During the enforced break from John’s regular column, English Premier League Predictions For Saturday, it is with great pleasure that we publish his 10 favourite English Premier League Records & Statistics! There will be plenty more to come from John, as the hiatus continues, so check back regularly.
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1. Sir Alex Ferguson
Probably it’s fitting to start any Premier League conversation about facts and stats with the greatest manager of all-time, Sir Alex Ferguson.
A lot of Manchester United fans have only known success under Sir Alex, starting with the 1st-Premier League title in the inaugural 1992/93 season.
However, it was actually touch and go as to whether Alex Ferguson, as he was simply known back then, was even going to be allowed to manage United in the Premier League.
Mr Ferguson arrived at Old Trafford in November 1986, a month prior to Alex’s 46th birthday.
After a stunning managerial career in Scotland, that saw his Aberdeen team, break up the dominance of the Old Firm, winning the Scottish First Division in 1979/80, 1983/84 and 1984/85, plus the European Cup Winners Cup in 1982/83, beating the mighty Real Madrid in that particular final, a lot of the top English clubs were after his services.
What’s not commonly known about Sir Alex is that he was in charge of the Scotland National Football team at the World Cup in Mexico’86.
In September 1985, during a World Cup qualifying game against Wales in Cardiff, the then manager of Scotland, Jock Stein suffered a heart attack at the end of the game and unfortunately passed away.
The draw against Wales meant Scotland progressed to a play-off with Australia and subsequently qualified for the tournament in Mexico the following summer.
The Scottish FA asked Alex to lead the team at the Finals.
In the 3-games in the heat of Mexico, Scotland were beaten twice, by Denmark and West Germany and drew the final game with Uruguay, scoring just 1-goal in the 3-fixtures.
Whether Alex Ferguson got the best out of his side is extremely debatable and there are arguments that say the team didn’t play for him, however, there were a lot of mitigating circumstances that lead to the dismal display in Mexico, none more so than the death of the Scottish legend Jock Stein.
It’s widely rumoured that Sir Alex or Alex at the time, had fallen out with Alan Hansen, who in 1986, had just turned 31, so still in his prime.
Mr Ferguson chose not to include Hansen in the final squad due mainly to Alan having a chequered career with the national team.
Whilst a World Class defender at Liverpool, on occasions the Scot pulled out of games for Scotland, one being the night in Cardiff and another against England just prior to the trip to Mexico.
It’s thought that Jock Stein had said that he wouldn’t take Alan to Mexico, because the decision fell to Alex, Fergie also decided to say no.
To be fair to the 2 great Scots, both player and manager handled the situation in a professional manner with Alan Hansen accepting the decision made by Alex Ferguson.
The problem then for Fergie was telling Hansen’s best mate, Kenny Dalglish that Alan wasn’t going to Mexico.
Initially, Kenny wasn’t happy with the decision and it looked from the outside that Dalglish was more upset than Alan himself.
As it turned out, Kenny Dalglish also didn’t go to the World Cup in Mexico’86 due to needing an operation on his knee.
The obvious speculation afterwards ensued, that Kenny didn’t go because Alan wasn’t included.
Whilst a brilliant story for the tabloids, this is not how grown men, who are professional footballers, behave.
Alan would certainly have wanted Kenny to go and Kenny, entering the twilight of his career, knew that this would probably be his last chance of playing in a World Cup, having competed at Argentina’78 and Spain’82.
Rightly or wrongly, Sir Alex made a decision not to take Alan Hansen.
The fact that Sir Kenny didn’t go, had nothing to do with that decision, however good the story is.
Kenny Dalglish was 35-years old whilst Mexico’86 was taking place and although still a great player, the years had taken its toll on his body, so the knee operation was well overdue.
Sir Alex Ferguson joined Manchester United, 5-months after the trip to Mexico to try and get United a Top Flight League title that had eluded them since 1967.
As mentioned, a lot of the United faithful, only know success from the initial Premier League title in 1993 and for the next 20-years, yet Sir Alex was at Old Trafford for 6-years before the 1st-title with success only coming from the 1990 FA Cup victory against Crystal Palace.
It’s a well-worn story that the Manchester United hierarchy were on the verge of sacking Alex, prior to the successful FA Cup run.
There’s a story told in folklore that the United striker at the time, Mark Robins, saved Fergie’s career at Old Trafford with a solitary winning goal in the 3rd-Round of the 1989/90 FA Cup away at Nottingham Forest.
United went on to lift the trophy following a replay against Crystal Palace with Lee Martin scoring the winning goal after the first game had finished in a 3-3 scoreline.
Following the FA Cup victory, Sir Alex’s 1st-for the Red Devil’s, Manchester United went on to win the European Cup Winners Cup a year later, then embarked on a 20-year Premier League dominance.
It’s rumoured, Mark Robins, who later went on to manage Barnsley FC, gets a nice little drink every Christmas from a certain Scottish Sir!
In his time at Old Trafford, Sir Alex won 13-Premier League titles, 5-FA Cups, 4-League Cups, 2-European Champions League, 1-European Cup Winners, 1-UEFA Super Cup and 1-World Club Cup as well as countless individual honours.
Truly the greatest manager of the Premier League era.
2. Portsmouth 7 v Reading 4
One of the best games of the Premier League era was this stunner at Fratton Park back in September 2007 (EveryTip’s All-Time Greatest Ever Premier League Games)
This fixture included a couple of facts and stats that Portsmouth have in their time in the Top Flight.
The obvious being the combined 11-goals that both teams scored, the highest-scoring game of the Premier League, another being the most individual goal-scorers in a fixture, which is 9, joint with a 5-4 game involving Arsenal against Tottenham in November 2004.
In the 2009/10 season, Portsmouth had the indignity of being docked 9-points due to going into Administration.
Although Pompey finished bottom of the Premier League and were relegated, the 9-points deducted didn’t actually make a difference as with just 19-points, they were still 16-points from safety.
