Vital Football

Latest Swansea City News

Top 25 Players - Dean Saunders

Top 25 Players - Dean Saunders

Local lad Dean Saunders began his career with the Swans, signing his first deal in 1980 after leaving school.

He spent 4 years with the Swans & during that time he spent a spell on loan at arch-rivals Cardiff City. He left the Swans to join Brighton in 1984, moving on a free transfer.

After three years with the Seasiders, he began a successful but controversial spell with First Division strugglers Oxford United. He scored the goals to help Oxford avoid relegation at the end of the 1986-87 season, but the following season Oxford finished bottom & were relegated despite Saunders` best efforts.

The controversy came just after the start of the following season, when Saunders was sold to Derby County for £1million. The then Oxford manager, Mark Lawrenson, was unhappy at the board`s decision to sell his star striker, and complained to the board which resulted in his sacking from the club.

Saunders made his Derby County debut in October 1988 against Wimbledon at Derby`s former home, The Baseball Ground. He made an instant impact, grabbing a brace of goals in his first game and he went on to score 14 goals that season. His 14 goals helped the Derby team to finish an impressive & surprising fourth in the 1988-89 First Division table, their highest finish since they were league champions in 1975 & a feat that hasn`t been matched by any Derby team since.

Despite improving his goal tally to over 20 the following season, Derby were still relagated in bottom place. After relagation Derby found it impossible to hang on to their top scorer, with several clubs chasing his signature. Everton were favourites to sign him, but were beaten to his signature by Merseyside rivals Liverpool, who paid a then English record fee of £2.9million to bring him to Anfield.

He made his Welsh debut as a 21-year-old against Ireland in 1986. That was his first of 75 caps and during that time he scored a creditable 22 goals. That tally puts him fourth on the all time Welsh goalscorers list, behind only one time Liverpool strike partner Ian Rush & fellow Swansea City legends Ivor Allchurch and Trevor Ford. He also grabbed the goal which secured a famous 1-0 win over South American giants Brazil in Cardiff in 1991.

During the 1991-92 season, Saunders formed an all Welsh strikeforce alongside Liverpool legend Ian Rush. This combination helped Liverpool to win the F.A Cup for the fifth time in its history in new manager Graeme Souness's first full season in charge. By September 1992, Saunders was on the move again, his time to the Midlands, with Aston Villa forking out £2.5million to sign him. Once again he enjoyed immediate success at his new club. He developed a strong partnership with Dalian Atkinson and the pair's goals guided Villa to an impressive runners-up finish in the first season of the Premiership.

Although Villa couldn`t match that league form during the 1993-94 season, Saunders netted twice in the League Cup final to secure victory over Manchester United at Wembley. Saunders hit the target 15 times in the 1994-95 Premiership campaign but Villa only survived relagation by one place.

Saunders was off-loaded to Turkish club Galatasaray by new Villa manager Brian Little, where he linked up with his old Liverpool manager Graeme Souness. Saunders spent one season at Galatasaray, before he returned to the Premiership with Nottingham Forest in 1996. His only season at the City Ground was a disappointment with a shortage of goals which contributed to Forest's relegation.

He then joined Sheffield United in Division One, where he remained for two years before moving back to the Premiership with newly promoted Bradford City. He remained at Bradford for three years until he finally hung up his boots in 2002, by which time the Bantams had slipped back into Division One. He initially became a coach at Bradford after his retirement, and then moved to Newcastle United F.C. in 2004, initially as a strikers coach, and then first-team coach under old boss Graeme Souness. Souness was sacked on 2 February 2006 due to a run of poor results, and his entire backroom team including Saunders were also replaced.

Saunders is rated alongside the likes of Ian Rush and Mark Hughes when Welsh fans discuss who the greatest Welsh striker of recent years, and if he had spent a longer spell with the Swans then he would have found himself much higher up the list.


Image courtesy of BBC SPORT

Links to the Top 25 Players:

25 - Chris Coleman
24 - John Conforth


Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:VitalSwansea
Date:Monday November 20 2006
Time: 2:20PM

Login to post a comment

Recent Swansea City Articles

Early Signs Are Very Encouraging Under Guidolin Says Taylor

Swansea City left back Neil Taylor says that the early signs are 'very encouraging' as the players adjust to their new head coach Francesco Guidolin

Stats: Swansea's Midfielders Compared - Ki, Cork & Britton

A stats comparison of Swansea's current midfield trio provides some surprising results...

Britton Wins Man of the Match Vote vs Palace

Leon Britton was your clear man of the match in the 1-1 home draw against Crystal Palace

Rate The Players: Swansea City 1-1 Crystal Palace

Rate the players' performances in the goalless draw at home against Crystal Palace

Archived Vital Swansea City Articles

Vital Swansea City articles from

Site Journalists

VitalSwansea
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

What will the result be vs Southampton?
Suggested By:
Swansea City win72%
Draw17%
Southampton11%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Leicester City 25 15 8 2 53 20
2 Spurs 25 13 9 3 48 26
3 Arsenal 25 14 6 5 48 17
4 Man City 25 14 5 6 47 21
5 Man Utd 25 11 8 6 41 10
6 West Ham 25 10 9 6 39 9
7 Southampton 25 10 7 8 37 9
8 Everton 25 8 11 6 35 12
9 Liverpool 25 9 8 8 35 -4
10 Watford 25 9 6 10 33 0
11 Stoke 25 9 6 10 33 -7
12 Crystal Palace 25 9 5 11 32 -4
13 Chelsea 25 7 9 9 30 -2
14 WBA 25 7 8 10 29 -9
15 AFC Bournemouth 25 7 7 11 28 -12
16 Swansea 25 6 9 10 27 -9
17 Newcastle 25 6 6 13 24 -18
18 Norwich 25 6 5 14 23 -20
19 Sunderland 25 5 5 15 20 -19
20 Aston Villa 25 3 7 15 16 -20
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News

Swansea City Fixtures (view all)

Feb 13 2016 3:00PM : Southampton (H)
Barclays Premier League
Feb 28 2016 2:05PM : Tottenham Hotspur (a)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 2 2016 7:45PM : Arsenal (a)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 5 2016 3:00PM : Norwich City (H)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 12 2016 3:00PM : AFC Bournemouth (a)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 19 2016 5:30PM : Aston Villa (H)
Barclays Premier League

Recent Swansea City Results (view all)

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.Phil W3
2.Vital Swansea City2
3.eye_nose_hat2
4.Dennis Downing2