The 90s was a magical time for football. For English football in particular, it was a time for celebration and rejuvenation as our country escaped the hooligan-led, mediocre doldrums of the 1980s, and marched enthusiastically into a new decade.
The decade began with England submitting their best performance in the World Cup since winning it in 1966 and the decade ended with Manchester United – England’s club representative to the world, defeating German giants Bayern Munich to win the most coveted prize in European club football – the Champions League. So many great players graced the Premier League in the 90s, so many great goals were scored and so many great matches were played. It was truly a wonderful time to be a football fan and as a celebration of 90s football, we’ve compiled the winners of the Goal of the Season prize throughout the ten seasons of the decade. Let’s take a look and relive a time when love had the world in motion!
1989/90: Ian Wright (for Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United) – 12th May 1990
Ian Wright, the England, Arsenal and Crystal Palace legend was the textbook definition of a lethal finisher. Scoring 128 goals in 221 appearances for Arsenal, he cemented himself as not only one of the greatest strikers in the history of the North London club, but also as one of the greatest strikers England has ever produced. Though he was never as prolific for his country (scoring 9 goals in 33 games for England) he has nonetheless cemented his legacy as a player on which his team could always rely to score the goals to win the games. For Arsenal, after signing from Crystal Palace in 1991 for a then club record fee of £2.5 million, Wright was the top scorer in six consecutive seasons and along with Teddy Sheringham, he is the only other player to win the top-flight goal scoring award having scored for two different teams during the season in question. Fun fact: he also scored the final ever goal of the old First Division, which was the third of a hat-trick against Southampton.
Ian Wright will be remembered for many goals, but this beauty, for which he won the first Goal of the Season of the 1990s, will be remembered as much for the goal itself as the context around it. Having been injured for a large portion of the season with a twice-cracked shin bone, he made the ultimate ‘super-sub’ appearance to score a beautiful goal to force the FA Cup final into extra time. Palace eventually lost the replay 1-0, but that will never take away from the skill, the balance, the artistry and the precision it took for Wright, especially after being injured, to do what he did better than almost anybody else: put the ball in the back of the net.