Just 2-years after winning the FA Cup, Portsmouth lost their Premier League status and have never returned to the Top Flight.
In the subsequent years that followed, Portsmouth went down to the depths of the English Football League in League 2, the 4th-tier of football and almost out of existence.
Due to the fans getting together and the arrival of a Walt Disney executive called Michael (not Mickey Mouse!),
Pompey are now back in the 3rd-tier of English football still trying to work their way back to the Promised Land.
Prior to the 2002/03 season when Portsmouth were promoted to the Premier League from the Championship, Harry Redknapp was brought in towards the end of the previous season, to try and get Pompey into the Promised Land.
In that 2001/02 campaign in the 2nd-tier, Portsmouth finished 17th in the league but had 2-great fixtures against Barnsley FC that, home and away, saw 13-goals in total.
In the away fixture, at Oakwell, in September 2001, there was a majestic display by a Portsmouth player, that was quite simply, one of the greatest footballing performances, seen on the hallowed Yorkshire turf, in a generation.
Over the years, in Barnsley, there have been quite a lot of extremely talented footballers who have either worn the famous Red Jersey or played for the opposition, at original Theatre of Dreams.
It would be extremely time-consuming to name them all but a few should be given the air-time.
Tottenham were the original Double Winners in the 1960/61 season with their Captain, Danny Blanchflower lifting both the First Division League trophy and the FA Cup.
Mr Blanchflower, as a 23-year old played for Barnsley FC from 1949-1951.
One of Danny’s team-mates at Oakwell was a certain Manchester United legend that is Tommy Taylor.
Unlike Danny, who crossed the Irish Sea to make his way to God’s Own Country, Tommy was born and bred in Barnsley as was his mate Syd ‘Skinner’ Normanton
This EveryTip contributor could say that he comes from the same Town as the Manchester United legend.
The EveryTip contributor could then say that he comes from the same village as the Manchester United and England legend, who sadly lost his life, in the Munich Air Disaster, aged just 26.
This EveryTip contributor actually lived 8-doors down from where Mr Taylor was born in Barnsley, growing up in the 1970s and 80s on St Helen’s Ave.
During the 1960s there were players such as Eric Winstanley and Barry Murphy, who has the all-time appearance record for the club and still works at Oakwell in his 80th year.
Three opponents that graced the turf were George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton, who played in an FA Cup tie, that United won by a 4-0 scoreline.
That might sound like a ‘so what’ statement with the 3-players playing for Manchester United over a long period, however, Manchester United only ever played once at Oakwell between, 1938 and 1998 and that was in February 1964, when it coincided with the inclusion of Best, Law and Charlton.
The 70s saw Neil Warnock, Mick McCarthy, Allan Clarke, (Barry continue), Ronnie Glavin and the legendary Norman Hunter.
To be continued.
On a rainy September day in 2001, another icon of the game graced the field taking on the Reds.
Robert Prozinecki is a European Cup winner, however, not with the 2-Spanish giants that Robert played for in the 1990s, Real Madrid and Barcelona, Bob actually won the Cup with Red Star Belgrade, beating Chris Waddle’s Marseille in the final of 1991.
Included in the Marseille side along with Chis, was Basile Boli, Jean-Pierre Papin and Abedi Pele, who just happens to be the father of Andre and Jordan Ayew.
The game finished in a 0-0 draw, however, those that can remember the final, saw Chris Waddle run the entire length of the pitch to almost score a last gasp winner for Marseille.
The game went to penalties with Robert converting Red Stars 1st of 5-successful spot-kicks and with Marseille missing their 1st penalty, Red Star Belgrade were the new European Champions.
After a successful career, as mentioned, playing at both the Bernabeu and the Nou Camp, Robert Prozinecki found his way to the South Coast of Portsmouth and produced one of the most mesmerising displays ever seen at Oakwell, helping his Pompey team to a brilliant 4-1 away victory.
In the 84th-minute, the Portsmouth manager, Graham Rix, decided to substitute Robert so that the Pompey fans could show their appreciation.
To a man, the 11,000 or so Barnsley fans, joined the couple of 100, Portsmouth fans and stood and applauded the Croatian superstar, a scene rarely seen for an opposing player and of late, for a Barnsley player.
As mentioned earlier, the 2-games that season saw 13-goals, there was 5 of them.
In the return fixture, at Fratton Park, in February 2002, the game finished in a 4-4 scoreline, with Robert scoring a hat-trick.
Rob’s 3rd gave Portsmouth a 4-2 lead but the Reds came back and scored 2-goals in the last 5-minutes to get a dramatic draw.
Again another round of applause from the 500 travelling faithful from Yorkshire.
Robert Prozinecki is up there with one of the best Portsmouth players of all-time, helping the South Coast club, avoid relegation in 2001/02 and although the Croatian master, left at the end of that season, his legacy lived on with Portsmouth, who under Harry Redknapp, gained promotion to the Premier League in the 2002/03 campaign, where they stayed for 7-seasons until the ill-fated 2009/10 year, which resulted in administration and relegation.
3. Arsene Wenger
It would be remiss not to include Arsene Wenger in this Premier League Facts and Stats column with the Frenchman being the longest-serving Premier League manager of all-time.
Arsene’s time at Arsenal, out-do’s Sir Alex Ferguson’s time at Manchester United by a mere 312-days which is basically a year more than the Old Trafford legend.
The only slight anomaly to that stat is Arsene spent 312-days more than Sir Alex as a Premier League manager, however, Sir Alex was at Manchester United longer than Arsene Wenger was at Arsenal but the years before the inaugural 1992/93 Premier League season, don’t count, apparently.
In truth, Sir Alex is the longest-serving Top Flight manager of all-time, his time at Old Trafford, spanning just short of an incredible 27-years.
