14 October 1997:
Jason Crowe who played 3 times for England’s under 20s, came on as a sub for Arsenal in a League Cup match against Birmingham City on 14 October 1997, as did the other subject of this article: Jehad Abdussalam Muntasser.
Both young men had very short Arsenal careers, but both interesting lives in football thereafter.
Jason was sent off 33 seconds into his debut, which ended Arsenal 4 Birmingham 1. In the same game Jehad Muntasser came on two minutes before the end, and so got his 120 seconds of fame as an Arsenal player.
While Jason made the shortest ever appearance before being sent off, he did play twice more. Jehad on the other hand had the shortest ever Arsenal career.
So two players, on one day, each with tiny Arsenal appearances. But what happened to the players after that was utterly different.
Jason Crowe was an understudy to Lee Dixon. After his treatment at the hands of Uriah Rennie, in what is still thought to be the fastest sending off in first class football, he played as a sub in the FA Cup that season against Crystal Palace and the following season in the League Cup against Derby. He also got three under 20 caps for England
After that it was the dreaded loan – in his case to Palace – and then on the road.
|Team||League Games||League Goals|
|1998–1999||Crystal Palace loan||8||0|
By chance I live in a village just a few miles from Corby, and occasionally pop along to watch club when Arsenal are not playing. They play in a small, but recently built, ground on the outskirts of town in front of a dedicated following of 300 or so.
So I actually did see Jason Crowe play in what was a sad season for the club – with the side slipping from Conference North to Northern Premier League status. It was I think the end of his career.
But not a career without success. Apart from those England caps he also won three promotions: from the second tier with Portsmouth in 2003, from the third tier with Leeds in 2010, and from the fourth tier with Northampton in 2006.
Meanwhile also in 1998, as Jason started his life of moving, Jehad Abdussalam Muntasser was sold to Bristol City in January of that year, but then released without playing for the club. He then started the process of playing for a range of Serie B and C clubs in Italy, getting one season in the top league with Treviso. After that it was Qatar and Libya.
But despite the appearance of being an itinerant in the lower leagues who incidentally only ever scored one goal (for Catania) he also played 34 games for Libya and in those games actually scored 8. Quite a record. He was part of the Libya 2006 Africa Nations team.
In 2011 civil war broke out in Libya as Colonel Gaddafi was overthrown, which from the outside I would have thought could have been difficult for Jehad Muntasser as he is the grandson of Mahmud al-Muntasir who was Libyan Prime Minister in the 1950s and 1960s. However I’m guessing on that point.
What is more a matter of record is that Muntasser started Friends of Libya’s Children’ which in association with the Red Crescent raised money for children affected by the war, through football games. Javier Zanetti, Fabio Cannavaro, Marco Materazzi, Pavel Nedved and others played in the prime event – a game in Dubai attended by Libya’s then leader and shown on TV across the region. Quite something to achieve.
Here’s his footballing history…
|2008/11||Al Ittihad Tripoli||?|
Jehad Muntasser is now a football consultant for Al-Ahli Dubai.
So two players, two very short Arsenal experiences on 14 October 1997 and two very different lives thereafter. They met for a moment and then went their ways. I wonder if they remember each other!