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100 Greatest Premiership Players, 50-41

30_copy_9 So this week we'll bring you the top 50 Greatest Premiership Players, starting below with Nos 50-41. If you haven't already checked out out last week's lists, or you just want to recap, then you can see Nos 100-50 here.

All comments most welcome…

100 Greatest Premiership Players, 50-41 continued…

(Man Utd 1992-96)
Bruce4 Steve Bruce seemed to end up wearing a head bandage in every game he played for United. He had no reservations about putting his head in where it hurt, and that's what made him so valueable a defender. He also chipped in with a few vital goals. His partnership with Gary Pallister was formidable and it's amazing that he was never capped by England.

(Norwich City 1992-94, Blackburn Rovers 1994-99, Chelsea 1999-2000, Aston Villa 2006-)
Sutton Few football fans really like Chris Sutton. He's not a lovable player. But he was a ruthless striker – not so ruthless now he's approaching his mid-thirties – and one half of Blackburn's famous and fearsome SAS partnership (with Alan Shearer). Sutton also proved that he could cut it as a central defender.

(Chelsea 1997-2001, Tottenham Hotspur 2001-04)
_1490464_guspoyet150Poyet is one of few South Americans to fulfil their potential in the Premiership. In fact, the popular Uruguayan was a very English type of midfielder, always full of running and 100% committed. He was a real team player, with no hint of ego. Gus scored spectacular goals too, like this scissor-kick volley…

(Man Utd 1992-95, Everton 1995-96, Man City 2001)
Kanchelskis According to Wikipedia, Andrei Kanchelskis is still playing professional football, for FC Krylya Sovetov Samara in Russia. He's 37 years old now, so we guess he's lost a yard or two of pace. No doubt he's retained that distinctive, quick-stepping style – when he ran it looked like someone had pressed fast-forward on the remote – that made him such a force down the wing for both Man Yoo and Everton.

(Arsenal 2000-06)
1127437966894robertpires_230905 Pires represented a lot of what English football fans dislike about foreign players. He fell over a lot and he once complained about the Premiership being 'too physical'. And don't get us started on his silly little beard. But once he had settled in at Highbury – huge credit to Arsene Wenger for that – he flourished. Pires is a great example of how the Premiership can be the making a foreign player. On his day, Le Bob was a devastating attacking force. He's also one of the most stylish midfielders ever to play in this country (apart from that beard, of course).

(Newcastle Utd 1998-99, Liverpool 1999-06, Man City 2006-)
Hamann_dietmar Dietmar Hamann is that rarest of things in England – a popular German footballer. It's almost impossible to say anything bad about Didi, because he never gives less than his best, and he's modest with it. He's simply a model professional and a very fine central midfielder. We even forgave him for scoring Germany's winner against England in the last international at the old Wembley Stadium – hell, we thanked him for it, 'cause it prompted Kevin Keegan to resign as England manager. Nice one Didi.

(Arsenal 1992-97, Aston Villa 1998-02)
_38614309_merson150 Merse won't quite be remembered as a player who wasted his talent, but it's fair to say that his addictions (cocaine, booze and gambling, to name three) didn't do him any favours as a footballer. Considering what he got up to off the pitch, it's amazing how good he was on it.

(Man Utd 1992-95, Chelsea 1995-98, Southampton 1998-2000, Everton 2000, Blackburn Rovers 2000-02)
Hughes_dcannon What a great, great player Sparky was. Never-say-die attitude, hard as nails, the strongest ankles in football, terrific goalscorer, lovely curly hair etc. He should of course be much higher up the list, but only half of his career was spent in the Premiership, so he has to settle for a place in the top 50, and our undying respect.

(Leeds Utd 1992-96, Everton 1996-98, Newcastle Utd 1998-04, Bolton Wanderers 2004-)
Gspeed1 How the hell does Gary Speed do it? It seems like he's hardly aged in 15 years as a professional. He's one of only two players to have scored in every Premiership season (the other is Ryan Giggs) and he's still going strong. A truly incredible professional and still underrated by many football fans.

