12th August – Jesper Gronkjaer

Jesper Gronkjaer should go down in Chelsea history that kick started their success in the Premier League years and will be remembered fondly by the fans.

If it wasn’t for Gronkjaer who knows where Chelsea would be these days as he scored the goal that meant they qualified for the Champions League and it became known as the ‘billion pound goal’ as their qualification meant that Roman Abramovich would definitely take over the club and the rest is history.

The Dane started his career at Aalborg and quickly became an important member of the side and was known for his incredible speed. He stayed at the club for three seasons, playing 86 league games, scoring 10 goals. His form attracted the interest of other clubs around Europe and he signed a deal with Ajax in 1997 before joining them in July 1998.

Gronkjaer AAB

Once again he settled quickly and was a fan favourite and was rewarded with his performances by being named the fans player of the year at the end of the 1999-00 season. Although he was thriving personally the club did not win much but he did help them win the KNVB Cup during his time there.

In October 2000, Gronkjaer became the most expensive Danish player after signing for Chelsea for £7.8 million. An injury meant he had to wait for his first start until the 28th January 2001 where he started an FA Cup game against Gillingham in which he scored twice and also hit the post twice in a 4-2 win. Unfortunately he never quite lived up to his full potential at the club but in his four seasons at the club he did score some important goals, including the winner on the final day against Liverpool which got them into the Champions League, he then scored against Monaco in the semi final of the competition as well as goals against Manchester United at Old Trafford and a winner against Leeds United.

Gronkjaer Chelsea

With Claudio Ranieri leaving Chelsea, it was time for the winger to move on and he signed for Birmingham City in July 2004. This move only lasted half a season and 16 appearances before moving onto Atletico Madrid. Again he struggled to settle and after another 16 games he was on the move again, joining Stuttgart.

He would only spend one season at Stuttgart after 35 games and no goals he returned to Denmark joining Copenhagen. At the end of the season he was named the league player of the year. However, injuries did limit his playing time over the next couple of years. But before retiring he did manage to win four league titles in Denmark. On his very last career game he managed to score in a 2-0 win over first club Aalborg.

Fodbold Superliga Esbjerg - FC K¿benhavn

The final word can go to Steve Bruce after some impressive performances. “There is no finer sight than when he is like that. He is used to dominating the opposition and he is used to the ball more often.”

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.”

19th August – Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor may not have played in the Premier League for almost two full seasons but the Newcastle United fans have always had a lot of faith in him coming back.

The Newcastle fans will always love Taylor because of his winning goal in the derby against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light and they have been very supportive of the 30 year old over the last few years. The fact that he has taken the club to heart has also helped him become a fans favourite despite him not playing.

The versatile player started his career at Tranmere Rovers as an 18 year old and was originally seen as a right midfielder by the manager at the time, Ray Mathias, and became one of the best young players to have ever come out of the Tranmere’s youth team. After making his debut in 2002 he started playing more games and was also adding a goalscoring threat from the right hand side. During the 2004-05 season he played an important role in helping the club reach the semi finals of the playoffs, as he finished with 11 goals.
Taylor TR
This turned out to be his last season at the club with Wigan Athletic signing him for an initial £750,000 in the summer and he played a part in keeping Wigan in the Premier League. 2006 was a tough year for Taylor as he broke his metatarsal in an FA Cup match against Leeds United and then on his return in a reserve match against Newcastle United he broke his leg.

However, he returned from these injuries in the 2006-07 season and scored his first Premier League goal against Newcastle from a free kick on the 25th February. After Steve Bruce took charge he became more of a first team regular. On the 26th December he scored his second Premier League goal with another free kick against Newcastle.
Taylor WA
On the 15th November 2008 he scored once again against Newcastle and then followed this up with a goal on Boxing Day inevitably against Newcastle, bringing his record to four goals in four consecutive games against the Geordies with three of these being from direct free kicks.