That shouldn’t take away Arsene Wenger’s incredible record, at first at Highbury, then the Emirates.
In the Premier League 2003/04 season, Arsene oversaw his Gunners completing an unbeaten season to take the Premier League titles with his modern-day Invincible’s.
As imagined, in an unbeaten season, the said team will have a few records and Arsenal hold the record of firstly, the only team to go throughout the 38-Premier League games unbeaten.
Included in that record is the fewest Home Defeats of a season, zero, the fewest Away Defeats of a season, zero and the most Consecutive Games unbeaten, 49.
The fewest Home Defeats of a season, zero, achieved 3-times, is shared with Manchester United and Liverpool, also achieved 3-times, Chelsea, who have gone 5-seasons without a Home Defeat and Man City and Tottenham, who have done the same, once.
Only Arsenal have gone the whole season, without an Away Defeat and have actually done that twice, not only in the Invincible year but also in the 2001/02 campaign.
When Arsene came into the English game, the Frenchman arrived from the Japanese club Grampus 8, who are famous for initially signing Gary Lineker and his toe, back in the early-1990s.
Sir Alex, in a famous interview early in Arsene’s time in England, mocked the Frenchman stating that he had ‘only been in Japan’ which probably, at the time, was a bit disrespectful by Sir Alex, who certainly found out, within a couple of months, how good Arsene Wenger was.
After arriving at Highbury in October 1996, replacing Bruce Rioch, Arsenal won the Premier League and FA Cup double, within 19-months.
To put in comparison, Jose Mourinho won the Premier League title in his 1st-season but not the Double, a feat Jose never achieved at Stamford Bridge.
It took Pep Guardiola, 2-full season’s to get the title and 3-full seasons for the Premier League and FA Cup Double.
Jurgen Klopp is still awaiting his crown, after nearly 5-seasons but is unlikely to win the Double as he doesn’t take the FA Cup serious enough.
For Arsene to arrive in England ‘only from Japan’ as Sir Alex would say and win the Double in his 1st-full season is simply remarkable and certainly ruffled the United managers feathers, where the two went head to head over the next 17-years.
Mr Wenger achieved the Premier League and FA Cup Double again in 2001/02.
Arsene has 3-Premier League titles and 7-FA Cups, in total but unfortunately doesn’t have a great European record, despite consistently making the Top Four and entry into each season’s Champions League.
Prior to his Japanese exploits, Arsene managed Monaco to a French League title in 1987/88 and their equivalent of the FA Cup in 1990/91.
Whilst in the luxury of Monaco, Wenger had amongst his squad a certain Glenn Hoddle and World Player of the Year George Weah.
At Grampus 8, Arsene was boss of Dragan Stojkovic, who played alongside Robert Prozinecki in the Red Star Belgrade and the old Yugoslavian National team.
Dragan also played in the 1991, European Cup Final between Red Star Belgrade and Marseille, however, at the time had transferred to the French side, so was on the losing team.
For the length of time, Arsene Wenger was in charge of Arsenal, he should be afforded tremendous respect, even if the Frenchman probably stayed a season or two, too long in North London.
4. Frank De Boer
Old Frank is the unlucky one that has the unenviable record of the shortest Premier League stint as permanent manager in the 27-Years in existence.
With just 77-days and 4-matches under his belt, all defeats, FDB found himself down the Crystal Palace concrete and replaced by Roy Hodgson.
In the record books, it shows Les Reed’s stint in charge of Charlton Athletic back in November 2006, as just 40-days, covering 8-games, yet Franks tenure, although 77-days, the majority were in the close season and was in charge of just 4-games, giving the Dutchman the unwanted record.
As a player, Frank De Boer is up there with the best of them and played for the Dutch National team over 100-times.
With 112-caps for Holland, Frank has 45-more than his twin brother Ronald, who Frank played alongside at Ajax, Barcelona and Glasgow Rangers.
Franks career at a club seemed to put his brother Ronald’s in the shade, with substantially more appearances for Ajax and Barcelona, however, Ron was at Rangers first and played more games than Frank in Scotland.
Whilst both at Ajax, the De Boer twins won the 1994/95 European Champions League beating AC Milan by a 1-0 scoreline.
Under the guidance of Louis Van Gaal, the Ajax team included-Edwin Van Der Sar, Danny Blind, Michael Reiziger, Frank Rijkaard, Clarence Seedorf, Finidi George, Edgar Davids, Jari Litmanen, Marc Overmars as well as the De Boer boys.
On the Ajax bench that great night in Vienna, was Winston Bogarde, Nwankwo Kanu, Patrick Kluivert, Peter Van Vossen and the wonderfully named Fred Grim.
The Milan side under the guidance of Postman Pat (Fabio Capello) included Paulo Maldini, Christian Panucci, Alessandro Costacurta, Franco Baresi, Roberto Donadoni, Marcel Desailly and on the bench Gianluigi Lentini and Stefan Eranio.
Gianluigi Lentini was at one point, the subject of a World Record Transfer Fee, when he moved from Torino to Milan, for a fee of around £13 Million, with Stefan Eranio playing for Derby County in the Premier League.
Christian Panucci and Marcel Desailly both went on to play for Chelsea.
It’s fair to say that, the victorious Ajax team all went on to make a name for themselves both at other European clubs and in the Premier League.
Edwin Van Der Sar at Fulham and Manchester United, Michael Reiziger at Middlesbrough, Edgar Davids at Tottenham, Jari Litmanen at Liverpool, Marc Overmars at Arsenal, Winston Bogarde at Chelsea (4-seasons, yet only 9-games for the Blues!)
A lot would say Winston was a mercenary, however, would anyone turn down £40,000 a week?
Nwankwo Kanu went on to play for Arsenal and scored the winning goal in the 2007/08 FA Cup Final for Portsmouth.
Patrick Kluivert eventually showcased his sublime skills in the Premier League, playing 20-odd games for Newcastle in the mid-Noughties.
