Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Sheringham began his professional career at Millwall in 1982 at the age of sixteen, after impressing a scout when playing for the small club Leyton & Ilford during a Youth Team game against Millwall.
He was signed up, initially as an apprentice, and scored on only his second appearance for the club in a match away at Bournemouth in January 1984. After being loaned out by the club twice in 1985, to Aldershot and later a Swedish side, Djurgårdens, on his return he quickly became a first choice selection at Millwall, and during the late 1980s formed a famous striking partnership with Tony Cascarino . He was the club's top goalscorer in four different seasons (1986-87, 1987-88, 1988-89 and 1990-91) and played in every single game of the season for them twice, in 1986-87 and 1990-91.
The 1987-88 season saw the club promoted to the First Division, then the highest tier of English league football, for the first time. Many had predicted that Millwall would not survive their first season in the top flight and would be relegated back to the Second Division in their first season, but the goals of Sheringham and Cascarino helped them to finish in a surprising 10th position. However, it was not to last, as the following season Millwall were indeed relegated, finishing bottom of the Division and returning to the second flight.
The club had an opportunity to bounce straight back up at the end of the 1990-91 season, reaching the semi-finals of the Division Two play-offs, but they were beaten by Brighton & Hove Albion and thus remained in the Division.
Sheringham was by now in his mid-twenties and although loyal to Millwall, not keen to linger outside of the highest tier of football for long. Salvation came in the form of a transfer to Nottingham Forest, then one of the major clubs in the country, for a then record fee of £2 million in July 1991. However, after two years at the club he found himself a victim of the pain of relegation for the second time, as Forest went down at the end of the inaugural Premier League season in 1992-93.
He had impressed many with his appearances for the club, however, and was quickly signed by another big club, Tottenham Hotspur, for £2.1 million. Sheringham became a great favourite of the Tottenham fans and scored many goals for the club, forming a particularly impressive partnership with the German striker Jürgen Klinsmann during the 1994-95 season: Klinsmann was later quoted as claiming that Sheringham was the best strike partner he ever had.
Despite his success and popularity at Tottenham, however, Sheringham was disappointed that he had failed to win any trophies with the club, and when England's largest and most successful club, Manchester United offered Tottenham £3.5 million for his services in the summer of 1997, he quickly accepted.
His early time at United was difficult, as he had been signed to replace the iconic Frenchman Eric Cantona, who had retired at the end of the previous season, leaving him with an imposing legacy to live up to. He was mocked in certain quarters when, having publicly stated that he had joined the club "to win trophies", during the 1997-98 season the team won nothing for the first time in three years.
The arrival of striker Dwight Yorke at the beginning of the following season was expected to push Sheringham out of the team, but instead it seemed to have the effect of producing a fine run of form from him. He finally got the trophy he had waited so long for when United won the Premier League in May 1999, and it quickly got much better: they added the FA Cup and the European Cup to their haul, with Sheringham scoring in both cup finals, including a dramatic injury-time equaliser against Bayern Munich at the very end of the European final. This treble of trophies was unprecedented by any club in the history of English football, and has not been equalled or bettered since.
Sheringham spent two further seasons at Manchester United, winning two further Premier League titles and enjoying a fine final season with the club in 2000-01, at the end of which he was honoured with both the PFA Players' Player of the Year and the Football Writers' Association Player of the Year Awards.
In the summer of 2001 he was allowed by United to move on a free transfer back to Tottenham Hotspur, Sheringham considering that at the age of thirty-five his days at United had reached their peak. He was welcomed back by the Tottenham fans, amongst whom he was still greatly respected, and was made the club Captain by manager Glenn Hoddle.
In 2003 he left Tottenham, many expecting him to end his front line career, but instead he joined the newly-promoted Premier League side Portsmouth, his goals helping the club to remain in the top flight against the expectations of many, much as they had done with Millwall 16 years previously.
Sheringham, the oldest player in the whole of the Premier League, was released by Portsmouth at the end of the 2003-04 season, and his immediate future was unclear. He had stated his desire to find a new club and remain playing in the top flight for at least one more season, which would take him up to the age of thirty-nine - incredible career longevity for any player, but especially so for a striker, a position perhaps more than others usually reliant on pace.
Sheringham opted to drop down a division, signing a one-year deal with West Ham United in the League Championship. He expressed a desire to help West Ham earn promotion. In a sense, this move took his footballing journey full circle, as he was a Hammers supporter in his childhood.
- Millwall (1982-1991)
- Aldershot (1985, loan)
- Djurgårdens IF (1985, a Swedish club, loan)
- Nottingham Forest (1991-1993)
- Tottenham Hotspur (1993-1997)
- Manchester United (1997-2001)
- Tottenham Hostpur (2001-2003)
- Portsmouth (2003-2004)
- West Ham United (2004-05)
- Premier League Championship (1999, 2000, 2001)
- FA Cup (1999)
- Champions League (1999)
- Intercontinental Cup (1999)
- Division Two Championship (1988)
- Swedish Division Two North Championship (1985)
Something of a late developer on the international scene, he didn't win his first England cap until the age of twenty-seven in 1993. However, he scored against Poland that year, and under the reign of manager Terry Venables (1994-96) came to be favoured as the preferred strike partner for Alan Shearer in the England team.
The two formed a famous partnership at international level, as they complemented each other's strengths: Shearer the out-and-out goalscorer, big, strong and powerful, Sheringham just 'dropping off' his strike partner, finding spaces, creating play and providing key passes, forming the link between Shearer and the England midfield. The pairing came to be known as 'The SAS' ('Shearer & Sheringham') and their most successful match together was the 4-1 victory over Holland in the opening round of the 1996 European Championships, held in England, a game in which they both scored twice against one of the strongest teams in the tournament.
Sheringham continued to be a first choice selection under new England manager Glenn Hoddle (1996-99) until the emergence of new teenager superstar Michael Owen during the course of 1998 saw him overshadowed. Although Sheringham began the 1998 World Cup as a starting player with Owen on the bench, after Owen replaced him and almost turned around a defeat against Romania in England's second game of the tournament, it seemed likely that Sheringham's front line international career had come to and end.
He was not selected at all for the 2000 European Championships by then manager Kevin Keegan, but the retirement of Shearer (ironically four years younger than Sheringham) from international football after that tournament and the arrival of new manager Sven-Göran Eriksson in 2001 saw a return to international favour for him. He was often deployed as a tactical substitute late in games by Eriksson, valued for his ability to hold the ball up and create intelligent play, and he scored a vital goal for England in a World Cup qualifying match against Greece in September 2001.
He was selected as part of Eriksson's 2002 World Cup squad and played in the famous 1-0 win against Argentina, almost scoring a goal with a shot that was well saved by the Argentine goalkeeper, and made his final England appearance as a substitute in the 2-1 quarter-final defeat to Brazil.
At the age of thirty-six, that defeat signalled the final end of Sheringham's international career, during which he had earned fifty-one caps and scored eleven times for England.
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