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Premier League Class of '92: Where are they now?

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23 years ago today English football changed forever. The Premier League was born, and its inexorable march towards being the most-watched sports league on the face of the planet had begun. 

The first Premier League deal was worth £191 million to show 300 games across three years; the battle over who gets to show what for the next three-year period commences this week and it's likely that Sky, BT Sport, and anyone else who throws their hat into the ring will fork out a combined £5 billion or so.

Wages

Wages have been tied to the TV rocket and have gone skywards too; in the first Premier League season the average yearly wage for a player was around £77,000 a year. In 2015 there are players who take more than double that home a week; now the monthly average is over £200,000.

Attendances have gone up, the amount of foreign players has gone up, and Wayne Rooney's follicle count has gone down. Plenty has changed alright.

Indeed, so much has changed that the picture used to herald the launch of the Premier League looks like a relic from the distant past. A relic with speckled kits and feather-cut perms.

And the video, oh the video. Simple Minds provide the music and the prime cut of Premier League beef provide the muscle; there's Tony Daley pumping iron, there's larking around in the garden and in the showers, there's high-waisted stonewashed denim and Gordon Strachan looking baffled by a pair of trainers. It's easily the best thing you'll see today.

Both the video and the accompanying picture feature 22 players - one from each team blazing a trail in this bright new era of football. Some of the names you'll know, some you won't. Either way, do you want to find out where these trend-setters, these originators, are now? Want to see if the blond flecks have faded from the mullets and the 'taches have drooped? Of course you do.

David Hirst (Sheffield Wednesday)

To some people in Sheffield, Hirst is a footballing legend who made more than 300 appearances for Sheffield Wednesday. To others, he's the man with rocket fuel in his right boot. 114mph! A 114m shot! Sure, it didn't go in and to see it you have to watch some of the worst defending in Premier League history, but still; 114mph!

Sir Alex Ferguson once said of Hirst: "He's got a lot of skill...but he gets a lot of injuries." So there you go.

Hirst retired in 2000 and took up an official role with Sheffield Wednesday in 2013 at their academy. The club say he still does 'some things' for them now, although he isn't listed on the official page of Academy staff members.

Lee Sharpe (Manchester United)

Lee Sharpe was last seen buying a house on Celebrity Fantasy Homes, where Gaby Roslin helped him splash £450,000 on a new pad in Spain. OK, so maybe it wasn't the last time he was seen, but still, it tells you enough.

Lee Sharpe

The former Manchester United winger was considered something of a celebrity in his day thanks to his party antics and 90's good looks, however he soon rubbed Sir Alex Ferguson up the wrong way, and we all know how that ends. The story goes that Fergie hunted him down at a house party during the title run-in of 1992, throwing all the other guests out while failing to find Ryan Giggs who was cowering in a cupboard. Presumably his punishment was to pose in this picture.

Sharpe is now a pundit in Abu Dhabi, having "starred" on TV shows such as Celebrity Love Island and Celebrity Wrestling. 

Tony Daley (Aston Villa)

Daley, the hunk in the video ripping off a few punishing curls of those 15's, is now, rather fittingly, Wolves' Head of First Team Athletic Performance. His favourite vegetable is broccoli, in case you wanted to know.

In his career he won the League Cup with Aston Villa in 1994, helping them beat Manchester United in the final. He also played for England at Euro 1992.

After retiring in 2002 he graduated with a Masters degree in Applied Sports Science and Exercise from The University of Wolverhampton, and took up his current position after a spell with Sheffield United in 2007.

He also claims to have seen the ghostly figure of a 'woman with plaits' appear in his bedroom. "I've talked to a few people about it since and we reckon it's my guardian angel," he says.

Vinnie Jones (Chelsea)

Ah Vinnie, he of many Hollywood smash hits including...erm, "Escape Plan", and...erm...."Ambushed"....well ok, not that many Hollywood hits.

But he did take up a career in acting after he stopped kicking people for a living as part of Wimbledon's 'Crazy Gang' - who he joined from Chelsea not long after the picture was taken.

In a recent documentary team-mate John Fasnhu described their time with the Dons as being like 'war' and spoke about the levels of violence and intimidation in the dressing room. Jones described it all as being 'crazy'. Manager at the time Dave Bassett called it all "total and utter rubbish".

