8th August – Louis Saha

The scorer of the quickest goal in an FA Cup final turns 36 today and that man is someone that scored consistently most of his career.

Whenever Louis Saha stepped on the pitch defenders knew they were in for a long afternoon and had to deal with his clever movement and fantastic finishing ability. The only reason the striker did not quite get as many goals as his quality deserved was because of injury problems but he still enjoyed a lot of success, particularly in England where he spent most of his career.

He began his career with Metz in 1995 before moving to the senior squad in 1997 where he played 21 league games in his first season scoring one goal. His performances impressed enough to earn him a move to Premier League club Newcastle United on loan in January 1999. While at the club he scored one league goal in 11 games and also scored in their run to the FA Cup final, however he was left out of the squad to play in the final and returned to Metz. He stayed at the French club for one more season before moving back to England.

Fulham signed the striker for £2.1 million in 2000 and scored 27 goals in his first season to help the club get promoted to the Premier League. He took to the league much quicker this time and ended the year with eight league goals. In the following season he was not as successful because of injuries but did still manage five goals in 17 games. In his final season he showed his true quality and by January he had 15 goals in just 22 games which convinced Manchester United to sign the forward for £12.4 million.
Saha Fulham
Saha impressed immediately by scoring seven times in his first 10 starts including a goal on his debut against Southampton. The following year was very stop start as he had niggling injuries and only made 22 appearances. In the 2005-06 season he became Wayne Rooney’s main strike partner after a good run of form in front of goal which meant that Ruud Van Nistelrooy had to settle for a place on the bench for large periods of the season. Saha ended the campaign with 15 goals and began the next very well however injuries once again caught up with him and he could not fulfil his potential.
Saha MU
The 2007-08 season followed a similar pattern and this turned out to be his last at Old Trafford as he left for Everton. It was in this season that he scored after just 25 seconds in the FA Cup final against Chelsea, unfortunately Everton went on to lose the game. In the 2009-10 season he also went on a good goalscoring run by scoring in seven consecutive games and ended the season with 13 Premier League goals. He left Everton in January 2012 to join Tottenham Hotspur and on his full debut for the club he scored twice in a 5-0 victory over Newcastle United.
Saha Everton
Despite his good form he was not given an extended contract and signed for Sunderland. But his time there was less successful as he failed to score in 14 appearances and left for Lazio on the 6th February 2013 and after six league games for them he announced his retirement.

The final word can go to Sir Alex Ferguson. “Louis is a young and exciting talent and has made incredible progress. We have got a young and gifted centre forward. To have finally secured this deal is fantastic and great boost to the club.”

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19th May – Diego Forlan

Diego Forlan has had a very interesting career that has had plenty of ups and downs but nobody can doubt that he is a special talent.

The Uruguayan international has played over 100 times for his country and at the last World Cup he was one of the best players and received the Golden Ball award as Uruguay reached the semi finals. This just shows how far he has come since once being branded a flop in European football with Manchester United.

He had already attempted to play football in Europe when he was 16 but after months on trial at French club AS Nancy they decided not to sign him and he ended up back in South America with Argentinean side Independiente. He proved his ability at the club and went on to score 36 goals in 77 league games before Middlesbrough had a £6.9 million deal accepted. Forlan travelled to England expecting to sign for them but at the last minute Manchester United matched their bid and he ended up at Old Trafford.
Forlan Man United
Alex Ferguson was very happy with his signing. “He is an exciting player. He has good potential, two good feet, he’s quick and a good header of the ball.” In his first half a season at the club though he struggled and in his 13 appearances he failed to score. He eventually broke his duck in a Champions League game in September in a 5-2 victory over Maccabi Haifa with an 89th minute penalty. He had to wait another month for his first Premier League goal when he scored the equaliser against Aston Villa and he followed this up with the winner against Southampton in the next game. His best moment for the club was to follow soon after as he scored twice against rivals Liverpool in a 2-1 win.

He ended the season with six goals in the league meaning he was only behind Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the club’s scoring charts and this was enough to get him a Premier League winners medal. Many hoped that this would be the start of good things for him but he started the next season by not scoring in his first seven games. He only scored four Premier League goals all season and although he played a few games at the start of the next season he was sold to Villarreal.