Remarkably on the 2nd February 2009 he signed for Newcastle and made his debut against West Brom setting up a goal in a 3-2 win. After relegation he was an important member of the squad that got promoted back to the Premier League with him playing 31 times and scoring four goals. However, in the following season his injuries came back to haunt him and he only played five Premier League games.

The 2011-12 season saw Taylor line up in the unfamiliar position of left back and on the 20th August he scored the winning goal against Sunderland and then five days later scored against Scunthorpe United also from a free kick and earned him the nickname ‘Over The Wall’. Taylor then went on to score a brilliant goal against Everton which extended their unbeaten run to 11 games. He played 34 times in various positions over the course of the season.
Taylor NU
After scoring in the Europa League in the following season against Atromitos he suffered a serious knee injury in the return leg on the 30th August 2012 and has not featured since.

The final word can go to Alan Pardew. “He has been outstanding for me wherever I have asked him to play. Ryan is a fantastic player who is firmly in the hearts of our fans, not only for his derby winner against Sunderland but also because of some excellent performances. Ryan is a great player for us and a great person too.”

15th August – Bolo Zenden

Boudewijn ‘Bolo’ Zenden is 38 today but his career path could have been very different had he decided to go a different route as a youngster.

At the age of 14 Zenden gained a black belt in judo and on the odd occasion he decided to show his teammates his skills as Phil Bardsley once said. “He’s a judo black belt and used to do a few moves on me. I used to say, ‘show me’ – he put me in a move one day and I couldn’t get out. He nearly killed me.” Zenden was also a very good footballer and produced some fantastic performances.

Zenden started his career in Dutch football with PSV Eindhoven and it did not take him long to make the left midfield position his own. For two years he was a very consistent player that produced solid performances but it was in the 1996-97 season that he really showed his quality, playing 34 times and scoring eight goals which helped PSV win the Eredivisie championship and received the Dutch Talent of the Year award. After another season in which he scored 12 goals in 26 games he was being linked with moves away and moved to Spanish giants Barcelona in 1998.
Zenden PSV
Louis Van Gaal was the man to bring to him to Barcelona along with a number of other Dutch players and at first he struggled to gain a place in the team because of the form of Marc Overmars but did eventually find a place in the team in the unfamiliar position of left wing back. Zenden adapted to his new role very well and helped Barcelona win La Liga in the 1998-99 season. In the following season he scored three times for the club in his 45 appearances but this would be his last as a regular. Van Gaal resigned in 2000 and Zenden struggled to get in the side afterwards and at the end of the season he left.
Zenden Barca
Chelsea signed him for £7.5 million but in his three years he could not hold down a regular place however he did start in the 2002 FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal. Zenden was determined to make it in England and was loaned to Middlesbrough for the 2002-03 season where he became an instant hit with fans and will always be remembered for scoring the winning goal in the League Cup final against Bolton Wanderers. After his contract expired at Chelsea he signed for Boro permanently and moved into a central midfield position to great effect as he won the Player of the Year Award in 2005, however this would be his last at the club and he joined Liverpool on a free transfer.
Zenden Boro
Injuries stopped him playing a more prominent role but whenever he was on the pitch he never let the team down and in his two years at the club he only managed 23 games in the Premier League but featured in a lot of European games.

On the 6th July 2007 Zenden signed a two year contract with French club Marseille and made his debut against Rennes. His time at France was uneventful and after two seasons he was released and said that he wanted to end his career in England which he was given the opportunity to do when he was given a trial by Sunderland.

He signed for them in time to make his debut against former club Liverpool. Despite most of his appearances coming from the substitutes bench he signed a new one year contract and this would be his final season as a player. On his last game in club football he scored the opening goal in a 3-0 win over West Ham.

The final word can go to his manager at Sunderland Steve Bruce. “It was immediately obvious that he is still supremely fit and the move happened fairly quickly. He brings international class, a steadying influence and a wide breadth of experience. His career is testament

4th August – Antonio Valencia

Antonio Valencia was the first Ecuadorean to win the Premier League and he could play a crucial role once again at Old Trafford next season.

