20th November – Jon Knudsen

Jon Knudsen is one of the rare players to be a club legend at a team that he never even played for or was every really assosciated with.

The goalkeeper is loved at Norwegian side Rosenborg despite never being involved with the club. What makes it more remarkable is that he won the league title for them while his own team got relegated. On the final day of the 2004 season, his team Stabaek were playing Valerenga, who were going for the title. It is one the closest title races in history and in the last minute of the game with Valerenga only needing one more goal to win the title, Morten Berre ran through but Knudsen pulled off a save and therfore Rosenborg won the championship.

His career started at Lillestrom and made his debut in 1993 after replacing first choice Frode Grodas who was injured in the first half against Ham Kam. Remarkably his team were 2-0 down when he came on but they would win the game 4-3. He played the next five games but unfortunately he never got much game time after and went out on loan to Stromsgodset. His luck didn’t get much better there because he suffered a broken leg in his seventh game and was out of action for 13 months.

In 1999, he decided to leave his homeland and he joined Danish side FC Midtjylland. Despite having a good record though, only conceding eight goals in 15 games, he returned to Norway, joining Stabaek. He was first choice straightaway but missed all of the 2001 season due to epilepsy. Thankfully he did manage to return and made a lot of appearances, including every league game between 2004 and 2007.

He remained first choice for a long time but an injury at the start of the 2011 season was the beginning of the end for Knudsen and at the end of 2012 there were many contract problems at the club. On the final day of the season, Knudsen requested to be substituted on the 53rd minute and it is believed that it was due to these contract issues that he did.

After the season he signed for Fredrikstad and was first choice for the opening 12 games of the season but he lost his place after that and announced that he would be retiring at the end of the campaign. However, first club Lillestrom had a goalkeeping injury crisis and approached Knudsen to sign for the club. He signed on until the end of the season and 18 years after his last game for the club he managed to keep a clean sheet in a win over Bryne in the Third Round of the 2013 Norwegian Football Cup.

The final word can go to Fredrikstad manager Tom Freddy Aune. “In Jon we get one of Norway’s best goalkeepers. He is an experienced goalkeeper and has played well against us and I am sure that he plays well in the FFK cage as well.”

16th November – Mustapha Hadji

Mustapha Hadji is quite well known but some fans may be surprised to find that he was named the 50th greatest African player of all time.

Hadji is currently the assistant manager of Morocco and is hoping his experiences and ability can translate to some of their players. Being named the 50th best ever is an honour especially when you consider the amount of talent that has came out of the continent and made their mark in Europe.

The midfielder moved to France at a young age and signed his first contract at Nancy. He broke into their first team in 1991 and was a regular goalscorer from a deeper position over the next five years. In total he played 243 league games, scoring 98 times and was quickly starting to attract attention from other teams. He first move away was to Portuguese side Sporting.

He only spent one year in Portugal before moving to Spanish side Deportivo. Again it was only a short spell and after just 31 league games in two years he was on the move and was signed by Coventry City. His time at the club was helped as national teammate Youssef Chippo joined at a similar time. While at Coventry he delighted the fans with great pace and skill but unfortunately he could not stop the club getting relegated in 2001.

Aston Villa signed the midfielder after this relegation and this was probably down to the fact that he scored three times against them in the previous season. His move to Villa Park did not quite work out and was never a regular. He struggled for game time in his three years at the club and he only ended up with 35 league appearances, scoring against Southampton and Everton. He also added a goal in the UEFA Cup against Varteks but at the end of his contract he was released.

Hadji returned to Spain, signing for Espanyol. After one season he left again and went to the UAE for a year, scoring five times in 15 games for Al Ain before returning to Europe. He signed for German side Saarbrucken in the German Second Division. The manager that signed him was sacked very early into his season and it was a worry that he would be left out in the cold again but new manager Rudi Bommer persisted with the Moroccan. In his two years he scored 10 league goals in 54 games which wasn’t a bad record for an ageing midfielder.

His final career move was to Fola Esch in Luxembourg, where even at his age, he was a class above and looked a different quality to his opponents. His 25 goals in just 44 games shows this and in July 2010 he decided to call time on his career and retire.

The final word can go to African football expert Ed Dove. “Hadji was an agile, innovative attacking midfielder who excelled with the ball at his feet and a defence ahead of him.”

6th November – Kevin Pressman

Kevin Pressman is a Sheffield Wednesday legend who had the notable record of being given the quickest ever red card.

