Monday 30 April 2012
When it comes to the player that has adorned the back of the most replica shirts over the 20 seasons of the Premier League, there is one six-letter name that stands head and shoulders above the rest: Rooney.
On the day that Rooney's Manchester United team prepare to visit neighbours Manchester City in one of the most eagerly-awaited Barclays Premier League fixtures for years, data reveals that Rooney is officially the most popular player in terms of the name on the back of shirts.
The global sales data comes from Sporting iD, which since 1993 has developed the technology behind the official players’ and replica products of the Barclays Premier League.
Sporting iD determined the top five by the number of player names sold for application to official replica shirts worldwide.
"Rooney went into a league of his own in 2007 when Van Nistelrooy vacated Man Utd's number 10 shirt"
- Rob Thayne, Sporting iD
In what was a close race for the top three positions, Rooney edged out Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and Chelsea striker Fernando Torres, with Rooney's ex-Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo fourth and Chelsea’s Frank Lampard fifth.
Explaining Rooney’s success Rob Thayne, Sporting iD Global Sales & Marketing Director said: "We first started producing Rooney’s official player identity in 2002 after he made his professional debut with Everton at the age of 16.
"We then had to expand that production greatly following his move to Manchester United in the summer of 2004, reflecting his burgeoning talent.
"But he truly went into a league of his own in 2007 when Ruud van Nistelrooy vacated the Manchester United number 10. That’s the shirt of one of Wayne’s heroes, Denis Law, and of course 10 is the fabled number of Pele and Maradona."
The market for replica shirts and official player names and numbers has grown steadily since the start of the the Premier League - and rocketed in the second decade of the competition as Sporting iD expanded their business model around the globe.
"Had David Beckham remained in the Premier League then this list might have looked different," added Thayne.
"It has been a privilege for Sporting iD to have worked so closely with the Premier League throughout its 20 seasons. The market has evolved and fans have adopted the Premier League names and numbers as integral to their club’s image.
"Fans identification with star players in this way has demonstrated both the player’s performance and celebrity and has served to reinforce their identification with their club but first and foremost, it demonstrates allegiance to the underlying talent of the player.”
Rooney's overhead kick against Manchester City in the 2010/11 season has been nominated for Best Goal in the Premier League 20 Seasons Awards.
The greatest players, managers and moments from the past 20 years will all be acknowledged in the 20 Seasons Awards, with five to be decided by a public vote and six by a panel of experts.
Fans will help decide who wins the awards for Best Goal, Best Match, Best Save and Best Celebration, and you can also come up with your all-time Premier League Fantasy Team from a shortlist of 80 players.
A panel of leading football figures, journalists and commentators will decide who wins the Best Player, Best Manager, Best Team, Best Season and Most Memorable Quote categories, as well as helping to pick the final Fantasy Team.
The Awards close on Monday April 30th at 2359 BST and fans can vote at www.premierleague.com/20Seasons until that time.
A number of the winners will be honoured at a special presentation ceremony on Tuesday May 15th.