Tag Archives: Sir Alex Ferguson

Iconic Moments: Rafa’s rant (January 2009)

Liverpool FC last won the English league championship in 1990, before the Premier League came into existence. They narrowly missed out on the major prize with Brendan Rodgers in 2014, whilst Gerard Houllier took them close in 2002. On both occasions, the Reds had to settle for the runners-up position.

The same scenario occurred in 2009. Liverpool went into the calendar year with a useful four-point lead over reigning champions Manchester United. Manager Rafa Benitez seemed to have things under control. That was until his pre-match press conference ahead of a trip to newly-promoted Stoke City.

When asked a question about Sir Alex Ferguson complaining about Manchester United’s fixture schedule as they had a game in-hand due to their World Club Championship commitments, Benitez decided to turn the pressure up in an amazing and almost inexplicable rant – aimed at the referees’ respect campaign and TV fixture scheduling, insisting Ferguson doesn’t get punished for anything.

Part of his five-minute rage was: “All managers need to know is that only Mr Ferguson can talk about the fixtures, can talk about referees and nothing happens. We need to know that I am talking about facts, not my impression. There are things that everyone can see every single week.”

It had a negative effect. Liverpool could only draw at Stoke the next evening, whilst Manchester United beat Chelsea 3-0 24 hours later. Within a week, the Red Devils had gone to the top of the table and would eventually win their third successive Premier League title.

This was a press conference that backfired badly on Benitez. In truth, he had fallen victim to the manager who was the master at cranking up the pressure, Sir Alex Ferguson.

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Iconic Moments: Manchester United’s record-breaking 19th title (May 2011)

When Sir Alex Ferguson arrived from Scotland in November 1986, his mission was to make Manchester United successful again.

In 2002, he famously said: “My greatest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their ******* perch. And you can print that.”

Seven years after his arrival, Manchester United won their first top-flight title in 27 years and soon afterwards, league championship after league championship followed. When he arrived, Manchester United had only seven titles. By May 2011, they had drawn level with Liverpool on 18 top-flight championships.

They travelled to Ewood Park on the penultimate weekend of the 2010-2011 season looking to make history and claim not only a 12th Premier League title but a record-breaking 19th crown which would take them to the top of the list as England’s most successful club.

It was a nervy afternoon with just a single point required to seal the title and they fell behind to a Brett Emerton strike. However, with 17 minutes left, Paul Robinson’s foul on Javier Hernandez saw a penalty awarded by referee Phil Dowd after some consultation. Wayne Rooney kept his nerve to dispatch the spot-kick, level the game at 1-1 and ensured Manchester United made history.

It was a great achievement and Ferguson’s mission was well and truly complete.

Seasonal Records: 2006-2007

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2006-2007 Premier League campaign. After a three-year period watching dominance from the capital, Manchester United regained that winning feeling to claim their ninth Premier League title, spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo, who began to show why he would become one of the greatest players to ever play football.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 28 5 5 83 27 +56 89
2 Chelsea 38 24 11 3 64 24 +40 83
3 Liverpool FC 38 20 8 10 57 27 +30 68
4 Arsenal 38 19 11 8 63 35 +28 68
5 Tottenham Hotspur 38 17 9 12 57 54 +3 60
6 Everton 38 15 13 10 52 36 +16 58
7 Bolton Wanderers 38 16 8 14 47 52 -5 56
8 Reading 38 16 7 15 52 47 +5 55
9 Portsmouth 38 14 12 12 45 42 +3 54
10 Blackburn Rovers 38 15 7 16 52 54 -2 52
11 Aston Villa 38 11 17 10 43 41 +2 50
12 Middlesbrough 38 12 10 16 44 49 -5 46
13 Newcastle United 38 11 10 17 38 47 -9 43
14 Manchester City 38 11 9 18 29 44 -15 42
15 West Ham United 38 12 5 21 35 59 -24 41
16 Fulham 38 8 15 15 38 60 -22 39
17 Wigan Athletic 38 10 8 20 37 59 -22 38
18 Sheffield United 38 10 8 20 32 55 -23 38
19 Charlton Athletic 38 8 10 20 34 60 -26 34
20 Watford 38 5 13 20 29 59 -30 28

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 931
European qualifiers Chelsea (UEFA Champions League)

Manchester United (UEFA Champions League)

Liverpool FC (UEFA Champions League)

Arsenal (UEFA Champions League)

Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Cup)

Everton (UEFA Cup)

Bolton Wanderers (UEFA Cup)

Blackburn Rovers (UEFA Intertoto Cup)

Longest winning run 9 games (Chelsea)
Longest unbeaten run 14 games (Chelsea)
Longest winless run 11 games (Aston Villa, Watford & West Ham United)
Longest losing run 8 games (Wigan Athletic)
Highest attendance 76,098 (Manchester United vs. Blackburn Rovers)
Lowest attendance 13,760 (Watford vs. Blackburn Rovers)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
PFA Young Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
Football Writers’ Award Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
PFA Team of the Year Edwin van der Sar, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Nemanja Vidic, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitar Berbatov, Didier Drogba
Manager of the Year Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
Premier League Goal of the Season Wayne Rooney (MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Bolton Wanderers)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Wayne Rooney Bolton Wanderers vs. Manchester United 0-4 28th October 2006
Didier Drogba Chelsea vs. Watford 4-0 11th November 2006
Peter Crouch Liverpool FC vs. Arsenal 4-1 31st March 2007

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Didier Drogba Chelsea 20
2 Benni McCarthy Blackburn Rovers 18
3 Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United 17
4= Wayne Rooney Manchester United 14
4= Mark Viduka Middlesbrough 14
6= Kevin Doyle Reading 13
6= Darren Bent Charlton Athletic 13
8= Dirk Kuyt Liverpool FC 12
8= Dimitar Berbatov Tottenham Hotspur 12
8= Yakubu Middlesbrough 12
11= Frank Lampard Chelsea 11
11= Robin van Persie Arsenal 11
11= Robbie Keane Tottenham Hotspur 11
11= Andy Johnson Everton 11
11= Nicolas Anelka Bolton Wanderers 11
11= Obafemi Martins Newcastle United 11
11= Bobby Zamora West Ham United 11
18= Thierry Henry Arsenal 10
18= Jermain Defoe Tottenham Hotspur 10
18= Kanu Portsmouth 10
18= Gilberto Arsenal 10
22= Peter Crouch Liverpool FC 9
22= Mikel Arteta Everton 9
22= Gabriel Agbonlahor Aston Villa 9
22= Brian McBride Fulham 9

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Reading 6-0 West Ham United 1st January 2007
Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn Rovers 23rd December 2006
Manchester United 5-1 Fulham 20th August 2006
Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Charlton Athletic 9th December 2006
Middlesbrough 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 20th January 2007
Bolton Wanderers 0-4 Manchester United 28th October 2006
Chelsea 4-0 Watford 11th November 2006
Wigan Athletic 0-4 Liverpool FC 2nd December 2006
Reading 0-4 Arsenal 22nd October 2006
Manchester United 4-0 Watford 31st January 2007