If new manager Louis Van Gaal plays a 3-5-2 formation then this could suit Valencia perfectly as he would be able to play as one of the wing backs and be very effective as he has proved he can play both on the right wing and at right back. Although there are doubts over his future it could be a big mistake if Van Gaal does let him go because they have already lost quite a few experienced Premier League players this summer.

Valencia started his career at El Nacional in Ecuador and it wasn’t long before he broke into their first team and was being linked with moves to Europe, in particular Spain. But in his last season at the club he helped them win the 2005 Clausura Tournament and after 11 goals in 83 league games he decided to move to Europe.
Valencia EN
In 2005 he signed for Villarreal but he struggled to break into their first team and only played twice before being loaned out to Recreativo de Huelva and he was an important player for them, helping them to win the second division in Spain and gain promotion to La Liga. Although he only played 12 times he impressed enough to get some interest from other clubs and he joined Wigan Athletic on loan on the 3rd August 2006.

It did not take long to settle in England and he scored his first goal in an emphatic 4-0 win over Manchester City. However, he picked up an injury soon afterwards and was ruled out for three months before returning in January against Everton. Although he only got one goal and one assist his performances were good enough to convince the club to extend his loan deal and then make it permanent in January 2008. He would go onto make 88 appearances for Wigan but was continually linked with moves away and manager Steve Bruce confirmed that he turned down the chance to join Real Madrid.
Valencia WA
Eventually he did leave Wigan and joined Manchester United for a fee in the region of £16 million and in his first season he impressed the fans with his pace and crossing ability. His greatest moment came in the final of the League Cup when he set up the winning goal against Aston Villa for Wayne Rooney. In all competitions he played 49 times and scored seven goals.

His next season was very stop start because of injuries but he did still play enough games to pick up a Premier League winners medal and started in the Champions League final defeat to Barcelona which led to him signing a new contract with the club. During the 2011-12 season he proved his versatility by playing a lot of games at right back and he looked very threatening from this position and at the end of the year he was awarded the Fans and Players’ Player of the Year awards.
Valencia MU
After his fine form he was awarded the famous number seven shirt however this only lasted a season before returning to the number 25 and after signing a new three year deal in the summer he will want to get back to his best form under Van Gaal.

The final word can go to Sir Alex Ferguson. “Antonio is a player we have admired for some time now, having spent the last two years in the Premier League with Wigan. I am sure his pace and ability will make a significant contribution to the team.”

14th May- Clinton Morrison

He has always been a player that can grab a goal when the team needs it most and is someone that usually becomes a fan favourite.

Clinton Morrison, now 35, has scored goals all through his career and began it at local club Crystal Palace. On his debut against Sheffield Wednesday he came on as a sub in the 82nd minute and scored an injury time winner in what was his only game of the season. But this propelled him into the first team and he was a regular in the First Division, scoring 12 league goals and another in the cup. The club were struggling off the pitch financially and so Morrison was a bright spot in a difficult season for them and while they were in administration he agreed to play for the club for free.
Morrison Palace
In the 1999-2000 season he repeated his 12 goals in the league but this time in less appearances and was getting linked with moves away. However he stayed for another two seasons and in the first scored 19 in all competitions and then hit a career best 24. It was growing difficult for Morrison at Palace and he joined Premier League club Birmingham City for £4.25 million.

Morrison did not quite hit the heights at the club but managed six goals in his first season in the top flight and he was still showing a lot of potential. After only eight goals in the next two seasons, he returned to Palace for £2 million. Birmingham manager Steve Bruce did not want the striker to leave. “Make no mistake Clinton has been a big part for us and we will miss him if he goes because of his bubbly character – there is never a dull moment and I have enjoyed working with the lad.”
Morrison Birmingham
Morrison had a good first season back at Palace with 13 goals and started the next season with two goals in three games meaning he was on 99 goals for the club. Peter Taylor was very happy with his performances and attitude. “His behaviour has been absolutely first class. I have said to Clinton if he can get as fit he can be, I couldn’t afford a player like that because he is that good.” However, getting the 100th goal proved to be a struggle but he did eventually become the eighth player to reach the milestone with an 88th minute equaliser against QPR on the 10th November 2007.

