Footballers and Romantic Returns
Frank Lampard, albeit, this time in suit and tie, is back at the Bridge, while Gianluigi Buffon has proclaimed re-signing for Juve as ‘one of the most beautiful days of my life’.
Mats Hummels, Phil Jagielka and Jay Rodriguez have also returned to their roots and ‘first love’ to make it a summer of romantic returns. But how do things turn out second time around? After all, they say you should never go back.
Here are five standout names who were unable to resist the lure of an emotional homecoming.
Arsenal’s record goalscorer arrived in North London a relative unknown but left as one of Europe’s most feared strikers and a Premier League legend.
Thierry Henry redefined the art of finishing with his trademark sidefoot into the far corner, to not only leave his mark on Gunners fans, but football fans up and down the land.
To the delight of us all, the smooth and silky Frenchman returned for a brief but brilliant spell in 2012, five years on from leaving for the lures of Barcelona.
Typical of the man, Henry stepped off the bench to score the decisive goal on his second debut against Leeds and signed off with a stoppage time winner on his 258th and final appearance.
RETURN VERDICT - HIT
‘King Kenny', played his part in helping Liverpool win a raft of trophies as a player, including six league championships and three European cups, and then led the Reds to a further three first division titles and an FA Cup from the dugout.
The Scot’s legendary status will exist for eternity at Anfield and this was his likely thought process when he stepped into the managerial breach once more following Roy Hodgson’s dismissal in 2011.
Serial trophy winner Dalglish did add one more medal to his collection during his second stint - the 2011/12 League Cup - but this wasn’t enough to convince the board he was the right man going forwards hence a short-lived second spell lasting all of eighteen months.
RETURN VERDICT - MISS
Robbie Fowler’s exit from Liverpool first time round was acrimonious to say the least. So for the Anfield faithful to welcome ‘God’ back five years later was met with universal acclaim by just about every Red going.
Well, maybe not Dalglish. Fowler scored eight goals on his return, the second of which moved Fowler ahead of the Scot in the all-time club scoring charts.
A strong end to 2005/06 resulted in a new contract but a more peripheral role the following season led to a fairly tame exit. Nonetheless, Fowler’s total of 183 goals in 369 appearances guarantees his place among the Liverpool greats.
RETURN VERDICT - PAR
A magician on the pitch, the ginger maestro trumps the competition when it comes to comebacks too.
His decision to bring down the curtain on a trophy-laden career in 2011 was always going to hit United hard. But arguably it hit Scholes hardest, who’d been making noises about missing playing.
Cue the perfect comeback!
Carefully concealed by all at OT, Scholes made his second United debut six months after 'retiring' at arch rivals Manchester City, the one club man clearly unable to resist the idea of helping his beloved United through the course of an injury crisis, and to another league title.
Scholes called time on his career for good in 2013 having amassed over 700 games over 20 years and bowed out with an eleventh Premier League winners medal around his neck, his 25th trophy of a sparkling career.
RETURN VERDICT - HIT
Tuesday 30th July 1996 - the day Geordies rejoiced as one of their own, Alan Shearer, returned ‘home’ to turn out for his boyhood team having turned down the chance to win trophies at the other United.
Needless to say, a trophy-less ten years ensued. But getting to pull on the black and white shirt and also scoring the goal to clinch the all-time goal scoring record at the Gallowgate End, well, that’s not bad either?
A cult hero he may have been but preventing The Magpies from slipping out of the top flight was even beyond the powers of Big Al who was literally shoved the job after Joe Kinnear fell ill in 2009.
It was to be a first and last foray into management for Shearer who has, understandably, settled for the serene nature of the TV studio since.
RETURN VERDICT - MISS