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
8 Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn Rovers 23rd December 2006
7 West Ham United 3-4 Tottenham Hotspur 4th March 2007
6 Reading 6-0 West Ham United 1st January 2007
6 Manchester United 5-1 Fulham 20th August 2006
6 Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Charlton Athletic 9th December 2006
6 Middlesbrough 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 20th January 2007
6 Everton 2-4 Manchester United 28th April 2007
6 Blackburn Rovers 4-2 Manchester City 17th September 2006
6 Watford 4-2 Portsmouth 9th April 2007
6 Wigan Athletic 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur 15th April 2007
6 Blackburn Rovers 3-3 Reading 13th May 2007
6 West Ham United 3-3 Fulham 13th January 2007
6 Watford 3-3 Fulham 2nd October 2006
5 Manchester United 4-1 Bolton Wanderers 17th March 2007
5 Manchester United 4-1 Blackburn Rovers 31st March 2007
5 West Ham United 1-4 Chelsea 18th April 2007
5 Liverpool FC 4-1 Arsenal 31st March 2007
5 Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Bolton Wanderers 25th February 2007
5 Everton 4-1 Fulham 6th April 2007
5 Blackburn Rovers 4-1 Charlton Athletic 28th April 2007

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Matthew Briggs Middlesbrough 3-1 Fulham 16 years, 2 months, 4 days 13th May 2007
Daniel Sturridge Manchester City 0-2 Reading 17 years, 5 months, 2 days 3rd February 2007
Theo Walcott Arsenal 1-1 Aston Villa 17 years, 5 months, 3 days 19th August 2006
Ben Sahar Chelsea 4-0 Wigan Athletic 17 years, 5 months, 3 days 13th January 2007
Sam Hutchinson Chelsea 1-1 Everton 17 years, 9 months, 10 days 13th May 2007
Adel Taarabt West Ham United 3-4 Tottenham Hotspur 17 years, 9 months, 8 days 4th March 2007
Scott Sinclair Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea 18 years, 1 month, 11 days 6th May 2007
Andy Carroll Wigan Athletic 1-0 Newcastle United 18 years, 1 month, 19 days 25th February 2007
Micah Richards Chelsea 3-0 Manchester City 18 years, 1 month, 27 days 20th August 2006
Emiliano Insua Portsmouth 2-1 Liverpool FC 18 years, 3 months, 21 days 28th April 2007

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Alec Chamberlain Watford 1-1 Newcastle United 42 years, 10 months, 23 days 13th May 2007
Teddy Sheringham West Ham United 0-1 Manchester City 40 years, 8 months, 28 days 30th December 2006
Pavel Srnicek Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Newcastle United 38 years, 9 months, 16 days 26th December 2006
Gary Speed Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Aston Villa 37 years, 8 months, 5 days 13th May 2007
Chris Powell Reading 0-2 Watford 37 years, 7 months, 27 days 5th May 2007
Jens Lehmann Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea 37 years, 5 months, 26 days 6th May 2007
John Filan Wigan Athletic 0-3 West Ham United 37 years, 2 months, 20 days 28th April 2007
Arjan de Zeeuw Sheffield United 1-2 Wigan Athletic 37 years, 27 days 13th May 2007
David James Portsmouth 0-0 Arsenal 36 years, 9 months, 11 days 13th May 2007
Tugay Blackburn Rovers 3-3 Reading 36 years, 8 months, 19 days 13th May 2007

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Pepe Reina Liverpool FC 19
2 Tim Howard Everton 14
3= Petr Cech Chelsea 13
3= Marcus Hahnemann Reading 13
5= Edwin van der Sar Manchester United 12
5= Jussi Jaaskelainen Bolton Wanderers 12
5= David James Portsmouth 12
5= Thomas Sorensen Aston Villa 12
9 Scott Carson Charlton Athletic 11
10 Jens Lehmann Arsenal 10

The Managers: Steve McClaren

Premier League Clubs Managed: Middlesbrough (2001-2006), Newcastle United (2015-2016)

Steve McClaren is hoping to follow in the footsteps of managers like David Moyes, Alan Pardew and Sam Allardyce, all considered being past their sell-by-date as top-flight bosses but who have managed to return to the Premier League dugout in 2017-2018.

McClaren is currently out of work but is hoping this will change. His most recent role was as a coaching consultant with Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv. He guided Middlesbrough to a UEFA Cup final in 2006 and took FC Twente to a surprising Dutch title four years later. However, his dreadful reign as England manager seems to have scarred his reputation with both chairman and the media for good.

A loyal assistant

His playing days were nothing special to write home about. He played for Hull City, Derby County, Lincoln City, Bristol City and Oxford United before injury forced him to retire in 1992.

After retiring from playing, McClaren began his coaching career as a youth and reserve team coach at Oxford United, before moving back to Derby County in 1995, where he served as assistant manager to Jim Smith. Together, they won promotion to the Premier League and they established the Rams as a consistent top 10 side in the Premier League.

In early 1999, Manchester United were looking for a new assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson as his long-time no.2 Brian Kidd had elected to take the managerial post at Blackburn Rovers. McClaren got the role and his first game next to Ferguson saw the Red Devils win 8-1 away at Nottingham Forest. It was a wonderful first few months in the role with United winning the treble, consisting of the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League. Another two Premier League titles followed in 2000 and 2001 and he was one of the first to embrace the new technologies of using sports psychologists and video analysis to enhance player performances.

In 2000, he combined his Manchester United role with a position on the coaching staff with the England international team. McClaren served as assistant to Sven-Goran Eriksson from November 2002 all the way until his departure after the 2006 World Cup finals.

Boro breakthrough

In the summer of 2001, Steve elected to move into management, realising his chances of succeeding Ferguson as Manchester United manager as slim. Southampton and West Ham United both approached him but he turned both clubs down and was appointed Middlesbrough manager after impressing owner Steve Gibson in an interview.

His first two seasons at The Riverside Stadium are solid, if unspectacular. Middlesbrough finish 12th and 11th in the table respectively and make the FA Cup semi-finals in 2002 before losing at Old Trafford to Arsenal.

The big breakthrough came in the 2003-2004 season. Despite another mid-table finish in the Premier League, Middlesbrough claimed silverware for the first time in their 128-year history. They knocked out Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal before defeating Bolton Wanderers 2-1 in the League Cup final.

This meant European football would follow in 2004-2005 and McClaren was able to attract the likes of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Mark Viduka and Michael Reiziger to the club in the close season. Middlesbrough made the last-16 of the UEFA Cup before bowing out to Sporting Lisbon, who will go on to make the final. There is progress in the league too. Boro finish in seventh position which is their best finish in the top-flight in 30 years.

His most dramatic season at the helm was his last one on Teeside. Middlesbrough struggled to 14th position in the league with some disastrous results; including a 7-0 beating at Highbury away to Arsenal. However, they achieved far better success in the cup competitions. They reached the FA Cup semi-finals before losing to West Ham United and enjoy some stunning nights in the UEFA Cup. Both FC Basel and FCSB of Romania hold four-goal leads during the two-legged ties and will be eliminated in dramatic conclusions to these matches. For the first time in their history, Middlesbrough reached a European final but they are no match for Sevilla in the showpiece event, losing 4-0.

He left at the end of the season with the biggest job in international management ready for him.

The England nightmare

When Luiz Felipe Scolari elected to turn down the position of becoming England manager, McClaren got the job in May 2006, edging out Sam Allardyce to the position. Many England fans were unconvinced by the FA’s choice and that was further outlined when he decided to leave national treasure David Beckham out of his early international plans. John Terry was appointed captain.

Qualification for EURO 2008 was meant to be straightforward but the first signs of problems occurred when England were held to a goalless draw at home by FYR Macedonia. Days later, the Three Lions lost 2-0 to Croatia and another defeat in Moscow to Russia left England’s qualification firmly in the balance. He didn’t help his relationship with the press after walking out of a press conference following an unconvincing 3-0 victory over Andorra, saying: “Gentlemen, if you want to write whatever you want to write, you can write it because that is all I am going to say. Thank you.”

Victory at Wembley Stadium over Croatia in their final match would guarantee qualification. Anything else would likely lead to elimination as on the same night, Russia were playing no-hopers Andorra. It is a night Steve McClaren will probably never be able to erase from his memory.

