11th June – Vagner Love

Vagner Love at one point was one of the most highly rated strikers in Europe and was expected to become one of Brazil’s main goalscorers.

Love started his career at Brazilian side Palmeiras, where he helped them return to the top flight. He stayed for two seasons but scored 27 times in 42 league games and this led to him being by bought by Russian side CSKA Moscow. There were many rumours that he did not settle and was looking to leave, however he remained committed to his team and became a club hero by scoring in the 2005 UEFA Cup final which CSKA would go on to win against Sporting Lisbon. It was in this competition that he made a lot of headlines, by finishing as the competitions top scorer in the 2008-09 campaign.

On the 29th August 2009 it looked as though his time in Russia had came to an end as he returned to Palmeiras on loan. He, again showed he knew where the back of the net was by scoring five goals in 12 games. Due to the player stating concerns over his safety he cut the loan spell short and signed for his childhood team Flamengo.

At Flamengo, the striker was a massive success and formed a fantastic partnership with the former Inter Milan player Adriano, scoring 23 goals in 26 games. However, they could not convince Love to stay permanently.

Love Flamgo

This led to the player returning to CSKA where he helped the club win the Russian Premier League in 2013 and would also manage to hit over 100 goals during his two spells with the team. Once again he did leave and signed for Shandong Luneng and he would continue his goalscoring form with 28 goals in 43 games in his two seasons in China.

LOve CSKA

He has since became a little bit of a traveller, but someone that can guarantee goals. After his contract was rescinded in China, he joined Corinthians and finished as the top scorer as they would go on to win the Serie A title. But would only stay for almost exactly a year, joining French side Monaco and would be a fairly decent player for the club. He will be mostly remembered for scoring a goal in a victory over PSG.

Love Alanyaspor

After just half a season, Love signed for Turkish side Alanyaspor and was initially seen as a flop as he failed to score in his first seven games but then scored 23 times in just 20 games meaning he won the Golden Boot. He followed this up with an incredible start to the next season with 11 goals in 16 games and this led to Besiktas signing the striker midway through the season.

The final word can go to Monaco President, Vadim Vasilyev. “Vagner Love is a striker who has shown all his value in his career. We have had problems scoring goals and we are convinced Vagner Love can provide us with all his quality in that department.”

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2nd September – Frederic Kanoute

Yesterday a lot of Tottenham Hotspur fans were a little disappointed that they did not bring in another striker but today is the birthday of one of their former front men Frederic Kanoute.

The striker had a good time in England but didn’t always hit form while at White Hart Lane but he did offer them something different to what they already had at the club. After he left he really started to show his goalscoring prowess in Spain but it was not just his goals that made him an important member of the teams he played for and when he was confident defenders knew it would be tough to stop him.

Kanoute started his career at French club Lyon and made his debut in 1997 in the Intertoto Cup against Polish side Odra Wodzislaw. He had a very impressive start and in his first season he scored six times in 18 league games and although he had to spend more time on the bench over the next two seasons, he was still seen as a prospect around Europe and was being linked with big money moves away.

In 2000 West Ham signed the striker and he formed a very good partnership with Paolo Di Canio and hit double figures in his first two full seasons at the club. Kanoute was someone that half the crowd loved and the other half was constantly frustrated by him because he had a lot of ability and when he showed it, he was tough to stop but on other days he was labelled as lazy and criticised for his laid back attitude. In his final season at the club they ended up getting relegated and some argue it was because he only featured in 17 games.
Kanoute WH
He ended his time at West Ham with 29 Premier League goals in 84 games and on the 5th August 2003 he joined Tottenham for £3.5 million. He scored his first goal for the club on the 23rd August just nine minutes after coming on as a substitute against Leeds United in a 2-1 win. He started off well at Spurs but his season was disrupted as he went to represent Mali at the African Cup of Nations but after he returned he became a regular in the side and scored 12 goals in all competitions.
Kanoute TH
Although the goals were not flying in for him, his general play was still very good and he remained first choice for most of the next campaign but on the 17th August 2005 he was sold to Sevilla. In Spain he helped the club win the UEFA Cup in 2006 and 2007 and even scored in their 4-0 win over Middlesbrough in the final. In his seven seasons at the club he scored over 20 goals in four of those and despite only scoring four goals in his last season he remains the club’s highest scoring foreign player.
Kanoute Sevilla
At the end of his contract he decided to join Chinese club Beijing Guoan and stayed for a season and a half scoring 13 goals in 46 games before retiring from the game.