Just 13 seconds into a game against Wolves, he came out of his box and handled the ball leading the referee to brandish the red card. This was a very unfortunate moment but the referee was given no choice. Maybe this is what he is remembered for but it shouldn’t be as he was an outstanding keeper and produced when it matter most. One of the best goalkeeping performances ever was his in a Steel City Derby against Sheffield United.

The keeper started his career at Sheffield Wednesday, where he would stay for 19 seasons, but it was nearly over before it even started, with Pressman suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury and kept him out for nine months. He made his debut against Southampton in 1985 and had to wait a number of years to become the club’s first choice. He was a regular in cup competitions and was very unfortunate not to play in the 1991 League Cup final with the manager going for Chris Turner despite the fact that Pressman had played in every round.

A loan spell in 1992 at Stoke City gave him a bit more experience and he finally became The Owls’ number one during the 1993-94 season and would keep hold of the shirt for the majority of games right up until the 2003-04 season. Unfortunately during this period he was one of the few consistent performers as the club were relegated from the Premier League and then never really got close to promotion from Division One. Things did get worse as they were relegated from Division One in his penultimate season.

His last and 478th game for the club came on the final day of the 2003-04 season against QPR before being released. He was quickly signed up by Leicester City and despite being considered a backup he went on to make 13 Championship appearances throughout the season. He only spent one year there before joining Leeds United, where he never played a game and then on to Mansfield, managed by former teammate Carlton Palmer.

He played 41 times in League Two and was a popular player but decided it was time to hang up the gloves. However, he had one final stint as a player at Northern Irish side Portadown, where he had an incredible time, helping the team climb the table and was also named their Player of the Year.

Something worth checking out is not only his penalty saves but also his penalty taking ability. His effort against Watford in the FA Cup is definitely worth checking out as well as a couple of others.

The final word can go to an artice in the Sheffield Star who named Pressman as the club’s fourth best player of the century. “One of the best goalkeepers Wednesday ever had- dependable and more agile than you would expect from looking at him.”

1st November – Paul Dickov

Paul Dickov might not be the first Manchester City striker that comes to mind but he might just be one of the most important in their history.

Featuring in three different divisions for the club and scoring some important goals for the club means he should be remembered fondly by the fans. Alongside his workrate and determination he was always well liked by his teams fans and not so much by opposition players.

Dickov started his career at Arsenal, but struggled to force his way into the first team regularly, with the likes of Ian Wright in front of him in the pecking order. However, his record wasn’t too bad as he scored six times in just 24 appearances and he was part of the squad that won the Cup Winners Cup in 1994.

In 1996 the striker signed for Manchester City but his first season was a bit of a disaster as the club went through five managers, some of them liking the striker and others leaving him out completely as he contributed just five goals. Again, the following year was poor and despite finishing as the top scorer they were relegated from Divison One.

The 1998-99 season was when Dickov became a City hero, scoring 16 goals in total, including the 95th minute equaliser in the final of the playoffs against Gillingham which was later voted as City’s Greatest Ever Goal in 2005. The game went to penalties and they would go on to win the game. In the following campaign Man City gained back to back promotions but injuries limited his game time. He did score the fourth goal in a 4-1 win over Blackburn Rovers which clinched promotion.

The Premier League was tough for Dickov as he found himself on the bench a lot and only managed four goals in the league as they were relegated. Lack of first team opportunites led to him leaving for Leicester City in 2002 and at the end of the season he suffered yet another relegation. He and the club would bounce back immediately with the striker hitting a career high 20 goals. Despite 13 goals Leicester were relegated again and he left the club for Blackburn.

He stayed at Blackburn for two seasons, scoring 17 times before returning to Man City. His second spell was less spectacular than his first as he failed to find the back of the net and ended up being loaned to Crystal Palace and Blackpool. While there he was named Player of the Month and scored six times in 11 games in total.

At the end of his contract he resigned for Leicester, helping them to win League One in the process. After promotion he did not play much and was loaned out to Derby County and was released soon after. Leeds United signed him but he only managed one start for the club.

His final playing days were at Oldham were he was player manager.

The final word can go to the man himself, speaking about that Wembley goal, which if he didn’t score who knows where City would be. “I was a lucky little boy to score that goal.”

