12 players you won't believe won the Premier League Player of the Month award
Anton Ferdinand (West Ham – January 2006)
The less acclaimed Ferdinand brother was indeed a Premier League Player of the Month. In fact, he's won the same number as his older sibling Rio (one), meaning they’re the only brothers to claim the award.
In January 2006, Ferdinand’s dominant performances helped West Ham get two wins from three league games. The centre-back also opened the scoring in a 2-1 win over Fulham towards the end of the month – but it was a season that ended in heartbreak, as Ferdinand saw his decisive shootout penalty saved in the FA Cup final when West Ham were beaten by Liverpool.
Ferdinand left West Ham in 2008, played for various clubs in England and Turkey, and is now playing for Phil Brown’s Southend in League One.
Marcus Bent (Ipswich – January 2002)
It’s not often that a player can pick up an individual award in the season his club are relegated, but step forward Marcus Bent. Despite being part of the Ipswich side that went down at the end of the 2001/02 Premier League season, Bent picked up the PotM award in January 2002.
He netted five goals in four games as Ipswich enjoyed a fantastic run at the turn of the year which looked like it could keep them up. By the end of the month, Bent’s goals had helped to pull the Tractor Boys out of the relegation zone, but it wasn't sustained and they finished 18th. The journeyman striker is now playing his football at Wick in the Southern Combination Premier League, five years after leaving Indonesian outfit Mitra Kukar.
Alex Manninger (Arsenal – March 1998)
The Arsenal reserve goalkeeper picked up the prize in his first season at the club - richly deserved, too. With David Seaman sidelined through injury, understudy Manninger came in and kept six straight clean sheets – a joint record for the club.
The last of these, before Seaman returned, came in a crucial 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford – a win that proved pivotal as Arsenal won the league by one point over Fergie’s team. Manninger remained at Highbury until 2002 before leaving for Espanyol.
The Austrian rarely established himself as a first-choice goalkeeper throughout his career, but did make a surprise return to English football last year when he trained with Liverpool before signing a short-term contract. However, he didn’t make an appearance for the Anfield club and retired this summer.
Adam Le Fondre (Reading – January 2013)
Le Fondre secured Reading’s first ever PotM award in January 2013 with five goals in four games for the Royals. The English striker didn’t find the net on New Year’s Day against Tottenham, but scored crucial late goals in each of the next three games. His 88th-minute equaliser against West Brom set up a spectacular finish as Reading won 3-2.
The following week, Le Fondre’s double secured all three points as Reading came from behind to beat Newcastle, before he scored another pair at the end of the month to rescue a point against Chelsea (a 2-2 draw, with Le Fondre’s goals coming in the 87th and 94th minutes). The striker finished the season with the most substitute goals in a season (8) – a record that stands today.
He left Reading in 2014 and is now at Bolton, aged 30, after spells with various clubs throughout the Football League.