21st March – Michu

Michu made such an impact in the Premier League that it is surprising that he is not still in England and it is unbelievable that Swansea City would loan him out.

He is now 29 and can do a number of jobs in the attacking areas of the pitch but for whatever reason it didn’t seem to click between him and Wilfried Bony whenever they did play together. His form during his first season at Swansea was exceptional and it earned him a call up to the Spanish team which at the time were the most dominant in international football.

The forward started his career at Oviedo and made his debut in the Tercera Division during the 2003-04 season and would go on to play 100 league games for the club, scoring 13 times and his form convinced Segunda Division side Celta Vigo to take a chance on him in 2007. He started out in the B team but after 10 goals in 28 games he was promoted to the first team. He would go on to spend four seasons at the club, once again not being a prolific scorer but putting in some good performances, as he ended his time there with 112 appearances.

Michu Oviedo

On the 27th July 2011 he signed for newly promoted La Liga side Rayo Vallecano and made his debut in a 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao. This would be a brilliant season for the player as he finished with 17 goals in all competitions, which was the same amount he scored in four seasons in Celta’s first team. He scored some notable braces against Real Sociedad, Racing Santander and Real Madrid. This meant that he was being linked with moves away from the club as he only had a year left on his contract.

Michu CV

For just £2 million Michu signed for Swansea City on the 20th July 2012 and on his debut he scored yet another brace in a 5-0 win over QPR and then continued his fantastic goalscoring form by finding the back of the net against West Ham and Sunderland. He would go on to be one of the best signings of the season and would score 22 goals in all competitions as he helped Swansea win the League Cup. At the end of the campaign he was named the team’s Player of the Year and the Supporters Player of the Year.

It looked as though the following season was going to follow a similar pattern as he scored the club’s first goal of the season in a Europa League game against Malmo but injuries restricted him to just 24 games over the course of the season, however he did still manage to score six goals, but only two of these were in the league.

Michu SC

It was still surprising though when he made the move to Napoli on a season long loan at the start of this season but it hasn’t been the greatest time for him as he has suffered with injuries and has barely been able to make an impact.

The final word can go to Rafael Benitez. “Michu is a player that can play in two positions. He is able to penetrate and score but also knows how to play with other strikers. I have told Michu that I expect a certain number of goals from him to just to motivate him.”

7th March – Hatem Ben Arfa

Hatem Ben Arfa will go down as one of the greatest players to never reach his full potential in England, being the most exciting player on the pitch to the most frustrating in a matter of seconds.

Despite only being 28 there have been some suggestions that he is contemplating retiring from the game after a terrible season that will see him end it as a free agent due to a FIFA ruling. The winger would be a great addition to any side if he could play to the best of his abilities and it is probably why he will be a wanted man in the summer.

Ben Arfa started his career at Lyon, signing his first professional contract in 2004 and made his debut on the opening day of the season against Nice. After more substitute appearance he would score his first goal on the 10th November against Lille. But he wouldn’t really become a regular until the 2007-08 season. He performed very well throughout the season and was named the National Union of Professional Footballers Young Player of the Year. It seemed like he would be an important member of the side for a long time to come after signing a contract extension in March 2008 but a training ground scuffle with Sebastien Squillaci meant his time at the club was up.

HBA Lyon

After a long transfer saga Ben Arfa eventually joined Marseille on the 1st July but it wasn’t long before he was in another bust up as on the 16th July he was involved in one with Djibril Cisse. On his debut however he showed his qualities by scoring against Rennes and in his first 11 matches he hit the back of the net six times. More controversy followed as he was involved in disputes with Modeste M’Bami and manager Eric Gerets. His performances when he was on the pitch were usually of the highest quality but trouble was never far away as in the next season he was fined for missing training and got in yet another argument with new manager Didier Deschamps. He would play 29 times for the club as they won the Ligue 1 title but this was not enough for him to stay at the club.