It did not take him long to adapt as he scored on his debut against Valencia which was just the start of things to come as he ended the season as the top scorer in La Liga. This includes a run of seven goals in just five games in which he scored twice in a 3-0 win over Barcelona and then went one better later in the season by scoring his first hatrick in Europe on the 22nd May as they drew 3-3 with the eventual champions. They qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history and they reached the semi finals in the competition, however it was a more difficult season personally for Forlan. But in his final season he recaptured his form and scored 19 goals in 36 games.
Forlan Villarreal
Forlan then joined Atletico Madrid and helped them qualify for the Champions League for the first time in over a decade by scoring 23 times. He improved on this record further in the next season by scoring 32 goals in 33 games including crucial goals against Barcelona, Villarreal and Valencia.

The start of the 2009-10 season was difficult for him and he was left out of the squad on several occasions and was being criticised by the supporters but he turned it round in the second half of the season and performed brilliantly in the later stages of the Europa League. Firstly he scored twice against Liverpool in the semi finals to put his team through on away goals and then scored both goals in the final against Fulham. Once again though the next season was slow for him as he went 12 games without scoring and his time was up in Spain.
Forlan AM
Inter was his next destination and he scored on his debut for the club, however he never really settled in Italy and after just 21 more games and one goal his contract was cancelled. He ended up going back to South America and signed for Internacional where in his second season he helped them win the Campeonato Gaucho as he finished as the top scorer in the competition with nine goals.

After 22 goals in 49 appearances he left for Japanese side Cerezo Osaka and has so far scored eight times in 16 games.

The final word can go to Alex Ferguson who is happy to have seen his career grow. “He has just been fantastic and we’re all proud of him. The only criticism of ourselves was that we sold him too cheaply. He could have been a hero. He was a great lad and a magnificent professional.”

2nd April – Teddy Sheringham

This player has scored goals in two of the most memorable games in English football history in the last 20 years but unfortunately for him his goals are often overlooked in these games.

Teddy Sheringham scored for Manchester United in the famous 1999 Champions League final and then he was the man that flicked on the corner for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to win the trophy. Everyone one remembers the Norwegian’s goal and talks about it. This is pretty bad for the man that turns 48 today but history pretty much repeated itself. In a World Cup Qualifying game against Greece he scored within 15 seconds of coming on as substitute but this is often overlooked because of the 93rd minute freekick from David Beckham.

Looking back on his career though he had a lot of other great moments. He started his career at Millwall scoring a lot of goals for the club and in his final year he managed to break the club’s goalscoring record with a total of 111 goals in eight years.

He moved to Nottingham Forest and continued scoring and is the player that scored the first ever goal live on Sky Sports against Liverpool in a 1-0 win. He only spent one full season at Forest though as he left for Tottenham Hotspur and finished as the top goalscorer in the Premier League that season with 22 goals. He was hugely popular at Spurs but he had not won a major honour in his career and wanted to leave for a team that was challenging for trophies.
Sheringham Spurs
And in June 1997 he was signed by Manchester United to replace Eric Cantona. His debut could not have gone much worse as he missed a penalty against Tottenham. But this was just one of few blips on his record. He won the Premier League title three times, the FA Cup, the Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup. Although successful on the pitch he did not have the greatest relationship with his teammates particularly Andy Cole who said: “I would rather sit down with Neil Ruddock, who broke my leg in two places than with Teddy Sheringham.”
Sheringham Man united
When Manchester United signed Ruud Van Nistelrooy this was the end for Teddy and he rejoined Tottenham. It was yet another spell at the club that he enjoyed personally but did not bring him trophies, scoring 26 goals in 80 games.

After his contract expired he joined Portsmouth and became the oldest player to score a hatrick in the Premier League. Despite this and scoring 10 goals he was not offered a contract extension. He had to drop into the Championship to sign for West Ham where he helped them gain promotion and finished as the third highest scorer proving he was still going strong. He managed to play for two more seasons in the top division scoring eight goals.
Sheringham west ham
His career was now coming to an end and finished it at Colchester United where he scored three goals in 19 games but sadly his final year as a professional ended in relegation.

The last word is from Sir Alex Ferguson: “Teddy is one of those rare birds – he has kept his fitness levels fantastically well and he has never needed speed to make him the player he is.”