Van Vossen played in the Scottish Premier League for Rangers.
Even Finidi George trod the boardwalks of the English game, playing a few games for Ipswich Town.
Danny Blind never made it over the North Sea, yet is the father of ex-Manchester United defender Daly.
All in all, whilst having the indignity of only being in charge of 4-winless Premier League games, Frank De Boer had a tremendous playing career and at the age of 50, if not permanently scarred by his experience at Selhurst Park, still has time on his side to come back to the Premier League and try again.
5. Blackpool, Barnsley FC, Swindon Town
There have been 3-teams out of the 49, that have only had the honour of spending just a solitary season in the Premier League, Blackpool, Swindon and Barnsley FC, with Barnsley spending the 1997/98 campaign in the Promised Land.
In that particular season, the Reds accrued 35-points from the 38-games, 5-more than Swindon’s total, which, is worth mentioning that in their solitary stint in the Premier League in 1993/94, the season was a 42-game affair, with there being 22-clubs in the league.
Earlier, there were a few mentions of players that have graced the legendary Oakwell turf over the years both for Barnsley FC and the opposition.
In the 1980s, Barnsley had some great players in their side, such as Martin New, Bobby Horn, Phil Chambers, Joe Joyce, Bobby Collins, Ian Evans, Neil Cooper, Ray McHale, Ian Banks, Ronnie Glavin, Mike Lester, Trevor Aylott, Derek Parker, Booby Downes, Glyn Riley, Stuart Barrowclough, Colin Walker and Winston Campbell.
In 1981, as a Division 2 outfit, Barnsley demolished Brighton who were a Top Flight club, in the League Cup, with goals from Ronnie Glavin, Mick McCarthy and a couple from Trevor Aylott, defeating the Seagulls by a 4-1 scoreline.
A Brighton team that included the legendary headband wearing Steve Foster, original hardman Jimmy Case, Michael Robinson, who went on to play for Liverpool and Osasuna, Gordon Smith, who missed a last-minute sitter in the 1983-FA Cup Final against Manchester United that would have given Brighton the cup and Andy Ritchie, who the Seagulls got from United, went on to manage Barnsley FC and was the Reds manager that gained promotion in 2006 back to the Championship.
Not a bad Brighton side that Barnsley took to pieces.
In the following round, Barnsley were again drawn at home against Man City, who were in Division 1, the equivalent of the Premier League, with players including, Joe Corrigan, Ray Ranson, Kevin Bond, Tommy Caton, Bobby McDonald, Dennis Tueart, Nicky Reid, Asa Hartford, Tommy Hutchinson, Kevin Reeves and Phil Boyer.
Seven of those players had played in the FA Cup Final 6-months earlier that firstly drew with Tottenham by a 1-1 scoreline, then lost the replay 3-2, with the famous Ricky Villa goal.
In front of 34,000, one of the largest attendances ever at Oakwell, a single Trevor Aylott goal gave the Reds a stunning 1-0 victory.
Barnsley were then given the honour of an away tie against the current European Cup holders, Liverpool.
When it’s said ‘the current’ that not only means the current 2019 European Champions League winners but Liverpool were the current European Cup winners in January 1982, when the League Cup Quarter-Final between Liverpool and Barnsley was played at Anfield.
The Liverpool team, that misty night, included Bruce Grobbelaar, Phil Neal, Phil Thompson, Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson, Alan Kennedy, Terry McDermott, Graham Souness, Ronnie Whelan, Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish.
Neal, Thompson, Kennedy, Hansen, McDermott, Dalglish and Souness all won the European Cup 8-months earlier, getting a 1-0 victory against Real Madrid.
Norman ‘bite yer legs’ Hunter, the Barnsley manager on the day, made 2-enforced changes to his starting eleven from the victory against Man City in the previous round, replacing the injured Ronnie Glavin and Glyn Riley, with Neal Cooper and Colin Walker.
Second Division Barnsley came away from Anfield with a brilliant 0-0 draw against the European Champions on their own turf.
Although the Reds of Yorkshire’s goal was still intact, there were a few buses and coaches that sustained a few injuries on the way in and out of Merseyside.
Ask this question today, would a 12-year old boy or girl, go, or be allowed to go, to an away night match at Anfield on his or her own?
This EveryTip contributor did!
Granted it was on a club coach with about 10,000 other Barnsley fans but he was in his own.
In fact, in the 50-years this boy has been alive, the mad Barnsley FC fan has never seen his beloved team lose at Anfield, with 2-Wins and a Draw on his record.
Swindon Town are the club that has the least amount of Premier League points, with 30, in the 27-years.
Now, most will be immediately on Skype saying that Derby County are the club with the least Premier League points and whilst that is true, Derby collecting only 11-points in the 2007/08 season, Swindon only spent 1-season in the Top Flight with a total of just 30-points, whereas Derby have been in the Premier League, for 7-seasons, at different times and despite the poor ‘08 year, have accrued a total of 274-points.
Barnsley FC gained 35-points in their one and only season, with Blackpool having 4-points more than the Reds.
With 39-points, it could be said that the Tangerines were unlucky to be relegated.
Blackpool were lying in 18th-place going into the final game of the season with Birmingham on the same 39-points and Wolves, along with Blackburn, both had 40-points, all of whom were just outside of the drop zone.
Wigan also had 39-points but had an inferior goal difference to Blackpool and Birmingham, so were lying in 19th place.
West Ham were already relegated before the final fixture.
That basically meant that any two of Wigan, Blackpool, Birmingham, Wolves and Blackburn could be relegated.
What Ian Holloway, the Blackpool boss at the time and his side could consider themselves unlucky, is that their last game was away at Old Trafford against Manchester United.
Wigan, Birmingham and Blackburn were all away from home too but with United already crowned Champions, it was unlikely the Red Devil’s would lose at home.