Afterwards he went on a good goalscoring run and finished the season with 16 goals including one on the final day which meant he scored on his first and last games for Crystal Palace after he did not extend his contract at the club. In July 2008 he joined Coventry City and even though he hit double figures in both his seasons at the club they decided not to renew his contract and he was once again a free transfer.

His next club was Sheffield Wednesday and he scored on his debut in a 2-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge. However, after Gary Megson was appointed the new manager he spent a lot of time on the bench but he did still score some important goals, particularly away to Charlton Athletic in a 1-1 draw in which Megson said: “Clinton got the opportunity and that’s what he does. You can’t teach that.” During his time at Wednesday he also had loan spells at MK Dons and Brentford.
Sheffield Wednesday v Northampton Town - FA Cup sponsored by E.ON 2nd Round
After leaving Wednesday he signed for Colchester United where he has helped them stay in League One for the last few seasons. His greatest moment for the club was when he scored against Sheffield United and celebrated by running the length of the pitch. Morrison has announced that he is leaving the club in the summer and it would be good to see him score a few more goals in the Football League before he retires.

The final word can go to MK Dons manager Karl Robinson who had him on loan and summed his career very well and echoes a lot of other people’s thoughts. “Clinton is someone I respect and have liked for a long time. I love his character, his desire and the fact that he is a winner.”

30th April – John O’Shea

As Sunderland prepare to take on Manchester United this weekend it will be an interesting experience for a player that spent 12 years at Old Trafford.

John O’Shea knows his team need to pick up points to help them pull away from the relegation zone but it cannot be easy for someone take on a former club where he had so many great times. He signed professional terms at Manchester United at the age of 17 and made his debut against Aston Villa in 1999.

Unsurprisingly he could not break into the first team just yet but he did make 10 appearances on loan at Bournemouth and another 14 at Belgian club Antwerp before becoming a regular in the squad during the 2002-03 season. During the campaign he played right back, left back, centre back and central midfield showing that he was going to be an important player as his versatility meant he could plug any gaps in the team. At the end of the season he picked up the first of his five league medals and then in his next season he started in the centre of defence as the club won the FA Cup.
O'Shea United
After a difficult 2004-05 season he was linked with moves away but he did provide one of the greatest moments of the season as he chipped Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia in a 4-2 victory. Speaking of goalkeepers, O’Shea can also add that to positions he can play. In a game against Tottenham Hotspur in 2007 he was forced to play in goal for the final few minutes and pulled off a save from Republic of Ireland teammate Robbie Keane which led to the United fans singing ‘Ireland’s number one.’
O'Shea Goalkeeper
A month later he became even more of a fan favourite by scoring an injury time winner against Liverpool at Anfield. It was an important goal as it helped the club win the title. At the end of the season he finished with 100% shooting accuracy and scored five goals in all competitions, his highest so far.

He continued playing in a variety of positions for the next few seasons including striker which meant he had played in every position. In 2009 came his biggest moment as he was picked to start the Champions League final with manager Alex Ferguson saying. “He can play anywhere for me: all along the back four, midfield – he’s even played in goal for a short period. He takes his place in Rome because he deserves it.” Unfortunately they lost to Barcelona 2-0.

O’Shea made 393 appearances in total for Manchester United but on the 7th July 2011 he signed for Sunderland. Former Manchester United defender Steve Bruce who was manager of Sunderland said. “John has been a solid, consistent part of Manchester United’s squad for well over a decade which goes to show the fantastic pedigree of the player we have signed.”
O'Shea Sunderland
His time at Sunderland has been up and down with a lot of injuries and a lot of managerial changes but he is hoping to help the club avoid relegation after being bottom at Christmas and become only the second club to achieve this.

