Five Footballers who came to Yorkshire but Excelled Elsewhere
A couple of weeks ago we picked our best 5-a-side team of players who were born in Yorkshire and took the world by storm.
This week, to play against them, we pick five who were born outside Yorkshire, played here, but made their names elsewhere. Here are brilliant players whose time came before the multi-millionaire footballers of today, whose priority was remembering to wash their own kit rather than remember their quantum ai login, or whatever other money spinning extra curricular activity footballers of today indulge in. There’s a huge squad to pick from, so we’re sure you’ll have a different starting line-up…
GK – Neville Southall
What a ‘keeper Big Nev was. A Welsh international, in a successful career he played his final professional game for Bradford City in 2000. Almost quite accidentally too. He was signed as player coach for the Bantams by Paul Jewell, helping to coach Aidan Davison, Matt Clarke and Gary Walsh. But when Leeds came to Valley Parade in March 2000, all three goalkeepers were injured, meaning Southall was named in the starting line-up. At 41 years and 178 days, he became the fourth oldest player in Premier League history. But it was with Everton that former bin man Southall claimed all the accolades in the 80s. Named in the PFA Team of the Year four consecutive times, he helped the Toffees win two league titles, an FA Cup and a European Cup Winner’s Cup – whilst also taking Football Writer’s Player Of The Year in 1985 – something of a rarity for a ‘keeper. It wasn’t just the medals though – he was an outstanding keeper, labelled the best in the world at the time. And if it wasn’t for English football teams being banned from European football in 1985, he may well have added a European Cup winners medal to his collection.
DF – Kenny Burns
Between 1981 and 1984, hardman Kenny Burns played 56 times at the heart of the Leeds United defence. But the Scotsman is more remembered for winning back to back European Cups with his previous team, Nottingham Forest. He grabbed a winners medal in 1979 and 1980, whilst also winning their player of the season in 1980 too. A first Division champion in 1978, a League Cup winner in 78 and 79 and a European Super Cup win in 1979, he came to Elland Road quite the decorated footballer thanks to what he’d done at Brian Clough’s Forest – but he couldn’t add any more medals to his collection during his stint in West Yorkshire, before heading to Derby in 1984. In 1985 he returned to Yorkshire with a brief spell at Barnsley before seeing out the rest of his career elsewhere.
Geordie lad Waddle is probably most remembered for missing the last penalty in the semi-final shoot out in the 1990 World Cup finals that saw Germany knock England out before beating Argentina in the final. However, that’d be quite unfair on the skillfull winger, who cut his cloth at Newcastle United, before earning a move to Spurs in 1985. In London, he bagged 33 goals in 138 games before Marseille of France came calling – to the tune of £4.5million – the third highest transfer fee in the world at that time. Across the channel he won the title three years on the trott between 1990 and 1992, and got to the 1991 European Cup Final. When his three years in France were over, Sheffield Wednesday took him for four seasons for £1million. Although he got to two cup finals with The Owls, and won FWA Player of the Year in 1993, he didn’t quite manage to emulate his earlier career. He left for Falkirk in 1996, before returning to Yorkshire to play 25 games for Bradford City later that year, and he even made an appearance for Stockbridge Park Steelers in 2002.
FW – Eric Cantona
Ooh, Ah, Cantona the Leeds United fans chanted week in, week out as he provided a catalyst for Howard Wilkinson’s men to prevent Manchester United winning their first title in 25 years. He came over from France in 1991 for a trial with Sheffield Wednesday. His madman reputation in France hit the headlines over here, and he walked out on Wednesday in disgust as manager Trevor Francis wanted to extend the trial before signing him. Cantona had nothing to prove, and Howard Wilkinson knew this – bagging him on loan for the rest of the 91-92 season from Nimes, before signing him for £900,000 on a permanent basis that summer. Despite that success at Leeds, he was soon out of the door as Manchester United came in with a bid whilst Leeds were making an enquiry for Denis Irwin. The bid was accepted, and Cantona had five successful years at Old Trafford, being credited as the main reason they won their first title in 26 years during his first season, and retaining it a year later. Lauded in the Premier League, even after kung-fu kicking a racist fan, he’s one of the division’s greatest imports and although successful at Elland Road, it was in Manchester where he excelled with four titles and two FA Cups, with a PFA Player Of The Year award over there in a five year spell.
ST – Denis Law
Law excelled over the other side of the Pennines, representing the red and the blue sides of Manchester. But did you know that he started his professional career with Huddersfield Town in 1956? He came down from his hometown of Aberdeen by Terriers manager Bill Shankly to play in their youth team, but made his debut a year later. He didn’t follow Shanks to Liverpool, but had a season with Manchester City in 1960 before going to Italy for a year with Torino. With ten goals in 27 games for the Turin side, he signed for Manchester United where he spent the best part of his career – weighing in with 237 goals in 404 games.
Manager: Brian Clough.
There’s so many players who’ve not quite done it as well in Yorkshire as they did elsewhere. Who would you put in your team?