After the first part of classic Premier League footballers was well received, I decided to continue the series. Here are five more greats from memory lane:
The Brazilian central midfielder came to the Premier League during the Bryan Robson days and set the league alight, for a few months at least. Joining up with his Brazilian pals in an exciting time at Boro, Emerson had a classic footballing name and a strong physical presence. One of my favorite players as a youngster, Emerson moved around the pitch and pinged an old school Mitre captured everybody’s attention. I enjoyed watching him roam the pitch with that big floppy head of hair. Every time I scored a goal from twenty yards, I’d shout ‘Emerson!’ in my best commentary voice.
He left the Riverside after a slightly bitter period where he had attempted to force a move to big bullies Barca. He ended up at Tenerife, a popular holiday destination for Brits, fitting for a man that promised so much but in reality delivered little more than showmanship. I’m not sure what he’s up to now. After firing through a string of clubs, he’s probably back in Portugal with his wife, sitting around reminiscing about when he used to have hair. “Remember that time I was Portuguese Player of the Year? Put the kettle on!”
2. Pierre Van Hooijdonk
He looked a little like a muscular Ronaldinho. Pierre was another one that could eat an apple through a letterbox. He also knew how to find the net. Relegated in his first season with Nottingham Forest, when he joined they were already in deep trouble, drawing their way to Championship football. He blitzed it in the Championship, netting over thirty times and maintaining his place in the Netherlands side while playing in the second tier of English football. It would be interesting to know how many players have achieved that.
Forest were again relegated from the Premiership in a season that was plagued by bad blood between Van Hooijdonk and the club. Unhappy with the summer business, he refused to play and intermittently appeared for the side until leaving at the end of another relegation season.
The Dutchman went on to have a good career scoring everywhere he went. Across Europe, he never failed to deliver.
He is now co-owner of a company called Gino-b that sells sneakers. Not my cup of tea. Check him out on Twitter; he has adopted the old school Emerson hair style.