HBA Marseille

On the 27th August 2010 Ben Arfa joined Newcastle United on a season long loan after many weeks of trouble. But it seemed like it was worth it as on his full debut he scored a brilliant goal against Everton but on the 3rd October his season was over after he suffered a broken tibia and fibula. Despite this the two clubs agreed a permanent transfer. He would have to wait until the 24th September 2011 to make his Premier League return in a 3-1 win over Blackburn Rovers. In the second half of the season he scored two individual goals, firstly in the FA Cup against Blackburn and against Bolton Wanderers. During this time he was an important part of the team and combined brilliantly with Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse.

HBA NU

The next season also started very well as he scored on the opening day against Tottenham Hotspur and then two weeks later hit a great equaliser against Aston Villa. Injuries disrupted the second half of the season but he scored in the win over QPR to guarantee the club’s safety. Once again the 2013-14 season started well for him as he scored against Fulham and was also in great form against Aston Villa, scoring and making an assist. Unfortunately he didn’t perform for the rest of the season. On the 2nd September 2014 he joined Hull City on loan but this only last nine games and manager Steve Bruce admitted at one point he didn’t even know where he was. On the 4th January he was released by Newcastle and signed for Nice the next day. But FIFA ruled that he could not play for them and his contract was terminated.

The final word can go to former teammate Yohan Cabaye. “For me, he remains an extraordinary player with enormous quality. It is true that it was harder for him late in the season. He is going to bounce back. For me, this is one of the players I’ve played with who has the highest quality.”

2nd March – Trevor Sinclair

England have had a problem on the left hand side of their midfield for a long time and during the 2002 World Cup the position was given to Trevor Sinclair.

Now 42 it will surely be one of the highlights of his career but perhaps more surprisingly was the fact that he did a good job on the left wing and possibly deserved more chances in the position on the international stage. Since retiring he has been doing some coaching and will be hoping that he can get some experience in the higher divisions but for now he is currently the assistant manager at Lancaster City.

Sinclair began his career at Blackpool where he became the club’s youngest ever player after making his debut on the 19th August 1989 at the age of 16 years and five months and has since been voted into the club’s Hall of Fame by their fans. He only spent four years at the club but he was definitely a fans favourite and well remembered by the supporters. In total he made 112 league appearances for Blackpool and scored 15 times.

Sinclair Blackpool

In 1993 he would break another record at Blackpool by becoming their record transfer sale when he joined QPR for £600,000. He spent five years at the London club and in 1995 he won the October Player of the Month for his performances and was consistent during his time there. But what he is mostly remembered for is his 1997 Goal of the Season. In an FA Cup match against Barnsley he scored a bicycle kick from outside the box and is regarded as one of the best ever in the competition.

Sinclair QPR

After 168 league appearances and 16 goals, Sinclair moved to West Ham in January 1998. He got off to a fantastic start at his new club scoring seven goals in his first 14 games, including two on his debut against Everton, helping them to finish eighth in the Premier League. Over the next two seasons he was an important member of the team but an injury kept him out of the end of the 2000-01 season and West Ham suffered. When he returned he was putting in some impressive performances which led to him being picked for the 2002 World Cup.

Sinclair WH

His final season at the club was difficult as they were relegated and due to cost cutting measures he was one of the players they had to get off the wage bill. So in 2003 he signed for Manchester City and would score the first goal at the new City of Manchester Stadium against Welsh side TNS in the UEFA Cup. But it could be argued that he didn’t produce his best football in Manchester and at the end of the 2006-07 season he was released.

On the 10th July 2007 he joined Cardiff City but he started to struggle with injuries and couldn’t help the team as much as he would have hoped and after just one season he left the club and didn’t play again until the 14th August 2014 when he came on as a substitute for Lancaster City against Clitheroe in a 3-1 defeat.

The final word can go to Kevin Keegan who signed him for Manchester City. “In Trevor Sinclair we will have an England international at the peak of his career. He can play left side, right side and up front, so he will strengthen us and give us options. I tried to sign Trevor when I was at Newcastle. It didn’t come off and now, ten years later, I am still thrilled to have him.”

