As a newly expectant father, I’m told by friends, family and my own Dad, that watching your child play competitive sports is up there with the proudest moments of being a parent. Imagine then the pride, if you have been a professional footballer at the highest domestic level and your son follows in your footsteps? Ranking them on their combined Premier League appearances, here’s a rundown of the 12 dads and their lads who have both played in the top flight since 1992.
12: Paul Furlong & Darnell Furlong
Dad: 64, Son: 3
Total Premier League appearances : 67
Signed from Watford in the summer of 1994 by Glenn Hoddle, Furlong became Chelsea’s then record club signing for 2.3 million. The first 12 months of his time at Stamford Bridge will largely be remembered for him helping his club to the semi-finals off the European Cup Winners Cup. However, the arrival of Mark Hughes in 1995, and the foreign invasion of Vialli, Zola and co, a year later, meant Furlong’s chances at Chelsea were limited to the bench. The striker left for Birmingham City in 1996 with a record of 13 goals in 64 Premier League games and he never played in the top flight again. He is currently an academy coach at Queens Park Rangers.
His son, Darnell, has been at QPR since since the age of 10 and actually made his senior debut in the Premier League. Given the chance by acting Head Coach, Chris Ramsey, the 18 year old defender went on to make 2 further appearances in the Prem for the Loftus Road club, before they were relegated at the end of the 2014/15 season. After loan spells at Northampton, Cambridge and Swindon Town, Furlong is still at QPR where he is currently out injured for 3 months after surgery on his knee.
11. Gordon Strachan & Gavin Strachan
Dad: 96, Son: 13
Total Premier League appearances: 109
With many trophies won throughout his periods at Aberdeen, Manchester United and Leeds, Gordon Strachan was certainly in the twilight of his career when the Premier League started in 1992. However, during the first two years of the Prem era, the Scottish midfielder still played 70 times for Leeds Utd before moving to Coventry City in the 1994-95 season. Strachan became Player/Assistant Manager to Ron Atkinson and eventually took over as Player/Manager in 1996, at the time becoming the oldest outfield player in Premier League history, before retiring aged 40. He has not had a managerial role since resigning as Scotland manager in 2017.
Gavin Strachan unfortunately never got anywhere near the heights of his father’s career. Starting at Coventry City in 1997, he played only 13 Premier League games, before they were eventually relegated to Division One in 2001. Strachan Jnr will unfortunately always be tarnished with the fact that his dad was his manager at Coventry. Failure to prove himself afterwards at various clubs including Hartlepool, Peterborough and Notts County didn’t help his cause and he was playing non-league football by the time he was 30. He is currently out of work as a coach after leaving the Assistant Manager’s post at Doncaster Rovers in the summer.
10. Gus Poyet & Diego Poyet
Dad: 187, Son: 3
Total Premier League appearances: 190
When Gus Poyet moved to Chelsea from Real Zaragoza in 1997 on a free transfer, nobody could have foreseen what a bargain he would turn out to be. The midfielder was a massive part of the hugely successful pre-Abramovich era, that won the European Cup Winners Cup, UEFA Super Cup, League Cup, FA Cup and qualified for the Champions League for the first time. Poyet moved to Tottenham to add a further 82 Premier League appearances, before retiring in 2004, aged 37. He was sacked as manager of Bordeaux only last month.
Things haven’t really taken off for his son Diego, so far in his career. Signed by West Ham from Charlton in 2014, young Poyet was thrown straight into the first team squad and made three Premier League appearances before becoming out of favour with manager Sam Allardyce. He was loaned out to Huddersfield, MK Dons and former club Charlton Athletic, and had his contract terminated with the Hammers in 2017. Diego Poyet is currently playing for Cypriot first division side Pafos.
9. Steve Bruce & Alex Bruce
Dad: 147, Son: 48
Total Premier League appearances: 195
Steve Bruce’s time as a Premier League player is about as impressive as you can get. He lifted the trophy as captain of Manchester United 3 times in 4 seasons (1992/93, 93/94 & 95/96), as well as winning the FA Cup twice. His leadership, brave defensive attributes and incredible knack of scoring important goals, make him probably the best English player never to win an international cap. Bruce is currently unemployed after being sacked as manager of Aston Villa earlier this month.
