A new study of the 20+ years of the Premier League, has seen Kevin Keegan included on a list of the most influential people in its relatively short, but action packed, history.
The summer break sees the media coming up with all kinds of lists to fill the void: best, most useless, most expensive…and so on, but this has a bit more substance.
Journalist Nick Harris of the excellent Sporting Intelligence website has put together this list for The Mail.
Nick has compiled a top 50 and today numbers 50-41 have been made public.
Great detail and thought has been gone into and it isn’t just a case of listing who has won most trophies or spent the most money.
Nick Harris explains his rationale for the (his) choices:
‘Because they directly influenced the formation, development and blossoming of the Premier League into the world’s richest and most-watched club competition and/or they played a fundamental role in shaping the destiny of the league’s major clubs, who in turn helped the league’s growth, and/or they were central to a hugely significant rule change or other development.
So Sol Campbell is included due to his his high profile Bosman transfer, Philip Don for the introduction of professional referees, Peter Ridsdale for the legacy of Leeds United’s financial implosion, Carlos Tevez because of the third party ownership issues and so on.
Numbers 50-41 in Nick Harris’ list are listed below but let’s go straight to his appreciation of Newcastle United managerial legend…’
41 Kevin Keegan
‘When Keegan’s Manchester City won promotion as First Division champions in 2002, having scored 108 goals, the former England manager became the first boss in the Premier League era to win the Football League with two different clubs.
He’d previously done it with Newcastle in 1992-93 and it is mainly for his first stint at St James’ Park, for five years of mostly Premier League excitement, that he warrants inclusion.
If the Keegan philosophy wasn’t already obvious from his playing days then his ‘attack, attack, attack’ Newcastle side of that era thrilled not just locals but dreamers everywhere.
The 1995-96 season went down in lore, for that 4-3 game against Liverpool and for his ‘I will love it if we beat them! Love it’ outburst on Sky about Manchester United.
Keegan’s signing of Alan Shearer in July 1996 for a world record transfer fee of £15m sent out a message not just about Newcastle’s ambition but the Premier League’s. And a roll call of stars either came to prominence under him or shone on the Toon at his behest, from Andy Cole to Peter Beardsley, David Ginola, Les Ferdinand, Tino Asprilla and Shearer.’
Premier League most influential 50-41
50 Steven Gerrard
49 Peter Ridsdale
48 Didier Drogba
47 Karren Brady
46 Philip Don
45 Sol Campbell
44 Gary Lineker
43 Carlos Tevez
42 Rune Hauge
41 Kevin Keegan
You can read HERE what Nick Harris has to say about the other nine included above and now we await with interest to see which other Newcastle United figures are included in the top 40.
Alan Shearer, Mike Ashley…Alan Pardew???