10 one-season wonders who burned brightly... but oh-so-briefly

Michu 2012/13

Former Swansea marksman Michu – a revelation in the 2012/13 season – has been forced to retire aged 31. Jon Spurling discusses him and nine more of the most fleeting talents from footballing folklore

1. Paul Power (Everton, 1986/87)

Paul Power

Power was pleased as punch to be at Everton in 1986

The 33-year-old left-back had spent 15 seasons at his beloved Manchester City, winning precisely diddly squat in the process, before Everton supremo Howard Kendall tempted him to Goodison Park in June 1986 after waving a £65,000 cheque under the nose of City chief Peter Swales.

Initially it seemed that Power would be a fringe player with the Toffees, but long-term injuries to Peter Reid and Paul Bracewell meant that Kendall called upon Power's knowhow as Everton launched another title assault. Power was a model of consistency (he even netted against former club City, and refused to celebrate – how modern!) as his new team pipped city rivals Liverpool to the First Division crown.

The craggy veteran had finally landed silverware, but quickly lost the left-back berth after Kendall departed to take the reins at Athletic Bilbao.

2. Brian Marwood (Arsenal, 1988/89)

Brain Marwood

Former Arsenal winger Marwood is now an executive at Manchester City

Former Sheffield Wednesday wideman Marwood wasn't the quickest winger in the league, but he possessed an uncanny ability to drift past his marker and supply a killer pass to one of his fellow strikers. Arsenal manager George Graham had long been an admirer, but it wasn't until May 1988 that he finally took the plunge and shelled out £800,000 for the diminutive forward.

The 28-year-old began the 1988/89 campaign in magnificent style, with his pinpoint crosses setting up hatfuls of chances for the previously-erratic Alan Smith. "Smudger" won the Golden Boot as Arsenal finally won the title after 18 years, with Marwood also netting several crucial strikes. 

Injuries and a public fall-out with Graham limited his appearances the following campaign, and he was sold to Sheffield United in May 1990 having won a solitary league winner's medal.

3. Martin Palermo (Argentina, 2009/10)

Martin Palermo

Palermo achieved redemption some 10 years after his penalty woe

Palermo had once missed three penalties for his country in a 1999 Copa America clash with Colombia, and was now nudging 37 years of age, but with Argentina looking unlikely to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, national coach Diego Maradona decided to call in the Boca Juniors striker from the cold.

After 10 years in the international wilderness, Palermo started a decisive qualifier against Peru. In torrential rain, Maradona's side laboured horribly until Palermo turned home a 93rd-minute winner to keep his team's qualification hopes on track. 

"It was a miracle," insisted Diego after sliding on his belly across the muddy pitch in celebration. Palermo even netted in the finals against Greece, making himself the oldest Argentine player to net in the finals since... Maradona.

4. Marco Negri (Rangers, 1997/98)

Marco Negri

Negri notches against Motherwell

Marco Negri arrived at Ibrox for £3.5 million from Italian club Perugia in June 1997, and immediately netted a scarcely credible 23 goals in 10 games for Rangers at the start of the campaign. Although the 27-year-old finished his first season with a highly impressive 32 league strikes, Negri had already cooked his proverbial goose at Rangers by sustaining a serious eye injury in a squash match against a team-mate.

Negri arrived in June 1997, and immediately netted a scarcely credible 23 goals in 10 games

He only played another three games after that seismic 1997/98 campaign, sitting out an entire season due to "niggling injuries" and being farmed out on loan.

The dashing Italian frontman – who always celebrated his goals with the minimum of fuss – was never the same player again, totally unable to hit the staggering heights he'd reached during those formative days in Scotland.