Like Gavin Strachan before him, Alex Bruce has had to battle with accusations of nepotism most of his career after playing under his dad, Steve, at Birmingham and Hull City. Indeed all of his 48 appearances in the Premier League have come when he was managed by his father. The rest of Alex Bruce’s time as a professional footballer has been played in the second tier of English football, and he’s currently at Wigan Athletic.
8. Steve Potts & Dan Potts
Dad: 202, Son: 2
Total Premier League appearances: 204
Apart from one final season as a player for Dagenham & Redbridge, Steve Potts’ entire career was spent at West Ham United. He was regarded as somewhat of a legend at Upton Park, even captaining the club for period of the ’90s. Although half of his appearances came before the Premier League was formed, he still racked up over 200 games from 1992 onwards. An underrated defender, Potts regularly started at right-back or centre-half, scoring just one goal in his 17 years at West Ham, before leaving in 2002. He is still working for the Hammers, currently as head coach for the under-21 side.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Dan Potts climbed through the ranks of the West Ham academy, before signing professionally in 2011. He made his only two Premier League appearances during the 2012/13 season, but after failing to make an impact on the first team, he went out on loan to Colchester and Portsmouth. Eventually the left-back made a permanent move to Luton Town, becoming an important player in their promotion from League Two last season.
7. Ian Wright & Bradley Wright-Phillips
Dad: 213, Son: 32
Total Premier League appearances: 245
Ian Wright actually played more league games for Crystal Palace than he did for Arsenal. However, apart from 22 appearances for West Ham during the 1998/99 season, it’s his career at Highbury that get’s him on to this list. I won’t go into to much detail about the former Arsenal striker just yet, as I have a feeling we’ll be seeing Wright Snr again later on…
Bradley Wright-Phillips has had a very up and down career so far. Coming through the ranks at Manchester City, the striker played just 32 times in the Premier League for the Citizens over two bit-part seasons, before moving down a division to Southampton. Accusations on the south coast of theft and assault (that were both thrown out of court) affected his form and following moves to Plymouth and Charlton, Wright-Phillips eventually signed for MLS club, New York Red Bulls in 2013. He became the fastest player to score 100 goals in MLS history and recently had his number 99 shirt retired in his honour. Quite the turnaround for BWP.
6. Alan Cork & Jack Cork
Dad: 46, Son: 205
Total Premier League appearances: 251
Father Alan, unfortunately graced the Premier League for just two seasons between 1992-94. With his best days at Wimbledon behind him, Cork only managed to score 5 league goals in 46 Prem games for Sheffield United. He is probably more well known for being the oldest looking 34 year old in history (pictured above), after refusing to shave his beard during the Blades’ famous run to the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1993.
Jack Cork is the first player on this list to surpass his father’s total Premier League appearances, and he did it with some ease. Despite not playing a single game for Chelsea during the early part of his career, Cork Jnr was loaned out to several lower league clubs, before signing permanently to Southampton in 2011. After a first season promotion, the midfielder has been in the top flight ever since, moving to Swansea in 2015 and then Burnley in 2017. An ever present for the Clarets during their tremendous 7th place finish last season, he made his England debut against Germany in the November of that campaign. Aged 29, there’s still plenty of time for Jack to get the Corks further up this ranking.
5. Rob Lee & Elliot Lee
Dad: 280, Son: 2
Total Premier League appearances: 282
Rob Lee was undoubtedly one of the best goalscoring midfielders of the ’90s, popping up with important goals for Newcastle on many occasions. None more so than the famous 1995/96 season when the Magpies were so close to winning the Premier League title. This allowed Lee to gain over 20 international caps for England, which included being selected for the 1998 World Cup squad. A move to a Derby in 2002 gave him 13 more games at the top level, but it’s at St James’ Park were he will be most fondly remembered.
Elliot Lee is another West Ham youth product, who unfortunately has failed to make the grade in the top flight so far in his career. The striker made just two substitute appearances for the Hammers in 2014, before being loaned out to various League One and Two clubs, not playing more than 15 matches in any one season. A move to Luton Town in 2017 has turned his career around however, with Lee playing a vital role in the club’s promotion to League One last season, alongside fellow ranked player on this list, Dan Potts.
