Sunday 16 February 2014
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
Marian Pahars agreed a deal to become the first Latvian to play in the Barclays Premier League when he signed for Southampton.
Saints agreed a fee of £800,000 for the 22-year-old with his club Skonto Riga but he was unable to make his debut until April because of teh need for a work permit. Pahars finally pulled on a Southampton shirt for the first time as a substitute in a 1-0 defeat at Coventry City before making an immediate impact in his first appearance at The Dell.
Thrown on as a 78th-minute substitute with the Saints trailing Blackburn Rovers 3-2, he struck within seven minutes to earn his side a draw and scored twice more in a 2-0 victory over Everton on the final day of the season to secure the club’s top-flight status.
The following season he was Southampton’s top scorer with 13 goals, all in separate matches, and in 2000/01 he found the net six times in his first seven top-flight appearances.
His most prolific campaign for the club was in 2001/02, when he scored 14 Barclays Premier League goals, and two more in cup competitions, but the next season he was dogged by injury.
These problems continued to hamper him, although he made three substitute appearances for Latvia at the UEFA Euro 2004 finals.
He was released by Southampton in the summer of 2006 after making 137 appearances in the Barclays Premier League and scoring 43 goals. Pahars moved to Cypriot club Anorthosis Famagusta before returning to Skonto Riga and finishing his career with Latvian club FK Jurmala-VV.
After a break from football he became assistant manager back at Skonto and is now the manager of the Latvia national team.