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The 10 Greatest One Season Wonders In Premier League History

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You’d think Jesus Christ would pick a nicer part of the world for his second coming than Tottenham Hale, but no. God has once again assumed human form in the person we call Harry Kane. Or, at least, you could be forgiven for thinking that the way some of the fans and media have feted the striker this season.

But we at ShortList know better. As good as the newly minted striker has been, and he has been very good, there is always the risk that Kane is one of those rare, glorious beasts known as the one season wonders: the players that for one season make grown men believe in magic and the next, make them cry like children. And we love them, if only we could remember their names.

And so with Kane's first full England appearances reminding us all of just how good his season has been, and why we really hope he doesn't implode next season, here are the Premier League's 10 best one-season wonders.


1. Francis Jeffers

The “fox in the box” turned out to be more of a pile of gravel in the box after Arsene Wenger shelled out £8million for him in 2001. The season before, Jeffers had caught the eye for Everton but sadly he was never to reach the heights of six goals in one season again. A 15 year career as a striker and never once into double figures. Francis, we salute you.


2. Andy Johnson

Perhaps the ultimate Premiership one season wonder, Johnson scored an astonishing 21 goals even as Crystal Palace were relegated in 2005. He did come back to the Prem with Everton, Fulham and QPR but seemed to have lost something. Namely, the ability to score.


3. Michu

With a name like a minor Pokémon character, Michu came to the league a complete unknown in 2012 and left it a complete unknown in 2014. But in between, for one glorious year, everyone knew who Mikachu was. He scored 18 goals, including a single-handed destruction of Arsenal, and had shocking hair. A single season master.


4. Benjani

It takes quite a lot to turn the head of Sven-Göran Eriksson and, for one brief moment in 2008, Benjani had the Swede coveting him like the proverbial neighbour’s ass. After scoring 15 in 23 for Portsmouth, Sven snapped up the Zimbabwean but since that season, the striker only managed to score eight more times in his club career. 


5. Michael Ricketts

The ghost of Michael Ricketts can be seen floating near any young player who starts banging in goals at the start of a season. By February 2002 Michael had hit 15 for Bolton, including the winner away against United, but by the end of May he hadn’t scored any more. He never got into double figures again, for anyone. (NB: he’s not actually dead).


6. Roque Santa Cruz

The man from Bayern Munich bought some pedigree and, at first, a lot of goals to the Premiership when Blackburn bought him in 2007. So many goals in fact that Man City paid £17.5million for him in 2009. It was to work out at roughly £6million a goal but for a player with a name like an ice cream flavour, it was a sweet deal.


7. Mido

As so often with Championship Manager wonderkid’s, Mido could never live up to the hype, or his hairstyle. In the 2005-6 season for Tottenham he made a good go of it though with 11 goals in 27 appearances. Sadly though, he didn’t develop as the computer game had promised. You can’t Ctrl, Alt, Delete real life.


8. Stephen Ireland

In 2009 Stephen Ireland tricked Manchester City into thinking they had a great player they hadn’t had to buy for millions of pounds. In reality, what they had was a sort of pirated version of Glenn Hoddle that cut out before the climax. And no one wants Glenn Hoddle, pirated or otherwise.


9. Charlie Adam

One of the greatest mysteries of the universe is: how can Charlie Adam only be 29 years old? He has a face that looks older than some rocks. What isn’t a mystery is why Liverpool signed him in 2011. The year before, Adam had been brilliant for Blackpool. But what Kenny Dalglish failed to realise is that being brilliant for Blackpool isn’t the same as being brilliant for Liverpool.


10. Jon Stead

In 2004 Jon Stead moved from what was Division Three straight into the Premiership with Blackburn and, initially, it seemed like good business for the Lancashire club. But after smashing in six goals in 13 in his first season, the Next catalogue Peter Crouch was never quite the same and is now in League 1 on loan at Bradford. 

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