The best I’ve ever seen #4: Dean Gorre’s strop – Swindon v Huddersfield Town
Alex Cooke looks back at one of the funniest, and quickest, sending offs in Town’s history
Memory can be an untrustworthy beast – like asking a lion to hold your zebra ice-cream – as soon as you are out of sight, it is gone. But for this The Best I’ve Ever Seen memory is all we have. For whatever reason is that there is no surviving footage of this game. Actually there seems to be very little video of this entire pigfisting of a season. Perhaps it has been lost. Or burned. Or lost, then burned. Probably by an embarrassed Jim Quinn. Yes, it was that season.
This moment would have long slipped from memory too were it not for Dean Gorre and his remarkable 60-second sending off. Back in March 2000, Town were bad. Very bad. They were without a win in 20 matches, and only one away from equally the most dismal of records set in 1901-1902. The squad had been Frankensteined from the remnants of Steve McMahon’s final collection of cloggers, a few youth teamers, plus Quinn’s spare parts – Wayne Gray and Charlie Griffin.
By contrast Huddersfield were pushing for promotion, and with just ten games to go seemed well on course to escape. Gorre was their star, a seasoned midfielder who had played for both Ajax and Feyenoord. But to steal a line from David Lacey, “Watching Gorre reminds one that before they invented Total Football the Dutch also invented the clog”. As while he could be very good, that night Gorre was more like a toddler – angry, irrational and in need of the naughty step.
In the 64th minute, the referee gave Swindon a seemingly innocuous throw-in almost on the half-way line. Gorre seemed certain that the decision should have gone to Huddersfield, and so he complained. Then he complained some more. Then a little more, but this time with outstretched arms and even greater vehemence. That got him a yellow card from the bemused referee. It didn’t to help calm Gorre’s building rage. In the most frantic 20 seconds since his wedding night, he kept on stamping his little feet . Then he waved his arms and his face contorted – a bit like the Nazis in Raiders when they opened the ark. The referee finally decided that he’d seen enough and sent Gorre off. Perhaps the man in black was worried about his own safety as it was none other than Paul Alcock, the man who barely survived a vicious Paolo Di Canio’s shove just a few years earlier.
Other things happened in the game, but I’d mostly forgotten those. Even though they include a very rare Lee Collins goal and a sending off for future Town full-back Steve Jenkins. I did remember that we’d won 2-0 but apart from that, and Gore’s brilliant, game-changing stroppy 20 seconds, the rest had long been forgotten. And should remain so.