7th November – Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand has been banned recently by the FA because of comments he made on Twitter and he has been judged harsher as he is seen as a role model.

Now at the age of 36 the central defender should probably know better and it is good to see that the FA have decided to take action against someone perceived as a role model, however they should probably be dealing with other things first rather than a comment on Twitter. But Ferdinand will be hoping that he can finish off this season on good form and be remembered as a great defender.

Ferdinand started his career at West Ham and made his debut on the final day of the 1995-96 season after coming on as a substitute against Sheffield Wednesday in 1-1 draw. Before breaking into the West Ham team on a regular basis he went out on loan to Bournemouth in November 1996 and made his debut in a 1-1 draw with Blackpool. He played 10 games during his spell at the club and returned to Upton Park in January 1997. He got more and more first team chances and was awarded the Hammer of the Year award at the end of the following season at the age of 19.
Ferdinand WH
He would barely miss a game for the club over the next few seasons but in November 2000 he made the move to Leeds United for a British transfer record of £18 million. Despite a tricky start, he recovered to prove that he was worth the money the club paid and helped the club reach the semi finals of the Champions League in his first season, scoring against Deportivo La Coruna in the quarter finals. In his second season at the club things got even better on a personal level as he was given the captain’s armband because of his fantastic performances but unfortunately the club began to suffer financial problems and their star players needed to be sold.
Ferdinand LU
On the 22nd July 2002 Ferdinand transferred to Manchester United and again broke the British transfer record. He got off to a good start and helped the club win the Premier League in his first season at the club but then he almost ruined his career in September 2003. After failing to attend a drugs test he was given an eight month ban and he may have never been given another chance. But he did return and on the 14th December 2005 he would go on to score his first goal for the club in a 4-0 win over Wigan Athletic and then would later become a hero by scoring a last minute winner against Liverpool and then repeated it by scoring against them in a 2-0 win in the following season.

The 2006-07 season was arguably his best season as he helped the club win the title once more and was named in the PFA Team of the Year. The next season started brilliantly as the club kept six clean sheets in a row and Ferdinand chipped in with a goal against Aston Villa. During the season he had a ups and downs as he was involved with a steward in a defeat against Chelsea but on the pitch, he would lead his team to glory in the Champions League after beating the same opponents in the final.
Ferdinand MU
Afterwards most of his time at Manchester United was disrupted by injuries but during his spell at the club he won six Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups, one Champions League and one Club World Cup so he will go down as one of the best. After being released he signed for QPR on the 17th July 2014 but he has struggled for form and the club have performed better when he has not been in the team so this looks like it will be his last season, especially if the club get relegated.

The final word can go to Harry Redknapp. “He’s a great role model. I signed him as 14-year-old, so I know him as well as anyone and I’m just so pleased to have him at the club. I spoke to Ryan Giggs to ask how much training he was doing and how fit he was and Ryan told me that, if he’d been manager at Old Trafford this season, he would’ve still been his No.1 centre-half.”

30th October – Iain Hume

The Indian Super League has only been set up recently and the teams involved have spent a lot of money in recruiting players and one of those that will be familiar to English fans is Iain Hume.

Hume will line up alongside Michael Chopra and David James for the Kerala Blasters and has already shown his goalscoring prowess by scoring two in his first three games and will be hoping that this good form can continue and lead his side to the title. Back in England he will be remembered as a good player but one that maybe could have done had it not been for a terrible injury.

