Debut annual award winners tell you a lot about the era in which the gongs were inaugurated. The first Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year was Stanley Matthews, in 1948/49; the first PFA Player of the Year was Norman Hunter, in 1973/74; and the first Premier League Player of the Season was Alan Shearer, in 1994/95.
Ignoring for now the Football Didn’t Start With Sky M8 award, it’s interesting to note how often the winners don’t overlap. Of the first 24 PFA winners, only six also won the writers’ approval.
With trophy season approaching, we thought we’d salute those rare chaps who managed to win both PFA and FWA awards. Starting with one you might not have guessed…
1979/80: Terry McDermott (Liverpool)
Forced to predict which 1970s footballer would please players and pundits alike, you’d go a long way before naming Terry Mac. But upon reflection it makes perfect sense: team-mates, opponents and writers all appreciated the non-stop, skilful midfielder who was unlucky to only gather 25 England caps.
1982/83: Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool)
Bob Paisley’s side retained the League and League Cup on what turned out to be the avuncular gaffer’s farewell lap. Despite turning 32 in the March, King Kenny scored 20 for the fifth time in six Anfield seasons – but it was his on-field development of Ian Rush (31 goals) that impressed both awards electorates.
1983/84: Ian Rush (Liverpool)
Don’t worry, Anfieldphobes: it’s not all Red. By 1984, voters couldn’t ignore the rangy striker who always looked like he needed a good meal but never failed to feast on chances. Having twice reached 30 goals, he hit 47 as Joe Fagan’s Liverpool added the European Cup to now-traditional League and League Cup.
1985/86: Gary Lineker (Everton)
The Goodison loyalists didn’t like Lineker to start with: he’d replaced their hero Andy Gray, sold to make way and money. The champions struggled to adapt but a hat-trick against Birmingham set him en route to 40 goals in all competitions, despite a curious home shirt that resembled a baby’s bib.
1986/87: Clive Allen (Tottenham)
In the ‘80s, every season seemed to create a new 40-goal striker. Midway through his tour of seven London clubs, Allen spearheaded David Pleat’s revolutionary 4-5-1 formation in front of a forward-thinking midfield frequently harnessing Hoddle, Waddle and Ardiles. Allen bagged an opening-day hat-trick at Villa and eventually piled up 49 in all competitions.
1987/88: John Barnes (Liverpool)
The last double award-winner for a decade was part of a fearsome redesigned Liverpool. With Rush off to Italy and Dalglish concentrating on managing, newcomers Peter Beardsley and John Aldridge impressed – but the key man was Barnes, gliding with equal panache and disdain past floundering full-backs and racist opposing fans.
1997/98: Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal)
The avatar of an academic Arsenal advancing from the old school. The Dutchman (mis)named after Denis Law top-scored for the Double-winners and, more importantly, led a new cerebral culture under Arsene Wenger. The Premier League Player of the Season panel preferred little Michael Owen, though.
1998/99: David Ginola (Tottenham)
The 1990s English top flight was notably Gallophile: Cantona, Wenger and hunky Daveed G, whose skills and personality delighted Spurs fans for whom Worthington Cup glory ameliorated an awful mid-table season under Christian Gross and George Graham. The Premier League panel went for Dwight Yorke, whose Manchester United did alright that season.
1999/2000: Roy Keane (Manchester United)
The Treble-winners weren’t allowed to defend their FA Cup, instead packed off to the Club World Cup to win the FA some FIFA brownie points. But in the league they were utterly formidable, racking up 97 points to win the title by 18. Their beating, snarling heart was Roy Keane.
2000/01: Teddy Sheringham (Manchester United)
Age would not wither Teddy, who never had any pace to lose. In the season he turned 35, he led United’s goal charts and helped the club to a third successive league title – a seventh in nine Premier League seasons. He left in summer 2001; in summer 2002, he was still playing for Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England. He was still playing for Colchester in 2008 at 42.
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