According to IMDB, Jones has nine films coming out soon, including one promising flick called Mind Puppets. Should be a cracker.

Mark Wright (Liverpool)

Mark Wright

After some extensive research we can now confidently say this isn't the Mark Wright who made his name in TOWIE and is now shacked up with Michelle Keegan.

Wright made his name with Liverpool, who briefly made him England's most expensive defender, and turned out 45 times for England, scoring against Egypt for the Three Lions in their 1-0 win over Egypt at the 1990 World Cup. 

A quick visit to his official website tells you, well absolutely nothing actually because it is entirely blank. After retiring from the game in 1998, the former defender managed a handful of lower league sides including Chester City, before embarking on a frankly baffling one-month odyssey to manage Maltese side Floriana.

Now out of the game, Wright was last spotted publicly fronting a campaign to help boost foster care in the UK. He also seems to like dogs a lot. Didn't see that coming, did you.

Tim Sherwood (Blackburn Rovers)

You don't need me to tell you where Tim Sherwood now. He's in the final stages of fulfilling his destiny as Luke Skywalker Harry Redknapp's Darth Vadar. The QPR hotseat awaits as 'Arry gets his knees fixed. Presumably that makes Tony Fernandes Darth Sidious, who'll be hurled from the top of Loftus Road by a fatally injured Redknapp any day now.

Ian Brightwell (Manchester City)

Hands up who remembers Ian Brightwell? Those with their hands up, put them down because you're lying. 

Brightwell played more than 300 appearances for Manchester City before leaving in 1998, but he didn't depart empty handed, no no no.Tucked in his top pocket he had a piece of advice from Gary Flitcroft. Get involved in property Gary said. And so he did.

"It was Garry who originally got me involved," he said in 2010. He started investing in property and went into it in a big way with a huge portfolio." He also works for City on matchdays. 

John Wark (Ipswich)

John Wark

Don't worry about what John Wark is doing now, he's doing fine. He works in hospitality for Ipswich, has a lovely wife by all accounts. Gretna, they live in Suffolk. The only thing you need to know about Wark, who in his peak years resembled the love-child of Chucky and an orc from Lord of the Rings, is that he was in Escape to Victory.

He says in the book Red Machine: “I didn’t realise how big the film was going to be until we got out there and Bobby Moore and Pelé were waiting for us. They were good lads, and we’d sit in the hotel and have a good few drinks every night. Pelé was 40 at the time, and I couldn’t believe the skills he had with a ball. When he scored the overhead kick that you see in the film, he did it in one shot.

"I was 15 years younger than him, in the prime of my career, and it would have taken hundreds of cuts for me to get it right. A lot of the movie guys didn’t realise the significance, but all the footballers in the film just stood there in awe.

"I only had two lines in the whole film and they were dubbed because they felt viewers wouldn’t be able to understand my Glaswegian accent. I wouldn’t have minded, but I only found out when I went to watch the premiere."

He also tells a cracking story about Paul Walsh and an ultrasound.

Ian Butterworth (Norwich City)

Butterworth's playing career reads like the answer to a pub quiz question. Having played more than 200 games for Norwich he embarked on a grand adventure, stopping off at illustrious clubs such as King's Lynn, Colorado Rapids, IK Brage, and Stafford Rangers.

He seems to be doing better in his career after hanging up his boots - he is now QPR's Scouting Co-ordinator. Now there's one man who must be relieved that Harry Redknapp has resigned. His workload must be cut in half.

Andy Pearce (Coventry City)

Not to be confused with the artist Andy Pearce, although it would be helpful if it was the same person as there's bugger all out there on the former Coventry City player. He's not the entrepreneur Andy Pearce either. Shame.

Carl Bradshaw (Sheffield United)

Another enigmatic figure on our list, Bradshaw made over 140 appearances for Norwich between 1989–1994. It wasn't all fun and games however and he served a short jail sentence for assaulting a taxi driver after an incident involving then team-mate Andy Johnson.

Depending on who you believe he's either a brickie ( and a 'right good grafter') in Norwich or runs his own B&B. Take your pick.

Gordon Durie (Spurs)

Durie is one of the more high-profile figures in the picture and played for Tottenham, Chelsea and Rangers. He also played for Scotland 43 times.