24th October – Jose Luis Calderon

Jose Luis Calderon was a consistent goalscorer but an argument with the now famous Marcelo Bielsa put an end to his international career.

The striker played for Argentina during the 1997 Copa America but a fall out with Bielsa meant he was never picked again for his national side despite the fact that he was a consistent goalscorer all his career.

With over 600 games and over 200 league goals and a career that lasted from 1989 to 2010 you would expect that he would be a name that was a little more well known in the footballing world. His career started at Cambaceres where he was an instant hit as soon as he broke into their first team, scoring 43 times in just 83 games before a move to his boyhood club Estudiantes.

In his career he would play for Estudiantes three times, and also have three spells at Independiente and Arsenal de Sarandi twice. His record during these spells were mpstly succesful and for the majority he hit a goal on average every two games. Despite his goals he did not get much success on the trophy front until 2006 when he won the Apertura with Estudiantes and followed this up with the Copa Sudamericana with Arsenal.

His third spell for Estudiantes was the least he played as most of his appearances were from the bench, however he did manage to be part of the squad that won the 2009 Copa Libertadores. This seemed like the perfect time to retire and on November 25th 2009 he announced his retirement at the age of 39.

However, this would not be the end as he was convinced to come out of retirement by Argentinos coach Claudio Borghi. He proved his skills once again, by playing a key part in the their 2010 Clausura championship win. He only scored three goals in 19 games but it was his all round play and experience that really helped the side. In the penultimate game of the season he set up a goal in the 93rd minute to win the match against former side Independiente.

At the end of his contract he left the club and at the age of nearly 40 he decided to play one last game for first club Cambaceres and scored a penalty kick to complete his career.

He did have a brief spell in Europe, following in the footsteps of Diego Maradona, playing for Italian side Napoli. But this only lasted six games and unfortunately he did not manage a goal.

Calderon was a fantastic finisher and his compilation videos on Youtube are definitely worth a look for anyone that particularly enjoys football from the 1990’s.

The final word can go to the man himself, who said on his final game in tears. “I have the gratitude for all the people who supported me. It’s a shame that my legs tell me enough, but I’m going calm because I closed a cycle in the same place where I started.”

30th August – Kris Commons

Kris Commons played over 500 games and scored over 100 goals during his professional career and proudced some magic moments.

Commons started his career at Stoke City, making his debut in a 3-2 defeat against Blackpool. Shortly afterwards he picked up an injury and was out of action for year before making his comeback in a 0-0 draw with Sheffield Wednesday and his first goal came 16 days later against Norwich City. After a promising start he was offered a new contract, however he rejected it and signed for Nottingham Forest.

Commons NF

Although his first season ended in relegation from the Championship, Commons stayed with the club to try and get them promoted. He had to wait until his final season to finally achieve this aim and following a 3-2 win over Yeovil Town they gained promotion with the midfielder being named in the PFA League One Team of the Year. At this point he had played 159 times for Forest but with his contract up he made the unthinkable move to Derby County.

He started his time at Derby on the wing under Paul Jewell but he didn’t really show his potential until he was moved into the centre and he would go on to score the only goal of the game in a victory over Manchester United in the League Cup. Later on in the season he would also score the winning goal against Forest in an FA Cup game.

Commons DC

Injuries caught up with him in the next season and he didn’t have much of an impact, however the 2010-11 season was probably his best in England as he went on a run of seven goals in nine games. This form caught the attention of Celtic who signed him on the 28th January 2011 and on the following day he scored against Aberdeen and would end the season winning the Scottish Cup. Celtic won the title in the following campaign but it was a difficult one for Commons as he only scored one goal.

But he did manage to bounce back and show his quality. During the 2013-14 season he finished as the top scorer, hitting the back of the net 32 times in all competitions. However, this wasn’t enough to convince new manager Ronny Deila to give him a starting place. He did manage to turn this round again but things got worse when Brendan Rodgers took charge as he told him he would not be part of the squad.

Commons Celtic

Commons would stay at the club until the end of his contract and after a back injury he decided it was time to retire. His last games in football came during a loan spell at Hibernian where he played five times, scoring twice.

The final word can go to Neil Lennon. “He’s intelligent, grounded and hungry. What he will do is improve us and influence the team and squad on and off the field. He will provide a goal threat from the wider areas or deeper lying areas.”

28th August – Kevin McNaughton

Kevin McNaughton has played over 500 games in his professional career and despite retiring once he came back to play more and be as consistent as he always was.

