3rd July – Lee Bradbury

Lee Bradbury found his way into professional football after being an army recruit so understands about the other side of life.

Many footballers these days get criticised for not having worked a day in their life and getting too much money. But Bradbury is someone that will surely make the players of whatever clubs he manages to appreciate what they have. He currently manages Havant & Waterlooville and has just led them to promotion to the National League.

Bradbury started his playing career at Portsmouth but he first made an impact on loan at Exeter City, where he scored five league goals in 14 games in 1995. On his return to his parent club he did start getting more opportunities and really showed his potential during the 1996-97 season which led to him being linked with big money moves away. In July 1997, after 54 games for Portsmouth, Bradbury joined Manchester City for £3 million.

Bradbury Portsmouth

However, it was a tough time for the club as they suffered relegation at the end of the 1997-98 season but the striker did manage to score six times. Just three months into the following campaign he was on the move again, this time to Crystal Palace for £1.5 million. He only lasted 32 league games and was on the move once more, returning to first club Portsmouth.

His career started to recover and he played over 100 times in his second spell but as the team pushed for the First Division title in the 2002-03 season he was finding game time harder to come by and was sent out on loan to Sheffield Wednesday. During this spell he scored three times in 11 games showing that he can still have an impact. But he couldn’t force his way back in to the Portsmouth side and another loan spell to Derby County followed. He didn’t manage to score for Derby.

In 2004, Bradbury joined Walsall and scored just one goal for them, coming against the team he failed to score for Derby. He never really settled at Walsall and was on the move again. Oxford United was his next destination, where he scored nine times in 63 league games. He stayed until January 2006 and moved onto Southend United.

Bradbury OU

He only stayed for one full season before making the final move of his career, joining Bournemouth. As he was now coming towards the end of his career he started having different roles, not only off the pitch but on it too, and switched position from striker to right back to cover for injuries. His performances were that good that he became first choice in that position until the club signed Stephen Purches. After playing over 100 times for the club he decided to retire in 2011 after being named caretaker manager of Bournemouth after the departure of Eddie Howe.

Bradbury Bournemouth

Bournemouth reached the playoffs in his first season but they were unfortunately beaten by Huddersfield and after a poor run of form in the following campaign, Bradbury was sacked. He has since been manager of Havant & Waterlooville since October 2012.

The final word can go to Bournemouth chairman Eddie Mitchell. “For me it was a no brainer. Lee has progressed well, signed good players and brought in an experienced assistant. It helps bring stability to the club and that’s what we want to do.”

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13th March – Edgar Davids

Going from winning the Champions League, Eredivisie and Serie A title to managing Barnet just shows how crazy Edgar Davids career was but he was certainly a very good player and one that was instantly recognisable.

Due to glaucoma Davids had to wear protective glasses and this made him stand out on the field to anyone that watched him play but for people that loved football they could see that not only was he one of the most combative and energetic midfielders he also had a lot of creativity and could see passes that attacking midfielders would have been proud of.

Davids Ajax

Davids is now 41 and started his career at Ajax, making his debut on the 6th September 1991 in a 5-1 win over RKC Waalwijk. The midfielder spent five years at the club and helped them to three league titles as well as a UEFA Cup and the Champions League in 1995. In total he played 106 league games and scored 20 times before moving to Inter Milan at the start of the 1996-97 season. Unfortunately he wasn’t very successful at the club and after just 19 games he left for Juventus in December 1997 for £5.3 million.

He quickly became an important member of the side and was known as the driving force in the midfield and had six very successful years at the club. He picked up three Serie A titles as well as two Italian Supercups but sadly for him and the club during his time there he reached the Champions League final twice but would go on to lose both games. In January 2004 his time with Juventus was over and he joined Barcelona in loan. They were nowhere near the team they are now and were struggling in midtable but recently appointed Frank Rijkaard realised they needed more of a presence in the centre of the park and Davids was the perfect man. After he joined the club soon found form and they would rise up to second in the table by the end of the season and this was seen as the catalyst for their dominance of Spanish and European football.

Davids Juve

Surprisingly in the summer of 2004 he made the move back to Inter Milan, however he once again only lasted one season and was released from his contract in August 2005. Davids then joined Tottenham Hotspur and was an instant success and quickly became a favourite. In both years he would help the club finish fifth but he only managed one goal in a 2-1 win over Wigan Athletic.

Davids TH

Davids returned to Ajax on the 28th January 2007 and helped the club win the KNVB Cup by scoring the winning penalty against AZ. But a broken leg in the following pre season meant he couldn’t have the same impact in his second spell. On the 20th August 2010 he made another surprising move, this time joining Championship side Crystal Palace. He would only stay until the 8th November but he still described the experience as one of the best of his life.

