Leeds United F.C. History
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1919-29 - The Twenties
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2004-13 - Down Among The Deadmen
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
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Brolin: Per Tomas (Tomas)

1995-1997 (Player Details)

Forward/Midfield

Born: Hudiksvall, Sweden: 29-11-1969

Debut v Newcastle United (a) (substitute): 25-11-1995

5’8” 12st 2lb (1996)

In the early 1990s Per Tomas Brolin was the golden boy of Swedish football. He played his first match, when he was just six years old at Forssåtunet, and often played in games with much older players. In one match he scored fifteen goals and was it was reported by “Buster”, a popular young people's English football comic magazine. His first professional match was for Fourth Division club Nasvikens IK in 1984 at the age of fourteen. He had come through the Junior ranks and signed professional in 1983. He stayed there for two years scoring ten goals in thirty-six games before moving to GIF Sundsvall, who promised him continued education while enhancing his football career. He enrolled in Fotballsgymnaiet, the Football Academy in Sundsvall, in 1986. He made his debut for GIF Sundsvall against IF Elfsborg in 1987. He stayed there for two more years, scoring thirteen times in fifty-five games. By the age of nineteen Brolin was playing for GIF Sundsvall in the Swedish top division, but wanted another challenge after the team were relegated in 1989. Regarded as one of Sweden’s brightest prospects, Brolin was not going to spend time in the Second Division, and in the bidding war that ensued between Sweden’s top clubs, he moved to Swedish Champions, IFK Norrkoping. That was in 1990 and there he won the first five of his Swedish Caps after he had scored a hat-trick on debut in a 6-0 win over IFK Goteborg. It was this deed that alerted the Swedish coach, Olle Nordin to the talents of the player who was soon destined to become the golden boy of Swedish Football and eventually Europe. In his first game for Sweden against Wales he scored twice six minutes, after Wales had taken the lead, to give Sweden a 4-2 victory. He quickly followed that by two more in his next International against Finland, which Sweden won 6-0. He then went to the 1990 World Cup in Italy. He performed strongly and scored against Brazil, but Sweden lost all three games to Brazil, Costa Rica and Scotland to finish bottom of their Group. That year Brolin won his first Swedish “Footballer of the Year”. Brolin was a key member of the Swedish National Team that finished third in the 1994 World Cup. He was voted into the “World Cup Team” of the best players in the tournament. He was also a member of the Swedish squad that competed at the 1992 Olympics at Barcelona. His nickname was "Brolle". As a consequence to the 1990 World Cup, his club were flooded with requests from foreign teams and, after having scored seven goals in nine games, he left IFK Norrkoping for Italian club AC Parma for £1.2 million. With Parma, he scored twenty times in one hundred and thirty-three games, in his five year stay with the Italian club. He had a successful period with the club, winning the 1992 Coppa Italia, the 1993 Cup Winners' Cup, the 1993 UEFA Super Cup and the 1995 UEFA Cup. He won the last forty-two of his Swedish Caps while at AC Parma. He signed for AC Parma in 1990 just after Parma had been promoted to Serie A. He quickly formed an effective partnership with Alessandro Melli, who, like Brolin, was only twenty years old. Melli was a striker, quick, nimble, good in the air, and lethal inside the six yard box, while Brolin was a midfielder. The partnership delivered twenty goals. Thirteen from Melli and seven from Brolin. Parma finished in joint fifth place in their first season in Serie A, and qualified for Europe for the first time in the club's history. In 1991–92, Brolin was ever-present in his second season with Parma. He played in all thirty-four Serie A matches, scoring four goals. Parma finished in sixth place, but it was the club’s run in the Coppa Italia, where it won its first trophy in the club's history, that made everyone sit up and take notice. Brolin scored two goals in the Coppa Italia but they resulted in a 1–1 draw with Fiorentina, and a 1–0 victory over Sampdoria in the semi-final. Parma beat Juventus 2–1 win the Final. In Euro 92, a home tournament for the Swedes, Brolin truly came to the attention of the whole of Europe. He was joint top-scorer with three others and his goal against England did much to raise his profile. In 1992–93 Parma were in the European Cup Winners' Cup, the club bought two foreign imports Colombian Faustino Asprilla and Argentinian Sergio Berti. It meant the positions of Parma's three other non-Italian players Taffarel, Grün and Brolin were not guaranteed as the club could only field three foreigners in a match. Coach Scala's preferred choice was Brolin, Asprilla and Grun. This meant that Tafferel lost his place and Berti only figured in four games. It was the signing of explosive Colombian forward Faustino Asprilla for £3 million by the Italian club