17th July – Paul Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom will be hoping his managerial career will go slightly further than his playing career but he needs to make sure he chooses the right career path.

Leaving Barnsley for Leeds United might be an easy decision to some but maybe he should have avoided taking the job when he did as the club don’t seem to keep their managers in charge for very long. It is good to see that he is ambitious but after just four wins in 16 games he was sacked. He still has a long way to go in his career.

Heckingbottom started his career at Sunderland but never made a professional league appearance for the club and was sent out on loan to Scarborough, Hartlepool United and Darlington, with the full back joining the latter permanently in 1999. After 126 appearances and six goals, the defender was showing his potential and joined Norwich City in 2002. However, he couldn’t break into the team regularly and after just 16 games his contract was cancelled.

Heckingbottom Darlington

Bradford City was his next destination and he quickly became a fan favourite with his wholehearted and committed performances. Despite the club getting relegated at the end of the season, Heckingbottom was named the Player of the Year, and this convinced Sheffield Wednesday to sign the defender.

In his first season at Wednesday, he played more games than any other player for the club and scored four goals as the club gained promotion to the Championship after winning the playoffs. Unfortunately an injury during pre-season meant he lost his place in the side and never regained the left back spot so on the 13th January 2006 he joined boyhood club Barnsley. Once again he helped the club gain promotion through the playoffs and scored in the penalty shootout victory over Swansea City.

Heckingbottom BC

After his move was made permanent he played a key role in helping the club avoid relegation comfortably but in the following summer he rejoined Bradford City. After a good start he would start to pick up injuries and after 53 league games he left the club again, this time he signed for Conference side Mansfield Town.

An injury ruined his pre-season and he didn’t make his debut until October 2009, 11 months after he had last played a professional game. After just 11 games he was loaned out to Gateshead who made the deal permanent in the next summer. He would only feature 22 times in the 2010-11 season and after a short spell at Harrogate Town he decided to retire.

Heckingbottom barnsley

Since retiring, Heckingbottom has already managed over 100 league games and won the League One playoffs with Barnsley as well as the Football League Trophy during the 2015-16 season which led to him being given the job on a permanent basis after two previous spells as caretaker.

The final word can go to former Mansfield Town manager David Holdsworth. “He is a class act and an accomplished player. I am delighted to have him on board.”

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5th November – Kasper Schmeichel

Kasper Schmeichel has a lot of pressure on his shoulders as he has to be on top form to help keep Leicester City in the Premier League and he also has to deal with the comparisons with his dad.

Peter Schmeichel will go down as one of the greatest goalkeepers ever and Kasper has a long way to go to even be in the same league as him but in his own right he has had a very good career and developed into a brilliant goalkeeper. It can’t be easy for him to stand in the goal while opposition fans behind the goals are shouting at him, you’ll never be as good as your dad.

The 28 year old started his career at Manchester City but got his first opportunity in a loan spell at Darlington in January 2006. He made his professional debut against Peterborough United, helping his side to a 2-1 win and then followed this up with a clean sheet against Grimsby Town. After two more games for the club he returned to his parent club but this only lasted a month as he was loaned out, this time to Bury. He would play 29 league games at Bury over two separate loan spells.

Schmeichel was desperate to play games and did not want to sit on the bench so in January 2007 he joined Scottish side Falkirk. After some impressive performances, including a man of the match against Rangers, he was linked with a permanent move but instead at the start of the 2007-08 season he found himself as first choice at Manchester City. He played the first seven games of the season, conceding just five goals and helped his side to a 1-0 win over rivals Manchester United.

In September 2007 Schmeichel signed a new four year deal with the club but was loaned out to Cardiff City where he played 14 times and despite both the player and the club wanting to extend his stay, Sven Goran Eriksson did not let this happen as he needed a substitute keeper. However, on the 13th March 2008 he joined Coventry City on loan for the rest of the season. Afterwards, both the goalkeeper and his father admitted that they regretted signing the new deal.