After this spell he stayed in London and wanted to get back into the game so joined Barnet as player-manager on the 11th October 2012 and would be named as man of the match on his debut in a 4-0 win over Northampton Town. However, despite his early success he could not keep Barnet in the Football League and after failing to challenge for promotion he resigned from the club on the 18th January 2014 with a 36% win rate.

The final word can go to George Burley after he left Crystal Palace. “It was a privilege to work with him, everybody at the club enjoyed it, he’s been a world class player. It was a great experience for everyone at the club and if you asked me to do it again I would.”

3rd March – Emmanuel Riviere

Emmanuel Riviere hasn’t quite showed the Newcastle United fans why he outscored James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao at Monaco but he certainly has talent.

At the age of 25 he has plenty of time to adapt to English football and the fans will be hoping that this season has just been adjusting to life in a new country. In their last game Newcastle played two upfront and although Riviere didn’t get a goal himself he certainly put himself about and cause Aston Villa some problems. He will need a good end to the season, at least in terms of performances if he does want to remain in the Premier League.

Riviere started his career at Saint Etienne and made his professional debut on the 3rd January 2009 against Bordeaux alongside current Swansea City striker Bafetimbi Gomis. He would have to wait until right at the end of the season to score his first goal, but on the 13th May he did grab one in the 4-2 win over Le Havre. Due to injuries the striker started the next campaign as the first choice striker but as players returned he was either shifted out wide or used from the bench. During the second half of the season he performed brilliantly and was one of the main reasons why the club avoided relegation. In February and March he played seven times and scored five goals and then later scored the only goal of the game against Boulogne to confirm Saint Etienne’s safety in the top flight.

Riviere SE

In the summer Riviere signed a new three year contract but only stayed for one more season as he produced more good performances and scored some valuable goals for the club once more convinced Toulouse to sign him. He only spent one and a half seasons with his new club and didn’t quite score the amount of goals he would have hoped. In total he scored 10 times in 47 games and somewhat surprisingly on the 30th January 2013 he joined Ligue 2 Monaco. He would go on to score on his debut against Arles in a 2-0 win and helped the club gain promotion to Ligue 1.

Riviere Toulouse

Back in the top flight he started off brilliantly, scoring on the opening day against Bordeaux and then in the next match against Montpellier he scored his first ever hatrick. He continued his good form by scoring the winning goal against Marseille on the 1st September. However, he could not continue his goalscoring form and ended the campaign with 13 goals.

Emmanuel Riviere celebrates scoring for Monaco in their victory over Montpellier

On the 16th July 2014 Riviere joined Newcastle United and made his debut on the opening day against Manchester City. He would go on to score his only goals to date in the League Cup win over Crystal Palace.

The final word can go to teammate Mike Williamson. “I do think the work from Manu goes unnoticed. For me, he’s a great outlet, he puts his body on the line and gets other people goals, hopefully he can get some himself. Up front it was good to see the presence, that work rate, that doggedness.”

3rd February – Marcus Tudgay

Marcus Tudgay should go down as a legend at Sheffield Wednesday because there aren’t many players in the last 10 years that have featured in 200 plus games and scored over 50 goals for the club.

Now 32, his career has never hit the heights that he achieved at Hillsborough but he is still a threat and it is very surprising to not see him get more chances at Coventry City. One thing that has been noted about his career is his professionalism and even though he isn’t getting a lot of chances to show his quality, he will certainly be helping the younger players.

Tudgay DC

The striker started his career at Derby County and made his debut in August 2002 and over the next few years became a regular member of his squad, with the 2004-05 season being his best, scoring 10 goals in all competitions. His final goal for the club came in November 2005 against future club Sheffield Wednesday.

He initially joined the club on loan but after just one appearance, in which he scored in a 3-0 win over Crewe Alexandra, Paul Sturrock decided to make it a permanent transfer in January 2006. He helped the club avoid relegation from the Championship with some impressive performances, including a goal in the 2-0 win over Derby on the final day of the season.

Tudgay SW

Due to a bizarre injury during preseason he missed the start of the 2006-07 campaign but when he returned he quickly formed a very good partnership with Deon Burton, scoring six times in his first five games. Unfortunately due to other injuries in the squad he was moved out to the right wing and couldn’t keep up his goalscoring form. However, he did still end with 11 goals. The 2007-08 season followed a similar pattern as he was played in many different positions but he became a Wednesday legend during the season by scoring a fantastic volley against Sheffield United in the Steel City Derby.

