The 1994/95 season was arguably when the Premier League went global, but that didn’t mean the feats of those playing in it were recognised all over the world.
Take Alan Shearer, for example. He scored 34 goals to take Blackburn to their one and only Premier League title, and their first title since 1914, but despite his dominance his feats weren’t perhaps given the due attention they deserved, beyond these shores.
“Shearer had his injury problems later on, but keeping him fit for the whole 1994/95 season was almost the cheat card,” said Daniel Storey on this week’s Totally Football Show.
“After scoring 34 Premier League goals that year, he got one vote for the Ballon d’Or, and George Weah – who won it that year – got 144 votes. It wasn’t just that the Premier League was insular, it’s that the foreign football didn’t really view the Premier League as a high enough quality league to matter, which when you watch how good Shearer was, was a nonsense.”
Matt Davies-Adams, on a similar theme, had a brief history lesson for the kids: “It’s worth – particularly maybe for younger listeners – pointing out his stats, which are ridiculous. He had those two serious knee injuries, but got 260 Premier League goals which is 54 more than Wayne Rooney, who is second on that list, and Rooney played more than 50 games more than Shearer. It really is a remarkable record.”
The following year Shearer did come third in the Ballon d’Or voting, but a) that showed how quickly the Premier League’s reputation was growing, but b) it was almost certainly down to him being top-scorer at Euro 96.
Of course it wasn’t just Shearer who took Rovers to that title, but his partnership with Chris Sutton played a pretty significant role, as Michael Cox pointed out:
“Blackburn were a pretty simple side. They had two of the best strikers in the league and two wingers in Stuart Ripley and Jason Wilcox who just ran down the flanks and crossed the ball.
“Sometimes they conceded too many goals, but you were always fairly sure that Shearer or Sutton would come up with the goods. There were so many goals were it was literally just the two of them: one of them would shoot and the other rebounds, or one of them knocks it down and the other finishes. I’m not sure there has ever been a duo that has contributed such a proportion of [a title winning team’s] goals.
Daniel Storey added: “It was a perfect storm for Blackburn: United weren’t as good as they had been and they had very few distractions: they went out in the third round of the FA Cup, beaten by Trelleborgs in the UEFA Cup – which was remarkable for the champions elect – and lost in the fourth round of the League Cup.”
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