First, he was photographed on a filthy, wet evening in an umbrella to protect him from the elements. This earned him the nickname; “The Wally with the Brolly!” Secondly, he dropped experienced goalkeeper Paul Robinson for rookie Scott Carson and this backfired when Carson allowed an early Niko Kranjcar shot to spill through his fingers and into the net. Lastly, England lost the game 3-2, despite recovering a two-goal deficit in the second half. Russia beat Andorra, so England failed to qualify for a major tournament for the first time since the 1994 World Cup.

A day later, McClaren was sacked. His tenure is the second shortest in history of managing the England national team. His reputation and creditability had been completely destroyed.

Rebuilding himself

Steve moved abroad and took a job in Dutch football with FC Twente. He spent two seasons with them, making them a strong force in the domestic game. In 2010, Twente saw off challenges from perennial title winners Ajax and PSV Eindhoven to become Dutch champions by just one point. He became the first Englishman to win a league title abroad since Sir Bobby Robson had won the Portuguese league title with FC Porto in 1996.

He admitted this was his best achievement in football, saying: “Winning the Carling Cup with Middlesbrough was special but this is pretty much right up at the top of anything I’ve ever done. To win a championship in a foreign country with foreign coaches, I think it’s made me stronger.”

He left after his achievement and tried his luck in the Bundesliga with VfL Wolfsburg; it didn’t work out as well as he hoped. Poor results saw him dismissed by the 2009 German champions in February 2011. After an unsuccessful spell at Nottingham Forest, McClaren returned to FC Twente for a second time in January 2012. However, he couldn’t rekindle the spirit of his first stint there and resigned a year later.

Following a stint in-charge of Derby County, McClaren returned to the Premier League in 2015; nine years after he left Middlesbrough. He succeeded John Carver as manager of Newcastle United. He was on the backfoot from the outset. Newcastle went eight games without a win at the start of the season and although there were brilliant victories in December 2015 over Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur, it always looked like he was fighting a losing battle on Tyneside.

With the club in the bottom three, a damaging 3-1 home defeat to AFC Bournemouth in March 2016 left him firmly in the firing line with the Geordie supporters. He was sacked five days after this loss to the Cherries.

He had a brief second spell as Derby County manager and is aiming at returning to management in the near future. Whilst he waits, he is currently working as a pundit for the EFL television coverage on Sky Sports. Hopefully, he won’t react as dramatically as he did when working for Sky after England’s shock loss to Iceland at EURO 2016!

Premier League Files: Nani

Premier League Career: Manchester United (2007-2014)

Having won over 100 caps for Portugal, Nani has gained a wealth of experience over the past decade. He is currently playing his club football with Serie A side Lazio, on-loan from Valencia. He spent seven years as a Manchester United player and won four Premier League titles whilst at Old Trafford.

Nani made his professional debut in 2005 with Sporting Lisbon and during his second season, he won the Portuguese Cup. In July 2007, Manchester United flexed their muscles and signed him for £25 million. He was seen as a player who might be able to follow in Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps. In reality, that always looked like a long shot. However, Nani would still produce plenty of fantastic moments for the Manchester United faithful. He was capable of playing on both wings and this was something he worked on very hard in his development, differing from Ronaldo, who adapted his game to become a prime centre forward. His dribbling skills and searing pace made him a very useful addition to the ranks at Manchester United.

He scored his first goal for the club in August 2007 to defeat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 with a 30-yard drive from distance. The winger repeated the feat a couple of months later against Middlesbrough and this was a trait that Nani would repeat constantly during his seven seasons at The Theatre of Dreams. Apart from a red card for a head-butt at West Ham United’s Lucas Neill on the penultimate weekend of the season, Nani’s debut campaign at Old Trafford was a qualified success. He won both the Premier League title and the UEFA Champions League, scoring in the shootout over English rivals Chelsea.

He didn’t build on a solid first season in 2008-2009, only featuring 13 times in the Premier League but did add a second title winners’ medal to his CV. That summer, his compatriot Ronaldo completed his long-awaited move to Real Madrid and the pressure was set to increase. Many now expected him to fulfil the role vacated by the World Player of the Year. It would take time for Nani to truly showcase his form on a consistent basis.

He put in several poor performances during the autumn of 2009 and launched an attack on his own manager, Sir Alex Ferguson for a lack of faith in him. Sensing a bit of immaturity and nothing more, Ferguson gave Nani a chance to swallow up those comments. He delivered in January 2010, starring in victories over Hull City and Arsenal. After his man of the match display at The Emirates Stadium, Ferguson praised him, saying: “Maturity is why we’re seeing the best of him now, his last three games have been absolutely first class but today was his best.”

Two months later, he signed a new four-year contract and ended the season with seven goals in all competitions and nine assists in the Premier League. This included a couple of goals late in the campaign against Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland but it wasn’t enough to stop Chelsea taking the Premier League crown away from Manchester United. Nani also missed out on appearing in the League Cup final against Aston Villa after being dismissed in a league match between the sides three weeks earlier.

Nani’s best season in a Manchester United shirt was in 2010-2011, when he finished with figures of nine goals in 33 appearances. It didn’t start well as he missed a late spot-kick at Craven Cottage against Fulham, then saw Brede Hangeland rescue a point for the home side in the dying moments of the match. Six days later, he made amends with a goal and an assist in a man of the match display at home to West Ham United. Other goals that followed in the campaign included a winner at home to Stoke City, the opening goal in the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford and the second goal in a 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur. Nani’s performances saw him voted into the PFA Team of the Year for the first time and earn himself a nomination for the PFA Young Player of the Year, although he lost out on the prize to Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere.

If 2010-2011 was his best season, 2011-2012 was a pretty strong season too for the Portuguese. He scored eight times, despite missing three months of the campaign after breaking his metatarsal in the win over Arsenal in January. He had scored in the earlier fixture between the sides when Manchester United destroyed the Gunners 8-2. Two weeks later, he showed off his skill of scoring long-range efforts with another cracking strike in a 3-1 success over Chelsea.

That was the peak of Nani’s time at the club. He made just 23 more league appearances in the next two seasons and although he won the title again in 2013, he was more of a peripheral figure in Ferguson’s swansong season and also, David Moyes’ disastrous one-season tenure at the helm.

In August 2014, he rejoined Sporting Lisbon on a season-long loan deal as part of a transfer that saw Marcos Rojo go to Manchester United. He left the Red Devils permanently a year later and headed for Turkish football and a brief spell with Fenerbahce. Eight goals in 28 appearances tempted Valencia to fork out a £7 million transfer fee in the summer of 2016. After an underwhelming campaign in La Liga, Los Che allowed him to move to Lazio on-loan until the end of the 2017-2018 season.

At international level, Nani made his debut in September 2006. 10 years later, he was a key figure of the Portugal squad that were the surprise winners of the 2016 European Championships, scoring in the semi-final victory over Wales.

Some might feel Nani didn’t quite fulfil his potential he demonstrated at an early age but four title wins with Manchester United is an excellent return.

Iconic Moments: Cantona joins Manchester United (November 1992)

In the very first Premier League season, one of the pre-season title favourites were Manchester United. However, they were misfiring badly, struggling in mid-table by the middle of November and falling off the pace of surprise pacesetters Norwich City.

Manager Alex Ferguson needed a new forward to help the team shoot themselves to the top. He ended up with one of the best bargains in the history of the football transfer. His initial top target was Sheffield Wednesday’s David Hirst but he rejected the move to stay in Yorkshire. His eventual buy started when Leeds United owner Bill Fotherby had telephoned his counterpart at Manchester United, Martin Edwards to enquire whether they would be willing to sell full-back Denis Irwin to the reigning champions.