4. Kevin Campbell & Tyrese Campbell
Dad: 325, Son: 4
Total Premier League appearances: 329
Kevin Campbell won every domestic trophy at Arsenal, but was only there for the first three seasons of the Premier League era, before moving to Nottingham Forest. A short spell in Turkey followed with Trabzonspor, but Campbell soon returned to England with Everton. It’s his time at Goodison Park however, where he spent his longest period in the Prem. The striker is 4th highest Premier League goalscorer for the Toffees and incidentally holds the record being the top scoring English goalscorer in PL history never to win an international cap. You’ll occasionally see Campbell these days as a pundit on ITV for their midweek European highlights show, most probably sporting a lovely bow tie.
Aged 18, Tyrese Campbell is just starting out in his professional career. Signed from Manchester City by Stoke as a youth player in 2016, the youngster made his debut at the Bet 365 Stadium towards the end of last season. Unfortunately his four substitute appearances were unable to help the club fight off relegation. The forward has struggled this season to make an impact in the Championship, only playing once for the first team so far in the League Cup. Although a hat-trick for the U23 team earlier this week should give Stoke boss Gary Rowett, food for thought.
3. Paul Ince & Tom Ince
Dad: 306, Son: 48
Total Premier League appearances: 354
Paul Ince’s tough tackling and leadership skills got him the nickname ”the guv’nor”, during his playing career. After two league titles at Manchester United, Ince became one of the only players to play for both United and Liverpool – with a spell Inter Milan sandwiched in between. Further Premier League seasons at Middlesbrough and one campaign in the top flight with Wolves, kept the midfielder playing at the highest level into his late thirties.
A different type of player to his father, Tom Ince has never really settled at one club, starting at Liverpool where he failed to make a single league appearance. He’s spent the majority of his career between the Championship (at Blackpool, Forest and Derby) and the Premier League (Crystal Palace and Hull). A move to Huddersfield last season saw him play 33 Premier League games, helping the Terriers survive relegation at the first attempt. Ince decided to drop down a division again this season however, signing for Stoke in the summer for £10m.
2. Peter Schmeichel & Kasper Schmeichel
Dad: 310, Son: 140
Total Premier League appearances: 450
What more can you say about Peter Schmeichel that hasn’t been said before? At Manchester Utd he won 5 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups, a League Cup and a Champions League. Not forgetting the Dane won the European Championship with Denmark in 1992. He is quite simply one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. Schmeichel ended his career with a season at Aston Villa (where he scored a league goal) and a further campaign at Manchester City. The goalkeeper even had a dog named after him in the Manchester based soap, Coronation Street.
Kasper Schmeichel certainly has done his best to try to live up to his Dad’s name. After coming through the ranks at Man City, Schmeichel only made 8 Premier League appearances at Eastlands, before going out on loan five times in the lower divisions. Signing for Leicester City in 2011 though, turned his career around. With promotion to the Prem in 2014 and only just surviving the following year, nobody could have foreseen what would happen in the 2015/16 season. Claudio Raneri took the reigns and steered Leicester City to an unforgettable Premier League title win, of which Schmeichel played every minute. Despite a number of that title winning side leaving the King Power Stadium since, Schmeichel has stayed put, still putting on impressive displays to help Leicester stay as a top-half team.
1. Ian Wright & Shaun Wright-Phillips
Dad: 213, Son: 315
Total Premier League appearances: 528
Arsenal legend Ian Wright scored an impressive 104 goals in 191 Premier League appearances for the Gunners. He left aged 33, following Arsenal’s double winning triumph in 1998. Wright was the club’s top scorer in every Premier League season until his final year, where he was beaten by Nicolas Anelka. With 32 international caps to his name, there’s only Mick Channon that has played more games for England and not been selected to go to a major tournament. You’ll currently find Ian Wright on BBC1 every Saturday night in the Match Of The Day studios and on the panel for ITV’s England coverage, where he is possibly the most patriotic pundit of all time.
Between stints at Chelsea and QPR, and two spells at Manchester City, Shaun Wright-Phillips has easily accumulated the most appearances by any son on this list. The small winger had a 16 year career in English football, where all but 3 seasons were played in the top flight. This led to 36 international caps for England – four more than his Dad. Despite playing most of his games at Manchester City, it’s Chelsea where he won his trophies, including a Premier League title in 2006. Along with the Schmeichels, Ian and Shaun are the only other father-son combination on this list to have won the Premier League.
*All Premier League appearances correct as of 18/10/2018