In a 20-year professional career with different clubs, Brian Deane scored over 200 senior goals - but he is fondly remembered for one.
On August 15, 1992, Brian Deane made history. The Sheffield United striker’s early goal in their opening game of the season against Manchester United was the first to be scored in the Premier League. Their 2-1 win at Bramall Lane that afternoon also kicked off a remarkable, roller-coaster season for the Blades as they fought to retain their place in the domestic game’s elite new competition.
Five minutes into the curtain-raiser against Manchester United, Deane made history when he headed beyond Peter Schmeichel after gambling to reach a flicked-on Carl Bradshaw long throw at Bramall Lane.
It’s Saturday 15th August 1992 – the day Brian Deane scored the first #PL goal…#PLMoments pic.twitter.com/QJGYVdSKDC
— Premier League (@premierleague) September 26, 2016
The striker spent four years at Elland Road. Yet only noticed the Premier League boom after returning with Middlesbrough in 1998 following a spell with Benfica.
“It was after France had won the World Cup and the league was attracting all kinds of players,” Deane noted.
“I came back to Boro for £3million but other players were going for £15-20million and you think, ‘Wow, it’s different’.”
Deane was different, he was an Englishman that went abroad during his prime, which was a familiar trend prior to the Premier League’s inception that stopped once players reaped the top-flight riches.
Manager Dave Bassett had earned something of a ‘Harry Houdini’ reputation by keeping United in the old First Division in the two previous seasons. In 1990/91 they even survived despite failing to win a game until just before Christmas.
“Most of the players didn’t see themselves playing for the top teams but they were all pulling together,” said Bassett. “My job was to make sure that we remained focused and didn’t let the setbacks affect us too much.”
“They’re relishing it, you can see it,” added Bassett. “It was like the Wimbledon team which came into the top division. Players grow into it and all of a sudden you start to realise – and they realise – that if they’re good enough they will survive.”
Lacking the funds to invest in the team Bassett sought different ways to get the most out of his players. Bonding exercises such as paintball games and army assault courses were among his less orthodox methods.
“We focused on togetherness. We were always looking for any advantage, be that nutrition, strength conditioning, speed and agility stuff or even psychology. We were way ahead of other teams and we had to be; we had to be creative to compete. We couldn’t buy players from Premier League clubs; we bought players from what is now the Championship and below.” said Deane.
Los Angeles FC vs New England Revolution: Major League Soccer Live stream, Schedule, Fixture, and Probable Lineups
Sporting Kansas City vs Los Angeles Galaxy: Major League Soccer Live stream, Schedule, Fixture, and Probable Lineups