That enquiry was quickly rebuffed by the Red Devils. At the same time, Edwards was asked by Ferguson to enquire about the availability of talismanic Frenchman Eric Cantona. Fotherby then spoke to Leeds boss Howard Wilkinson, who confirmed he would be happy to get Cantona off his roster. Cantona had sparkled in helping Leeds win the last Football League title in 1992 but he was a difficult person to please and Wilkinson decided that his presence at Elland Road was now having an impact on squad harmony.

A few days later, Cantona’s move across the Pennines was done. Manchester United paid Leeds just £1.2 million to sign him on the 26th November. 10 days later, he made his debut as a substitute in the Manchester Derby and the rest was history.

Cantona was considered the final jigsaw in the puzzle at Old Trafford. Manchester United stormed to their first league title in 26 years and the Frenchman won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award in 1994. As future captain Roy Keane said: “Collar turned up, back straight, chest stuck out, Eric glided into the arena as if he owned the place.”

In five years in Manchester, Cantona won four league titles and two FA Cups, scoring 82 times before retiring in 1997. His move still remains one of the most important transfers in the first 25 years of the Premier League.

Premier League Files: Antonio Valencia

Premier League Career: Wigan Athletic (2006-2009), Manchester United (2009-PRESENT)

For the large duration of his career, Antonio Valencia has been a formidable winger on the right-hand side of the pitch. However, he has become Manchester United’s first-choice right-back under Jose Mourinho. It is a role the Ecuadorian has filled with a great sense of hunger and desire. Plus, he still has the attacking instincts to get forward and create opportunities for his teammates. This was highlighted by his spectacular goal against Everton in September 2017 which was voted as the Premier League Goal of the Month.

Valencia started off playing for El Nacional in his home country in 2003 before moving to Spain to continue his development in mainland Europe. Villarreal signed him but only played Antonio twice and he found game time more common in loan spells with Recreativo and then, Wigan Athletic in the Premier League.

His first notice of intent came at the 2006 World Cup finals. He helped Ecuador reach the round-of-16, playing every single match as they impressed many observers with their expansive style of play. He was shortlisted for several awards after his performances in Germany and it was Wigan who took a chance on him in August 2006, signing him on-loan. His first goal came in a 4-0 victory at home to Manchester City before injury kept him on the sidelines for three months. When he returned in January 2007, it took Valencia a while to rediscover his peak performance levels and this even included a red card in an away draw at Aston Villa for a two-footed lunge on Wilfried Bouma.

Nevertheless, Wigan extended his loan agreement by a further season and then in January 2008, the move was made permanent as the Latics agreed a £5 million deal with Villarreal. He celebrated this contract with two goals in a vital 2-0 win away to Aston Villa that helped preserve Wigan’s top-flight status before the end of the season. His outstanding displays in 2008-2009 captured the attention of Real Madrid, so it was brave of Valencia to turn them down and continue with Wigan. His stock value was rising and in June 2009, Wigan owner Dave Whelan admitted he would not force Antonio to stay at the club.

Reigning champions Manchester United lodged a bid of around £16 million which Wigan accepted. He cut short his summer holiday to complete his move to The Theatre of Dreams. In doing so, he became the first Ecuadorian player to ever play for Manchester United. His debut season was excellent at Old Trafford. He was voted into the PFA Team of the Year alongside teammates Darren Fletcher, Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra and was the club’s Man of the Match in their League Cup final success over Aston Villa.

2010-2011 started with a shattering blow. Antonio suffered a fractured ankle and also damaged ankle ligaments in a UEFA Champions League match with Rangers. The injury kept him out of action for six months. This restricted him to 10 Premier League appearances but he scored in a win over Fulham and became the first Ecuadorian to win a Premier League title. His rehabilitation from injury was complete when Sir Alex Ferguson handed him a starting berth in the 2011 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona at Wembley Stadium.

In August 2011, he agreed a four-year deal and started playing occasionally as a full-back with Gary Neville having now retired. He scored the opening goal in an away win at Arsenal and broke the deadlock within the last 10 minutes of a 2-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park in April 2012. That goal was crowned the Manchester United Goal of the Season and he also received the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year. However, United lost the title on goal difference to their noisy neighbours from across the city.

Ferguson handed Valencia the iconic no.7 shirt ahead of the 2012-2013 season following Michael Owen’s departure. It was a shirt made famous by the likes of Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo. He won his second Premier League title winners’ medal but in truth, it was an indifferent season for Antonio as the expectation levels to deliver seem to weigh on him heavier than ever before. Feeling he wasn’t doing the shirt justice, he returned to his traditional no.25 squad number ahead of the 2013-2014 campaign.

It was a roles reversal from the previous campaign. Whilst the team recorded their worst Premier League finish of seventh spot under David Moyes’ stewardship, Valencia regained some of his form and confidence that had been lost in Sir Alex Ferguson’s swansong campaign. Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen were sick of the sight of him. Antonio scored three goals against them in the UEFA Champions League group stages that season as the Red Devils made the quarter-finals.

Moyes was sacked after such an underwhelming season and Louis van Gaal succeeded him. He started to play Valencia more frequently in the full-back and wing-back positions. 2015-2016 was a frustrating season as a foot injury sustained in a stale Manchester Derby at Old Trafford in October kept him out of action for four months. He recovered in time though to play all 120 minutes in the club’s FA Cup final victory over Crystal Palace.

His outstanding consistency has continued under Mourinho and he has often worn the captain’s armband this season as Michael Carrick nears the end of his distinguished career. He has now played over 300 matches in all competitions for Manchester United and become a regular staple in the club’s starting XI over the years.

He might be under-rated by some but Manchester United supporters certainly appreciate the contribution Antonio Valencia makes to their efforts on several trophy fronts.

Iconic Moments: A Brucey bonus (April 1993)

The first Premier League season was drawing towards its conclusion and a real head-to-head scrap was developing for the championship between Ron Atkinson’s Aston Villa and Manchester United. Alex Ferguson’s team were doing the chasing going into the Easter weekend. It was at this stage a year earlier where they’d folded in the run-in and handed the title to their rivals from the Pennines in Leeds United.

United were playing Sheffield Wednesday at Old Trafford and the game was finely poised at 0-0 when the referee in the match, Mike Peck picked up an Achilles injury and had to be replaced. Beginning the match as linesman, John Hilditch was suddenly thrust into the limelight as substitute referee. His first decision was a simple one. Paul Ince’s poorly-timed tackle on Chris Waddle saw a penalty given. It was converted by John Sheridan and Sheffield Wednesday led 1-0. Some Manchester United fans looked despondent. Were their title dreams and the 26-year wait for a championship set to continue?

The home side pushed forward and in the 88th minute, Steve Bruce headed home from a corner to level the scores. Time was surely nearly up? Not for Hilditch. He had timed the length of the stoppage for the referee change, plus numerous time-wasting tactics from the Owls’ players, including substitutions. It meant seven minutes of injury-time were to be played and this was before electronic scoreboards on the touchline.

Wednesday players kept badgering the referee on how long was left but the final whistle still wasn’t blown. There was just enough time for Gary Pallister’s cross to be deflected off Nigel Worthington’s head and into the path of Bruce, who diverted another terrific header past Chris Woods’ despairing dive. Old Trafford exploded in joy and exultation. On the touchline, Alex Ferguson and Brian Kidd couldn’t contain themselves. Kidd jumped onto the pitch and looking up to the heavens. This was an iconic image in the first 25 years of Premier League football.