Blackburn were actually away against Wolves so that was a winner takes all game.
Blackburn or Wolves and Birmingham had just to match Wigan’s score and rely on the probability that Blackpool would lose against Manchester United, to stay in the division.
As it turned out, Wolves were beaten by Blackburn so Blackburn were safe.
Birmingham were beaten by Tottenham, so Wolves were safe.
Blackpool inevitably were beaten by Manchester United, so with 39-points, unfortunately, went down.
Probably the surprise of that final day in May 2012 was Wigan beat Stoke by a solitary goal scored in the 78th-minute.
The 3-points gained by Wigan, gave them 42-points, meaning they leapfrogged Blackpool, Birmingham and Wolves to avoid relegation, ultimately sending Birmingham, along with Blackpool and West Ham, down to the Championship.
Like Barnsley FC and Swindon Town, Blackpool have failed to make it back into the Big Time and like Barnsley FC and Swindon Town, don’t look to be going to the Premier League anytime soon.
Whilst Barnsley FC were relegated from the Premier League after just 1-season, it is still up there with one of the best experiences of any Reds faithful’s life, having kids included and it’s a great honour for the Yorkshire club to be included in any Premier League facts and stats column.
6. Most seasons in the Premier League
From its inception in 1992, there have been a total of 49-English Football clubs that have participated. Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton, amazingly, are the only 6-original surviving member clubs that have played in all 27-seasons.
The first 3, United, Arsenal and Chelsea are the only ones out of the 6, that have won the Premier League title, obviously, Liverpool are within touching distance but as it stands now, it’s just the 3.
Out of the 49 clubs that have graced the Top Flight, 3 of them are now in the equivalent of the 4th-tier of the pyramid.
Oldham Athletic, Bradford City and Swindon Town.
The original members of the inaugural Premier League in 1992 were, in alphabetical order,
Queens Park Rangers
Without naming every player in every team, here’s just a selection of the stars that took part back in the 1992/93 campaign.
Just for a bit of fun, can the players named be attached to the said clubs?
No prizes on offer.
Matt Le Tissier
Oldham Athletic produced the first Premier League great escape with a dramatic last-day win against Southampton.
It was Crystal Palace who dropped out instead of the Latics while Middlesbrough made an immediate return to the Championship.
Nottingham Forest finished as the inaugural Premier League’s bottom club as manager Brian Clough’s 18-year tenure at the City Ground came to an inappropriate end.
Brian Clough is another manager that is up there with the best of them.
Brian’s achievements in his managerial career are both stunning and controversial.
As stated, Mr Clough spent 18-years at the City Ground, getting the honour of his final season being in the Premier League.
Although his final season in charge ended in relegation, along with the 18-years at Forest, Brian Clough had successful management spells at Derby County in the late 1960s, taking the relatively unknown club from the bottom of Division 2 (the Championship equivalent) to Division 1 (Premier League equivalent) Champions in 1972.
There are many Double Acts in life, such as Morecambe and Wise, Cannon and Ball, even Mills and Boon but in football, there was a very famous Double Act, called Clough and Taylor.
Brian Clough’s ‘and’ was Peter Taylor.
Whilst Brian had a reasonably successful playing career as a Number 9, that included a couple of England caps, Peter was a moderately good goalkeeper, that met Mr Clough at their time at Middlesbrough in the late 1950s.
Due to a serious knee injury, aged just 29, Brian Clough’s playing career came to an end in 1964.
Although back then there wasn’t any UEFA ‘A’ or ‘B’ coaching licence, there was a limited coaching badge that Mr Clough decided to take to continue his life in football.
After a successful spell at Hartlepool or as Cloughie would say ‘Hartlepools’ always adding an ‘s’ at the end, Brian and Peter took over at Derby County.
After winning the Division 2 title in 1968/69, it took just 3-years for Derby to amazingly win the Top Flight title in the 1971/72 season.
Brian was the manager, the motivator, Peter was the tactician, who knew who to buy.
None more so than, whilst languishing in Division 2, had the audacity to attempt to sign a terrific midfielder who played for Tottenham in the 1st-Division.
Dave Mackay won the League and Cup Double with Tottenham in 1961 and was a brilliant combative midfield general.
Seven years after the Double, it’s fair to say Dave was coming to the end of his Tottenham career but was a target for other Division 1 clubs and teams in his native Scotland.
Brian and Peter persuaded him to sign for Derby County in the 2nd-tier of the English game.
Peter Taylor, not only saw the potential Dave’s experience would bring to the Derby team but converted Mackay into a Centre-Back.
Derby won the Division 2 title in 1968/69, Dave’s 1st-season at the Baseball Ground.
In the 1971/72 season, Brian Clough and Peter Taylor upset the odds, on a scale of the Leicester Premier League title win in 2016, by winning the Division 1 title.
The following season, Derby got to the Semi-Final of the European Cup, eventually losing over 2-legs against Juventus.
A Juve team that included a certain Fabio Capello.
At the end of the 1972/73 season, Brian and Peter left Derby County after differences with the board.
In the summer of 1974, after a brief spell at Brighton, Leeds United who were the current Division 1 Champions parted company with their legendary manager Don Revie.
Mr Revie had been appointed manager of the England National team and having led his West Yorkshire team to title winners, took over the top job.
Leeds United, who used to play in an all Yellow strip, now playing in White, decided to approach Brian Clough to become their new gaffer.
Don Revie had converted the Leeds team colours from all yellow to all white, to match Real Madrid.
The all-white is now synonymous with Leeds United.
Brian Clough lasted just 44-days at Elland Rd, after falling out with anyone who was in his vicinity.
Notice that it was Brian ‘only’ not Brian ‘and’ as Peter Taylor didn’t follow Mr Clough to West Yorkshire, deciding to stay at Brighton.