The final word can go to Harry Redknapp while they were both at West Ham. “Kanoute is a frightening talent. He’s been fantastic, he cost us a club record fee and has proved to be worth every penny. As his confidence grows so does his ability to do the job.”

25th August – Marlon Harewood

Marlon Harewood has been a consistent goalscorer all through his career and now coming towards the end of it the 35 year old is trying to help Hartlepool United achieve their aims.

Although Hartlepool have had a slightly disappointing start to the season they secured their first win of the campaign away to Wimbledon with Harewood scoring the winning goal. If the team are to be successful then it may come down to how effective Harewood can be and that is not just in scoring goals, it will be his experience helping some of the younger players develop.

Harewood started his career at Nottingham Forest and made his debut in 1998 but to gain further first team experience he joined Finnish side Haka on loan and his three goals in 18 games helped them win the league and the Finnish Cup. In the following year he joined Ipswich Town on loan and scored once against Bury in his six appearances before going to become one of the most lethal goalscorers in the Championship with Forest. His best season for the club was 2002-03 as he scored 21 goals and formed a brilliant partnership with David Johnson which helped the club reach the playoffs. After 51 league goals he left for West Ham in November 2003.
Harewood Forest
They paid £500,000 for his services and repaid them in his first full season at the club as he was the top scorer as the team got promoted to the Premier League with 23 goals in all competitions. And he also then played a huge part in keeping them in the top flight with 14 goals in the Premier League, including a hatrick against Aston Villa. He was also a big player in their run to the final of the FA Cup that season and scored the winning goal in the semi final against Middlesbrough.
Harewood WH
His next season was difficult and it was clear that he would be leaving at the end of the season as he was no longer first choice. On the 17th July 2007 he joined Aston Villa for £4 million. His time at Villa was interesting because he was very influential when he was on the pitch but was largely used as a super sub. Despite only playing 23 times he scored five goals in his first season. But he played even less in the following season and joined Wolves on loan. He played five times for the club and failed to score.

His next loan spell was much more successful at Newcastle United as he scored five times in 15 games and helped them secure their place at the top of the table in the early months of the season. At the end of the season he was released by Villa and signed for newly promoted Blackpool. He scored on his debut in a 4-0 win over Wigan Athletic and had a fantastic record in the Premier League scoring five times in just 11 appearances, and strangely he was loaned out to Barnsley for the second half of the season and scored four goals in 10 games.
Harewood Barnsley
On the 8th July 2011 he joined Chinese side Guangzhou R&F and stayed there for half a season, playing 10 games and scoring four goals. The next few seasons were difficult for Harewood as he returned to Nottingham Forest but could not recapture his earlier form and then also to Barnsley where he struggled again and after just one league goal at Bristol City it seemed like his career was coming to an end.

Now at Hartlepool he seems to be enjoying his football again and with him being one of the key members of the squad he will be hoping for a much more successful season than his previous few.

The final word can go to Martin O’Neill. “I couldn’t be more pleased with him. I think he has been really excellent. The crowd have taken to him. Some people come on as a substitute and never get a kick. He has been able to force his way into the game, and make a big impact.”

27th May – Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne is one of the greatest players England have ever produced and in terms of natural talent not many have even come close.

He provided so many good memories for football fans in the 90s ranging from his impressive World Cup showing at Italia 90 to that goal against Scotland at Euro 96. Although he has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons since his retirement it should not be this that he is remembered for as he was a wonderful player.

Gazza started his career at Newcastle United and was a special talent from an early age as he captained the youth team as they won the Youth Cup in 1985 with him scoring twice in the final. He was soon quickly promoted to the first team and Jack Charlton gave him his debut on the 13th April 1985 against QPR. But it was Willie McFaul that gave him his first start on the opening day of the new season. He scored his first goal a few weeks later against Oxford United and impressed for the entire season, scoring another eight goals.
Soccer - Today League Division One - Newcastle United Photocall
Newcastle struggled in the next season but Gazza still managed to score five times in 24 league games and was vital in helping the club avoid relegation. The season after though was his best personally, as he was named the PFA Young Player of the Year and was in the PFA Team of the Year and in the summer he moved to Tottenham Hotspur for a British record of £2.2 million.

