• PFA Player of the Year has been awarded every season since 1973/74

  • Six players have won the award more than once, the most recent of which being Kevin De Bruyne

  • Read below for more on English football’s most prestigious individual award


A popular outright market when it comes to betting on football, PFA Player of the Year is the pinnacle of individual hardware in the English game.

It has been handed out every season since 1973/74, and its winners’ list reads like a who’s who of English football’s greatest ever players. Let’s dive into the history of PFA Player of the Year…

 

PFA Player of the Year Award

The PFA Player of the Year award was first introduced in 1973/74. Members of the Professional Footballer’s Association vote for the player they deem to have had the best season in English football.

Votes are taken in spring each year, and a shortlist for the award is announced in April.

Whether including the best Premier League strikers or talismanic defenders, the shortlist is often a point of debate among fans and media, though by that stage of the year, the discussion has usually narrowed down to two or three players.

John Terry, the 2004/05 winner, described it as the "the ultimate accolade to be voted for by your fellow professionals whom you play against week-in and week-out".

Terry is one of just three defenders to win the award in the Premier League era.

PFA Player Of The Year 2004/05


Only six players have been named PFA Player of the Year more than once, and just three players from outside Europe have won the award (Luis Suarez, Riyad Mahrez, Mohamed Salah).

The winner is announced at a high-profile event in London towards the end of the Premier League season.

Men’s Player of the Year, Women’s Player of the Year, Men’s Young Player of the Year, Women’s Young Player of the Year and the PFA Merit Award are all handed out on the evening.

PFA Player of the Year Winners List

Featuring several members of the Premier League 100 club, here’s the complete list of PFA Player of the Year winners.

  • 1973/74 – Norman Hunter

  • 1974/75 – Colin Todd

  • 1975/76 – Pat Jennings

  • 1976/77 – Andy Gray

  • 1977/78 – Peter Shilton

  • 1978/79 – Liam Brady

  • 1979/80 – Terry McDermott

  • 1980/81 – John Wark

  • 1981/82 – Kevin Keegan

  • 1982/83 – Kenny Dalglish

  • 1983/84 – Ian Rush

  • 1984/85 – Peter Reid

  • 1986/86 – Gary Lineker

  • 1986/87 – Clive Allen

  • 1987/88 – John Barnes

  • 1988/89 – Mark Hughes

  • 1989/90 – David Platt

  • 1990/91 – Mark Hughes

  • 1991/92 – Gary Pallister

  • 1992/93 – Paul McGrath

  • 1993/94 – Eric Cantona

  • 1994/95 – Alan Shearer

  • 1995/96 – Les Ferdinand

  • 1996/97 – Alan Shearer

  • 1997/98 – Dennis Bergkamp

  • 1998/99 – David Ginola

  • 1999/2000 – Roy Keane

  • 2000/01 – Teddy Sheringham

  • 2001/02 – Ruud van Nistelrooy

  • 2002/03 – Thierry Henry

  • 2003/04 – Thierry Henry

  • 2004/05 – John Terry

  • 2005/06 – Steven Gerrard

  • 2006/07 – Cristiano Ronaldo

  • 2007/08 – Cristiano Ronaldo

  • 2008/09 – Ryan Giggs

  • 2009/10 – Wayne Rooney

  • 2010/11 – Gareth Bale

  • 2011/12 – Robin van Persie

  • 2012/13 – Gareth Bale 

  • 2013/14 – Luis Suarez

  • 2014/15 – Eden Hazard

  • 2015/16 – Riyad Mahrez

  • 2016/17 – N’Golo Kante

  • 2017/18 – Mo Salah

  • 2018/19 – Virgil van Dijk

  • 2019/20 – Kevin De Bruyne

  • 2020/21 – Kevin De Bruyne

Multiple PFA Player of the Year Winners

Mark Hughes, Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Kevin De Bruyne are the multiple PFA Player of the Year winners.

Of those six, Henry, Ronaldo and De Bruyne are the only players to defend their Player of the Year crown.

Shearer has his own record, however, as no other player has won PFA Player of the Year while playing for two different teams.

The Premier League’s all-time leading scorer won his first award with Blackburn and won it again two years later after his big-money move to his hometown club, Newcastle.

By Country:

Wayne Rooney was the last Englishman to win PFA Player of the Year back in 2010. Only four English players have picked up the hardware since the turn of the century.

Still, the breakdown of PFA Player of the Year winners by country is led comfortably by England. Wales and France are the only other countries to have won it more than four times – here’s the full list.

  • England – 18

  • Wales – 6

  • France – 5

  • Netherlands – 4 

  • Scotland – 3

  • Republic of Ireland – 3 

  • Belgium – 3 

  • Portugal – 2 

  • Northern Ireland – 1 

  • Uruguay – 1 

  • Algeria – 1 

  • Egypt – 1

By Club:

Winning trophies has often helped a player when it comes to PFA Player of the Year voting. The most successful clubs have had their fair share of individual award success, as is the case across most sports.

With a period of dominance in the Alex Ferguson years, Manchester United are top of the pile in PFA Player of the Year wins with 11. Seven of those came between 2000 and 2010.

Along the same lines, Liverpool’s team success has corresponded with individual accolades. Players from the red half of Merseyside won PFA Player of the Year four times in the 1980s.

More recently, Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk topped the voting in back-to-back years as Liverpool began competing for major honours once again.

Van Dijk & Salah PFA Player of the Year


Tottenham and Arsenal are tied on five wins apiece. Manchester City and Chelsea might have collected trophies at a prolific rate over the last few years, but that hasn’t always resulted in PFA Player of the Year success.

The two clubs combine for just five, with Kevin De Bruyne being Manchester City’s only winner. Here’s the full list of PFA Player of the Year wins by club.

  • Manchester United – 11

  • Liverpool – 8 

  • Tottenham – 5 

  • Arsenal – 5 

  • Chelsea – 3 

  • Aston Villa – 3 

  • Everton – 2 

  • Newcastle – 2 

  • Manchester City – 2 

  • Leeds – 1 

  • Derby – 1 

  • Nottingham Forest – 1 

  • Ipswich – 1 

  • Southampton – 1 

  • Blackburn – 1 

  • Leicester – 1

PFA Player of the Year 2021

Kevin De Bruyne made it back-to-back PFA Player of the Year awards in 2021. The Belgian midfielder joined Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry as the only players to win it in consecutive seasons.

PFA Kevin De Bruyne 2021


Manchester City were favourites in the Premier League odds all season long. De Bruyne was an integral piece in yet another title for Pep Guardiola’s side.

Despite missing the start of 2021/22, the former Chelsea man is set to be in contention once again.

PFA Player of the Year Odds

With a few weeks of Premier League predictions behind us in 2021/22, the PFA Player of the Year odds have Cristiano Ronaldo as the favourite for the award ahead of Romelu Lukaku, Bruno Fernandes and Kevin De Bruyne.

Mo Salah, Jack Grealish and Harry Kane follow close behind the four leading candidates.

Ronaldo and De Bruyne are looking to make yet more history this season. Either player winning PFA Player of the Year would make them the first ever to lift the trophy three times.


*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to AP Photo*

 

FIRST PUBLISHED: 22nd September 2021

About the Author
By
Sam Cox

Sam is a sports tipster, specialising in the Premier League and Champions League.

He covers most sports, including cricket and Formula One. Sam particularly enjoys those on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean – notably MLB and NBA.

Watching, writing and talking about sports betting takes up most of his time, whether that is for a day out at T20 Finals Day or a long night of basketball.

Having been writing for several years, Sam has been working with 888Sport since 2016, contributing multiple articles per week to the blog.