8th November – Morgan Schneiderlin

Southampton have been fantastic this season and have certainly been one of the surprise packages of the season, especially as they were considered relegation favourites by many after losing so many important players in the summer but hanging on to Morgan Schneiderlin has arguably been their best bit of business.

The midfielder has played a crucial role in getting the club back to where they belong and has now even pushed them on to the next level which has meant that he has been linked with moves away. It looked as though he was going to leave during the summer but nobody can doubt his commitment to the club every time he steps onto the pitch. With the club in second place they will have realistic ambitions of qualifying for Europe and that will definitely convince the Frenchman to stay at the club.
Schneiderlin Saints
The 25 year old started his career at Strasbourg and would sign his first contract with the club in 2005 and go on to make his debut in the B-team later in the year. After 37 league games and five goals for the second string he was promoted to the first team but after just five appearances over two seasons he would be sold after the club were relegated from Ligue 1 at the end of the 2007-08 season.
Schneiderlin Strasbourg
On the 27th June 2008 Schneiderlin signed for Southampton and made his debut on the 9th August 2008 in a 2-1 defeat against Cardiff City. His first season ended badly as the club were relegated from the Championship but the Frenchman decided to stay with the club and help them gain promotion from League One. He would go on to score his first goal for the club in a 5-1 win over Bristol Rovers on the 13th April 2010 in a 5-1 win. Despite only playing 27 league games during the 2010-11 season he proved what a good player he was as the team clinched promotion back to the Championship.

During the summer he was rewarded with a new contract and Southampton gained back to back promotions and returned to the Premier League with Schneiderlin scoring goals against Burnley and Nottingham Forest. After promotion to the top flight like a lot of players, he kept his spot in the side and was in fantastic form in the early part of the season, scoring against Manchester United and Swansea City. He would then go on to captain the side on the 16th January 2013 in a thrilling comeback against Chelsea and then would soon after score his third Premier League goal against Wigan Athletic to rescue his side a point.
Schneiderlin Soton
Once again he was rewarded with a new contract and was quickly becoming known as one of the best holding midfielders in the country. At the end of the season he was credited with the most tackles, interceptions and the highest work rate in the league and was named the Players’ Player and Fans’ Player of the Year awards at Southampton. Last season he was equally impressive but this year he has gone on to another level and has already scored three goals, two against West Ham and another superb effort against Newcastle United.

The final word can go to Southampton manager Ronald Koeman. “Him staying has been the best part of the window for us. He’s a fantastic player and an important player for the team. That gives the rest of the lads confidence and ambition. His behaviour has been professional and the one answer he gave was on the pitch, and that’s always the best answer that you can give.”


21st October – Nemanja Vidic

Manchester United have been inconsistent so far this season and major reason for this is because they have struggled at the back and many believe that they should have kept Nemanja Vidic.

The central defender was a huge success at Old Trafford and formed an impressive partnership with Rio Ferdinand that helped the club win a lot of trophies. He turns 33 today and that is still young for a centre back, especially when pace was never one of his greatest attributes. Vidic felt it was time to leave after last season but he will still be considered a Manchester United legend.

Vidic started his career at Red Star Belgrade but had his first taste of professional football on loan at Serbian side Spartak Subotica in 2000 and had a very good goalscoring record for a defender, scoring six league goals in 26 games. This form convinced Red Star manager Zoran Filipovic to put him into the team for the 2001-02 season. In his first season he won the Yugoslav Cup and was named club captain and would help the club onto better things, winning the domestic double in 2004. After 16 goals in 95 games, the defender joined Russian side Spartak Moscow in July 2004.
Vidic RSB
He spent two years at the Russian side and his reputation grew and was being watched by other clubs and on the 5th January 2006 he joined Manchester United. He had to wait until the 26th January to make his debut in the semi final of the League Cup against Blackburn Rovers. They would go onto win the competition and Vidic came on as a substitute in the final, which meant he received a winners medal, however he gave it to Giuseppe Rossi in recognition of the Italian’s contribution.
Vidic SM
During the 2006-07 season he finally became a first team regular and played 25 times in the Premier League as the club went on to lift the title and was rewarded with a five year contract in the following campaign. The club would go onto retain the title and also won the Champions League after beating Chelsea. The 2008-09 season was arguably his best as he was shortlisted for the PFA Player of the Year award as well as winning the fans and players’ Player of the Year awards. This is an even better achievement considering that the club the defence was never settled. He would also start every match in their record breaking 14 consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League.

The next important moment during his career at Manchester United was in the 2010-11 season when he was named club captain. On the 30th October 2010, Vidic scored against Tottenham Hotspur in a 2-0 win and he has the honour of scoring the 1000th Premier League goal at Old Trafford. At the end of the season he would lift another Premier League trophy and Manchester United’s record breaking 19th.
Vidic MU
The 2011-12 season was frustrating for the defender as he suffered injuries and it was ended on the 7th December after he twisted his knee in a Champions League game against Basel. He finally returned in a 1-0 defeat against Everton on the 20th August 2012 but after suffering more injuries he would only play 22 games, however he did pick up his final Premier League winners medal at the end of the season. His final year at the club was very disappointing and he announced that he would be leaving the club and after 300 appearances he joined Inter Milan. He has not had the greatest of starts as he gave away a penalty on his debut and was sent off against Torino. Then against Palermo he made an error which allowed Franco Vazquez to score in a 1-1 draw.

