Blink And You’ll Miss Them: The Premier League’s One Season Wonders
December 18, 2015
There have been some truly stunning players who have graced the Premier League, from the mercurial Eric Cantona to the graceful and often explosive Thierry Henry. These players are synonymous with the growth and expansion of the league, as it evolved from the embodiment of English grit and substance to a product glistening with Gallic flair and continental style.
There have also been some less than successful players in the history of the world’s greatest league however, some of whom faded dramatically after initially bursting on the scene in a blaze of glory.
So without further delay, here are three of the Premier League’s most famous (or should that be notorious?) one season wonders…
Before Wayne Rooney there was Francis Jeffers, a precocious young striker who had emerged from the Everton youth set-up. He looked like an outstanding prospect in the 2000-01 season, scoring only six goals but showcasing pace, drive, and a tremendous poachers instinct. This was enough to encourage Arsene Wenger to pay £8 million for ‘fox in the box’ Jeffers in the summer of 2001, although he was never again to scale the heights of his first season and gradually faded into obscurity. In fact, he failed to reach double figures in terms of his goal return in 15 years as a striker.
When Spanish forward Michu signed for Swansea in 2012, he was largely unheard of among English fans. He adapted instantly to the English game and became a major star in his first season, however, plundering 18 goals and firing the Swans to an impressive mid-table finish. Subsequently linked with moves to the league’s leading teams, Michu faded from the scene as quickly as he had arrived finally left the Premier League with barely a whisper in 2014. Apparently let down by his attitude, Michu is now back in Spain and little more than a memory among Swansea spectators.
If you look up the definition of a one season wonder in an urban dictionary, it really should be prefixed with an image of Michael Ricketts. In the 2001-02 season, Ricketts starred for an over-achieving Bolton Wanderers side, scoring 15 goals by February, banging in the winner against Manchester United at Old Trafford and enjoyed a well-deserved England debut. He didn’t score between February and the end of the season, however, and quickly faded from the EPL picture after struggling with form and weight issues. Ricketts quickly drifted into the lower leagues, and like Francis Jeffers before him never reached double figures again.