The 31 year old started his career at Tranmere Rovers and quickly rose up through the ranks making his debut at the age of just 16. Under the guidance of Brian Little he began to get more and more first team action but he had to wait until the 2002-03 season to score his first goal. Afterwards he became a consistent goalscorer and had his best season during the 2004-05 season when he scored 16 goals. He was linked with moves during the summer but started the next season at Tranmere, however this would only last seven games as he joined Leicester City on deadline day in August.
Hume TR
During his three seasons at Leicester he was again a consistent goalscorer, hitting nine, 14 and 11 goals. But during his time at the club he developed into more of an all round player and was now not only seen as a goalscorer but someone that could set up goals. Unfortunately in his last season Leicester were relegated from the Championship and after 34 goals in 132 appearances he left.
Hume LC
Barnsley signed the striker for £1.2 million and he lived up to his price tag straightaway by scoring five minutes into his debut away to QPR. His home debut was not as successful as he was sent off against Coventry City but he bounced back and scored against Derby County, Doncaster Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday in quick succession. But on the 8th November 2008 he suffered a fractured skull and internal bleeding after an elbow from Sheffield United’s Chris Morgan and due to this life threatening injury he needed surgery and it is credit to the player that he recovered.

He made his return nine months later in a friendly against Gainsborough on the 21st July 2009 and would go on to play 37 games during the season, scoring five goals. On the 14th September 2010 Hume joined Preston North End and made his debut against Norwich City. He would only have to wait a week for his first goal as he scored from 20 yards against Coventry and followed this up with a goal against Leeds United in a 6-4 win. On the 11th December Hume scored the 50th goal of his career in a 1-0 win over Ipswich Town. Despite his 12 league goals it was not enough to keep the club in the Championship but for his commitment to the team he was awarded the vice-captaincy.
Photo : Ian Robinson Preston North End photocall at Deepdale Iain Hume
Niggling injuries would keep him out of the team and he could not inspire his team to promotion in the following campaign. This led to him being loaned out to Doncaster Rovers on the 31st August 2012 for the season and his job was to help them get promoted to the Championship. His work rate and skill made him a fan favourite and he scored some crucial goals in the season as the club won the League One title but this did not secure him a permanent move. Last season was difficult for him as he was in and out of the Preston squad and also had a loan spell at Fleetwood Town but after being released by his parent club he has decided to make the move to India.

The final word can go to Darren Ferguson. “Iain made a big impact when he first came in. He has great energy and a great enthusiasm for the game. He’s made a big difference here. He and Jon Parkin do work well together. Iain gives us options, as well as playing up front he can play wide right.”

27th October – Rhys Weston

Rhys Weston may not be the most recognisable name but he has had a very interesting career and if it wasn’t for injuries he may have played at a higher level for a prolonged period of time.

The defender will be fondly remembered by Cardiff City fans as he helped them climb from the bottom division of the Football League to the Championship and even took a pay cut in 2005 to help the club. The 34 year old can also say that he played at the highest level as he featured seven times for Wales between the years of 2000 and 2005.

Now 34 he doesn’t have a club but has played in a few different countries and experienced some different cultures so he can at least take that from his career. Weston started his career at Arsenal and made his debut on the 30th November 1999 in a League Cup game against Middlesbrough after coming on as a substitute. Later in the season he would go on to make his only top flight appearance as he started the final game against Newcastle United on the 14th May 2000.

In total he played three times for Arsenal before joining Cardiff in November 2000 for £300,000. He made his debut in a 3-2 win over Lincoln City and would go on to play another 31 times as the club gained promotion to Division Two after finishing 2nd. In the following season Weston was a more important member of the team and showed his quality in the 43 games he played, unfortunately the club missed out on back to back promotions after being beaten in the playoffs by Stoke City. The 2002-03 season was successful for the player and the club as they managed to gain promotion after beating QPR 1-0 in the playoff final. During the season Weston also scored his first professional goal after scoring in a 4-0 win over Tranmere Rovers on the 26th October.
Weston CC
Despite adapting well to the First Division, Weston struggled with injuries and would only play 24 times after suffering a knee injury and then damaging cartilage in his other knee in March 2004. In the following campaign he returned to his consistent self but again his season was ended by injury. At the end of the season he accepted a substantial reduction in his wages and was placed on the transfer list by new manager Dave Jones but still managed to play 30 times during the 2005-06 season. However, he was left out of the club’s pre-season tour and was released.