The final word can go to Alex Ferguson. “He was instrumental in a lot of our successes over the years. He is a fantastic professional. I love him in terms of his attitude and loyalty to the club.”

27th April – Walter Pandiani

Uruguayans have been hit and miss in the Premier League, there have been some like Luis Suarez and then others that had a lot of quality but did not quite cut it like Diego Forlan.

Unfortunately ‘El Rifle’ fits more into the second category. Walter Pandiani had two spells at Birmingham City while they were in the Premier League and it seemed like they had signed one of the best finishers in Europe at the time. After playing for Progreso, Basanez and Penarol in his home country he made the move to Spain to play for Deportivo La Coruna. Although he was never a regular starter he had a phenomenal record and scored a lot of goals off the bench. In between the years of 2000 and 2005 he played 86 league games for the club and scored 31 goals including 13 in the 2003-04 season. During his time at the club he went out on loan to Mallorca and scored 13 goals in 33 games for them and was getting a growing reputation of someone that knew where the back of the net was.
Pandiani Depor
After several run ins with Deportivo coach Javier Irureta he made his move to Birmingham City initially on loan. It did not take him long to show off his talents as he scored on his debut in a 2-1 win over Southampton. Manager Steve Bruce said after the game: “Walter Pandiani arrived yesterday with no boots, and he doesn’t speak a word of English, but he’ll give us a lift.” In his next 13 appearances he managed three goals and this led to Birmingham signing him permanently for £3 million.
Pandiani Birmingham
However he failed to show the form of his loan spell and only half a season later he was sold to Espanyol for £1 million. He played 31 times in the league for Birmingham scoring only six goals. His first full season at new club Espanyol was interesting as he only scored seven league goals but this included a first half hatrick away to Real Madrid. Although he struggled domestically everything he touched in the UEFA Cup seemed to go in as he ended the campaign as the top scorer in the competition with 11 goals. The club lost in the final on penalties against Spanish rivals Sevilla.

Pandiani then left the club for Osasuna where he was hardly used in his first season at the club but in his second season he ended it as their top scorer. He played a key role in a victory over Real Madrid in which he was involved in a verbal spat with Cristiano Ronaldo. Pandiani saying about the Portuguese player. “As a footballer he is a phenomenon but to do the things he does, maybe he has a screw loose.”
Pandiani Osasuna
After leaving Osasuna he rejoined Espanyol but this was only for one season which he spent mostly on the bench but he did manage to grab late winner against Getafe and Real Betis. In 2012 he joined Villarreal and on his debut he scored the winning goal and followed this up the next week by scoring the winner again. However these were the only two goals he scored in the league.

At his next club Atletico Baleares he started in a game alongside his son with Pandiani Senior scoring in a 2-1 defeat. In October 2013 they both joined Uruguayan club Miramar Misiones where they still play.

The last word can go to former Birmingham City co owner David Sullivan just after selling the player: “Walter is not a bad player and he did well recently against Manchester United and Chelsea. You’ve got to take your hat off to his commitment towards the club, he scored important goals

18th April – Matthew Upson

The top scorer for England at a World Cup is usually someone that will be remembered as a true great but forgetting the 2010 World Cup is what most England fans have tried to do.

The team finished with Jermain Defoe, Steven Gerrard and birthday boy Matthew Upson as top scorers with one goal each as they crashed out of the tournament in the second round to Germany. The defender scored his goal in the 4-1 defeat and interestingly his only other international goal was against the same opposition.

