty going on in the domestic game, across Britain. Manchester United took the Premiership title once again, following up their treble winning season of 1999. However, their decision to play in the World Club Championship, and in the process, boycotting the F.A. Cup was not a popular choice, and was frowned upon from all quarters, even their own fanbase. Real Madrid took the Champions League, while Chelsea won the F.A. Cup and Leicester the Worthington (Worthless !) Cup. Christmas 2000 saw Leeds United progress from the group stages of the Champions League – ho hum, how times have changed !

North of the border, Rangers took advantage of a sporadic season by city rivals, Celtic, who sacked their dubiously appointed manager John Barnes, who was replaced by soon to be golden boy, Martin O’Neill. Barnes was responsible for Celtic crashing out of the Scottish Cup in February 2000 at the hands of Inverness Caledonian Thistle, prompting one of the most enduring tabloid headlines of the decade: “Super Cally Go Ballistic As Celtic Are Atrocious !” Also finding his way into the media spotlight for all the wrong reasons was former Dundee United chairman Jim McLean, who quit the club after a comedic attempted assault on a BBC reporter during an interview.

Massive spending in the U.K. domestic football scene set a precedent which was to escalate as time went on. Leeds began their downward spiral into debt by spending money they didn’t have, making Rio Ferdinand the most expensive defender in the world, in an £18million deal with West Ham. Meanwhile, Liverpool splashed out £11million on Leicester City’s forward Emile Heskey. Big money was splashed in Scotland too (certainly compared to today), with £12million squandered by Rangers for Chelsea hitman Tore-Andre Flo. A more modest £6million was paid for Chris Sutton, who also exited Chelsea, but this time destined for Celtic. British transfers were small fry however, compared with the shock £37million move from Barcelona to Real Madrid for Luis Figo.

Despite winning five trophies in a little under three years, Gianluca Vialli was the first Premiership manager of the 2000-01 season to be axed, with the season just five games old, with the little known Claudio Ranieri taking the Chelsea hot seat immediately after. Chris Hutching’s, of Bradford City closely followed, after making a bizarre series of managerial gaffes, the final straw being signing Stan Collymore ! Earlier in the year, Bradford had stayed up in the Premiership at the expense of Watford, Sheffield Wednesday (oink ! oink !) and Wimbledon, with an unlikely 1-0 victory over Liverpool on the last day of the 99-00 season.

Golfer Tiger Woods made history when he won the Open at St. Andrews in July, when at the age of 24 he became the youngest golfer to win all four majors.

2000 was of course an Olympic year, and the summer television schedule was all over the place to accommodate the games, which were held down under, in Sydney. The highlight was Sir Steve Redgrave taking a gold medal in his fifth consecutive games.

In Rugby Union, the Five Nations tournament became the Six Nations, who welcomed Italy to the fray, the first new addition to the tournament since France joined in 1910. Italy were viewed as a bit of a joke and were widely regarded as being the whipping boys prior to the start of the tournament. However, they immediately silenced their critics by beating Scotland in their debut match 34-20. However, it was not until 2003 when they next won a Six Nations game (against Wales), although they continue to grow in stature today. Despite the fact England won the tournament, they were denied a grand slam to the delight of the Murrayfield crowd, as Scotland took the Calcutta Cup, and avoided the Wooden Spoon at the same time.

Elsewhere in sport, Hansie Cronje was sacked as South Africa’s cricket captain in a betting scandal which saw the reputation of world cricket in tatters at the time. Pete Sampras won a record eleventh tennis masters title, while British underachievers Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski failed to disappoint, serving up yet another year of mediocrity ! Michael Schumacher won his third Formula One title, and his first for Ferrari, with whom he was to dominate for the first part of the decade. Meanwhile, fellow driver David Coulthard had a lucky escape from a plane crash in May, in which two pilots were killed. Lennox Lewis successfully defended his World Heavyweight Championship title three times. Welshman Mark Williams took the World Snooker Crown, while there was success in the Grand National for Papillon, ridden by Rudy Walsh. Obviously a busy year for sport !

So it's clear to say, 2000 set the standards for a decade of drama, tension, success and disappointment. However, 2001 was to be the most memorable year of the decade, but unfortunately for the wrong reasons. The next chapter follows soon.

Thanks for reading,
Mountain Man


moDtheGod said...

Mass debate. Heh.

Maroussia said...

It will be great to watch Six Nations: France, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.