2008-09 couldn’t have got off to a better start as he scored in the first 30 seconds of the opening game against Burnley and added another later in the game. After playing in nearly every position and finishing with 14 goals he was voted the PFA Fans Player of the Year and also picked up the Sheffield Wednesday Player of the Year trophy. This led to him being linked with moves away from the club but after rejecting bids from Burnley, he signed a new contract with the club. The following season ended in relegation for Wednesday but Tudgay initially stayed with the team to help them gain promotion until he went on loan to Nottingham Forest on the 25th November 2011.

Tudgay NF

Tudgay then quickly became a fan favourite at the City Ground as he scored on his debut in a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace and then followed this up with two in a fantastic 5-2 win over local rivals and former club Derby. He then joined the club permanently in January but unfortunately he fell out of favour and made loan moves away from the club to Barnsley and Charlton Athletic before leaving the club and joining Coventry City on the 29th July 2014.

The final word can go to Brian Laws. “Marcus epitomises what I want from all of my players in that he is a committed and dedicated professional who never gives anything less than his all on matchdays or on the training pitch. He’s a top quality who can play in a number of positions.”

10th November – Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha was considered one of the best talents in England but since joining Manchester United his career has stalled and he has to get it back on track quickly or he may never reach his full potential.

Already with two England caps to his name the winger still has a lot of time left to really make his mark both in the Premier League and on the international stage and will be hoping that his loan spell at Crystal Palace can convince Louis Van Gaal he is good enough for Manchester United. There is no doubting that he is talented but he has to work on his decision making and maybe this is why he hasn’t really had a chance at Old Trafford.

The 22 year old started his career at Selhurst Park and after joining Crystal Palace at the age of 12 he would go on to make his debut as a substitute on the 27th March 2010 against Cardiff City. Soon afterwards he was given his first professional contract by manager Paul Hart. After an impressive pre-season in the following campaign he quickly became an important member of the team and would score his first goal in a 3-2 win over Leicester City on the 7th August. He would not have as much luck against the same opposition later in the season as he was sent off, however it was later rescinded. Zaha ended his first season as a regular with 44 games, one goal and two assists.
Zaha CP
During the 2011-12 season he would go onto grab mainstream attention with his performances after impressing in a 2-1 win over Manchester United in the League Cup on the 30th November and would later be voted the The Football League’s Young Player of the Year. Towards the end of the season he was used as more of a striker by manager Dougie Freedman and this led to him creating more chances and scoring more goals. Zaha was then voted Crystal Palace’s Young Player of the Year for a second time after nine goals and five assists in 48 games.

Once again he started the 2012-13 season brightly and he was being linked with moves away from the club and on the 25th January 2013 Zaha signed for Manchester United but was immediately loaned back to Palace to help them gain promotion. He would then go on to play a crucial part in the playoffs as he scored twice in the semi finals against Brighton and then won the penalty in the final against Watford which Kevin Phillips converted.
Zaha MU
In the summer Zaha linked up with his Manchester United teammates unfortunately he did not get given much of an opportunity and was not in David Moyes’ plans. After just four appearances in all competitions he was loaned out to Cardiff on the 31st January 2014. The winger played 11 times for Cardiff but could not help them stay in the Premier League and returned to his parent club at the end of the season.
Zaha CC
On the 28th August he rejoined Crystal Palace on a season long loan and two days later he would score a dramatic equaliser in a 3-3 draw with Newcastle United and his performances have been encouraging and it looks like he could get back to top form soon and prove his worth in the Premier League.

The final word can go to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “Wilf is a young player and it is the first time he is in the Premier League. He is just a boy who wants to play football and prove himself. He has talent and he will become a good player. He will have a very good career wherever he plays.”

20th October – Matt Jansen

Everyone knows that injuries play a huge part in football and some players get really unlucky and have their careers ruined by them, Matt Jansen definitely falls into this category.

In 2002 the striker was involved in a motorcycle accident and almost lost his life while on holiday and after six days in a coma it is understandable that he could never reach the level that he had previously been at. The saddest part of his story is the fact that he was on the fringes of the England team at the time and some people thought he was unfortunate to miss out on a place in the 2002 World Cup team.

The 37 year old started his career at Carlisle United and made his debut during the 1996-97 season and helped the club gain promotion from the Third Division. He also won his first piece of silverware at the club after they won the Football League Trophy against Colchester United after coming on as a substitute in extra time. Jansen made a quick start to the following season and found the back of the net nine times in 23 games before being linked with moves away from the club.
Jansen CU
He first rejected Manchester United as he wanted to be somewhere that could guarantee him games and signed for Crystal Palace in 1998 for £1 million. Although they were relegated from the Premier League Jansen proved his quality and scored three times in eight games before getting off to a positive start in Division One with seven goals in 18 games. This convinced Blackburn Rovers to sign him for £4.1 million and he would justify his transfer fee by scoring on his debut against Tottenham Hotspur in January 1999.

