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David Eric Hirst (born 7 December 1967) is an Englishmarker former professional footballer, an exciting but injury prone striker who played for Sheffield Wednesday for much of his career.

Playing career

Born in Cudworthmarker, near Barnsleymarker, Hirst joined the Owls from Barnsley in 1986, and became a firm favourite and eventually an idol who was hero worshipped by the Barmy Army, scoring 149 goals in 358 appearances during his eleven years at the club. He was capped three times for England, and scored once.

Hirst had many famous moments during his time at Hillsborough. In 1991, Hirst scored 32 goals as Wednesday were promoted back to Division One, including a 4-goal haul against Hull City (a 5–1 win) on 1 September 1990. This form led to him being called up for the England B international against Switzerland, in which he scored both England goals in a 2–1 win. He was subsequently called into the full England squad for the tour of Australasia.

He made his international debut in the 1–0 win over Australia, but was replaced at half-time. He was named as a substitute in the next game against New Zealand, but came on at half-time and within three minutes of the restart he scored his first and only England goal.

He gained one further cap when lining up alongside Alan Shearer against France at Wembley. After an impressive first half display, he seemed likely to be given the nod ahead of Shearer to partner Gary Lineker for the second period until Shearer put England ahead on the stroke of half-time. This reprieved Shearer and after that the two players' careers took very different paths. In 1993 Hirst played in the Sheffield Wednesday team that reached both domestic Finals - they lost both to Arsenal, but Hirst scored Wednesday's equaliser in the FA Cup Final at Wembleymarker in a 1–1 draw before Arsenal won the replay 2–1.

Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson tried six times to tempt Owls boss Trevor Francis to sell Hirst.

Hirst's later time at Wednesday was fraught with injury, and eventually ended when Sheffield Wednesday manager David Pleat sold him to Southampton after he had emerged fit once again returning to the Owls first team.

Hirst scored against old club Barnsley in their first (and only) Premiership season when the Reds were beaten 4–1 at the Dellmarker, and proved to be the perfect foil for young Kevin Davies as Southampton once again secured their place in football's top division.

Hirst previously held the record for the fastest recorded shot, hitting the bar at 114mph against Arsenal at Highburymarker in September 1996. The record stood for a little over ten years until it was surpassed by Ronny of Sporting Lisbon with a 131mph shot in November 2006.

Hirst was a rare breed of 'total striker' and was blessed with pace, height, heading, strength, dribbling, creativity and being in the right place at the right time. Although predominantly left footed, he had an excellent right foot too and scored some spectacular goals from range with both feet.

Some of these goals can be seen in a tribute clip. The clip also shows the tackle by Steve Bould of Arsenal that broke Hirst's ankle causing him injury problems for a while after. Note how he got up after to try and run the serious injury off and in the process scored with a scissor volley whilst protecting the injured ankle - http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=8830790240424316936

Honours

Sheffield Wednesday

References

  1. Appearances and goal totals for Sheffield Wednesday.
  2. Hirst sets a new record with 114 mph shot.
  3. The Fastest Recorded Shot Ever


External links




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