The defender did initially retire in 2017 but has had to play further games due to an injury crisis at Scottish club Forfar Athletic where he had been a first team coach.

McNaughton started his career in Scotland with Aberdeen and made his debut at 18 in a 2-1 defeat to St Mirren and would eventually become a regular during the 2000-01 season. He was showing a lot of promise and was even named PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year at the end of the 2001-02 season. However, an injury in the following season slowed down his development and at times he struggled to regain his previous form.

McNaughton Aberdeen

He did eventually show his qualities once more and this led to him being linked with moves to Scottish giants Celtic and other clubs in England. After 201 appearances for Aberdeen he did leave the club on a free transfer on the 26th May 2006 joining Cardiff City. Initially McNaughton was used a sa left back by Dave Jones in the Championship but in the following campaign he was moved to the more familiar right back position. During this season he played an important role in helping the club reach the final of the FA Cup and even scored his first goal for the club in the Fourth Round victory over Hereford United.

The 2009-10 season was much more difficult for the defender as he struggled with injuries however he bounced back by playing every game in the following season and his consistent performances earned him the Player of the Season vote. Over the next few seasons his popularity continued to grow among the Cardiff fans and he helped them reach the League Cup final which they unfortunately lost on penalties against Liverpool.

McNaughton CC

On the 21st August 2012, McNaughton played his 400th career game for Cardiff in a 0-0 draw with Brighton and played a role in helping the club gain promotion to the Premier League. He was given a new one year deal but unfortunately only played five times in the top flight and during the season he joined Bolton on loan and would play 22 times for the club over two spells.

McNaughton BW

After he was released by Cardiff he joined Wigan Athletic but only played twice for the club before joining Scottish side Inverness. However, an injury put an end to his season and he announced his retirement but in December 2017 he reversed this decision and is now a registered player for Forfar.

The final word can go to Malky Mackay. “Kevin has been a terrific servant. Good, experienced professionals like Kevin are essential for a squad’s success and I know this news will please City supporters, as much as it does my staff and I, who know and appreciate what a hard working and dedicated player Kevin is.”

26th August – Nicky Summerbee

Nicky Summerbee comes from a long line of professional footballers and just like his dad, Mike, will be loving how Manchester City are getting on at the moment.

The midfielder now does a lot of radio work and is regularly a pundit for Manchester City games and will be forever liked by those at the club as his dad is a cult hero there.

Summerbee didn’t have the easiest starts to his career and had trials at clubs like Manchester United, Leicester City and Norwich City before finally convincing Swindon Town that he was good enough. After signing for them in 1989 he would go on to make 112 league appearances for the club, scoring six goals and being an important member of the squad that got promoted to the Premier League in 1993.

Summerbee ST

His form convinced Manchester City to pay £1.3 million for his services and he proudly followed in his father’s footsteps. In his first season at the club they were struggling and even with Alan Ball replacing Brian Horton as manager nothing could change their fortunes. Unfortunately this ended in the club getting relegated from the Premier League and led to rumours of Summerbee leaving the club. In the summer of 1997 it looked as though he would be moving on after a trial with French side Bordeaux, however a move never materialised.

Summerbee MC

After 131 games for City, Summerbee did leave for Sunderland in November 1997. He made an instant impact on his debut against Portsmouth by scoring the final goal in a 4-1 win after coming on as a substitute. He continued his good form and was a regular in the side as he once again helped his side gain promotion from Division One and into the Premier League.

However, injuries and some argue things in his personal life contributed to him not having as much of an impact as he would have liked in the next few seasons for Sunderland. Summerbee was left in the wilderness by manager Peter Reid as the club began to thrive and an incident in a reserve match against Newcastle United put an end to his career at Sunderland.

Summerbee Sunderland

Upon leaving Sunderland, he joined Bolton Wanderers, however this only lasted nine games, with him managing to score one goal against Crystal Palace. But he struggled to settle and more short term spells at Leicester City and Nottingham Forest followed. He finally found a place to call home again when he joined Bradford City in 2003.

He stayed with the club for two and a half years but towards the end his playing time was becoming limited and he had loan spells at Swindon Town and Tranmere Rovers. His final move was to Tamworth where he played four league games before retiring.

The final word can go to former Swindon Town manager Andy King. “I spoke about players performing well. Nicky Summerbee gave us much greater shape, and put some good balls into the box. The shape was the key thing.”