The 2-1 win was the catalyst for a faultless run-in from Manchester United. They would eventually win the title by 10 points, provided by efficient time-keeping and a real Brucey bonus.

Seasonal Records: 2002-2003

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2002-2003 Premier League campaign, as Manchester United claimed their eighth Premier League title and the first club slipped out of the league despite reaching the usual magical safety mark of 40 points.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 25 8 5 74 34 +40 83
2 Arsenal 38 23 9 6 85 42 +43 78
3 Newcastle United 38 21 6 11 63 48 +15 69
4 Chelsea 38 19 10 9 68 38 +30 67
5 Liverpool FC 38 18 10 10 61 41 +20 64
6 Blackburn Rovers 38 16 12 10 52 43 +9 60
7 Everton 38 17 8 13 48 49 -1 59
8 Southampton 38 13 13 12 43 46 -3 52
9 Manchester City 38 15 6 17 47 54 -7 51
10 Tottenham Hotspur 38 14 8 16 51 62 -11 50
11 Middlesbrough 38 13 10 15 48 44 +4 49
12 Charlton Athletic 38 14 7 17 45 56 -11 49
13 Birmingham City 38 13 9 16 41 49 -8 48
14 Fulham 38 13 9 16 41 50 -9 48
15 Leeds United 38 14 5 19 58 57 +1 47
16 Aston Villa 38 12 9 17 42 47 -5 45
17 Bolton Wanderers 38 10 14 14 41 51 -10 44
18 West Ham United 38 10 12 16 42 59 -17 42
19 West Bromwich Albion 38 6 8 24 29 65 -36 26
20 Sunderland 38 4 7 27 21 65 -44 19

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1000
European qualifiers Manchester United (UEFA Champions League), Arsenal (UEFA Champions League), Newcastle United (UEFA Champions League), Chelsea (UEFA Champions League), Liverpool FC (UEFA Cup), Blackburn Rovers (UEFA Cup), Southampton (UEFA Cup), Manchester City (UEFA Cup)
Longest winning run 7 games (Liverpool FC)
Longest unbeaten run 18 games (Manchester United)
Longest winless run 20 games (Sunderland)
Longest losing run 15 games (Sunderland)
Highest attendance 67,721 (Manchester United vs. Charlton Athletic)
Lowest attendance 14,017 (Fulham vs. Blackburn Rovers)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
PFA Young Player of the Year Jermaine Jenas (Newcastle United)
Football Writers’ Award Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
PFA Team of the Year Brad Friedel, Sol Campbell, William Gallas, Stephen Carr, Ashley Cole, Patrick Vieira, Kieron Dyer, Robert Pires, Paul Scholes, Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer
Manager of the Year Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United
Premier League Goal of the Season Thierry Henry (ARSENAL vs. Tottenham Hotspur)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Michael Owen Manchester City vs. Liverpool FC 0-3 28th September 2002
James Beattie Southampton vs. Fulham 4-2 27th October 2002
Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United vs. Newcastle United 5-3 23rd November 2002
Robbie Keane Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton 4-3 12th January 2003
Thierry Henry Arsenal vs. West Ham United 3-1 27th January 2003
Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United vs. Fulham 3-0 22nd March 2003
Mark Viduka Charlton Athletic vs. Leeds United 1-6 5th April 2003
Paul Scholes Newcastle United vs. Manchester United 2-6 12th April 2003
Michael Owen (4) West Bromwich Albion vs. Liverpool FC 0-6 26th April 2003
Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United vs. Charlton Athletic 4-1 3rd May 2003
Jermaine Pennant Arsenal vs. Southampton 6-1 7th May 2003
Robert Pires Arsenal vs. Southampton 6-1 7th May 2003
Freddie Ljungberg Sunderland vs. Arsenal 0-4 11th May 2003

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United 25
2 Thierry Henry Arsenal 24
3 James Beattie Southampton 23
4 Mark Viduka Leeds United 20
5 Michael Owen Liverpool FC 19
6 Alan Shearer Newcastle United 17
7= Paul Scholes Manchester United 14
7= Robert Pires Arsenal 14
7= Gianfranco Zola Chelsea 14
7= Nicolas Anelka Manchester City 14
7= Robbie Keane Leeds United & Tottenham Hotspur 14
7= Harry Kewell Leeds United 14
13 Teddy Sheringham Tottenham Hotspur 12
14= Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Chelsea 11
14= Tomasz Radzinski Everton 11
16= Sylvain Wiltord Arsenal 10
16= Eidur Gudjohnsen Chelsea 10
16= Kevin Campbell Everton 10
16= Jason Euell Charlton Athletic 10
16= Dion Dublin Aston Villa 10
21= Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United 9
21= Milan Baros Liverpool FC 9
21= Damien Duff Blackburn Rovers 9
21= Marc-Vivien Foe Manchester City 9
21= Massimo Maccarone Middlesbrough 9

BIGGEST VICTORIES

West Bromwich Albion 0-6 Liverpool FC 26th April 2003
Arsenal 6-1 Southampton 7th May 2003
Charlton Athletic 1-6 Leeds United 5th April 2003
Chelsea 5-0 Manchester City 22nd March 2003
Newcastle United 2-6 Manchester United 12th April 2003
Manchester City 1-5 Arsenal 22nd February 2003
Newcastle United 5-1 Blackburn Rovers 22nd March 2003
Middlesbrough 5-1 Tottenham Hotspur 3rd May 2003
Manchester United 4-0 Liverpool FC 5th April 2003
Birmingham City 0-4 Arsenal 12th January 2003

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
8 Newcastle United 2-6 Manchester United 12th April 2003
8 Manchester United 5-3 Newcastle United 23rd November 2002
7 Arsenal 6-1 Southampton 7th May 2003
7 Charlton Athletic 1-6 Leeds United 5th April 2003
7 Arsenal 5-2 West Bromwich Albion 27th August 2002
7 Blackburn Rovers 5-2 Newcastle United 19th October 2002
7 Middlesbrough 2-5 Aston Villa 28th January 2003
7 Tottenham Hotspur 4-3 Everton 12th January 2003
7 West Ham United 3-4 Leeds United 10th November 2002
7 Bolton Wanderers 4-3 Newcastle United 26th December 2002
6 West Bromwich Albion 0-6 Liverpool FC 26th April 2003
6 Manchester City 1-5 Arsenal 22nd February 2003
6 Newcastle United 5-1 Blackburn Rovers 22nd March 2003
6 Middlesbrough 5-1 Tottenham Hotspur 3rd May 2003
6 Southampton 4-2 Fulham 27th October 2002
6 Bolton Wanderers 4-2 Birmingham City 1st February 2003
6 Charlton Athletic 4-2 West Ham United 22nd January 2003
6 Leeds United 2-4 Bolton Wanderers 17th November 2002
5 Chelsea 5-0 Manchester City 22nd March 2003
5 Manchester United 4-1 Charlton Athletic 3rd May 2003

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Wayne Rooney Everton 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur 16 years, 9 months, 24 days 17th August 2002
James Milner West Ham United 3-4 Leeds United 16 years, 10 months, 6 days 10th November 2002
Mat Sadler Birmingham City 3-1 Bolton Wanderers 17 years, 8 months, 7 days 2nd November 2002
Danny Livesey Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Liverpool FC 17 years, 8 months, 14 days 14th September 2002
Jay McEveley Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Blackburn Rovers 17 years, 9 months, 26 days 7th December 2002
Kieran Richardson Manchester United 5-3 Newcastle United 18 years, 1 month, 2 days 23rd November 2002
Robert Huth Fulham 0-0 Chelsea 18 years, 1 month, 5 days 23rd September 2002
Andrew Davies Middlesbrough 2-5 Aston Villa 18 years, 1 month, 11 days 28th January 2003
Osei Sankofa Manchester United 4-1 Charlton Athletic 18 years, 1 month, 14 days 3rd May 2003
Jamie Slabber Tottenham Hotspur 2-3 Liverpool FC 18 years, 2 months, 13 days 16th March 2003