In 1975, after the ill-fated experience at Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, then in the 2nd Division, took a chance on Brian and as Peter Taylor hales from Nottingham, it was too good of an opportunity not to join his mate at the City Ground.
In the 1976/77 season, Nottingham Forest finished 3rd in the 2nd Division but as of the day, the top-3 were promoted, no Play-Offs back then.
In Forest’s 1st-season back in Division 1, Brian Clough and Peter Taylor remarkably won the Top Flight title.
If Leicester’s title win was 5000/1, Forest’s title win was double that and more.
After the win, Nottingham Forest were now in the following seasons European Cup, which they won defeating Malmo by a 1-0 scoreline in the 1979 final.
Million Pound man Trevor Francis with the solitary goal from a cross by John Robertson.
As holders, Forest retained the European Cup in 1980, beating Kevin Keegan’s Hamburg side, again by a 1-0 scoreline, this time John Robertson getting the with the winning goal.
Nottingham Forest remained in the Top Division until the last day of the inaugural Premier League season, where they were relegated bringing an end to Brian Clough’s reign not only at the City Ground but calling time on a 28-year management career.
Nottingham Forest have the distinction of being the only team to win more European Cups than Top Flight League titles.
Brian was probably the best manager of a generation and the best manager that never got the chance to manage England due to one thing or another.
Peter Taylor passed away in 1990, aged 62.
Brian Clough passed away in 2004, aged 69.
Rest in Peace Brian and Peter.
Aston Villa’s Paul McGrath was named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in the first Premier League season.
Sheffield Wednesday’s Chris Waddle won the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award.
Teddy Sheringham won the Golden Boot with 22-goals playing initially for Nottingham Forest, where he scored on the opening weekend against Liverpool, then transferring to Tottenham Hotspur after 3-games for Forest, where he scored the other 21.
The PFA Team of the First Premier League was-
Peter Schmeichel-Manchester United
Gary Pallister-Manchester United
Paul McGrath-Aston Villa
Tony Dorigo-Leeds United
Gary Speed-Leeds United
Paul Ince-Manchester United
Roy Keane-Nottingham Forest
Ryan Giggs-Manchester United
So although Teddy Sheringham won the Golden Boot, his feat didn’t warrant a place ahead of Match of the Days, Alan and Ian.
Not a bad team though, any side that has Roy Keane, Paul Ince, Ryan Giggs and the legend that is Gary Speed in the midfield would be a match for any team in the World.
By the way, the Jon Newsome listed is not this John Newsome.
It’s long been acknowledged that the Premier League is the most exciting League in the World with so many twists and turns and exciting fixtures and finishes over the 27-years.
Out of the 49-clubs that have graced the Premier League there have been only 6-different teams that have got their hands on the coveted trophy.
In the time the Premier League as been in existence-1992/93, the other leagues in Europe have the following.
Spain’s La Liga= 5 individual winners.
Deportivo La Coruna-1
Germany’s Bundesliga= 6 individual winners
Bayern Munich-17 (last 7-successive)
Italy’s Serie A= 5 individual winners.
Juventus-13 (Last 8 successive)
Inter Milan-5(succession 2006-2010)
The eagle-eyed amongst you will see that only 26-Serie A titles have been allocated.
This is due to Juventus being stripped of the 2004/05 title due to match-fixing.
Juventus did actually compete in the 2005/06 season and finished top, however, due to the delay in the outcome of the match-fixing scandal, the Old Lady were demoted to 20th in the table and relegated to Serie B, the 2nd-tier of Italian football.
Inter Milan were awarded the 2005/06 Serie A crown following, Juventus demotion, however, the 2004/05 title wasn’t given to anyone and declared ‘non attribuito’
France’s Ligue 1= 10 individual winners
Paris Saint Germain-7
Lyon-7 (succession 2002-2008)
Again the eagle-eyed amongst the readers will see that there are only 26-titles accounted for over the 27-years.
The reason for this is because, at the same time that Manchester United were being crowned the English Premier League in 1992/93, Marseille were being crowned the French Champions, however, later, had the title stripped due to bribery allegations.
Paris Saint Germain were runners up but refused to accept the title in place of Marseille, so the 1992/93 season was declared ‘non attribue’
Like Juventus, Marseille were demoted or relegated to the French 2nd-tier.
Although Marseille were stripped of the title, they were allowed to keep the European Champions League which they won in May 1993 but were not allowed entry into the 1993/94 European competition to defend their crown.
So, whilst it’s fair to say that the English Premier League is exciting, it does relatively compare to the other Top Leagues in Europe, without the obvious Match Fixing and Bribery controversy that other leagues have.
It’s just a matter of time before a 7th-name is added to the roll of Premier League honours, with Liverpool moments, weeks or months away from glory.
Earlier in this piece, it was mentioned that Oakwell had the privilege of entertaining some great players both for and against Barnsley FC.
In the mid-1980s a certain Paul Gascoigne made his one and only appearance, at Oakwell, against the Reds, playing in a 1-1 draw in a League Cup 2nd-leg fixture for the Magpies.
Another great Newcastle player, John Beresford graced the turf, however, not just playing for Newcastle but actually playing for the Reds at the start of his career.
Steve Agnew, Julian Broddle, both of the Futcher twins Ron and Paul and all of the stars of the 1997/98 Premier League season graced the hallowed turf, Beckham, Scholes, Giggs, the Neville’s, Matt Le Tissier, David Hirst, Paulo Di Canio and Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Vierra.
Jurgen Klinsmann ended up at Barnsley General Hospital after brief run out on the hallowed turf.
David Ginola’s spectacular individual goal for Tottenham at Oakwell, in the FA Cup in 1999, is often shown on Sky, with all the Barnsley defenders parting like the Red Sea.
Dennis Bergkamp, who many think is one of Arsene Wenger’s best signings, was in fact signed for the Gunners by Bruce Rioch, over a year before Arsene’s arrival at Highbury.