Once again, his club failed in their attempt to avoid relegation and he had to prove his ability in Division One. After a slow 1999-00 season he found his feet and was a very important part of Blackburn’s promotion to the Premier League in the following season, scoring 23 goals. Jansen was then helped the club stay in the Premier League with 10 league goals and also scored six goals in five games in the League Cup, including the first in the 2-1 final win over Tottenham.
Jansen BR
However, in the summer he had his accident and struggled to get back into the Blackburn team and joined Coventry City on loan in 2003 where he scored twice in nine games. At the start of the 2004-05 season he did get back into the Blackburn team and after two goals in eight games it seemed like he was beginning to rediscover his form, however a lot of people felt that he hadn’t recovered mentally from his accident and was struggling with the pressure of Premier League football and therefore decided that he should take a break from the game.

In May 2005 he signed a new deal with Blackburn suggesting that he was going to be given another chance but this didn’t happen and he was released on 11th January 2006. Two days he later he signed for Bolton Wanderers but after just seven appearances he was released.

Jansen did not return to football until March 2009 when he signed for Wrexham and he scored once against Northwich Victoria before leaving the club. Since he has played for Leigh and Chorley as his former teammate Garry Flitcroft was manager at the clubs and persuaded his friend to play for him. Jansen is now player-coach at Chorley.
Jansen Chorley
The final word can go to Dean Saunders, who coached him at Blackburn and signed him for Wrexham. “He’s not doing it for the money; he’s not earning a lot. He wants to come and get back to enjoying playing football again. Matt has done it to help me. Matt is a class player but I am not expecting miracles. He will hopefully show the bits of quality I know he has got in him.”

19th October – Clint Hill

QPR were very unlucky in their 3-2 defeat against Liverpool but one thing that was evident was that they need to improve defensively and Clint Hill may become a key player once again.

The 36 year old will have to battle with experienced players like Rio Ferdinand and Richard Dunne as well as Steven Caulker for a place in the starting lineup. But with the club experimenting with three centre backs there may be more opportunities to get in the side. If QPR continue to struggle then Hill is certainly a player that you want in your team as he will never shy away from a challenge.

Hill started his career at Tranmere Rovers where he made his debut against Nottingham Forest in a 2-2 draw during the 1997-98 season and quickly became a regular in the side in the next season. Hill played a key part in helping the club reach the final of the League in 2000, however he was sent off and his side lost 2-1 against Leicester City. He spent five years at the club and played 171 times for the club, scoring 20 times.
Hill TR
In 2002 he joined Oldham Athletic for £250,000 but he suffered a broken leg in December 2002 in a League Cup tie against Crystal Palace and would not play another game for the club. He only scored one goal for the club, coming against his former club Tranmere before he moved onto Stoke City.

His first season at the club was disrupted by injuries and he only made 12 appearances but he recovered from this slow start and impressed during his second season and won the club’s Player of the Year award at the end of the 2004-05 campaign. Towards the end of the season, unfortunately he damaged his anterior cruciate ligament and could not play again until late in the 2005-06 season. When he returned he rediscovered his form and formed a strong partnership with Michael Duberry.

More injuries followed in the next campaign and when he was fit he found it hard to get into the side and over the next season and a half he was seen as the second choice left back. Hill then joined Crystal Palace on loan in October 2007 and after impressing he moved to the club permanently in January. In his first half season he helped the club reach the playoffs but unfortunately they missed out on promotion and then the next two years were tough for the club as their finances worsened and despite a 10 point deduction, Hill helped the club avoid relegation during the 2009-10 season.
Hill CP
On the 1st July 2010 Hill was reunited with former Palace boss Neil Warnock at QPR and made his debut in a 4-0 win over Barnsley. Hill played in 44 Championship games that season and helped them win the title meaning that he would be playing Premier League football for the first time. However, he got off to a terrible start being sent off on the opening day in a 4-0 loss against Bolton Wanderers and it seemed like his time at the club was over when he joined Nottingham Forest on loan on the 20th September 2011. But after just five games he was recalled and after Mark Hughes became manager, he became a regular in the team and played a key role in keeping them in the Premier League, securing the fans and players Player of the Year awards.
Hill QPR
After signing a new one year contract he was in and out of the side at the start of the next season but after Harry Redknapp took over he once again returned to the team. They would not avoid relegation this time around and last season Hill captained the team back to the Premier League after winning the playoff final 1-0 against Derby County.

The final word can go to Harry Redknapp. “Clint is a great character, a good lad and a fantastic professional. He leads by example and you know what you’re going to get from Clint. He puts his body on the line and that’s what we need.”