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Michael Roger "Mick" Channon (born 28 November 1948) is a sportsman who enjoyed a career as a striker with Southampton and England in the 1970s and later became a hugely successful racehorse trainer.
Channon was born in Orcheston, Wiltshire and made his debut for Southampton as a 17 year old in 1966, scoring in the match against Bristol City. Within three years he had established himself as the club's main goalscorer and was consistent in front of goal at a time when Southampton were one of the more unglamorous teams in English football's First Division. However, despite a record season tally of 21 goals for Southampton in 1974, the club were relegated to the Second Division at the end of the season.
Channon stayed loyal to Southampton despite obvious concerns for his international chances and was rewarded in 1976 which was a special year for Channon. Southampton were still in the Second Division but nevertheless enjoyed a dream run to the FA Cup final where they played Manchester United. Although Southampton were a lower division side, they were considerably more experienced than Manchester United's youthful team. Southampton won 1–0, with Channon playing a part in the winning goal scored late in the game by Bobby Stokes. It was his first domestic honour in the game.
In the close season before the 1977–78 season, Channon left his beloved Southampton — still in the Second Division — to join Manchester City in a £300,000 deal. His new club were making progress, having just finished second in the First Division behind champions Liverpool, but this was where they peaked and Channon struggled to settle. He scored just 12 goals in his first season and 11 in his second.
Return to Southampton
Channon went back to Southampton (by now back in the First Division) in September 1979. Now in his thirties, he continued to play regularly though his goals ratio was not good in his second spell, with only ten coming in each of his first two seasons back at the club. He joined Newcastle United in 1982 after playing 510 games for Southampton over two spells, scoring a total of 185 goals placing him top of the club's list of all-time goalscorers.
He lasted barely a month at Newcastle before joining Bristol Rovers. His impressive career seemingly on the decline, he failed to score in nine games for Bristol Rovers before a sudden departure again, this time to Norwich City where, at the age of 34, he found some of his old touch. He played 88 games over three seasons, scoring 16 goals, and suffered a mixed end to his Norwich career in 1985 when the club won the League Cup — Channon's second and final domestic honour — with a 1–0 win over Sunderland at Wembley, but were then relegated (with Sunderland) at the end of the same season. Channon joined Portsmouth and Finn Harps  thereafter, before retiring from the game in 1986.
Throughout his long career, one constant stuck - Channon's method of celebrating a goal. He would make jubilant circles with his fully stretched right arm - this became known as the "windmill celebration".
He has been honoured by having one of the luxurious hospitality suites at Southampton's St Mary's Stadium named after him.
While still playing, he was a regular pundit for ITV, noted for his outspoken comments and Wiltshire-accented mispronunciations (e.g., Lineker became Line-acre). His clashes with Brian Clough during coverage of the 1986 World Cup were memorable.
Called up to make his debut for England by Alf Ramsey in October 1972, Channon played well enough in a 1–1 draw with Yugoslavia at Wembley to be selected for the squads for two subsequent qualifying matches for the 1974 FIFA World Cup, though he wasn't eventually in the team for either. However, he won his second cap in a famous 5–0 hammering of Scotland at Hampden Park in February 1973, scoring his first goal in the process.
As the year progressed, Channon scored again in a match against Wales and then added a brace in a 7–0 thumping of Austria before he was picked by Ramsey for his first competitive match - a crucial and ultimately infamous World Cup qualifier against Poland at Wembley. If England didn't win, they wouldn't qualify for the tournament.
Channon, in his tenth England outing, was in an attacking line-up which spent pretty much the whole match in the Poland half, trying to break the deadlock. Channon saw his own chances saved by the eccentric but inspired goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski and the game ended 1–1.
He played in a series of post-season friendlies for England, scoring in three of them and was kept in the side the following October as England began their campaign to qualify for the 1976 European Championships. Channon scored in the game against Czechoslovakia as England won 3–0. Channon's next goal for England was a while coming — in September 1975 — as England beat Switzerland in a friendly. England had two qualifying games left at the end of the year for the 1976 European Championships and Channon scored in both, but England lost 2–1 to the Czechs in Bratislava and then only drew 1–1 with Portugal in Lisbon. England failed to qualify and the Czechs went on to win the tournament.