Weston then joined Norwegian side Viking but his only match for the club lasted 12 minutes as he dislocated his shoulder. Four days later the manager was sacked and the incoming manager could not speak English so Weston returned to the UK. In February 2007 Weston signed for Port Vale. He would go onto play 15 games for the club before being released. On the 16th July 2007 Weston signed for Walsall and went on to play 50 games for the club during the 2007-08 season earning himself a new deal. He would continue to be a consistent player but at the end of the 2009-10 manager Chris Hutchings decided not to give him a contract and after 111 games he joined Dundee.
Weston Walsall
He spent two seasons at the Scottish side and in both seasons they finished 2nd in Division One but at the end of his contract he decided to join Icelandic side KR Reykjavik. Due to financial problems he left the club after just 16 appearances and made the move to Malaysia to sign for Sabah FA. He only played six times and joined AFC Wimbledon on the 7th August 2013. Once again he did not get much game time and after a loan spell at Sutton United he was not offered a new contract.
Weston Dundee
The final word can go to Richard Money. “Rhys has become an important member of the team. His performances have become more and more consistent as the season has progressed and we hope that he will continue to be an important player for Walsall.”

25th October – Shaun Wright-Phillips

Shaun Wright-Phillips was a player that was very highly rated as a youngster but as the years have gone by he has become less effective and is now in the footballing wilderness, however if given the chance he could still help QPR avoid relegation.

The club are really struggling to create chances and if they could get the winger back on form they would have a real player on their hands. The 33 year old has made some big money moves in his career but he has largely failed to live up to his potential, despite six goals in 36 games for England and some fantastic performances for club and country. With him being on such a high wage it is difficult for QPR to get rid of him so they have will have to try and work something out.

Wright-Phillips started his career at Manchester City and made his debut in 1999 as a substitute in a League Cup match against Burnley. He made his league debut against Port Vale a few months later and helped his side turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 win, with the winger having the shot that resulted in his team’s first goal, unfortunately it was given as an own goal. City were promoted to the Premier League at the end of the season but their stay only lasted one season with Wright-Phillips, playing in a number of positions in his 19 appearances.
SWP MC
After Kevin Keegan replaced Joe Royle as manager and the winger benefitted hugely from this as he became an automatic first choice in Keegan’s more attacking team. He was used as a right wing back and helped the club gain promotion once more, scoring eight times in 35 league games. From 2000-2003 Wright-Phillips won the club’s Young Player of the Year award and was quickly developing into one of the best young players in the country. In his final season at the club he scored 10 Premier League goals in 34 games and was being linked with moves away.

On the 18th July 2005 the winger completed a £21 million move to Chelsea. In his first season he struggled to make his mark on the team and only started 15 games all season. Wright-Phillips would have to wait 52 games and 17 months before scoring his first goal for the club on the 5th December 2006 in a 2-0 win over Levski Sofia in the Champions League. Afterwards he gained confidence and got a lot more game time, including the FA Cup final which Chelsea went on to win.
SWP Chelsea
At the beginning of the 2006-07 season it seemed as though he was going to be a regular but this did not last and after 65 starts and 60 substitute appearances he returned to Manchester City on the 28th August 2008. On his second debut he scored twice in a 3-0 win over Sunderland and then just over a month after joining the club he equalled the same amount of goals in his entire time at Chelsea but his form slowed towards the end of the season.

The 2009-10 season started well and he scored in three consecutive games against Burnley, Hull City and Arsenal but after Roberto Mancini became the new manager, he did spent the rest of his time on the bench and in the following season he only played seven times. On the 31st August 2011 Wright-Phillips signed for QPR and made his full debut against Newcastle United on the 12th September. His time at QPR has been disappointing and failed to score for almost a year before scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over former club Chelsea. QPR were relegated at the end of the season and last season the winger only featured 13 times in their promotion campaign.
SWP MCFC
The final word can go to Kevin Keegan. “He’s a very special player. I haven’t seen a player like him in all my time in the game. He’s got terrific balance and courage. He may be small but he can win the ball in the air and he never stops running.”