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Ranking the Best FWA Footballer of the Year Award Winners of the EPL Era

Jerrad PetersWorld Football Staff WriterMay 5, 2014

Ranking the Best FWA Footballer of the Year Award Winners of the EPL Era

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    The prestigious Football Writers' Association (FWA) Footballer of the Year award was first handed out to Stanley Matthews following the 1947-48 season.

    Its presentation has since become a much-anticipated fixture of the final few weeks of the English football calendar, and on Monday Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was named its recipient for the 2013-14 campaign.

    But how does Suarez's season hold up against fellow Premier League-era winners?

    The following slideshow will rank all 22 of them.

22. Scott Parker (2010-11), West Ham

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    Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

    West Ham finished bottom of the league in the spring of 2011, but hard-tackling midfielder Scott Parker was nevertheless named FWA Footballer of the Year.

    His inspirational performance against Liverpool the previous February had made him a front-runner for the gong, as did his showing in the Hammers' 3-3 draw against West Bromwich Albion after initially falling 3-0 down.

    Parker used his 2010-11 season as a springboard to a regular place in the England squad ahead of Euro 2012.

21. Chris Waddell (1992-93), Sheffield Wednesday

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    David Cannon/Getty Images

    Chris Waddell joined Sheffield Wednesday for £1 million from Ligue 1 giants Marseille in July 1992, and the following spring he was named Footballer of the Year after helping the Owls to a seventh-place finish in the first season of the new Premier League.

    Waddell's Wednesday also progressed to the finals of the FA Cup and League Cup, although they were defeated on both occasions by Arsenal.

20. Jurgen Klinsmann (1994-95), Tottenham Hotspur

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    Jurgen Klinsmann became a cult hero at Tottenham Hotspur after scoring 29 goals in all competitions during the 1994-95 season.

    His Spurs side finished a respectable seventh in the Premier League, and he was named FWA Footballer of the Year.

19. Teddy Sheringham (2000-01), Manchester United

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    Mike Finn-Kelcey/Getty Images

    Teddy Sheringham spent a trophy-laden four years at Manchester United, and while he played a key role in the Red Devils’'treble-winning season of 1998-99, his best campaign was his last, in 2000-01.

    He scored 15 Premier League goals that term as United claimed their third title in succession.

18. David Ginola (1998-99), Tottenham Hotspur

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    Tottenham Hotspur have enjoyed a long and memorable relationship with the FWA Footballer of the Year award, and in the spring of 1999 David Ginola became the club’s second winner of the Premier League era.

    Although Spurs finished only 11th in the 1998-99 campaign, they did win the League Cup, and for his exploits the tricky Ginola was named the season's best player.

17. Robert Pires (2001-02), Arsenal

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    Phil Cole/Getty Images

    Robert Pires was named Footballer of the Year in just his second season at Arsenal following a £6 million move from Marseille in 2000.

    He scored nine Premier League goals in 2001-02 as the Gunners won the Premier League and FA Cup double.

16. Gianfranco Zola (1996-97), Chelsea

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    Ben Radford/Getty Images

    Gianfranco Zola won the FWA gong in his first season at Chelsea following a £4.5 million move from Parma.

    He scored eight goals in the 1996-97 season and dazzled Blues fans and neutrals alike, becoming one of the Premier League's most-loved stars.

    The Italian also scored four goals in Chelsea's successful FA Cup run.

15. Steven Gerrard (2008-09), Liverpool

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Given his long and illustrious career, it's rather hard to believe Steven Gerrard has only been named FWA Footballer of the Year once.

    But in 2008-09, the Liverpool skipper scored 16 Premier League goals (and a career-high 24 in all competitions) as the Reds finished just four points back of champions Manchester United.

14. Robin Van Persie (2011-12), Arsenal

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Robin van Persie finished atop the Premier League goalscoring table in 2011-12, tallying 30 times for Arsenal en route to a third-place finish.

    But it would end up being his final season in North London as the following August he would agree a £22.5 million move to Manchester United.

13. Gareth Bale (2012-13), Tottenham Hotspur

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    Like Van Persie, Gareth Bale used a standout season as a springboard to a big-money transfer following his FWA award-winning campaign of 2012-13.

    At just 23 years of age, the Welsh winger notched 21 Premier League goals that season and finished the campaign with 26 in all competitions—more than doubling his haul from 2011-12.

    Then, in September 2013, he moved to Real Madrid for a world-record fee of £85.3 million.

