Player profile

Dean Saunders

Dean Saunders

Birthdate: 21 June 1964
Birthplace: Swansea, Wales
Other clubs: Swansea City (1982-85), Cardiff City (loan 1985), Brighton & Hove Albion (1985-87), Oxford United (1986-88), Derby County (1988-91), Aston Villa (1992-95), Galatasaray (1995-96), Nottingham Forest (1996-97), Sheffield United (1997-98), Benfica (1998-99), Bradford City (1999-2001)
Bought from: Derby County
Signed for LFC: £2.9m, 19.07.1991
International debut: 26.03.1986 vs. Republic of Ireland
International caps: Wales 75/22 - 28.03.2001
Liverpool debut: 17.08.1991
Last appearance: 05.09.1992
Debut goal: 27.08.1991
Last goal: 05.09.1992
Contract expiry: 10.09.1992
Win ratio: 45.9% W:28 D:19 L:14
Games/goals ratio: 2.44
Honours: FA Cup 1992
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 20 / 4
LFC league games/goals: 42 / 11
Total LFC games/goals: 61 / 25

Player profile

Saunders had long been admired by football fans for his exploits with Oxford and Derby and he was certainly a big signing for Liverpool when he arrived along with Mark Wright from Derby. Saunders was on his way on a free transfer to Australia when the Brighton manager spotted him in a Swansea reserves' game. He scored 23 goals in his first season at Brighton and first division Oxford bought him the following season in March 1987. Former Liverpool favourite, Mark Lawrenson, was Oxford's manager at the time with Robert Maxwell as his chairman. After scoring 33 goals in 73 games for the club Saunders was sold against the wishes of Lawrenson to Derby in October 1988. Lawro handed in his resignation in the process. Saunders scored a decent enough 57 goals in 131 games for Derby, which Robert Maxwell owned as well.

Son of former Liverpool half-back, Roy, Dean played in a struggling Liverpool side, whose passing game didn't suit him at all. He was used to Derby's counter-attacking style, scoring many of his goals by using his exceptional pace. Saunders wasn't very prolific in the League with about one goal every four games but flourished in the UEFA Cup with nine goals in five matches that included a quadruple against Kuusysi Lahti. He contributed two goals to Liverpool's successful FA Cup run. A cash-flow problem was said to be the reason he was sold after only one full season at Liverpool. Saunders signed off with his second goal in seven matches in September 1992 in his sophomore season at Liverpool. Saunders felt hard done by leaving the Reds after such a short stay. "Graeme called me in one day and told me he needed a centre-half [Torben Piechnik], and that he could raise the money by selling me to Aston Villa," Saunders said. "I couldn't believe he was prepared to let me go, but he said he didn't think my partnership with Ian Rush had worked out, and Rushy wouldn't be the one going anywhere. That was it." Souness was left to suffer at the hands of Saunders only nine days after his departure from Liverpool when he scored two goals in Villa's 4-2 victory over the Reds.

Saunders was reunited with Souness when the pair spent the 1995/96 season together with Galatasaray in Turkey. For Saunders it was a fairly successful season and 15 goals from 27 Turkish League matches must have helped him secure a contract with Nottingham Forest in 1996. He struggled for goals at the City Ground as the club was relegated from the Premier League. Shortly into his second season he moved to fellow first division club, Sheffield United, before moving again abroad in 1998, this time to Benfica in Portugal where once again his manager was Souness. Saunders returned to England after a single season based in Lisbon and joined Bradford City, spending two seasons with them in the Premier League before retiring as a player shortly before his thirty-seventh birthday.

Dean Saunders became a coach at Bradford before again linking up with Graeme Souness not once but twice as coach; first at Blackburn Rovers and then Newcastle United. But when Newcastle sacked Souness early in 2006, Saunders lost his job as well. In the following year he began taking the certificate in Football Management course run by the University of Warwick; and this led to him being granted his UEFA Pro Licence coaching badge, a qualification that allowed him to be appointed as assistant to John Toshack with the Welsh national team. 

In October 2008 Saunders replaced Brian Little as manager of Wrexham, with the club from north Wales now in the Conference following their relegation from the Football League earlier in the year. The responsibility of being a football club manager did not prevent Saunders from retaining his position with the national team. Although Wrexham's results were very poor towards the end of the 2008/09 season Saunders continued to be the Wrexham manager as the club attempted to regain its Football League status. The Welsh club finished in eleventh at the end of the 2009/10 season but a year later qualified for the end-of-season play-offs by finishing fourth. Wrexham were unfortunately knocked out by Luton Town, that had finished one place and three points above them after the regular season. In the last week of September 2011 Saunders was appointed manager of Championship club Doncaster Rovers. However, he was unable to save Rovers from relegation as they returned to League One after taking only 36 points from their 46 League fixtures. Having guided Rovers to second place in League One Saunders was confirmed as the new manager of championship's Wolverhampton Wanderers in January 2013.

Saunders failed to prevent Wolves sliding into League One at the end of the 2012/13 season and it therefore wasn't a major surprise when he was dismissed as manager three days after relegation was confirmed. Just after Christmas 2014 Saunders was named as the interim-manager of Crawley Town after the previous incumbent John Gregory stood down for health reasons. Saunders became manager of League One side Chesterfield on 13 May 2015. After four consecutive league defeats Chesterfield announced on 28 November 2015 that they had parted company with Saunders.