At the start of his career it seemed like he was destined to be an England player and be a big part of the team as after only one appearance for Luton Town he was signed by Arsenal for £2 million. Unfortunately his time at the club did not turn out that well as long term injuries took their toll and the fact he was behind Tony Adams, Martin Keown and Steve Bould in the pecking order meant he rarely got a run in the side. After missing out on a Premier League medal for not playing enough games in the 1997-98 season, he must have been ecstatic that he played 14 league games in the 2001-02 season as that meant he could pick up a winners medal and leave the club on a high.
Upson Arsenal
In January 2003 he joined Birmingham City for an initial £1 million. Steve Bruce said on the signing: “He’s young, he’s quick, he’s athletic and a good footballer.” He proved to be a very good signing playing over 100 league games but an injury towards the end of the 2006 season meant that he could not help his team in their relegation battle which they lost and the next time he pulled on a Blues shirt was in the Championship.
Upson Birmingham
He only spent half a season in the Championship as West Ham paid £6 million for his services which seems like a good deal but manager Steve Bruce was not happy with the sale. This should have been his chance to impress once more in the Premier League but Upson struggled with injuries, suffering a calf injury on his debut and then only lasting 11 minutes on his comeback. It took until August 2011 to complete his first 90 minutes for the Hammers but it was in a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Manchester City. Soon after his fortunes changed as he was given the captains armband and kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over former club Birmingham and then a few months later scoring the only goal against Manchester United.
Upson West Ham
After becoming permanent captain times were tough at the club and they were eventually relegated. This meant he did not sign a contract extension and joined Stoke City on a two year deal. Part of the reason he joined was because they were in the Europa League and he played most of his matches for the club in this competition and spent the majority of Premier League games on the bench.

With a lack of first team opportunities he joined Brighton on loan initially and was then signed permanently in the summer. He is still at the club and is trying to get them promoted to the Premier League.

The final word can go to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who always had high hopes for the defender: “I knew when he left that he would have a big career. I didn’t stop him going because I knew he had the qualities to play in the Premier League. I knew he would make it and had the potential to be international quality. He is there now.”

6th April – Fabrice Muamba

Fabrice Muamba is 26 today and everyone knows that he may not have seen this birthday after what happened at White Hart Lane.

Thankfully he recovered and has carried on with his life and has that huge grin on his face that everyone was happy to see again. But it is important to remember that he had a pretty decent career and was always a model professional who had the respect of his teammates and managers. Steve Bruce said: “He is a pleasure to manage.” Alex McLeish said: “He is a manager’s dream.” And Gary Megson said: “He is a great person to be around.”
Fabrice Muamba
Muamba’s career is remarkable and his whole life has been an interesting journey. The midfielder moved to England at the age of 11 but he could not speak a word of English however he still went on to get 10 GCSE’s and A-Levels in English, French and Maths. This just proves he is not the stereotypical footballer and will have no problems in getting media work in the future.

Onto his career and he first signed for Arsenal where he did not quite make it into the first team but did play two League Cup games and was a very well liked player at the club. At the start of the 2006-07 season he joined Birmingham City and was very impressive winning the fans Young Player of the Year award after some performances that reminded everyone of a young Patrick Vieira. This led to them signing him permanently and he played 37 times in the Premier League that season, unfortunately it ended in relegation.
Muamba birmingham
He would not be going back to the Championship as Bolton Wanderers paid a fee of £5 million to bring him to the club. He had a solid first season at the club barely missing a game but his second season he went on to even better things and was once again picking up individual accolades. This time The Bolton News Player of the Year. He was rewarded with a new four year contract and he was progressing well in the England set up, playing in every age group up to the full national team.
Muamba Bolton
It is unfortunate that his career has been cut short because he would have been a very good player in the Premier League for years to come but as he said himself he has lived the dream by being a professional footballer and there is more to life than football. He seems very happy in all aspects of his life and this is a credit to the man himself who has always been a positive person and someone that is generous and loving.

The final word can go to David Sullivan the West Ham owner who was at Birmingham City at the same time as Muamba and commented on how good of a person he is. “He actually gave Karen Brady his first framed England under 21 shirt as a gesture of thanks for us giving him his big chance.”