(Man Utd 1992-95, Liverpool 1997-99, Middlesbrough 1999-02)
InceWe started this list with a Man Yoo player wearing a head bandage and, by thunder, that's how we'll finish it. The self-styled 'guvnor' is almost 40 years old but he's still playing, now as player-manager for Macclesfield Town. Alex Ferguson famously labelled Ince a 'big-time Charlie' but Ince had every right to be cocky - in the mid-Nineties he was one of the best midfielders in the world.

Tune in tomorrow for Nos 40-31

October 30, 2006 in Lists | Permalink


Didi, Smicer, and the original Neaderthal man, Igor Biscan, will always be three of my five all-time favorite Liverpool players. It's a shame Klinnsman didn't know Hamann's value, he could have been the straw that broke Italy's back in this past World Cup. Easily one of the best holding/defensive midfielders of all-time, if you ever get to see a Liverpool highlight film, take a notice on how Didi is involved somehow in every great goal scored, whether it be actually scoring it (rarely though), making a fantastic pass, a crucial tackle, or splitting and drawing the defense.

Posted by: Brian | Oct 30, 2006 1:55:54 PM

Didi Hamman above Robert Pires is a joke, Pires scored 15 plus goals a season most years except when he was badly injured, won player of the year, and the silly beard was class also! Your list does seem somwhat strange!

Posted by: nic | Oct 30, 2006 2:47:37 PM

Thanks for your comment Nic - are you an Arsenal fan by any chance? Seriously, in our opinion Hamann's contribution to the Premiership is very underrated. And he's got several seasons' worth of Prem experience on Pires.

Posted by: Ollie, Pies Ed. | Oct 30, 2006 3:05:08 PM

Uh, you're comparing apples and oranges. Didi was/is a defensive/ holding midfielder, while Pires is/was an attacking midfielder/winger/support striker.

Posted by: Brian | Oct 30, 2006 3:26:41 PM

Well said Brian - although we reckon Didi's a slightly better apple than Pires is an orange. Only just, mind.

Posted by: Ollie, Pies Ed. | Oct 30, 2006 3:36:45 PM


How is it posible to rate Hamman and the rest of the lot on this page better than Pires(50-41)??

Pires should be top ten.

Posted by: Andreas | Oct 30, 2006 6:43:24 PM

Pires was the FWA Premiership Player of 2001/2002. It's just a bit odd that a player of his technique, influence, and goalscoring ability isn't in the top 20. He was the best player in the world during 2001/2002. I'm not going to compare him to Hamman, but it's just not right I think to have Pires at #46.

Posted by: Andrew | Oct 30, 2006 9:35:08 PM

Andrew, we're talking about greatness, not pure ability and basic technique. If you judge Pires by the latter criteria, then yes, of course you're right. But judged by the arbitrary concept of greatness, we think he's fine where he is - we're throwing in things like cult status, likeability, longevity, off-pitch antics and all sorts of other stuff. Besides, what would a list like this be if it didn't stir up a bit of pub/water cooler debate! Thanks for your comment.

Posted by: Ollie, Pies Ed. | Oct 31, 2006 12:20:49 PM

Well, in terms of cult status, I think all I need to do is point to the amount of goals he scored against Spurs. That and the "penalty" against Manchester City. I know I'm not going to move him up the list, but I can at least vouch for him. That's all. Other than the Pires thing, I pretty much agree with the list so far.

Posted by: Andrew | Oct 31, 2006 4:13:15 PM

pires was prem player of the year and the best in the world on his day, hamann never even got in the starting liverpool team, thats a load of bollocks

Posted by: al | Jan 14, 2007 5:14:49 PM

pires was prem player of the year and the best in the world on his day, hamann never even got in the starting liverpool team, thats a load of bollocks

Posted by: al | Jan 14, 2007 5:14:50 PM

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