After winning an FA Cup medal in the 1976 Final, Channon was back at Wembley days later to score twice in England's 4–0 win over Northern Ireland; he then scored again four days later against Scotland but England lost 2–1 at Hampden Park. There followed a summer tournament in the U.S. for the bi-centennial celebrations, and Channon scored twice in a thrilling game against Italy as England came from two goals down to win 3–2. A fortnight later, Channon scored again as England defeated Finland 4–1 in Helsinki to get their qualification campaign for the 1978 FIFA World Cup off to a perfect start, though this would be tempered a month later by a defeat against Italy in Rome.
In March 1977, Channon scored twice as England beat Luxembourg at Wembley to get their World Cup campaign back on track; Luxembourg were the 'whipping boys' of the group and England would later need to demolish Luxembourg by a similar or better scoreline in Luxembourg to give themselves a chance of overhauling Italy and qualifying for the World Cup. Certainly Channon was in form, which promised much for England's chances of racking up a high total in Luxembourg, and he hit his 20th England goal in a 2–1 win over Northern Ireland in May 1977. A week later came another Channon goal against Scotland - this time from the penalty spot - but this proved an infamous England defeat as the Scots won 2-1 and their fans invaded the Wembley pitch in celebration, ripping up clods of souvenir turf and pulling down one of the crossbars.
After an ill-fated move to Manchester City affected his form, Ron Greenwood chose to omit him from the starting line-up when England played the crucial World Cup qualifier in Luxembourg in October 1977. England 'only' won 2–0 and, despite victory over Italy in the last game of the campaign, the goals record was insufficient to take them to the World Cup. Channon was not selected for his country again; his international career ended with 46 appearances and a healthy 21 goals. He remains joint 16th in the all-time England scorers list, level with Kevin Keegan.
As a player
- FA Cup winner: 1976
- League Cup winner: 1985
- In 2002, Norwich fans voted Channon into the Norwich City F.C. Hall of Fame.
Channon always had an interest in horse racing during his football career. After retiring from professional football he began working as an assistant trainer, before becoming a licensed trainer in his own right in 1990. He initially had ten horses.
He then moved to the West Ilsley stables near Newbury, formerly owned by the Queen and began to increase his number of horses, eventually ending up with almost 200.
In 2002 he ended the season with 123 winners, topping the 100-mark for the first time in his career. He is one of the sport's most respected trainers, though has yet to produce a winner of one of the Classic Races.
Among owners who have had their horses with Channon are old colleagues and acquaintances from his footballing days, including Kevin Keegan, Alan Ball, Chris Cattlin and Sir Alex Ferguson.
Group 1 / Grade I wins
Flag of United Kingdom Great Britain
- Cheveley Park Stakes: Seazun (1999), Queen's Logic (2001)
- Dewhurst Stakes: Tobougg (2000)
- Falmouth Stakes: Music Show (2010)
- Nunthorpe Stakes: Piccolo (1994)
- St. James's Palace Stakes: Zafeen (2003)
- Sun Chariot Stakes: Majestic Roi (2007)
Flag of Canada Canada
- E. P. Taylor Stakes: Lahaleeb (2009)
Flag of France France
- Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud: Youmzain (2008)
- Prix Morny: Silca's Sister (2005)
- Prix de la Salamandre: Tobougg (2000)
Flag of Germany Germany
- Preis von Europa: Youmzain (2006)
Flag of Republic of Ireland Ireland
- Moyglare Stud Stakes: Mail the Desert (2002)
Flag of Italy Italy
- Premio Lydia Tesio: Eva's Request (2009)
- Premio Roma : Imperial Dancer (2003)
Car Crash on M1
On 27 August 2008, Channon was involved and injured in a motorway accident on the M1. He was travelling from the Doncaster Sales to his West Ilsley stables in Berkshire when the accident happened on Wednesday evening. Channon is reported to have suffered a punctured lung and broken arm. During an interview with Claire Balding broadcast on BBC1 on 3 January 2009, Channon spoke about how he also suffered a broken jaw in the accident and was subsequently fitted with metal plates in his face as a result. Racing Agent and Channon's friend Tim Corby died in the accident.
- Jeremy Wilson (2006). Southampton’s Cult Heroes. Know The Score Books. ISBN 1-905449-01-1.
- Duncan Holley & Gary Chalk (2003). In That Number - A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. Hagiology. ISBN 0-9534474-3-X.
- Tim Manns (2006). Tie a Yellow Ribbon: How the Saints Won the Cup. Hagiology. ISBN 0-9534474-6-4.
- ↑ "Channon injured in motorway crash". BBC. 2008-08-28. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/front_page/7585930.stm. Retrieved 2008-08-29.