I tell you what, there were some magnificent entries in our FIFA Manager 12 competition and selecting just two winners was an incredibly difficult task for me and Tom. From Cantona, Zidane, Henry, Pele, Messi, Giggs and Ronaldinho you guys covered it all but these two entries stood out for us for very different reasons. Congratulations to Robert Magee and Dan who both win a copy of FIFA Manager 12 for PC.
Robert Magee – George Best
My favourite player of all time is George Best. I’m from Northern Ireland and although I wasn’t alive for the majority of his playing career, he is a hero among Ulstermen! The reason he is my favourite player is that while Northern Ireland was in a state of conflict and people were being killed nearly on a daily basis – George Best provided a platform for everyone to be united and in support of him, no matter what religion or background they were from.
For someone from a country as small as Northern Ireland to make it big and become, undoubtedly, one of the greatest footballers ever to grace the sport is a huge achievement. His death brought the whole country to a standstill and he’ll always be missed.
Dan – Kevin Pressman
Favourite player of all time is so hard to nail down, but my earliest footballing memories all concern one man. Kevin Pressman wasn’t an international superstar, in a career spanning three decades he never won anything, he never got further than a short UEFA Cup campaign and 3 games at England “B” level (a travesty, by the way), but he was a legend at one the country’s biggest clubs for nearly twenty years and spent much of that time as the club’s undisputed number one.
He was a character, as most Goalkeepers are, and truly loyal to his club, from the heights of making over 200 starts in the Premier League and starring in a team that made five Wembley appearences in three years to the heartbreak of relegation to England’s third tier, Pressman stayed with Sheffield Wednesday, despite being regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League. Indeed, when forced out of Wednesday by Chris Turner, the man whose challenge for the number one slot he had seen off some years earlier, Pressman did jump back up a division, playing with Leicester, Coventry and Leeds in the Championship, before going to Northern Ireland and helping Portadown to UEFA Cup qualification, picking up the fans’ player of the season award along the way. Even at the age of 41, the evergreen Pressman was considered a viable option as Scunthorpe’s back-up keeper in one of their recent Championship adventures.
A true legend in the blue half of Sheffield, and still a name that sends a shiver down the spine of those in the red half, Pressman’s displays in Steel City Derbies are the stuff of legend and his 19 years at Sheffield Wednesday took in some of the best and worst times that one of England’s most famous clubs has ever seen and his claim to the number one shirt was unsuccesfully challenged by some of the best keepers around, the likes of Chris Woods and Pavel Srnicek came and went but Pressman remained a constant.
An asset in the goal and from the penalty spot, Pressman scored in two shoot-outs in his Wednesday career, against Wolves and Watford.
Even towards the end of his career, the big keeper was a showman, once, and memorably, nutmegging Newcastle’s Keiron Dyer on the edge of the Wednesday box before dribbling past a couple more bamboozled Magpies’ players to half-way line and unleashing a drive at opposite number Steve Harper’s goal.
But none of that is why Pressy is my favourite player of all time. The quality, the loyalty, the occasional comedy mean nothing next to the fact that this is the man who inspired me to play football, the man who I reminisce about whenever I don my gloves and the man who, despite his advancing years, I would still welcome back into Wednesday’s first team without a second thought.
The fact is, as the Kop’s chant used to go, you’ll never beat Kev Pressman.
Once again congratulations Robert and Dan and thanks to Bright Future and EA SPORTS for the FIFA Manager 12 prizes.