The Premier League is officially 30 years old.
On Saturday August 15, 1992, the inaugural Premier League season began with a packed schedule of kick-offs at 3:00 p.m.
Its founding was the result of former Premier League clubs breaking away from the Football League to maximize their revenue potential, much of it initially focused on the possibility of lucrative television rights deals.
As the Football Association (FA) had a strained relationship with the Football League at the time, the FA supported the breakaway league’s formation plans, and in July 1991 the Founding Members Agreement was signed by the high-level clubs.
As the Premier League fell under the auspices of the FA, the league gained economic independence from the governing body and the Football League, and this was a major factor in it becoming the giant we know in 2022.
Thirty years later, many believe it to be the best league in world football, and today it seems fitting to take a trip down memory lane with a look at the league’s records, stats and key figures. three decades of competition…
This is classic ‘pub quiz’ territory: which manager has chaired the most Premier League games?
You know it’s either Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger, right? You probably end up going for the Manchester United icon because of his longevity.
Alas, you would be wrong.
Wenger took charge of 18 more Premier League games (828) than ‘Fergie’ before ending his long career at Arsenal.
Nonetheless, Ferguson’s 13 titles seem unlikely to ever be matched. His closest rival in that regard is Pep Guardiola (four), with Wenger joined at three by Jose Mourinho.
In the first 30 Premier League seasons, 4,488 players have appeared in the competition with an average of 149.6 debutants per campaign.
If we ignore the inaugural and current seasons for obvious reasons, the campaign with the most debutants was 2015-16 when 162 players made their Premier League bows.
Of the almost 4,500 people to have taken part in the competition until the start of the 2022-23 season, Gareth Barry is clear with the most appearances (653), the last of which came in the 2017-18 season. with West Brom.
It’s a record that will take time to break, but if anyone has a chance to topple it, it’s his former Manchester City team-mate James Milner.
The 36-year-old, now from Liverpool, is fourth on the all-time list with 589 outings.
Everyone loves a ‘Wonderkid’. The Premier League has seen more than its fair share over the years, and some started very, very young.
Mark Platts was the first 16-year-old to play in the Premier League when he made his Sheffield Wednesday debut in February 1996.
When Matthew Briggs arrived 11 years later and played for Fulham at 16 years and 68 days old, you would have been forgiven for thinking his record would stand the test of time.
It went on for 12 years until another Fulham player shaved 38 days off Briggs’ record – that player was Harvey Elliott. Now at Liverpool, the young midfielder looks set for a stellar career.
The name of the game
Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mohamed Salah, Wayne Rooney – when you think of Premier League goalscorers, these are probably the names that immediately come to mind.
Well, you are wrong. You should think of Andrew Johnson, Glen Johnson, Tommy Johnson, Bradley Johnson, Roger Johnson et al.
Why? Because more players with the Johnson surname have scored in the Premier League than any other surname.
There were 21 to be exact, two more than the Williams clan.
Go to points
It’s been a frustrating few (nine?) years for Man United fans, and this season has started horribly. But don’t worry folks, if you just look at the big (massive) picture, everything will definitely feel a whole lot better.
United still top the overall Premier League standings with 2,366 points, giving them a comfortable 219-point cushion over second-placed Arsenal.
Manchester City may have won four of the last five league titles, a feat only United had achieved before them in the Premier League, but the real story is that they are a far cry from 1,635 Premier League points.
Yo-yo with the current
To be fair, almost all of you know what’s coming here.
You guessed it, Norwich City’s relegation last season makes them the most yo-yo (yes, we just made it up) club in Premier League history.
It was their sixth relegation to go with their five promotions to the top flight since 1992, taking them a distance from West Brom, who have the same number of promotions but only five demotions to their name.
I like goals, goals, goals, goals
Of course, Shearer remains the Premier’s League’s all-time leading goalscorer with 260, 52 ahead of second-placed Wayne Rooney.
But Harry Kane appears to have a chance to usurp the two English greats – in fact, another strong season could take him past 200 as his header against Chelsea on Sunday took it to 184.
Kane is also among the best goalscoring combinations in the history of the competition as he and Son Heung-min have combined for 41 goals, five more than Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard as second best.
As far as high-scoring games go, there have been three Premier League games that ended with a nine-goal margin – two were by Man Utd (9-0 against Southampton in February 2021 and against Ipswich Town in March 1995) and Leicester City pulled it off in October 2019, also thrashing Saints 9-0.
call it a comeback
Your team is down 2-0, you are discouraged and hopeless. But then, out of nowhere, you have a goal in return. Then the equalizer. And then, just when you’ve convinced yourself that “this draw looks like a win”, a third comes in, and it’s pandemonium.
There are few more satisfying situations in football than when your team produces such a turnaround – the desperation you felt earlier only makes your full-time jubilation that bit more intense.
The biggest turnarounds that have led to wins, with all teams involved coming back from three goals. Leeds United, Wimbledon and Wolves all managed to secure 4-3 wins, while Man United beat Spurs 5-3 to 3-0.
No team has done so since Wolves in October 2003, although Newcastle United certainly deserve a special mention – they are the only team to find themselves 4-0 down and avoid defeat. Their 4-4 draw with Arsenal in February 2011 remains a Premier League classic.
Stop the clock!
Here’s another one for pub quiz fans: who scored the fastest goal in Premier League history?
After just 7.69 seconds in an April 2019 match between Southampton and Watford, Shane Long opened the scoring to break a 19-year record which was set by Spurs defender Ledley King.
To put that into context, it would take you longer to read that sentence. He was also faster than Usain Bolt’s world record time in the 100 meters (9.58 seconds).
The last all-time goal may be a less notable record, but it nonetheless belongs to Bruno Fernandes, who in September 2020 scored a penalty after 99 minutes and 45 seconds to seal United a dramatic 3-2 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion – yes, that’s the game when the Seagulls hit the woodwork a record five times.
As for the fastest hat-trick, it was scored by Sadio Mane for Southampton against Aston Villa in May 2015, with his first and third goals separated by just two minutes and 56 seconds.