Brian Deane: The Premier League history-maker

Brian Deane: The Premier League history-maker

'Look, I'll never get sick of the question. I mean, it was 30 years ago, so yeah, to say that I'm still here answering the question, all praises to God for that, you know?'

It's fair to say that Brian Deane has been asked a fair few times about what it's like to be the Premier League's first ever goalscorer.

The moment came five minutes in to Sheffield United's opening day clash with Manchester United on 15 August 1992. A throw-in is flicked on and there is big Deano to nod past Peter Schmeichel in front of Bramall Lane’s Kop.

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'I found out half time. I came off the pitch and somebody told me I was the first person to score. I'm was just glad of it really, because we're playing at home against Manchester United. We went into the game thinking that, actually, it was a good time to play them.'

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Spoiler alert: it was a good time to play them. Deane added a second after the break and the Blades hung on to win 2-1. Man United would, of course, go on to win the inaugural Premier League, while Sheffield United went on to finish 14th (but only three points clear of the bottom three).

We're talking to Deane ahead of the launch of a new BT Sport documentary - Glory Hunters - which takes viewers on a rare journey into the world of football memorabilia and the iconic moments recalled by shirts, boots, and other more unusual items.

The Yorkshireman’s connection to all this is the shirt he wore on that history-making August afternoon – a glorious Umbro jersey, featuring a trademark early-90s drawstring collar.

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‘The truth is, I gave the shirt to a young lad after the game. I recently came across it again and it was amazing. I gave away a lot of my shirts – I took for granted the significance of some of them and I wish I hadn’t. It’s my history.’

There’s also the small matter of the soaring value of vintage shirts, particularly those worn by the players or with a story attached to them.

‘I played with Steve Hodge (the former owner of Maradona’s hand of god shirt) and when I joined Leeds he’d say, ‘I’ve got that shirt and it’ll be there for my grandkids – I’ll tell them I played against the best player who’s ever played the game’,’ says Deane.

‘We're in a different era now where everybody has 150 shirts and everybody swaps them. I think that going back to that time when we had one or two shirts a year or whatever it was, yeah, it really meant something.’

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Deane enjoyed a splendid 1992/93 season, scoring 15 times and doing enough to persuade Leeds to fork out a record £2.9m to bring him to Elland Road.

‘It was a very special time for me,’ he recalls. ‘I was up there scoring with some of the best players in the country. I've got nothing but great memories of that time.’

And what did the launch of the Premier League feel like?

‘It was everything that surrounded the actual games. It was the fact that every team had a new kit. It was all of the advertisements, the cheerleaders, and I think the biggest thing was the fact that everybody thought instead of it just being an hour on Match of the Day, there were going to be proper highlights, there was going to be at least one, maybe two games on a Sunday.

‘And, you know, we had we had an opportunity to become a household name.’

Deane also has fond memories of the kits he wore, during a career that also included spells with Middlesbrough and Benfica.

‘You want to look good, don’t you? When I was at Leeds, we had a plain white kit and it was slim-fitting, and that was something that made you look elegant. When we had the blue and green kit at Leeds, that was something that made you look intimidating, you know?

‘So if it was a kit that accentuated your physique or whatever, then yeah, it made you feel better going out there.’

Watch Glory Hunters on Thursday 4 August at 8pm on BT Sport 2 or catch up on btsport.com or the BT Sport app

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