Within a couple of months of arriving from Inter Milan, Big Dennis the Menace was playing on a cold Tuesday night in Barnsley, even helping himself to a goal.
Over the years, Barnsley FC have had their fair share of wonderful footballers who have either spent a year or two in Yorkshire or just passing by on loan.
John Stones and Mason Holgate both started their career at Oakwell.
When John is sat in the Man City changing room, surrounded by the Superstars, prior to their rescheduled European Champions League tie against Real Madrid, Pep and the City boys will no doubt enquire,
‘Johnny Boy, tell us about that time you played alongside Mido at Oakwell’
Conor Hourihane had a couple of years in Barnsley.
Jack Butland had a few games between the Oakwell sticks, as did Ross Turnbull, who has a European Champions League medal in his cabinet, albeit as an unused substitute for Chelsea in the Champions League Final of 2012.
Jon Walters, Chris Wood, Jay Rodriguez, Kevin Long, Josh Brownhill, Danny Drinkwater, Harvey Barnes, Olly McBurnie, all spent time on loan at Oakwell, all regulars in the Premier League.
However, Emanuel Frimpong is one to forget.
Kieran Trippier had a year in Red, now the lads an England International playing with Diego Costa at Atletico Madrid.
Barnsley or Madrid, no contest!
Even the superstars of Santos, enjoyed 90-minutes in the Yorkshire Sun, prior to the start of the 1997/98 Premier League campaign.
It’s just like watching Brazil!
8. Brian Deane
It’s a well-known fact that Brian Deane was the player who scored the 1st ever Premier League goal.
It’s often a quiz question.
Whilst Manchester United were the inaugural Premier League Champions, the Red Devil’s actually lost the first game of that campaign, suffering a 2-1 defeat away at Bramall Lane against Sheffield United.
After just 5-minutes, Big Brian opened the scoring, not knowing at the time that he was making history.
After the break, Deano scored again to give the Blades a 2-0 advantage.
Mark Hughes pulled a goal back but the Yorkshire club held on for an opening day victory.
What maybe was significant in the opening day defeat for Manchester United, was that Eric Cantona was still at Elland Rd with Leeds United and starred in their victory against Wimbledon.
Eric left West Yorkshire in November of 1992, to help Manchester United become the first-ever winners of the Premier League.
Before Cantona left Leeds, he did score the 100th Premier League goal in a 5-0 victory against Tottenham before the month of August was out.
The 100th was part of a hat-trick for the Frenchman in the 5-0 win.
In the same season, Mike Newell of Blackburn scored the 1000th Premier League goal, just before the end of the campaign in April 1993.
Chris Sutton scored the 5000th goal for Blackburn against Leicester in 1996.
However, at the same time on the South Coast, Aston Villa’s Andy Townsend was scoring against Southampton, so both are credited with the 4,999 and 5000.
Les Ferdinand was on the mark when it came around to the 10,000th, notching the milestone for Tottenham against Fulham in 2001.
The 15,000th Premier League goal was scored by Fulham’s Moritz Volz against Chelsea in 2006, with Marc Albrighton getting the 20,000th strike for Aston Villa against Arsenal in 2011.
The superstar that is Zlatan Ibrahimovic only showcased his tremendous talent for a couple of seasons in the Premier League but managed to engrave his name on the goal-scoring milestones by getting the 25,000th in 2016, for Manchester United against Swansea.
It won’t be long after the Premier League reconvenes that the 30,000th goal is scored.
It would be worth a shout asking the bookmakers what the odds are for the likes of Jamie Vardy, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Marcus Rashford or even Chris Wood, plus any player from the newly promoted clubs from the Championship, whoever or whenever they or that will be.
As the pattern shows, the scoring is averaging just over 1000 goals per season so it’s more than likely that the 30,000th goal will be whenever the 2020/21 season starts.
What are the odds on that 30,000th being scored by Cristiano Ronaldo, when he re-signs for Manchester United in 2021?
9. Goal Scorers
A few players that should be afforded a paragraph or 2, in this column about goal-scorers, are Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Andy Cole, Sergio Aguero, Frank Lampard, Thierry Henry and Harry Kane.
Alan is the Premier League all-time leading scorer with 260-goals, a massive 42-more than Wayne Rooney in 2nd-place, who has 208 to his name so far, so far, as Wayne will still feel he can add to that, yet it would mean his current club Derby reaching the Premier League or a Top Flight club taking a chance on him.
Alan Shearer did actually score 23-goals in the old First Division, for Southampton, prior to the inception of the Premier League and his move to Blackburn.
For Blackburn, Alan notched 112-times in 138-games, just short of a goal-a-game.
For Newcastle, Alan scored 148-times in 303-appearances, roughly a goal every 2-games.
A total of 260-Premier League goals, in 441-Premier League appearances, plus the 23-Top Flight strikes at Southampton.
So over Alan’s Premier League career, spanning 16-years, Shearer scored, on average, a goal every 1.7 games.
Not too shabby Alan.
Wayne’s record is 25-goals in 98-games for Everton, spread over the 2-terms Rooney played for the Toffees.
For Manchester United, Wayne scored 183-times in 393 Premier League appearances.
A total of 208 goals in 491-outings for both Everton and United.
So over Wayne’s Premier League career, also spanning 16-years, Rooney scored, on average, a goal every 2.4 games.
Again not too shabby.
In comparison, Andy Cole, with 187-goals in 414-appearances, spanning 16-years, averages a goal every 2.2 games.
Frank Lampard, with 177-goals in 609-Premier League appearances, spanning 20-years, averaging a goal every 3.4 games.
The one thing to mention about Frank is for a midfielder, the 177-Premier League goals is simply outstanding. Thierry Henry, with 175-goals from 258-appearances, spanning 9-years, averaging a goal every 1.5 games.
