As the Premier League says goodbye to two of it’s most established teams, and not to mention a number of top quality players, let’s have a look at six who will be going in the other direction – after gaining promotion into the Premier League with their clubs, Wolves, Birmingham and Burnley.
Chris Eagles Burnley, Midfielder
After beginning his career in football with Watford’s schoolboy team, Man Utd snapped up Eagles who made his debut for the club in 2003, and went on to make a further 16 appearances for Alex Ferguson’s side, between loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday, Watford and a brief stint at NEC Nijmegen. Chris moved to Turf Moor last summer where he has finally settled and began to showcase his undoubted talent. The versatile player can play in a variety of positions across the midfield, and shone in Burnley’s amazing Play-Off winning campaign, and was vital in their exhilarating league cup run last season. Eagles will be keen to make a name for himself next season among the cream of the football crop, but it’ll be no easy task for the gifted young player.
“He’s a talented footballer and that’s what we want – young exciting talents to complement the quality we already have” – Owen Coyle
Michael Kightly Wolves, Midfielder
Goal-scoring winger Kightly was so impressive in the Conference with Grays Athletic (24 goals in his 53 game spell), Championship side Wolves picked him up in a loan move in 2006, and he later signed a permanent deal at the Molineux. Dubbed “The Ryan Giggs of non-league football”, it was rumoured Man Utd had developed an interest in the winger, who had scored two goals during his five game loan spell, and scored six the remainder of the season. After an injury hampered 07/08 season at Wolves, Kightly contributed eight goals to Wolves’ successful title winning campaign this past season. Michael has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs in the past, and he’ll be determined to show why next season on the grand stage. Mick McCarthy has an impressive young squad which will be more than capable of turning heads in the top tier, and Kightly will be a key player as they look to secure another year in the Premier League.
Martin Paterson Burnley, Striker
A player that began his football at now Premier League out-fit Stoke City, Paterson has been a regular goalscorer in the Championship with Scunthorpe, and now Burnley. When Northern Ireland’s very own “Pato” moved to Scunthorpe, his form caught the eye of many of the Football League’s managers as Martin netted seven times in his first eleven starts. Burnley boss Owen Coyle was determined to bring the striker to Turf Moor last summer, however Scunthorpe were determined not to let him go. But the clubs finally settled on a £1million fee with add-ons, and the forward signed a four-year-deal for Coyle’s side. The 21-year-old scored twelve goals last season, in forty-three appearances, as he helped his side win the Play-Off race and a route in to the Premier League. Next season will be tough for the young striker, against the Vidic’s and the Skrtel’s of the Premier League, but Paterson will be more than enthusiastic of making a name for himself in one of the biggest leagues in football and will aim for at least a handful of goals in Burnley’s Premier League aspirations.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake Wolves, Striker
Despite being a boyhood Liverpool fan, Sylvan started out as a schoolboy in Man Utd’s youth academy where he made a number of League Cup appearances at a young age. But the striker never broke into the senior league team, and after a brief spell in Belgium on loan with Royal Antwerp, he joined Plymouth Argyle where he scored twenty one goals in over sixty games for the club. The form attracted Wolves and Mick McCarthy who snapped up SEB for just over £1.5million. Sylvan took no time in acquainting himself at the club as he scored seven goals in his first eight games. Added to the eleven he scored with Plymouth earlier in the season Ebanks-Blake won the league’s Golden Boot with twenty-three goals. His rich form continued into last season as he scored another Golden Boot winning haul of twenty-five goals, and was awarded the Championship’s Player Of The Season. It was his goal that confirmed Wolves’ status in the Premier League for next season. At only 23, Sylvan has scored over sixty goals in his career and is expected to be the number one promoted player to watch out for next season as it’s only guaranteed his form will continue. The clinical finisher will relish facing the league’s best defenses, and will no doubt be a handful for even the best of centre-halves. A definite one to keep an eye out for here.
I believe I can score goals at any level. Until I do it there will be critics, but I prefer to do my talking on the pitch – not in the press.
Keith Fahey Birmingham, Midfielder
Irishman Keith began his career in the Premier League with Arsenal through it’s famed youth academy, and was soon signed up by Aston Villa where he only made one appearance, in the Intertoto Cup. After impressive spells back home in Ireland, including an eye-catching run in the UEFA Cup with St. Patrick’s Athletic, Keith was signed up by Championship side Birmingham, and he made his debut last January. Soon he had cemented his spot in the starting eleven, keeping out loanees Scott Sinclair and Hameur Bouazza. Fahey was pivotal in Birmingham’s successful reach for promotion, and will be keen to have a better run at Premier League football next season for Alex McLeish’s side against some of the best.
Wayne Hennessey Wolves, Goalkeeper
The Welsh ‘keeper has suffered a series of highs and lows throughout his career. After being recalled from a loan spell to cover in goals in the season of 07/08, Hennessey established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the Championship, earning a place in the team of the season as well as being awarded Wolves’ player of the season. But after a less than convincing start to the campaign just passed, Hennessy was dropped for debutant Carl Ikeme, boss Mick McCarthy citing mental fatigue for this action. But Wayne gained a bit of luck, as Ikeme suffered an injury and Hennessey re-established himself as the number one keeper at the Molineux, and will be looking forward to doing so next season amongst some of the top flight’s best ‘keepers.