Anybody who loves football has an intimate affair with the English Premier League
. It is for all intents and purposes the be all and end all of pro football - in the UK, Europe and in far flung soccer loving nations like Kenya, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates.
What happens in the Premiership quickly spreads across the world; whether it is good stuff like the record number of goals in a season or bad stuff like some yobbo throwing a banana skin at Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The English Premier League is the
top flight. It is where all aspiring young players all over the world want to strut their stuff. When they do get the opportunity - like the Kenya born defensive midfielder for Spurs, Victor Wanyama - they make sure it counts.
Every Stat is Recorded for Posterity
What is really astounding about the Premier League is that every goal, assist, card and penalty is painstakingly recorded and archived for future generations to ooh and aah over. Not all the facts, figures, stats and data are positive or even remarkable.
Some of the accumulated information is cringeworthy for the players involved, many of whom would rather forget their brief and sometimes acrimonious spells at the top.
Let’s take a look at a few of the lesser known facts about the English Premier League and the players who have made the tough and often unforgiving journey to the pinnacle of the sport.
Gareth Bale’s Mixed Bag of Tricks
Real Madrid’s prodigious striker Gareth Bale won’t mind being centre stage one bit. The 30-year-old Welshman has a great reputation as a footballer and a man.
He is known and loved for his pace, ball striking ability and free kicks that swerve in similar fashion to Bend-It Like Beckham’s mind-blowing antics.
There are many reasons to celebrate Bale, not least of which are his 80 goals for Los Blancos and 42 strikes for Tottenham Hotspurs.
It was during his final season with Spurs that Bale racked up a goal, an assist, an own goal and a yellow card… in a single match. He is the only man ever to have achieved that stat. Kevin Davies and Wayne Rooney got agonisingly close but missed out on the temporary send-off!
The year was 2013, the same year Gareth Bale won the PFA Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year awards to become only the second player after Cristiano Ronaldo to get the hat trick of nods!
Dave Kitson’s 37-Second Send Off
Former Reading striker Dave Kitson is one of only three players in history to get red carded without touching the ball. The fiery flame-haired Englishman was a second half substitute in a game against league champions Manchester United.
His foray was short-lived as after exactly 37 seconds on the pitch he was unceremoniously shown the door for catching Patrice Evra in what can only be described as a terrible tackle. Who are the other offending players? Keith Gillespie and Andreas Johansson!
Leicester City’s Climb from the Bottom to the Top
In one of the league’s great escapes, Leicester City survived a protracted four-month stay at the bottom of the league to avoid relegation.
Their saving graces? A late run of six wins in eight games including a 5-3 triumph over Manchester United. That wasn’t the end of the extraordinary rise of the Premier League minnows. Leicester won the league title the very next season, an unlikely feat backed by the 5,000:1 odds offered by UK bookmakers!