The final word can go to Alex Ferguson. “Nemanja is a warrior, he’s a natural defender and he loves defending. There have been few defenders like him over the years. Nemanja is so powerful and positive in everything. He has been a great signing.”

7th September – Robert Snodgrass

Scotland put a brave fight against Germany tonight in a 2-1 defeat but could it have been a different story if birthday boy Robert Snodgrass had been available?

The winger would have given his country a different option and it seemed like Germany were struggling with Scotland’s wide players so someone with Snodgrass’ ability could have just given them something extra. It was a very good performance from Scotland and they will be very proud tonight and they will now think that they can qualify for the European Championships which Snodgrass will be hoping to be a part of.

Snodgrass started his career at Scottish club Livingston and impressed as soon as he broke into their first team but did not become a regular in the side until the 2005-06 season. However, this would be a year of mixed emotions as he played 26 times in the league, scoring four times but his team suffered relegation from the SPL. After breaking a metatarsal in the 2006-07 season he moved on loan to Stirling Albion for the remainder of the campaign and was sensational scoring five times in just 12 games.
Snodgrass Livingston
After returning to Livingston he did everything he could to get the club promoted but his nine goals were not enough and after 15 goals in 79 league appearances he decided to leave the club. Leeds United signed the midfielder and after initially struggling to become a regular in the side, he hit a fantastic run of form in November 2008 which saw him score four times in seven games. By the end of the season he finished his first season with 11 goals and 16 assists.

In the 2009-10 season he produced some more excellent performances and was named in the PFA League One Team of the Year and helped the club gain promotion back to the Championship, adding another 10 goals and 14 assists to his tally. His first season in the Championship didn’t start off well because he picked up a knee injury in preseason and missed the early months of the season.
Robert Snodgrass, Leeds United
However, when he was back fully fit he proved he was good enough for the division and won the Player of the Month in both January and February 2011. Although he missed a few games during the season he still scored six goals in the league. At the start of the following campaign Leeds did not want to lose one of their star players and wanted him to sign a new contract which Neil Warnock said would make him the highest paid Leeds player. Despite his future being in doubt he was given the captain’s armband by Warnock and proved his loyalty to the club by being one of the best players in the Championship, scoring 13 goals and assisting a further 14.

In July 2012 Snodgrass signed for Premier League side Norwich City and made his debut in a 5-0 away defeat to Fulham. Things would improve for both him and the club as they eventually finished 11th in the table and Snodgrass finished runner up in the Fans Player of the Year vote. The 2013-14 season was a more difficult season as Norwich were relegated but Snodgrass finished as the club’s top scorer with seven goals.
Snodgrass NC
On the 30th June he moved to Hull City but on his league debut he suffered a dislocated kneecap and is expected to miss six months.

The final word can go the former Norwich manager Chris Hughton. “He is a player I have admired for a number of years now and he’s at a good age. He’s also got that international experience with Scotland and is used to playing in big matches both with his country and at Elland Road.”

22nd June – Kieran Lee

Kieran Lee had a pretty slow start to his career at Sheffield Wednesday but last season proved to be one of their best players and was a very influential player on the pitch.

It is not surprising that he eventually showed his quality at Hillsborough because of how well he had already done in the past at previous clubs. It seemed like injuries were going to be a problem for him but his form improved dramatically after Dave Jones left the club and he started playing in the centre of midfield under Stuart Gray.

Lee did start his career as a central midfielder but at first club Manchester United he was used mostly as a fullback and after impressing for the under 18s and the reserves he was offered a professional contract at the club. During the 2006-07 season he was named the captain of the reserves team and also made his first team debut coming on as a substitute in a third round League Cup game against Crewe Alexandra. The scores were level at full time so the game went to extra time and Lee scored to make it 2-1 with a composed finish that seasoned pros would have been proud of.
Lee MU
He played once more in the League Cup that season and also made his Premier League debut against Chelsea on the 9th May and at the end of the season he was named the Reserve Player of the Year. Although he was named as a substitute in a Champions League game against Roma he never played for the Old Trafford club again and on the 2nd January he joined QPR on loan. He spent four months at the London club and made seven appearances before being released by his parent club.

In the summer of 2008 he joined Oldham Athletic and his career really kicked off and he became one of the most consistent players for the next few seasons. But he had to wait until the 26th December to make his debut in a 3-0 win over Crewe and to make it better he even provided the assist for the final goal. Lee had to wait until the next season to get his first goal and it was an important 95th minute equaliser against Swindon Town and he eventually became a first team regular for the first time in his career.
Soccer - npower Football League One - Oldham Athletic v Milton Keynes Dons - Boundary Park
When Paul Dickov became manager of Oldham his performances went to the next level and he was regarded as one of the best fullbacks in the Football League. At the end of the 2010-11 season he picked up four Player of the Year awards at the club, including Players’ Player of the Year and the Fans’ Player of the Year. Remarkably at the end of the following season he followed this up once more with yet another four awards.

Sheffield Wednesday then signed Lee in 2012 and the 26 year old is now one of their most important players and in the season just gone he played 26 times, scoring once and creating another four goals.
Kieran Lee of Sheffield Wednesday
The final word can go to the Oldham chairman Simon Corney. “Sometimes when players leave, you feel let down because you think they owe you something, but this is absolutely not the case with Kieran. He’s a great boy; I can’t speak highly enough of him; I wish we had 11 Kieran Lees”