Despite being at the club for such a long time, he only played eight league games and on the 14th August 2009 he made the surprising move to League Two side Notts County. It was clear that he was too good for that level and was influential in winning the title for the club, only conceding 29 goals in 43 matches and keeping 24 clean sheets. At the end of the season he had to be released from his contract as his wages were too high. However, Schmeichel was praised as he agreed to forgo all his future wages which if he hadn’t would have put the club in even more financial problems.
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On the 1st July 2010 he joined Leeds United on a two year deal but despite putting in some impressive performances for the club and being highly praised he was sold after just 37 league appearances and one season because they felt his goals against ratio was poor. So on the 27th June 2011 Schmeichel joined Leicester City and in his first season he won the Club’s Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards after 17 clean sheets in 52 games and saving four penalties. In the following season his performances got even better and he was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year.
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Last season he helped the club win the Championship and so far has been solid in the Premier League, however after a good start the club are now starting to find it difficult which means the experienced players like Schmeichel need to make sure their heads don’t drop.
Soccer - npower Football League Championship - Cardiff City v Leicester City - Cardiff City Stadium
The final word can go to his dad, Peter. “He’s played exceptionally well for Leicester over a long, long period of time. He’s been very, very patient. He’s played every week and played to a high level and I think it is great that he gets his opportunity. As a dad I’m really, really proud I have to say.”

9th May – Adam Proudlock

Not many players can say they have been in teams that have won the playoffs in the Championship, League One, League Two and also the Conference North.

Adam Proudlock is 33 today and has continually been part of successful squads which is why it is so frustrating that he has never been able to stay at a top team for long and has now drifted into non league football. Proudlock joined first club Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1998 and at the beginning of the 2000-01 season he had a taste of first team football on loan at Scottish club Clyde, where he scored a hatrick on his professional debut against Falkirk.
Soccer - Matt Murray Testimonial - Matt Murray Wolverhampton Wanderers XI v All Stars
After he was recalled by Wolves they handed him a new contract and became a regular in the side. He scored 11 goals before the end of the season and was the club’s top scorer. However, he started the next season on the bench after manager Dave Jones decided to bring in more strikers. In October 2001 he scored yet another hatrick, this time against Bradford City and Jones praised the player saying. “He has kept his head because things had not been easy for him in front of goal, but he has got his rewards.” Unfortunately these were his only goals of the season after he suffered a knee injury.

After loan spells at Nottingham Forest and Tranmere Rovers, Proudlock then joined Sheffield Wednesday on loan and impressed for them scoring twice in five games. He was once again recalled by Wolves and spent the rest of the season coming on as a substitute for them and helped them win the Championship (known as Division One then) playoffs.

In September 2003 he joined Sheffield Wednesday permanently after scoring 17 times in 84 appearances for Wolves. He scored nine times for the club during the 2003-04 season and started the next year very impressively by scoring six times in 14 games however a broken leg in November 2004 put an end to his season, but these goals helped the club secure a place in the League One playoffs which they went on to win. He barely played again for Wednesday and joined Ipswich Town initially on loan for three months before signing for them permanently.
Proudlock Wednesday
After only playing a total of nine games for Ipswich he joined Stockport County and scored six times in his first season. His second was more successful as he helped them reach and win the League Two playoffs with seven league goals. However, a week later his contract was not renewed by the club.
Proudlock Stockport
Proudlock then joined Darlington for a short spell but was quickly shipped out on loan to Grimsby Town. His best moment for the club came when he scored a hatrick against local rivals Lincoln City in a 5-1 win in March 2009. He finished the season as top scorer and was vital in helping the club avoid relegation from the Football League.

The next season he and the club could not repeat the trick as they were relegated so Proudlock left the club and joined AFC Telford who in his first season he helped to win the Conference North Playoffs, however an injury ruled him out for the majority of the 2011-2012 season.

Since he has played for Chester, Market Drayton, Newport Town and Whitehawk. The final word can go to his manager at Sheffield Wednesday Paul Sturrock who summed up his career perfectly. “Either he is very good or very bad – there seems to be no middle road with him. It’s something he has to get out of his system because there is a footballer in that laddie.”