He's now acting assistant manager at Rangers. 

Tim Flowers (Blackburn Rovers)

Tim Flowers

Flowers is one of the more high-profile members on our list; he won the Premier League with Blackburn and represented England a handful of times. Of course all that good work was undone by this hilarious goal he conceded against Liverpool.

This article is actually bad timing for Flowers; he's just been let go by Nottingham Forest having been part of recently-sacked Stuart Pearce's coaching squad. Awkward.

David Hillier (Arsenal)

Hang on, why the dickens did Arsenal put forward Hiller for this picture? Seriously? 

True he was an up-and-comer in the era and won a league medal in 1990 after breaking into the first team, but it never really worked out for him. He left Arsenal in 1996, after he was found guilty of stealing another passenger's bag at Gatwick airport, for Portsmouth and eventually wound up at Barnet where he retired in 2003.

As of 2008, he was working as a fireman in Bristol. 

Gary Charles (Nottingham Forest)

There's certainly one hell of an interesting story behind Charles' career. As a good friend of Roy Keane, the two were tipped for the top at Nottingham Forest. However Charles didn't realise his potential and his career started to slide after hit and killed a teenage cyclist in 1992. Before then, he was the victim of Paul Gascoigne's infamous FA Cup final challenge in 1991.

From there alcohol took its grip and Charles fell down the ladder, although he did play for West Ham and Benfica. He retired in 2000 and in 2002 he collided with another car in London, and told the other driver he was a bank robber on the run before fleeing the scene.

In 2004 he served six months in prison for dangerous driving, and was jailed for a year in 2005 for threatening a nightclub bouncer while serving a suspended sentence. In an interview with the Guardian that year he claimed to be clean and was looking to get back into football. This blog claims he is a part-time scout and coach at the University of Nottingham.

Andy Ritchie (Oldham)

Ritchie made 42 appearances for Manchester United before he ended up at Oldham for the birth of the Premier League. 

He was manager of Huddersfield until 2008 and now does match punditry for Manchester United's official station, MUTV.

Hans Segers (Wimbledon)

Hans Segers

Hans Segars is persona non grata. He can't be found, and lord knows we've tried. His last gig was on the Fulham coaching staff, first under Martin Jol who he worked with at Tottenham, and then Rene Muelensteen. Fulham confirmed that he left the club in spring 2014, and say that he has returned to Holland. He's now gone off the radar. We wish you well though, Hans.

If you've seen him about, do get in touch.

John Salako (Crystal Palace)

Salako is a cult hero down at Crystal Palace having played more than 200 games for the Eagles. 

He now works as a live match reporter for Sky Sports. In 2013 he was reported to be bankrupt after a series of bad investments. 

Andy Sinton (QPR)

Andy SInton

A year after the picture was taken, Sinton moved to Sheffield Wednesday for a club record fee of £2.75million. He also won 12 caps for his country.

His most recent job was as manager of Telford United, which he left in 2013. There's very little funny to say about Andy Sinton, let that be known.

Alan Kernaghan (Middlesbrough)

Kernaghan made more than 200 appearances for 'Boro and also featured for Manchester City in the Premier League era. 

He recently had a coaching role with Rangers' U17 which he left to join Bradford. After a brief spell as caretake boss with the Bantams, he was replaced by David Weir in 2013. You can buy a special Panini sticker of Alan for the princely sum of 35p right here, if you wish.

Gordon Strachan (Leeds)

Possibly the most successful out of all the names on our list, Strachan is now manager of Scotland having taken charge of Celtic and Southampton amongst others. The feiry Scot is one of the oldest players to have featured in the Premier League having still been pulling on those little shorts with his 40th birthday behind him. 

This interview with Strachan and the lead singer of the band James is pretty special.

Peter Beardsley (Everton)

Last but not least is the Peter Beardsley, another one of the high profile stars on our list. The England international hit the heights with Liverpool and Newcastle, as well as Everton, before eventually retiring in 1999.

He's currently assistant manager at Newcastle under John Carver, and like any real old school type he still wears shorts on the sidelines, despite his playing days being long over. Although he hasn't aged much and his looks haven't changed too greatly since the early 90's, this is one of those rare cases when that is a bad thing.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League

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