With the new Premier League season just around the corner, it’s time to look back with “Where Are They Now?”. We look back to the first weekend of the first Premier League season where only 13 foreigners played over the entire weekend. Let’s see what happened to them…
Arsenal 2-4 Norwich
John Jensen – Arsenal
Fresh off his goalscoring heroics in the European Championship final for Denmark, Jensen was signed not long before the Norwich game as a replacement for David Rocastle in midfield. Despite Arsenal’s poor start, Jensen continued to feature in the first team and his hard working style in the middle of the park helped the club to a FA and League Cup double at the end of the season. Jensen stay in the Arsenal midfield over the next few seasons (helping the club to the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994) and became a cult hero for his inability to score a goal regardless of how many times he tried. Eventually, Jensen did score for the club and it turned out to be his only goal too before he departed in 1996 to return to Brondby. His third spell at Brondby lasted three years before he joined Herfolge as player-manager in 1999 winning the league title in his first season before being relegated in 2001. He retired completely from playing in 2001 and in 2002 returned to Brondby as Michael Laudrup’s assistant. He followed Laudrup to Spanish side Getafe in 2007 but his time in Spain only lasted a season before he left with Laudrup. He had short stints as Danish side Randers’ manager and Blackburn assistant mannager in 2011 before being named a footballing consultant at Brondby in 2012. Jensen was recently appointed manager of Fremad Amager in his homeland.
Anders Limpar – Arsenal
A Swedish international, Limpar had already won the league at Arsenal in 1991 and was in and out of the side under George Graham. He would go on to play 23 times in 1992/93 but only 12 of those were starts and he notched two goals. However, he was out of favour by the end of 1993 and in March 1994 he was sold to Everton. Limpar became a key member of the Everton side and helped the club to the FA Cup in 1995 but he was again out of favour so was sold on to Birmingham in January of 1997. Limpar’s spell in the Midlands was a failure and his contract was cancelled in April after just four appearances. He returned to Sweden in the summer and joined AIK, helping the club to the league title in 1998 before having a short spell with Colorado Rapids in the US in 1999. He returned to Sweden in 2000 with Djurgardens but retired before he could make an appearance for them. He moved straight into coaching with their youth teams before moving to his current role as assistant coach Sollentuna United in 2008. He is also the CEO of a betting website as well.
Chelsea 1-1 Oldham Athletic
Gunnar Halle – Oldham Athletic
Joining Oldham from Lillestrom in 1991, Halle is regarded as one of the better players from Oldham’s short run in the Premier League. He went on to play all but three of Oldham’s games in the first Premier League season and bagged himself 5 goals including the crucial fourth in a final day 4-3 win over Southampton that kept Oldham up. Bar a very short loan spell with Lillestrom in 1994, Halle was a regular with Oldham until 1996, making over 200 appearances before returning to the Premier League with Leeds United. He was with Leeds for three seasons before joining newly promoted Bradford in 1999. He stayed with the club after their relegation in 2001 but left as finances became strecthed in 2002 for a short spell with Wolves. He returned to Lillestrom in 2002 before becoming player-manager at third tier side Aurskog/Finstadbru in 2004. Halle retired from playing in 2005 and became Uwe Rosler’s assistant at Lillestrom and Viking before joining Lyn in 2009 as first assistant before becoming manager the same year. He couldn’t keep the club up before the club declared itself bankrupt in 2010. Halle reunited with Rosler at Molde in 2010 for a short spell there. He became assistant of the Norwegian women’s side in 2012 before moving on to his current job in 2013 – assistant manager at Strommen IF.
Everton 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday
Robert Warzycha – Everton
A mustachioed Polish winger, Warzycha appeared as a substitute on the opening day of the season. He is perhaps best remembered for his role in Everton’s second game of the season – a 3-0 thumping of Manchester United at Old Trafford – where Warzycha became the first player from mainland Europe to score in the Premier League. Sadly, that was the high point of his season as Warzycha never scored again for the club and was sold at the end of the following season to Hungarian side Pecsi Mecsek. He spent a season with Pecsi before a season at Honved lead to him moving to Colorado Rapids in 1996 for the inaugural MLS season. He was key member of the Rapids side for the next six years before retiring in 2002 at which point he became assistant manager of the Rapids. He served as assistant right up until 2009 when he became the boss of the Rapids leading them to the Supporter’s Shield that year. He left Colorado at the end of the 2013 season and took his current job as manager of Polish side Gornik Zabrze earlier this year. If you want to read more on Warzycha then check out this piece on his time at Everton from Rightbankwarsaw.
Roland Nilsson – Sheffield Wednesday
Considered by many to be Wednesday’s best right back ever, Swede Nilsson was a regular during his time in Sheffield. He would end his 5 year association with the club in 1994 to return to Sweden with Helsingborg after starring at the 1994 World Cup where Sweden finished third. He returned to the Premier League in 1997 with Coventry City where he spent two seasons before again returning to Helsingborg for another two seasons. Nilsson was brought back to Coventry as player-manager in 2001 but, despite a promising start, he was sacked in April 2002. He was not out of work for long as he was appointed manager of GAIS in his homeland the same year and led them to the top tier of Swedish football for the first time in six years before leaving for Malmo in 2007. He led Malmo to the league title in 2010 before departing for the FC Copenhagen job in 2011. He was sacked in 2012 and has been out of work since.
