He scored the Premier League’s first ever goal in 1992, but never did Brian Deane foresee the success story the league would become nearly 30 years later.

Playing for Sheffield United, Deane scored both of the Blades’ goals in a 2-1 win over eventual champions Manchester United at Bramall Lane, the first coming after just five minutes.

The Blades have since had spells in and out of the league, whereas United dominated the league before Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013. However, in that time broadcast revenue has gone through the roof, stadiums have got bigger and the league is now the most watched in sport with games broadcast to almost every country in the world.


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Speaking to GIS, Deane, a delegate of VSI’s CEO of a Sports Organisation programme, said: “I remember us all saying [at the time] ‘no one is ever going to earn £20,000 per week as a footballer’. That’s now chump change isn’t it!?”

Deane, whose Premier League career saw him play most famously for the Blades and Yorkshire rivals Leeds United, then later on in his career at the likes of Middlesbrough and Leicester City, added: “We had no idea of the implications of the Premier League and what it was going to be like all around the world, and the kind of revenues that were going to be generated just from playing football and the amount of interest. It’s been a real global success.”

Citing the league as a hugely successful product that relies on the quality of its players, the former Benfica man said: “As it’s grown player’s wages have gone through the roof because they’re the main asset of this. Without having the exceptional players and being able to draw them to the league you’re not going to have a good product. It’s far and away beyond anything I thought it would grow into.”