12. Thierry Henry (2005-06), Arsenal

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    Thierry Henry is the only Premier League-era player to be named FWA Footballer of the Year on three occasions. He did it in four years.

    His third award came in 2005-06 when he scored 27 goals in the English top flight—the second-best total of his career.

    Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy was second on the campaign's scoring chart with 21 goals.

11. Wayne Rooney (2009-10), Manchester United

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Manchester United lost the Premier League title to Chelsea in 2010, but Wayne Rooney's goalscoring form throughout the campaign helped reduce the blow of losing Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid the previous spring.

    Rooney finished second in league scoring to Didier Drogba in 2009-10, but his 26 tallies represented 30 per cent of United's offense on the season.

10. Dennis Bergkamp (1997-98), Arsenal

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    ADRIAN DENNIS/Associated Press

    Arsenal won their first Premier League title under manager Arsene Wenger in 1997-98, and Dennis Bergkamp paced the side with 16 goals.

    He also found the back of the net with regularity during the Gunners' run to the FA Cup that completed a memorable double.

9. Cristiano Ronaldo (2006-07), Manchester United

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    Phil Cole/Getty Images

    Cristiano Ronaldo was persona non grata throughout England in 2006 following his antics in Portugal’s win over the Three Lions at the World Cup in Germany.

    But he turned the criticism into a 17-goal season that helped Manchester United to their first Premier League title in four years and also finished atop the assists table with 13 helpers.

8. Frank Lampard (2004-05), Chelsea

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    Chelsea won a first domestic title in 50 years in 2004-05, and leading the push to the top of the table was Frank Lampard.

    The midfielder scored 13 goals that season (19 in all competitions) and also paced the Premier League with 16 assists.

    The Blues also won the League Cup in 2005, and Lampard contributed a pair of goals along the way.

7. Thierry Henry (2002-03), Arsenal

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    Arsenal capitulated down the stretch of the 2002-03 season, eventually being caught and surpassed by Manchester United, who would go on to win the title.

    But Gunners striker Thierry Henry was just hitting his prime, and his 23 goals that campaign were enough to earn him FWA Footballer of the Year honours.

6. Roy Keane (1999-2000), Manchester United

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    Roy Keane became the first, deep-lying midfielder of the Premier League era to win the FWA Footballer of the Year award when he was presented the gong for his efforts in the 1999-2000 season.

    Having won the treble the year before, Manchester United retained the Premier League crown after finishing a whopping 18 points clear of second-place Arsenal, and the inspirational Keane contributed five league goals and a career-best 12 in all competitions.

5. Luis Suarez (2013-14), Liverpool

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Luis Suarez began the 2013-14 campaign in the stands as he served out a 10-game suspension for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.

    But despite making his season debut at the end of September, he nevertheless rocketed to the top of the Premier League scoring chart and, ahead of Monday's match away to Crystal Palace, paced the division with 30 goals—10 more than teammate Daniel Sturridge in second place.

    Incredibly, less than a year after expressing a desire to leave Liverpool, the Reds forward was named FWA Footballer of the Year.

4. Cristiano Ronaldo (2007-08), Manchester United

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Cristiano became the most recent footballer to win the FWA award in back-to-back seasons when he was named the winner for 2007-08.

    That season he led the Premier League with 31 goals and notched 42 in all competitions as his Manchester United side won league and Champions League honours.

3. Eric Cantona (1995-96), Manchester United

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    Eric Cantona became the first Manchester United player since George Best in 1968 to win the FWA prize when he was named the winner for the 1995-96 season.

    United had won a third title in four seasons that spring with the magical Cantona contributing 14 goals.

2. Alan Shearer (1993-94), Blackburn Rovers

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    Chris Cole/Getty Images

    Only Andy Cole (32) scored more than Alan Shearer's 31 Premier League goals in 1993-94.

    The then-24-year-old would go on to score 37 goals in all competitions in each of the next two seasons, and a year after being named FWA Footballer of the Year, his Blackburn Rovers side won the title.

1. Thierry Henry (2003-04), Arsenal

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    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    Arsenal went the entire 2003-04 Premier League season without losing a single match, and leading the charge for "the Invincibles" was the irresistible Thierry Henry, who tallied 30 times while contributing nine assists in 37 matches.

    The Gunners haven’t won the title since, but their achievement of going an entire campaign without tasting defeat is yet to be matched in England's top flight.

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