In his first season he scored seven times in 37 league games and helped the club reach sixth place. They then rose to the third place the season after and he was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1990 and also Tottenham’s Player of the Year. In the 1990-91 season he played a key part in helping the club win the FA Cup as he scored six times in the competition, including one against Arsenal in the semi final. However, an injury in the final meant that he would miss the entire 1991-92 season.
Gazza Spurs
Lazio had already agreed a deal to sign the midfielder and they eventually got their man for £5.5 million. He was loved by the Lazio fans because he scored an 89th minute equaliser against fierce rivals Roma but he did have a tough time in Italy and did not settle well. Despite this he helped them qualify for Europe for the first time in 16 years. Over the next two seasons he struggled with injuries and in July 1995 he joined Rangers for £4.3 million.

And he once again became a club legend by scoring in the Old Firm Derby, it was an extraordinary goal as he ran almost the full length of the pitch before scoring. Rangers won the league that season and he scored a hatrick against Aberdeen to clinch the title. They also went on to win the Scottish Cup and Gascoigne finished the season with 19 goals.
Gazza Rangers
Rangers won the title again in the 1996-97 season and Gascoigne scored hatricks against Kilmarnock and Motherwell and finished the year with an impressive 17 goals in 34 appearances. He also scored twice in the League Cup final victory over Hearts. His last season at the club was less successful as Rangers lost their title and didn’t win their single trophy which led to the player moving back to England, this time joining Middlesbrough for £3.45 million.

It started well for him as he helped them get promotion back to the Premier League and was then even more impressive in helping them finish sixth in their first season back but unfortunately his form did not last and he eventually left the club and joined Everton.

He started well but only played 32 league games for the club, scoring one goal which turned out to be his last in England away to Bolton Wanderers. He left the club in March 2002 and ended the season at Burnley where he made six appearances but they narrowly missed out on the playoffs and he left after just two months. Gascoigne then had a short spell in China playing for Gansu Tianma and started off well by scoring twice in his first four games but troubles off the pitch meant he had to leave. His last club was League Two Boston United but after only playing five times in three months he decided to retire.

The final word can go to Sir Alex Ferguson who has admitted he wished he signed the player. “He was a fantastic footballer. He was the best player England produced since the days of Bobby Charlton. He was the best player of his era, a breath of fresh air because he played with a smile.”

31st March – Tommy Smith

Ipswich Town’s current longest serving player and Player of the season is 24 today and has already had a remarkable career.

Tommy Smith has proven himself at club level time and time again with brilliant performances and crucial goals but it is his time at international level that has made him standout from most Championship players.

Although he played for the England under 17s and 18s he decided to play for New Zealand. This gave him the opportunity to go to the 2010 World Cup and the All Whites were many fans second team at the tournament because of how well they played and the amount of commitment they showed. Smith was a major part of this and played every minute helping the team get three historical points which included draws against Slovakia, Paraguay and Italy. They even finished above Italy in the group however they did not do enough to qualify for the knockout stages.
Smith action
But back to Smith’s club career and it seems like he was always going to be a success as he was shortlisted for the Youth Apprentice Trophy which is given to the Championship’s best youth player. After this he went on loan to Stevenage and was wanting to progress his career quickly however he broke his ankle in a training session and missed most of the season. But Roy Keane was willing to give him a chance along with other promising youngsters like Connor Wickham.
Smith Ipswich
The defender has never been someone to just sit on the bench and wait for his chance he wants to play football and every time he was left out of the team for a spell either through injury or other players form he would go out on loan and show his potential.
Smith NZ
He seems like a player that loves playing football and being out on the pitch and the last word can go to his manager Mick McCarthy who commented on this and how professional the man is. “He travelled to China with New Zealand, played and then travelled back. I actually wondered if he had stayed at home and the rest of my squad had travelled to China.”