in 1992 that was the making of Brolin, forcing a change in the Swede’s playing position in the team. Before the Colombian’s arrival at Parma, Brolin had been playing up front with fellow forward Alessandro Melli, But now Brolin played from the bench as Asprilla was first choice for most of the season. After Asprilla had picked up an injury, Brolin did play in European Cup Winners' Cup Final which they won by defeating Belgian club Royal Antwerp 3–1, at Wembley. In 1993-94, the club signed Gianfranco Zola and Massimo Crippa for a total of £9 million from Napoli and that put Brolin's place in the team even more in the balance. Coach Scala, decided to play Brolin in a deeper position than in his first three seasons at the club. He played in a three man midfield with Gabriele Pin on the right and Massimo Crippa on the left, with Asprilla and Zola as strikers. If the team went a goal down or needed extra fire power up-front, striker Alessandro Melli came on as a substitute in place of Pin and Zola dropped into midfield. It was a tactic the coach also used during the 1993-94 season. The club reached the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup, having beaten Ajax and Benfica on the road to Copenhagen. They were beaten 1-0 in the Final by Arsenal, and, despite Brolin coming close to scoring in the first fifteen minutes when he hit the post, he finished up with a losers' medal. Brolin went to the 1994 World Cup in the best shape of his career. Still only twenty-three, he had the world at his feet. Sweden, despite having a talented group of players, were not expected to go far at the World Cup in the U.S.A., and, after they scraped a draw with Cameroon in their opening game, not much was expected of them. Brolin had other ideas though, and in Sweden’s next game with Russia, he delivered a match-winning performance as Sweden won 3-1. His battling qualities were demonstrated with the opening goal in Sweden’s last group match against favourites Brazil, when he collected a long ball from defence, chesting the ball down and at the same time, shielding it from defender Marcio Santos, before beating him and playing a delightful ball to Kennet Andersson, who flicked it past Brolin's Parma team mate, Taffarel, to make it 1-0. Sweden eventually drew 1-1 with the Brazilians and reached the second round. In the quarter final against Romania, he scored one of his most famous goals, and went to score three goals in the tournament. Sweden surprised many by finishing third in the competition. Brolin’s performances earned him a place in the competition’s ‘World Cup All Star Team’. On 16th November 1994, Brolin's career had a huge downturn as he broke his foot while playing for Sweden against Hungary in a European Championship qualifying game in Stockholm. At the time of Brolin's injury, Parma were two points clear at the top of the Italian league. By the time he returned, on 23rd April 1995, Parma were eight points behind leaders, and eventual champions, Juventus. With Gianfranco Zola missing, Brolin was given his first full start after his injury on 7th May 1995, a week after he resumed playing for Sweden. His first start for nearly six months came against Genoa, with Parma needing a victory to keep the pressure on runaway leaders Juventus. Brolin lasted only sixty-two minutes before Stefano Fiore replaced him and Parma drew 0–0 to fall seven points behind in the title race. Brolin struggled for the rest of the season to find his form and fitness but continued playing. After just twenty-three minutes of the final game of the season against Napoli, Brolin was sent off for the first time in his career. Parma signed Hristo Stoichkov for £6.5 million as Brolin tried to get back to full fitness for the start of the 1995–96 season. Despite scoring in three pre-season games, the coach felt that Brolin had not attained the level of fitness required to play in central midfield. In the summer Parma had also bought Italian Under-Twenty-One International Massimo Brambilla from Reggiana, who was preferred to Brolin as the season opened and Brolin's time at Parma was almost at an end. He made his first league appearance of the 1995–96 season as a late substitute in a 2–1 home win against Inter on 10th September 1995. Four days later in a First Round European Cup Winners’ Cup game, Brolin made his first start against KS Teuta Durrës in Tirana and also played in the return match on 28th September 1995. After a few more appearances, it was clear that Brolin would not have a chance to play regularly due to his lack of form and, after five years at the Italian club, he had to leave Parma to play regularly and get match fit. He could never reach his pre-injury level of form again, and was sold to Leeds United for £4.5 million. Brolin had turned down three Italian clubs before moving to Leeds United on 7th November 1995, where he signed a two and a half year contract. Manager Howard Wilkinson saw Brolin as the perfect foil for the club's top scorer Tony Yeboah. The Manager said, "He is a class player, and I believe he will prove to be an excellent buy for Leeds. I am sure he is going to be an excellent partner for Tony Yeboah." This was