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
David Seaman Sunderland 0-4 Arsenal 39 years, 1 month, 17 days 11th May 2003
Peter Schmeichel Manchester City 0-1 Southampton 38 years, 8 months, 11 days 11th May 2003
Nigel Winterburn West Ham United 0-3 Liverpool FC 38 years, 7 months, 19 days 2nd February 2003
Gudni Bergsson Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Middlesbrough 38 years, 6 months, 9 days 11th May 2003
Laurent Blanc Everton 1-2 Manchester United 38 years, 5 months 11th May 2003
Teddy Sheringham Tottenham Hotspur 0-4 Blackburn Rovers 38 years, 4 months, 19 days 11th May 2003
Gianfranco Zola Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool FC 38 years, 1 month, 24 days 11th May 2003
Martin Keown Arsenal 2-3 Leeds United 37 years, 4 months, 16 days 4th May 2003
Les Ferdinand Birmingham City 2-2 West Ham United 36 years, 9 months, 20 days 11th May 2003
John Moncur Arsenal 3-1 West Ham United 36 years, 6 months, 10 days 19th January 2003

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Brad Friedel Blackburn Rovers 15
2 Shay Given Newcastle United 14
3= Carlo Cudicini Chelsea 12
3= Jerzy Dudek Liverpool FC 12
5 Richard Wright Everton 11
6= Fabien Barthez Manchester United 10
6= Mark Schwarzer Middlesbrough 10
6= Paul Robinson Leeds United 10
6= Jussi Jaaskelainen Bolton Wanderers 10
10 Antti Niemi Southampton 9

Iconic Moments: Keegan loses it live on Sky (April 1996)

In 1996, Newcastle United looked on course to become Premier League champions, just three years after returning to the top-flight of English football. Under the guidance of Kevin Keegan, the Magpies’ were playing some of the best football around, thrilling their supporters and also the neutral fan. They were even christened ‘The Entertainers’ by Sky Sports.

In January, they beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1 and put themselves 12 points clear of the chasing pack. Surely, the biggest prize in English football was on its way to Tyneside? Not if Manchester United had anything to do with it. Alex Ferguson’s side went on a spectacular run of form, winning 10 out of their next 11 games and Newcastle started to wobble. They lost at West Ham United, Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers and were edged out in a 4-3 epic by Liverpool FC at Anfield. Now, they were playing catch-up.

In mid-April, Manchester United were pushed all the way by their rivals in the Pennies, Leeds United. Leeds went down to 10 men early on, yet looked the more likely side to score before Roy Keane broke their resistance. Afterwards, Ferguson turned the heat on Keegan by making comments about the performance the opposition had put in at Old Trafford. He said: “Why aren’t they in the top six? They’re cheating their manager, that’s all it is. When they come to play Newcastle, you’ll notice the difference. It’s sad to say that but I’m very disappointed in Leeds.”

12 days later, Newcastle travelled to Elland Road needing a win to stay in the title race. Leeds battered Keegan’s side early on, hitting the woodwork twice and forcing Shaka Hislop into some decent saves. Newcastle dug in, scored a goal from Keith Gillespie and held on for a 1-0 victory – their third in a row. Keegan then went live on Sky and lost his temper, providing everyone with one of the greatest rants in football history.

“When you do that with footballers like he said about Leeds, and when you do things like that about a man like Stuart Pearce…I’ve kept really quiet but I’ll tell you something, he went down in my estimations when he said that. We have not resorted to that. You can tell him now, we’re still fighting for this title and he’s got to go to Middlesbrough and get something.”

“And I’ll tell you, honestly, I will love it if we beat them. Love it.”

Kevin Keegan had blown it and so had Newcastle. They drew at Nottingham Forest three nights later and Manchester United ended up Premier League champions by four points. Newcastle have never come close to winning the championship since.

Seasonal Records: 1998-1999

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 1998-1999 Premier League season; the last full season of the 20th century.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 22 13 3 80 37 +43 79
2 Arsenal 38 22 12 4 59 17 +42 78
3 Chelsea 38 20 15 3 57 30 +27 75
4 Leeds United 38 18 13 7 62 34 +28 67
5 West Ham United 38 16 9 13 46 53 -7 57
6 Aston Villa 38 15 10 13 51 46 +5 55
7 Liverpool FC 38 15 9 14 68 49 +19 54
8 Derby County 38 13 13 12 40 45 -5 52
9 Middlesbrough 38 12 15 11 48 54 -6 51
10 Leicester City 38 12 13 13 40 46 -6 49
11 Tottenham Hotspur 38 11 14 13 47 50 -3 47
12 Sheffield Wednesday 38 13 7 18 41 42 -1 46
13 Newcastle United 38 11 13 14 48 54 -6 46
14 Everton 38 11 10 17 42 47 -5 43
15 Coventry City 38 11 9 18 39 51 -12 42
16 Wimbledon 38 10 12 16 40 63 -23 42
17 Southampton 38 11 8 19 37 64 -27 41
18 Charlton Athletic 38 8 12 18 41 56 -15 36
19 Blackburn Rovers 38 7 14 17 38 52 -14 35
20 Nottingham Forest 38 7 9 22 35 69 -34 30

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 963
European qualifiers Manchester United (UEFA Champions League), Arsenal (UEFA Champions League), Chelsea (UEFA Champions League), Leeds United (UEFA Cup), Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Cup), Newcastle United (UEFA Cup), West Ham United (UEFA Intertoto Cup)
Longest winning run 7 games (Leeds United)
Longest unbeaten run 21 games (Chelsea)
Longest winless run 19 games (Nottingham Forest)
Longest losing run 8 games (Charlton Athletic)
Highest attendance 55,316 (Manchester United vs. Southampton)
Lowest attendance 11,717 (Wimbledon vs. Coventry City)

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year David Ginola (Tottenham Hotspur)
PFA Young Player of the Year Nicolas Anelka (Arsenal)
Football Writers’ Award David Ginola (Tottenham Hotspur)
PFA Team of the Year Nigel Martyn, Denis Irwin, Sol Campbell, Jaap Stam, Gary Neville, Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Vieira, David Beckham, David Ginola, Nicolas Anelka, Dwight Yorke
Manager of the Year Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
Premier League Goal of the Season Steve Froggatt (COVENTRY CITY vs. Everton)

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Clive Mendonca Charlton Athletic vs. Southampton 5-0 22nd August 1998
Michael Owen Newcastle United vs. Liverpool FC 1-4 30th August 1998
Michael Owen (4) Liverpool FC vs. Nottingham Forest 5-1 24th October 1998
Dion Dublin Southampton vs. Aston Villa 1-4 14th November 1998
Robbie Fowler Aston Villa vs. Liverpool FC 2-4 21st November 1998
Chris Armstrong Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton 4-1 28th December 1998
Darren Huckerby Coventry City vs. Nottingham Forest 4-0 9th January 1999
Dwight Yorke Leicester City vs. Manchester United 2-6 16th January 1999
Robbie Fowler Liverpool FC vs. Southampton 7-1 16th January 1999
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (4) Nottingham Forest vs. Manchester United 1-8 6th February 1999
Nicolas Anelka Arsenal vs. Leicester City 5-0 20th February 1999
Kevin Campbell Everton vs. West Ham United 6-0 8th May 1999