Ipswich 1-1 Aston Villa
Craig Forrest – Ipswich Town
Craig Forrest must surely be English right? Nope. He was Canadian. Yet spent the entirety of his playing career in England. Forrest played over 200 times for Town but will mostly be remembered by neutrals for being the keeper that conceded nine at Old Trafford (a Premier League record) in 1995. Forrest stayed with Ipswich until 1997 (he did have a three game loan spell with Chelsea during the 96/97 season too) to join West Ham but his time at the Boleyn Ground never saw be the undisputed number one. He retired from football in 2002 for health reasons and can now be seen doing ambassadorial work as well as being one of the main football pundits on Canadian TV.
Leeds United 2-1 Wimbledon
Eric Cantona – Leeds United
Instrumental in Leeds’ title win in 1992, Cantona was the scorer of the first ever Premier League hat trick. His time at Leeds would not last into 1993 as he was sold to Manchester United in November. This proved to be a massive move as Cantona’s presence inspired United on to the league title. Cantona’s great form continued and he was named PFA Player of the Year in 1994 before being banned for eight months for that infamous kung-fu kick on a fan. When he returned in 1995, he inspired United to another title and the FA Cup before he retired at just 30 in 1997. Following his retirement he went into a number of different areas including acting, beach football and appearing in adverts. He was also director of football at New York Cosmos between 2010 and 2012.
Hans Segers – Wimbledon
Wimbledon’s replacement for FA Cup hero Dave Beasant, Dutchman Segers played more than 250 games for the club before his departure in 1996. His later years at Selhurst Park were marred by his match fixing trial (he was eventually cleared) but he continued to play through it. He left Wimbledon for spells with Wolves (with a brief stint at non-league Woking sandwiched in between) before joining Tottenham in 1998 as a backup. He played just once in three seasons before retiring in 2001. He moved straight into coaching after his retirement and was a goalkeeping coach at Spurs until 2007 when Martin Jol was sacked. He reunited with Jol in 2011 when he was appointed to his current job as goalkeeping coach at Fulham.
Sheffield United 2-1 Manchester United
Peter Schmeichel – Manchester United
Fresh off his starring role in Denmark’s Euro 92 triumph, Schmeichel kept 22 clean sheets as United won the inaugural Premier League title. He would go on to help United win four more league titles in his spell there as well as three FA Cups and the Champions League in 1999. He left United after the Champions League final in 1999 and moved to Portuguese side Sporting where he helped the club to the league title in his first season. He returned to England in 2001 with Aston Villa where he even managed to score a goal in the Premier League before making a surprise move to Manchester City in 2002. Schmeichel retired from football in 2003. He has since made TV appearances and done some punditry work.
Andrei Kanchelskis – Manchester United
The Russian winger was fresh off playing for the CIS side at Euro 92 and was a vital part of United’s early Premier League success. It took him a while to establish himself in English football but by 94/95, Kanchelskis was one of the most dangerous players in the league and was actually United’s top scorer that season. However, he had fallen out with Alex Ferguson and was sold to Everton in 1995 where he continued his sparkling form and earned himself hero status with a brace in the Merseyside derby. However, before he could make an even bigger impression at Goodison, he was sold to Italian side Fiorentina in January 1997. His impact in Italy was minimal and he was sold in the summer of 1998 to Scottish giants Rangers where he featured regularly but never really set the world alight and, after a short loan spell with Manchester City in 2001, he was allowed to join Southampton in 2002. It was clear Kanchelskis’ career was winding down and his spell at Southampton was disappointing and he left shortly after signing. Poor spells with Saudi side Al-Hilal and Russian sides Saturn Moscow and Krylia Sovetov followed before he retired in February 2007.
Nottingham Forest 1-0 Liverpool
Ronny Rosenthal – Liverpool
Israeli striker Rosenthal was never quite as good as the early promise he showed during his loan spell and he only ever scored 6 Premier League goals for the club. His Liverpool career is best remembered for his appalling miss against Aston Villa early in the 92/93 season and it’s really what he is best remembered for. He was sold in January 1994 to Tottenham right before Graeme Souness resigned and his time there was not laden with goals. He scored just 11 in 100 games before leaving in 1997 for Watford whom he helped to the Second Division (third tier) title in 1998 before injuries forced him to retire in 1999. He now works as a football consultant.
Manchester City 1-1 QPR
Michel Vonk – Manchester City
Dutchman Vonk was a big defender who was a big success at Maine Road as he played nearly 100 games in just over 3 seasons at the club. He was allowed to leave in 1995 for Oldham where he barely lasted months before joining Sheffield United. His time at Brammall Lane was hampered by injury and he returned to the Netherlands in 1998 with MVV Maastricht. He retired from playing in 2001 and moved straight into coaching by doing some youth coaching at PSV. He was given the manager’s job at Sparta Rotterdam in 2011 and stayed for two years before being fired in 2013. He has been out of work since.
Jan Stejskal – Goalkeeper, QPR
Czech keeper Stejskal was a commanding presence at the back for QPR but he was never the complete first choice in the Premier League. He only played 41 times in two seasons before returning to the Czech Republic in 1994 after 4 years in London. He returned with Slavia Prague where he spent five seasons before, after a short spell with Viktoria Zizkov, he retired in 1999. Stejskal moved into goalkeeper coaching when he retired and was a coach at Sparta Prague and for the Czech national side. He quit the national team post because of the amount of extra work he had to do with club commitments. He still works as a goalkeeper coach for Sparta to date.
There are the 13 foreigners from the opening weekend of the first Premier League season. There will probably be many, many more this weekend but hopefully the season will be good regardless. Stay tuned for more from The Long Ball coming soon.