also the view of the Ghanaian forward, who said, "I am sure Tomas and I are going to work well together. He is truly world class. He can weigh in with goals of his own, and link up with the other players in the side. We are going to be very difficult to defend against." Brolin believed he needed matches to get back to his best and slowly worked his way into the team. He made his debut as an eighty-second minute substitute in a 1-2 away loss to Newcastle United on 25th November 1995. He made his starting debut four days later in a 2-1 home win in the League Cup against Blackburn Rovers. His first goal came on 16th December 1995 in a 2-6 away defeat to Sheffield Wednesday. He continued playing as a striker and scored his second goal in a 2-0 win at the Reebok over Bolton Wanderers on 27th December 1995. On 13th January 1996 he scored twice to give an under-strength Leeds a 2-0 home win over West Ham United. Howard Wilkinson had begun to ask Brolin to put more effort into his defensive duties and dropped him when there was a lack of response, and despite Leeds being seriously depleted due to injuries and International calls he still refused to play him. He was eventually given a game when he came on as a substitute as Leeds beat Birmingham City 3-0 at Elland Road in the home leg of the League Cup Semi-Final on 25th February 1996. He did get time as a sixty-fifth minute substitute in the 0-3 defeat by Aston Villa in the Final at Wembley on 24th March 1996, but his appearances were more spasmodic and he did not play in any of the final four games of the season. After being dropped for the first two of those games, on 1st May 1996 he returned to Sweden for surgery to remove scar tisssue on his foot and was not fit for Leeds’ last two League matches. However, his future at Leeds was very much in doubt. Brolin searched for a club in the summer of 1996. There seemed to be interest from Verona, Bari, Fiorentina but a serious bid by Sampdoria came to nothing, while Spanish clubs Real Betis, Espanyol, and Real Sociedad were also reportedly interested in signing the player. However, it was all unsuccessful and Leeds put him on the transfer list on 19th August 1996, intimating that they would be prepared to accept just £2.5 million, as opposed to the £4.5 million they had bought him for. This came after the club and Brolin were then locked in a dispute over his wages as he refused to attend pre-season training. On 20th August 1996 he went on loan to FC Zurich. He played three League games and one Cup game before Brolin indicated he would like to stay with Zurich until the club went into their winter break. George Graham had replaced Howard Wilkinson and, with Brolin's initial loan period to 30th September 1996 now over, he insisted that Brolin return to Elland Road. on 9th October 1996 Graham refused permission for Brolin to play in a game against FC St Gallen and told him to return by 6th November 1996 or face legal action. A proposed move to Sampdoria failed on 13th November 1996 failed because of a metal staple in his foot injury. Eventually it took £500,000 of Brolin's own money to fund a return on loan until the end of the season to AC Parma on 24th December 1996. He didn't play until 23rd February 1997, when he came on as a second half substitute and made three similar appearances in March. He made one more substitute appearance before, on 4th May 1997, he made his only start, which was followed by three more substitute appearances. On 16th June 1997 the deal with Parma expired and they showed no interest in making the deal permanent. George Graham didn't want him at Elland Road and so he had to find an alternate solution. On 29th August 1997 a deal with Real Zaragossa fell through as they failed to beat a Spanish transfer deadline, due to Brolin haggling over personal details. Then, on 15th September Hearts decided not to take him on loan on fitness grounds. On 28th October 1997, Leeds paid Brolin £140,000 in settlement of his contract. On 16th November 1997, Steve Coppell, Manager of Crystal Palace, offered Brolin a two week trial. It began on 5th January 1998 and Crystal Palace took him on board on 16th January, with a contract to the end of the season. He made fifteen appearances for Palace, without scoring, although he played most games as a striker. He was caretaker player-manager for a short spell, alongside Italian international Attilio Lombardo. His spell as acting manager at Palace made him the youngest manager ever to be in charge of a Premiership side, as he was still only twenty-eight years old at the time. Crystal Palace were relegated and Brolin retired from football and returned to Sweden in May 1998. In August 1998, he announced his retirement from the game and made his last appearance on 29th August 1998 in the last fifteen minutes for Hudiksvalls A.B.K. against Kiruna FF as a goalkeeper. After retiring, being the son of a wealthy father, he was able to take advantage of the booming Swedish property market and worked in the family business. He has also been a regular participant in World Series Poker and other Poker competitions since 2006.

AppearancesGoals
League 17/24
F.A. Cup 1/10
League Cup 2/20