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1= Dwight Yorke Manchester United 18
1= Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Leeds United 18
1= Michael Owen Liverpool FC 18
4= Andy Cole Manchester United 17
4= Nicolas Anelka Arsenal 17
6= Julian Joachim Aston Villa 14
6= Robbie Fowler Liverpool FC 14
6= Hamilton Ricard Middlesbrough 14
6= Alan Shearer Newcastle United 14
6= Dion Dublin Coventry City & Aston Villa 14
11= Gianfranco Zola Chelsea 12
11= Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United 12
11= Dennis Bergkamp Arsenal 12
11= Gus Poyet Chelsea 12
15= Tore Andre Flo Chelsea 10
15= Tony Cottee Leicester City 10
15= Noel Whelan Coventry City 10
15= Marcus Gayle Wimbledon 10
19= Deon Burton Derby County 9
19= Lee Bowyer Leeds United 9
19= Ian Wright West Ham United 9
19= Paulo Wanchope Derby County 9
19= Steffen Iversen Tottenham Hotspur 9
19= Kevin Campbell Everton 9
19= Darren Huckerby Coventry City 9

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Nottingham Forest 1-8 Manchester United 6th February 1999
Liverpool FC 7-1 Southampton 16th January 1999
Everton 6-0 West Ham United 8th May 1999
Middlesbrough 1-6 Arsenal 24th April 1999
Arsenal 5-0 Leicester City 20th February 1999
Everton 5-0 Middlesbrough 17th February 1999
Charlton Athletic 5-0 Southampton 22nd August 1998
Leicester City 2-6 Manchester United 16th January 1999
Manchester United 5-1 Wimbledon 17th October 1998
Arsenal 5-1 Wimbledon 19th April 1999

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
9 Nottingham Forest 1-8 Manchester United 6th February 1999
8 Liverpool FC 7-1 Southampton 16th January 1999
8 Leicester City 2-6 Manchester United 16th January 1999
7 Middlesbrough 1-6 Arsenal 24th April 1999
7 Blackburn Rovers 3-4 Chelsea 21st September 1998
7 Derby County 3-4 Newcastle United 3rd April 1999
7 West Ham United 3-4 Wimbledon 9th September 1998
7 Aston Villa 3-4 Charlton Athletic 8th May 1999
6 Everton 6-0 West Ham United 8th May 1999
6 Manchester United 5-1 Wimbledon 17th October 1998
6 Arsenal 5-1 Wimbledon 19th April 1999
6 West Ham United 1-5 Leeds United 1st May 1999
6 West Ham United 5-1 Derby County 17th April 1999
6 Liverpool FC 5-1 Nottingham Forest 24th October 1998
6 Coventry City 1-5 Newcastle United 19th September 1998
6 Aston Villa 2-4 Liverpool FC 21st November 1998
6 Leicester City 2-4 Chelsea 21st November 1998
6 Charlton Athletic 4-2 West Ham United 24th October 1998
6 Liverpool FC 4-2 Newcastle United 28th December 1998
6 Southampton 3-3 Middlesbrough 7th November 1998

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Owen Morrison Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Leicester City 17 years, 18 days 26th December 1998
Joe Cole Manchester United 4-1 West Ham United 17 years, 2 months, 2 days 10th January 1999
Gareth Barry Everton 0-0 Aston Villa 17 years, 5 months, 23 days 15th August 1998
Adam Murray West Ham United 5-1 Derby County 17 years, 6 months, 18 days 17th April 1999
Paul Konchesky Charlton Athletic 2-2 Newcastle United 17 years, 8 months, 2 days 17th January 1999
Chris Doig Manchester United 3-0 Nottingham Forest 17 years, 10 months, 13 days 26th December 1998
Mikael Forssell Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea 17 years, 10 months, 16 days 31st January 1999
Wayne Bridge Southampton 1-2 Liverpool FC 18 years, 11 days 16th August 1998
Francis Jeffers Derby County 2-1 Everton 18 years, 13 days 7th February 1999
Alan Smith Liverpool FC 1-3 Leeds United 18 years, 17 days 14th November 1998

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Steve Ogrizovic West Ham United 2-0 Coventry City 41 years, 3 months, 16 days 28th December 1998
Dave Beasant Nottingham Forest 1-3 Chelsea 39 years, 11 months 20th February 1999
Dave Watson Southampton 2-0 Everton 37 years, 5 months, 26 days 16th May 1999
Richard Gough Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Nottingham Forest 37 years, 1 month, 3 days 8th May 1999
Hans Segers Southampton 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur 36 years, 10 months, 20 days 19th September 1998
Mark Bright Everton 4-1 Charlton Athletic 36 years, 10 months, 18 days 24th April 1999
Stuart Pearce Liverpool FC 4-2 Newcastle United 36 years, 8 months, 4 days 28th December 1998
Kevin Hitchcock Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Chelsea 36 years, 7 months, 5 days 10th May 1999
Steve Bould Arsenal 1-0 Derby County 36 years, 5 months, 16 days 2nd May 1999
Raimond van der Gouw Manchester United 3-0 Sheffield Wednesday 36 years, 24 days 17th April 1999

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 David Seaman Arsenal 19
2 Shaka Hislop West Ham United 15
3= Ed de Goey Chelsea 14
3= Kasey Keller Leicester City 14
3= Thomas Myhre Everton 14
6= Nigel Martyn Leeds United 13
6= Mark Schwarzer Middlesbrough 13
8 Peter Schmeichel Manchester United 11
9 Mark Bosnich Aston Villa 9
10 Mart Poom Derby County 8

Seasonal Records: 1995-1996

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 1995-1996 Premier League season which was the first where just 20 clubs took part.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 25 7 6 73 35 +38 82
2 Newcastle United 38 24 6 8 66 37 +29 78
3 Liverpool FC 38 20 11 7 70 34 +36 71
4 Aston Villa 38 18 9 11 52 35 +17 63
5 Arsenal 38 17 12 9 49 32 +17 63
6 Everton 38 17 10 11 64 44 +20 61
7 Blackburn Rovers 38 18 7 13 61 47 +14 61
8 Tottenham Hotspur 38 16 13 9 50 38 +12 61
9 Nottingham Forest 38 15 13 10 50 54 -4 58
10 West Ham United 38 14 9 15 43 52 -9 51
11 Chelsea 38 12 14 12 46 44 +2 50
12 Middlesbrough 38 11 10 17 35 50 -15 43
13 Leeds United 38 12 7 19 40 57 -17 43
14 Wimbledon 38 10 11 17 55 70 -15 41
15 Sheffield Wednesday 38 10 10 18 48 61 -13 40
16 Coventry City 38 8 14 16 42 60 -18 38
17 Southampton 38 9 11 18 34 52 -18 38
18 Manchester City 38 9 11 18 33 58 -25 38
19 Queens Park Rangers 38 9 6 23 38 57 -19 33
20 Bolton Wanderers 38 8 5 25 39 71 -32 29

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 988
European qualifiers Manchester United (UEFA Champions League), Newcastle United (UEFA Cup), Aston Villa (UEFA Cup), Arsenal (UEFA Cup), Liverpool FC (UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup)
Longest winning run 6 games (Manchester United)
Longest unbeaten run 15 games (Liverpool FC)
Longest winless run 14 games (Coventry City & Wimbledon)
Longest losing run 8 games (Manchester City & Middlesbrough)
Highest attendance 53,926 (Manchester United vs. Nottingham Forest)
Lowest attendance 6,352 (Wimbledon vs. Sheffield Wednesday)

