SASoccermag.co.za looks back at the legends of the Premier League, and today features Benni McCarthy and his exploits in the 2006-2007 season.
Sir Alex Ferguson marked his 20th season in charge of Manchester United by annexing the title from double-defending champions Chelsea. The Red Devils’ ninth Premier League win was secured after getting the best out of rising stars Wayne Rooney (14 goals and 11 assists) and Cristiano Ronaldo (17 goals), as well as new arrival Michael Carrick as United finished six points clear of the Blues.
At the opposite end of the table, there was misery for Watford and Charlton Athletic, who were consigned to relegation. The final day of fixtures would decide the fate of Sheffield United and Wigan, who were pitted against each other in what turned out to be an all-or-nothing clash for survival from which Wigan emerged the victors.
South African fans of the Premier League will remember the 2006-07 season for the striking exploits of Benni McCarthy. Bafana Bafana’s all-time record goal-scorer was brought to Blackburn Rovers from Porto for a fee in the region of £2.5-million in order to fill the void left by Liverpool-bound Craig Bellamy.
McCarthy netted an incredible 18 league goals, 24 in all competitions, in his debut season in the English top flight to end second in the race for the Golden Boot, falling two short of the tally set by Chelsea striker Didier Drogba. McCarthy’s eye for goal proved indispensable to the club’s fortunes as he helped them finish in 10th place after winning just five of their first 18 matches.
Unfortunately for McCarthy, his career at Ewood Park fizzled out and after an ill-fated spell at West Ham, he returned to South Africa in 2011 after 14 years in Europe, to inspire Orlando Pirates in the defence of their PSL title.
McCarthy is now a regular TV pundit after finishing his role as assistant coach of Sint-Truiden in Belgium at the end of the last season.