Thanks to a small clerical error, yesterday we published Nos. 70-61, rather than 80-71. So today we’re publishing the real 80-71. Yesterday’s post has been amended, so now you can check out the real 70-61. In other words, the ten players we listed yesterday are slightly greater than the ten we’re about to list below. If that makes any sense at all, go to the top of the class.
100 Greatest Premiership Players, 80-71 (again) continuedâ€¦
80 RIO FERDINAND
(West Ham 1995-2000, Leeds Utd 2000-02, Man Utd 2002-)
Ferdinand’s natural talent is scary â€“ I once saw him warming up for West Ham before a match against Spurs at Upton Park, and he was the most skilful player on the pitch, with the best touch and the most accurate pass. He suffers from the odd lapse in concentration â€“ partly, I think, because football is so damn easy for him â€“ but when it matters he usually steps up and delivers. It’s easy to forget that he’s already played for more than a decade in the Premiership (he made his West Ham debut against Sheffield Wednesday in May 1996).
79 TIM FLOWERS
(Southampton 1992-93, Blackburn Rovers 1993-99, Leicester City 1999-03)
Tim Flowers racked up more than 500 league appearances during his career â€“ but for the impressive form of David Seaman and Nigel Martyn, he would definitely have won more than his 11 England caps (he was England’s third-choice keeper for Euro 96 and the 1998 World Cup). Flowers was Blackburn’s rock at the back when Rovers won the Premiership title in 1994/95 and remains, in our book, an underrated No.1.
78 SYLVAIN WILTORD
Arsenal paid a staggering Â£13m for Sylvain Wiltord, the pacy French winger/striker with the girly name. Â£13m! We’d forgotten he cost that much. Did he repay them? Well, he was in and out of the team and was something of a super-sub, but when he was on form, he looked like a hell of a player. He scored the winning goal at Old Trafford that helped the Gunners win the 2002 league title, and so he’ll always have a place in Arsenal fans’ hearts. Think of him as a poor man’s Thierry Henry. No bad thing really.
77 NEVILLE SOUTHALL
Most of Big Nev’s best years were played in the old First Division for Everton, but he played long enough in the Premiership to coast into the lower echelons of this list. Southall is everyone’s favourite goalkeeper, and for good reason. Not only was he world-class, but he managed to be world-class without making any obvious effort to stay in shape, relying instead on his phenomenal natural ability to get him out of trouble. And he had a tache. Legend.
76 JOHN BARNES
(Liverpool 1992-97, Newcastle Utd 1997-99)
Like Southall, the majority of Barnesy’s best years were given to the First Division, for Watford and then Liverpool. But he still lit up the Premiership for several years, even if (like Big Nev) he’d put on a few inches around the waist. And of course he gave us the infamous ‘John Barnes rap’, which you can watch below (almost brought a nostalgiac tear to our eye)â€¦
75 GIANLUCA VIALLI
The bald Italian didn’t make as big an impact on the pitch as compatriot and Chelsea team-mate Gianfranco Zola, but he still played a starring role in the Blues’ transformation from perennial underachievers to a club which could actually compete with the likes of Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool. He also added a touch of glamour â€“ and no little charm â€“ to the game in England.
74 HARRY KEWELL
(Leeds Utd 1995-03, Liverpool 2003-)
We’re not talking about the arrogant, ponytailed primadonna who plays for Liverpool â€“ well, ‘plays’ is bit of an exaggeration. We’re talking about the frighteningly talented, fresh-faced youngster who shone for Leeds United and became a transfer target for every big club in Europe. What happened to that Harry Kewell? When the Aussie was good, he was very, very good. Shame that Liverpool fans have rarely seen the best of him. You, however, can see the best of Arry in this video compilationâ€¦
73 FABRIZIO RAVANELLI
(Middlesbrough 1996-98, Derby County 2001-02)
The man they called the ‘White Feather’ didn’t score that many goals for Boro (a hat-trick on his debut, against Liverpool, was Rava’s high point) or Derby, but he’s a Premiership icon all the same – that white hair and his shirt-over-the-head celebration (see pic) contributed hugely to his public image. No doubt if he had brown hair and came from Bristol, he probably wouldn’t be on this list. As it is, he represents the exotic and we all remember him.
72 EDWIN VAN DER SAR
(Fulham 2001-05, Man Utd 2005-)
Probably the best foreign goalkeeper to grace the Premiership since Peter Schmeichel. You have to admire that fact he stayed at Fulham for so long, when other, more glamorous clubs were courting him. Alex Ferguson got him in the end, and he’s single-handedly solved the Man U goalkeeping crisis (Massimo Taibi, Roy Carroll, Ricardo et al).
71 STEVE MCMANAMAN
(Liverpool 1992-99, Man City 2003-05)
‘Everyone knows that if you stop Steve McManaman, you stop Liverpoolâ€¦’ So said Bryan Robson back in the Nineties. He had a point. Macca was tainted with the ‘Spice Boys’ tag, but he always gave 100% on the pitch. He’s one of the best wingers in Premiership history and is still the only Englishman to have won the Champions League with a foreign club (Real Madrid) â€“ not once but twice.
Tomorrow you can check out Nos. 60-51. Feel free to post your
thoughts on our choices â€“ we love to hear