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Les Ferdinand (Newcastle United)
PFA Young Player of the Year Robbie Fowler (Liverpool FC)
Football Writers’ Award Eric Cantona (Manchester United)
PFA Team of the Year David James, Alan Wright, Tony Adams, Ugo Ehiogu, Gary Neville, Ruud Gullit, Steve Stone, Rob Lee, David Ginola, Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand
Manager of the Year Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
Goal of the Season Tony Yeboah (Wimbledon vs. LEEDS UNITED)

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Matt Le Tissier Southampton vs. Nottingham Forest 3-4 19th August 1995
Robbie Fowler (4) Liverpool FC vs. Bolton Wanderers 5-2 23rd September 1995
Alan Shearer Blackburn Rovers vs. Coventry City 5-1 23rd September 1995
Tony Yeboah Wimbledon vs. Leeds United 2-4 23rd September 1995
Les Ferdinand Newcastle United vs. Wimbledon 6-1 21st October 1995
Gary McAllister Leeds United vs. Coventry City 3-1 28th October 1995
Alan Shearer Blackburn Rovers vs. Nottingham Forest 7-0 18th November 1995
Alan Shearer Blackburn Rovers vs. West Ham United 4-2 2nd December 1995
Dion Dublin Sheffield Wednesday vs. Coventry City 4-3 4th December 1995
Savo Milosevic Aston Villa vs. Coventry City 4-1 16th December 1995
Robbie Fowler Liverpool FC vs. Arsenal 3-1 23rd December 1995
Alan Shearer Blackburn Rovers vs. Bolton Wanderers 3-1 3rd February 1996
Gavin Peacock Chelsea vs. Middlesbrough 5-0 4th February 1996
Alan Shearer Tottenham Hotspur vs. Blackburn Rovers 2-3 16th March 1996
Mark Hughes Chelsea vs. Leeds United 4-1 13th April 1996
Andrei Kanchelskis Sheffield Wednesday vs. Everton 2-5 27th April 1996

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Alan Shearer Blackburn Rovers 31
2 Robbie Fowler Liverpool FC 28
3 Les Ferdinand Newcastle United 25
4 Dwight Yorke Aston Villa 17
5= Andrei Kanchelskis Everton 16
5= Teddy Sheringham Tottenham Hotspur 16
7= Ian Wright Arsenal 15
7= Chris Armstrong Tottenham Hotspur 15
9= Eric Cantona Manchester United 14
9= Stan Collymore Liverpool FC 14
9= Dion Dublin Coventry City 14
12 John Spencer Chelsea 13
13= Savo Milosevic Aston Villa 12
13= Tony Yeboah Leeds United 12
13= David Hirst Sheffield Wednesday 12
16= Andy Cole Manchester United 11
16= Dennis Bergkamp Arsenal 11
16= Robbie Earle Wimbledon 11
16= Ryan Giggs Manchester United 11
20= Tony Cottee West Ham United 10
20= Paul Scholes Manchester United 10
20= Dean Holdsworth Wimbledon 10
20= Danny Dichio Queens Park Rangers 10
20= Julian Dicks West Ham United 10
25 Graham Stuart Everton 9

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Blackburn Rovers 7-0 Nottingham Forest 18th November 1995
Bolton Wanderers 0-6 Manchester United 25th February 1996
Liverpool FC 6-0 Manchester City 28th October 1995
Newcastle United 6-1 Wimbledon 21st October 1995
Manchester United 5-0 Nottingham Forest 28th April 1996
Liverpool FC 5-0 Leeds United 20th January 1996
Chelsea 5-0 Middlesbrough 5th February 1996
Coventry City 5-0 Blackburn Rovers 9th December 1995
Sheffield Wednesday 6-2 Leeds United 16th December 1995
Blackburn Rovers 5-1 Coventry City 23rd September 1995

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
8 Sheffield Wednesday 6-2 Leeds United 16th December 1995
7 Blackburn Rovers 7-0 Nottingham Forest 18th November 1995
7 Newcastle United 6-1 Wimbledon 21st October 1995
7 Liverpool FC 5-2 Bolton Wanderers 23rd September 1995
7 Sheffield Wednesday 2-5 Everton 27th April 1996
7 Liverpool FC 4-3 Newcastle United 3rd April 1996
7 Southampton 3-4 Nottingham Forest 19th August 1995
7 Sheffield Wednesday 4-3 Coventry City 4th December 1995
6 Bolton Wanderers 0-6 Manchester United 25th February 1996
6 Liverpool FC 6-0 Manchester City 28th October 1995
6 Blackburn Rovers 5-1 Coventry City 23rd September 1995
6 Nottingham Forest 1-5 Blackburn Rovers 13th April 1996
6 Arsenal 4-2 Sheffield Wednesday 21st November 1995
6 Wimbledon 2-4 Manchester United 3rd February 1996
6 Liverpool FC 4-2 Nottingham Forest 1st January 1996
6 Aston Villa 4-2 Queens Park Rangers 9th March 1996
6 Arsenal 4-2 Southampton 23rd September 1995
6 Blackburn Rovers 4-2 West Ham United 2nd December 1995
6 West Ham United 4-2 Manchester City 23rd March 1996
6 Middlesbrough 4-2 West Ham United 23rd December 1995

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Mark Platts Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Wimbledon 16 years, 8 months, 18 days 10th February 1996
Andy Campbell Middlesbrough 3-1 Sheffield Wednesday 16 years, 11 months, 18 days 5th April 1996
Neil Finn Manchester City 2-1 West Ham United 17 years, 3 days 1st January 1996
Jody Morris Chelsea 5-0 Middlesbrough 17 years, 1 month, 14 days 5th February 1996
Michael Branch Manchester United 2-0 Everton 17 years, 4 months, 3 days 21st February 1996
Nigel Quashie Manchester United 2-1 Queens Park Rangers 17 years, 5 months, 10 days 30th December 1995
Alan Maybury Aston Villa 3-0 Leeds United 17 years, 5 months, 26 days 3rd February 1996
Rio Ferdinand West Ham United 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday 17 years, 5 months, 28 days 5th May 1996
Harry Kewell Leeds United 0-1 Middlesbrough 17 years, 6 months, 8 days 30th March 1996
Frank Lampard West Ham United 3-2 Coventry City 17 years, 7 months, 11 days 31st January 1996

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Ray Wilkins Nottingham Forest 3-0 Queens Park Rangers 39 years, 7 months, 21 days 5th May 1996
Gordon Strachan Nottingham Forest 0-0 Coventry City 39 years, 2 months, 8 days 17th April 1996
Bryan Robson Middlesbrough 4-2 West Ham United 38 years, 11 months, 12 days 23rd December 1995
Steve Ogrizovic Coventry City 0-0 Leeds United 38 years, 7 months, 23 days 5th May 1996
Bruce Grobbelaar Aston Villa 3-0 Southampton 38 years, 5 months, 23 days 8th April 1996
Les Sealey Newcastle United 3-0 West Ham United 38 years, 5 months, 18 days 18th March 1996
Alvin Martin West Ham United 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday 37 years, 9 months, 6 days 5th May 1996
Neville Southall Everton 1-0 Aston Villa 37 years, 7 months, 19 days 5th May 1996
Nigel Spink Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Aston Villa 37 years, 4 months, 15 days 23rd December 1995
Mick Harford Southampton 0-0 Wimbledon 37 years, 2 months, 23 days 5th May 1996

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Peter Schmeichel Manchester United 18
2= David James Liverpool FC 16
2= David Seaman Arsenal 16
4= Mark Bosnich Aston Villa 15
4= Neville Southall Everton 15
6= Ian Walker Tottenham Hotspur 11
6= Ludek Miklosko West Ham United 11
8= Tim Flowers Blackburn Rovers 10
8= Dmitri Kharine Chelsea 10
8= Dave Beasant Southampton 10