Alan Hansen may once have said that you’ll win nothing with kids, but we’re not sure he was thinking of brining in any of these lads when he said it.
Football nowadays is a young man’s game, but these old fogies kept going as long as their hips would allow them.
Shakira sang that your hips don’t lie and that’s true – all of the players in this list gave up when theirs started creaking. So who are the ten oldest players ever to grace the Premier League? Who did they play for and how old were they when they finally gave up the ghost?
Have a read of this and feel ashamed when you feel too tired to take the bins out.
Edwin van der Sar
Having played for Ajax, Juventus, Fulham, Manchester United and VV Noordwijk it’s fair to say that Edwin van der Sar has had an eventful life. The goalkeeper has more caps than anyone else for the Netherlands international side and his career started as one of the ‘golden generation’ of Ajax players. He was 40 years and 205 days old when he finally decided it was time to call it quits at Old Trafford, though he came out of retirement to play for VV Noordwijk and saved a penalty in his first game for the amateur side in 2016.
What needs to be appreciated about Teddy Sheringham almost more than anything else is that he is the only player on this list that wasn’t a goalkeeper. The MBE was one of the most prolific strikers in the Premier League, scoring Nottingham Forest’s first ever goal in the competition in 1991. He made his name playing for Tottenham Hotspur before moving to Manchester United and helping the Red Devils to win virtually every trophy going. His Premier League career came to an end with West Ham when he ran out for the final time aged 40 years and 272 days old.
Famed for being…well…a bit crazy, Jens Lehmann started his career at Schalke 04 where he actually managed to score two goals, despite being a goalkeeper. He moved to Milan but struggled to break in to the first team and so left to join the ranks of Borussia Dortmund. In 2003 he was bought by Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger hoping to add some experience to his otherwise youthful squad. He left the Gunners in 2008 to play for VfB Stuttgart for two years, returning to The Emirates and playing one more game for Arsenal aged 41 years and 151 days in 2011.
Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, Leicester City and Birmingham City are amongst the teams to have had Kevin Poole as their number one at one point or another. His career began in 1981 at Villa Park and ended in 2014 in the colours of Burton Albion, a team he also managed briefly. He was 41 and 164 days old when played his last Premier League game for Bolton in 2005.
Before becoming a football ‘Big Nev’ was, famously, a binman. By the time his career ended he looked like a bin, so everything came full circle. The podgy shot-stopper might have looked as though he liked a meal or two but he was world-class, helping Everton to virtually every trophy there was to win. He played his last Premier League game for Bradford City in 2000 at the age of 41 years and 178 days, but it was at Goodison where he made his name, with a club record 750 appearances in all competitions.
There was a time when it felt like Brad Friedel had been playing football forever and would simply never stop. He’s played for Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur, setting the record for being both Villa and Spurs’ oldest ever player. He was 42 years and 176 days old when he played his last game for Tottenham in 2013.
Steve Ogrizovic, nicknamed ‘Oggy’ for self-explanatory and lazy reasons, Has one of the shortest CVs on our list. Despite his East European sounding name, Ogrizovic was born in Mansfield and played senior games for just four teams. From 1977 until 1982 he was at Liverpool, but struggled to displace first Ray Clemence and then Bruce Grobbelaar. He ended his career at Coventry City, playing his final game for the Sky Blues at the impressive age of 42 years and 236 days back in 2000.
Born in 1964, Alec Chamberlain has been on the books of all three Merseyside teams at one point or another, though he failed to make an appearance at Everton or Liverpool. He did get on the pitch for Tranmere Rovers in the 1987-1988 season, but he spent most of his career at Watford. Indeed, he was playing for the Hornets when he made his final appearance at the age of 42 years and 327 days.
What’s that you say, another goalkeeper? Yes indeed and this one is the Australian international Mark Schwarzer. Although a long time Middlesborough mainstay between the posts before a successful stint at Fulham, his claim to fame is he won back-to-back Premier League trophies with Chelsea and Leicester City, despite barely playing any games for either. His last game for the Foxes came when he was 43 years and 32 days old, and he retired in 2016.
Given the active nature of the Premier League it’s really no surprise that the majority of players in this list are goalkeepers. They get it easy, stood around for ages, filling in their crosswords and making sure their slippers don’t get too muddy. John Burridge played his last game for Manchester City at the ripe old age of 43 years and 163 days back in 1995. It was the culmination of a career that lasted the best part of three decades and took in 771 league games for 29 different clubs.