The player who possibly has the best strike rate and who is possibly the only one that could catch Alan Shearer is Sergio Aguero who has amassed an amazing 180-goals in just 261-appearances so far, over a Premier League career spanning, up to now, 8-years.
A goal every 1.45 games and counting.
Sergio is 31 and will have passed his 32nd birthday come June this year, still a year and a half younger than Jamie Vardy, so in theory, if the Premier League reconvenes pretty soon, Sergio could close in on 200-goals at the end of this term.
In reality, he probably has 3-more seasons at most in the Premier League, at most but if he continues at the current goal-scoring rate, could get close to Alan’s 260-total.
Harry Kane is 5-year younger than Sergio and is averaging roughly the same, at 1.47 per game, as Mr Aguero, on 136-goals from 201-Premier League appearances (3-games with Norwich, on loan in 2012/13, although no goals for the Canaries)
So depending on how Harry’s career pans out in the future, he’s another that could get close to Shearer.
Still, Alan has the goals in the bank and it’s up to the chasing pack to keep notching to even think about getting close to his brilliant 260-Premier League goals.
Respect Alan Shearer.
Football is a massive part of a lot of people’s lives and the current climate as only enhanced that opinion.
It may be a while before the stadiums are full again but that shouldn’t stop the games going ahead once the virus is contained, without the fans at the stadium.
Yes it’s not football as we know it but these are unprecedented times that none of us have experienced before so to start with, the football may just have to be played for the watching television audience.
The majority of people will accept that just to see some sort of live-action.
Prior to the inception of the Premier League in 1992, the First Division football, whilst still exciting lacked the pizzazz that the Premier League as brought.
At the time, Sky invested a lot of money to help rebrand the Top Flight.
The majority of Stadia was old and outdated, post-Hillsborough, all grounds had to be converted into all-seating, making it safe for fans.
The pitches, at certain times in the season, were like quagmires, the players nowadays play on football pitches that are virtually carpets, enabling them to showcase their immense skills.
Not that the players in the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s couldn’t, the players of the quality of Danny Blanchflower, George Best, Rodney Marsh, Stan Bowles or Ronnie Glavin could play on the moon.
It’s fair to say that the English Premier League is the most exciting and Sky Sports and BT Sports, although charge a fortune to watch, have a great product.
This is one for the FIFA’20 brigade, imagine this, a defender receives the ball from the goalkeeper, then passes the ball back to the goalkeeper who picks it up.
The midfielder on the half-way line lobs the ball back to his ‘keeper who takes it safely in his arms.
The PlayStation controls would be in melt-down.
Prior to the inaugural Premier League season in 1992/93, a player could do exactly that.
Whilst the new back-pass rule was not just for the Premier League, it did coincide with the start of the 1992/93 season, whether that was luck or judgment is for others to worry about.
What’s certain is the new rule took football to another level that instantly set apart the Premier League from the old First Division.
No more continuous time-wasting that teams would do.
Over the 27-years of the Premier League, Manchester United came in from the wilderness, Arsenal got Arsene and a 60,000 seater Emirate.
Chelsea got an Oligarch and Man City got an influx of Petroleum.
Leicester stunned the World in 2016 at 5000/1 and Blackburn now sell Chickens.
If one goes through the alphabet and instantly comes up with a word about the Premier League years, it’s quite a fun game.
The Premier League Facts and Stats.
This next bit was included in the Liverpool Best Of but it is worth reiterating again.
Regarding the current situation with the re-commencement of the football season and what are the challenges that is faced, there are a number of solutions.
As a Barnsley FC fan, it would be easy to say that the season should finish and be declared null and void.
Barnsley FC would benefit.
However, that’s not the common feeling, the season should continue once the dreaded Coronavirus is in the past, which by the way, shouldn’t be too long now.
The worst-case scenario is that the Premier League and EFL could say that the season will start on July 1st.
With what’s happening in other countries and if Britain followed that pattern, July is well within reason to start up the season again.
There aren’t that many games left, the Premier League have 9 fixtures and the EFL have roughly the same, give or take.
July 1st is a Wednesday, so everyone kickstarts the season as Game Week 1, on Wednesday then the following weekend is Game Week 2 and so on.
Game Week 9, would roughly finish on Sunday 2nd of August 2020.
That could be extended for 2 weeks so that the FA Cup could be fitted in just like it would have been done.
If social distancing is still in force than there should be no crowds, simple as.
It’s not normal but this period is unprecedented and things that haven’t happened before may just have to happen now.
None of this ‘well it’s not our way’
The Champions League and Europa League can also be fitted in.
Bearing in mind Liverpool have gone out of the Champions League as have Tottenham.
Chelsea looks to heading the same way with only Man City looking to progress, so the Premier League won’t be affected too much by the Champions League.
The league could work around City, which is what would have happened anyway.
Manchester United and Wolves are still in the Europa League with both having a chance of progressing.
Yet, Wolves are out of the FA Cup so there’s no problem there.
In theory, only the two Manchester clubs have the most amount of fixtures to workaround which can be done.
If the season resumes on July 1st then an end date of August 31st is given to all competitions, it would be feasible.
The players will in effect have had their pre-season so the 2020/21 season could start on the weekend commencing the 4th September 2020.
Remember also, most will have only played 9 games in that period up to 4th September.
The new 2020/21 season can again be compacted with extra time and replays being scrapped.
Why should an FA Cup replay take 10-days to be played? that in itself is wrong, even prior to this conundrum.
Usually, the play-offs are spread over virtually the whole of May with large gaps in between the games.
This can be compacted, as there are only so many teams that will be playing out of the 91.
It can be done and negativity needs to be dismissed straight away, this ‘we can’t do’ needs to be taken out of every conversation.
It can be done.
Whoever decides the outcome firstly needs to agree to a pact that this is unprecedented and shouldn’t be classed as the norm.
Also, in the pact should be ‘no negative comments’
‘We just can’t’
these statements need to be taken out of any conversations.
It can be done.