Appearances per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 42 8 5 5 1 61
1991-1992 36 8 5 5 0 54
1992-1993 6 0 0 0 1 7

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

Total Opponent
4 Leeds United
3 Chelsea
3 Aston Villa
3 Ipswich Town
3 Arsenal
2 Nottingham Forest
2 Everton
2 Tottenham
2 Port Vale
2 QPR
2 Wimbledon
2 Swarowski Tirol
2 Genoa
2 Bristol Rovers
2 Manchester United
2 Sheffield United
2 Stoke City
2 Oldham Athletic
2 Manchester City
2 Southampton
2 Luton Town
2 Norwich City
2 Coventry City
1 West Ham United
1 Portsmouth
1 Sunderland
1 Notts County
1 Crewe
1 Peterborough United
1 Kuusysi Lahti
1 Crystal Palace
1 Sheffield Wednesday
Total Started/substitutions
61 Started
1 On the bench
0 Substitute
9 Substituted
Total Competition
36 League
8 FA Cup
6 England Premier League
5 UEFA Cup
5 League Cup
1 Charity Shield

Goals per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 11 2 2 9 1 25
1991-1992 10 2 2 9 0 23
1992-1993 1 0 0 0 1 2

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

Total Started/substitutions
25 Started
0 Substitute
Total Competition
10 League
9 UEFA Cup
2 FA Cup
2 League Cup
1 England Premier League
1 Charity Shield
Total Goal minute period
4 1-15 minutes
2 16-30 minutes
3 31-45 minutes
4 61-75 minutes
8 76-90 minutes
Total Open play/Penalty
25 Open play

Milestone Appearances

# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 17.08.1991 Oldham Athletic Anfield League
50 13.04.1992 Portsmouth Villa Park FA Cup

Milestone Goals

# Minute Date Against Stadium Competition
1 62 27.08.1991 QPR Anfield League

Related Articles

Kop that!

Match report from British Soccer Week on Liverpool - Swarovksi Tirol on 11.12.1991.More

Deadly Dean

Match report from British Soccer Week on Swarovski Tirol - Liverpool on 27.11.1991.More

Saunders' woes continue

Match report from British Soccer Week on Wimbledon - Liverpool on 23.11.1991.More

Brilliant Brucie!

Match report from British Soccer Week on West Ham - Liverpool on 17.11.1991.More

It had to be you ...

Match report from British Soccer Week on Aston Villa - Liverpool on 19.09.1992.More

Related Quotes

"I'll always be grateful for winning the FA Cup with Liverpool, but their expectations were so high you always had the sense that nothing short of winning the title was really good enough. 'There was a slightly depressing atmosphere around the place, as if everyone knew they weren't quite matching up.

Graeme called me in one day and told me he needed a centre-half [Torben Piechnik], and that he could raise the money by selling me to Aston Villa. I couldn't believe he was prepared to let me go, but he said he didn't think my partnership with Ian Rush had worked out, and Rushy wouldn't be the one going anywhere. That was it."

Dean Saunders reflecting on LFC

Ron Atkinson Villa manager:
"There's no way they wanted to sell him. They let him go because I went in with the right offer at the right time."

Terry Yorath, Wales manager:
"You have to know your product. At Liverpool Dean has been going into areas where he can't score goals. Liverpool have always been known for playing good football, but if you haven't got the players available to play the ball at they right time then you're not going to get the best out of players like Dean and Ian Rush. Ron Atkinson is the right type of manager for Dean Saunders."

Saunders was perplexed: "I have mixed feelings about leaving Liverpool after only one full season. I thought I did quite well scoring 23 goals in 50-odd games and also winning an FA Cup medal."

Dean Saunders leaves Liverpool

Other Clubs

Club Season Club rank League apps League goals Total apps Total goals
Swansea City 1983-1984 England Second Division 19 3 20 3
Swansea City 1984-1985 England Third Division 30 9 35 9
Cardiff City 1984-1985 England Second Division 4 0 4 0
Brighton & Hove Albion 1985-1986 England Second Division 42 14 48 19
Brighton & Hove Albion 1986-1987 England Second Division 30 6 35 6
Oxford United 1986-1987 England First Division 12 6 12 6
Oxford United 1987-1988 England First Division 37 12 49 21
Oxford United 1988-1989 England Second Division 10 4 12 6
Derby 1988-1989 England First Division 30 14 36 15
Derby 1989-1990 England First Division 38 11 49 21
Derby 1990-1991 England First Division 38 17 46 21
Aston Villa 1992-1993 England Premier League 35 12 44 16
Aston Villa 1993-1994 England Premier League 38 10 52 16
Aston Villa 1994-1995 England Premier League 39 15 48 17
Galatasaray 1995-1996 Turkey 1 27 15 29 17
Nottingham Forest 1996-1997 England Premier League 34 3 39 5
Nottingham Forest 1997-1998 England First Division 8 2 11 4
Sheffield United 1997-1998 England First Division 24 10 32 14
Sheffield United 1998-1999 England First Division 19 7 23 10
Benfica 1998-1999 Portugal 1 17 5 17 5
Bradford City 1999-2000 England Premier League 34 3 38 6
Bradford City 2000-2001 England Premier League 10 0 18 0
Total 575 178 697 237
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