25th August – Luke Ayling

Luke Ayling has been one of the best defenders in the Championship for a lot of his career and will be hoping he can make the step up to the Premier League soon.

The defender usually plays at right back but he can also fill in at centre half or play as one of the defenders when his manager decided to play three at the back. Under the stewardship of a manager like Marcelo Bielsa he will surely get better and will be hoping that this could be the manager that takes him to the top flight.

Ayling started his career at Arsenal and despite an impressive record at youth level in which he was part of their double winning team of the 2008-09 season, he failed to make a first team appearance for the club but was named on the substitute bench for a Champions League game against Greek side Olympiakos. Towards the end of his time at the club he signed for Yeovil Town on loan in March 2010. He played four times and did enough to convince them to sign him permanently.

Ayling YT

In his first full season he was a key player, making 40 appearances, however his disciplinary record was quite poor as he picked up 13 yellow and two red cards. He played in 40 games every season he was at the club and helped them win the League One playoff final on the 19th May 2013 and therefore secured them a place in the Championship. The team found it very tough in the higher division but Ayling was certainly one of the bright spots.

After relegation, Ayling decided not to sign a new contract with the club and joined Bristol City on a free transfer. It turned out to be an impressive season as he played 58 times in all competitions and Bristol City went on to win the League One title and the Football League Trophy beating Walsall 2-0 at Wembley on the 22nd March 2015. He would continue to impress in the following season as they managed to avoid relegation in the following campaign, playing 33 times at either right back or centre back.

Ayling BC

On the 11th August 2016 the right back signed for Leeds United and would play 43 times in his first season. With many changes at the club throughout his time there so far, he has managed to convince every manager that has been in charge that he deserves his place in the team. During the 2017-18 season he was also named as the club’s vice captain and was also rewarded with a new four year contract. He had to wait until the 18th August 2018 to score his first goal for Leeds in a game against Rotherham United.

Ayling LU

The final word can go to Steve Cotterill. “He’s a very versatile player and therefore offers us competition and cover in a variety of positions. He was instrumental in Yeovil’s promotion from League One and did very well in the Championship.”

23rd August – Carlos Cuellar

Carlos Cuellar is looking to reach over 500 appearances in the next few months in a career that has took him to many different countries.

The defender, who played a lot in the centre of defence but could also operate in either full back position was a solid and dependable player, who was well liked at most of his clubs.

Cuellar started his career at Numancia, but got his first taste of first team football on loan at CD Calahorra in Spain, playing 27 times and scoring one goal. On his return to his parent club he made his debut against Xerez on the 23rd September 2001. Later in the campaign he scored his first goal against Racing.

He became first choice during the next season and afterwards signed for La Liga side Osasuna on the 29th August 2003. In his first two seasons he didn’t play as much as he would have liked but during the 2005-06 season he played 31 times as the club reached the Copa Del Rey final and finished fourth in the table, helping them qualify for the Champions League. After they dropped out of the competition into the UEFA Cup, Cuellar played seven times as they reached the semi final and during the tournament scored twice against Bayer Leverkusen.

Cuellar Osasuna

This turned out to be his last season at the club as he joined Rangers on the 5th July 2007. He was an instant success and was even named the Scottish Premier League Player of the Month in August and would score his first goal on the 1st September against Gretna. At the end of the season he was named the Scottish Premier League Player of the Year and played in a club record 65 games in a single season.

Cuellar Rangers

However, this would be his only one at Rangers as he signed for Aston Villa and had to wait until October to make his first start at right back, where he spent most of his time at the club. The 2009-10 season was his only campaign as a first choice player and in his four seasons he played 120 times. At the end of his contract he was released and signed for former Villa manager Martin O’Neill at Sunderland.

Cuellar AV

He made his debut in a 0-0 draw against Arsenal and would go on to play a further 27 times, scoring once against Fulham. After his contracte expired, he signed for Norwich City and helped them get promoted back to the Premier League, however he was released a few days later and returned to Spain signing for Almeria.

Since then he has not stayed anywhere for long turning out for Maccabi Petah Tikva, Ironi Kiyat Shmona and has just recently signed for Beitar Jerusalem.

The final word can go to Martin O’Neill. “Carlos is brave and he is aggressive. I like his qualities and I always have done. He has a big heart. Sometimes Carlos doesn’t mind playing out of position if it means he plays.”