2nd July – Marc-Antoine Fortune

Marc-Antoine Fortune is currently stuck on 98 professional career goals and will be hoping that one more team gives him a chance to reach 100..

The forward started his career at French lower league side Angouleme where he broke into the side during the 1999-00 season, scoring three times in 10 appearances. He helped the club reach the third tier of French football and he was linked with moves to Ligue 1 sides. In 2002, Lille took a chance on Fortune.

While at the club he found himself playing out of position on the left wing and struggled with injuries to make a real impact. After just one season, Fortune joined Ligue 2 side Rouen on loan. He ended the season with 10 goals and for a third summer in a row he was on the move.

Stade Brest had a decent season with Fortune scoring 10 goals in 33 games and finishing 9th in Ligue 2. It looked as though he had settled, however when Eredivisie side Utrecht showed interest, Fortune could not turn down the opportunity. While in Holland, Fortune struggled to settle and the death of David Di Tommaso meant he could not show his talent.

Before his teammate died he had been looking quite impressive but after 13 goals in 56 appearances, he felt he needed to return to France. In January 2007, Nancy signed the striker and began really well, scoring six goals in 17 league games. After this he was largely used as an impact substitute and began to feel frustrated so in January 2009 he joined West Brom.

MAF Nancy

He became a fan favourite and scored on his debut in a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough and despite only playing half a season he was named the Supporters Player of the Year. He finished his loan spell with five goals and convinced Celtic to buy him.

MAF WB

After a good start with goals against St Johnstone and Rapid Vienna in the Europa League it turned sour, especially after Tony Mowbray was replaced by Neil Lennon so at the start of the 2010-11 season he returned to West Brom. He spent a further three seasons at West Brom, scoring nine goals as the club battled to stay in the Premier League. During this time, he also had a loan spell at Doncaster Rovers.

MAF WA

His next move was to Wigan Athletic and he featured heavily during their Europa League campaign and ended the season with 49 appearances. He lasted one more season and signed a one year deal for Coventry City. After four goals in 25 games he was on the move again to Southend United following a successful trial. Last season he scored four goals.

The final word can go to former Celtic and West Brom manager Tony Mowbray. “Marc is a quality player and he was a privilege to work with. Some of his play in the second half of the season was phenomenal, you can see the impact he made. He is a team player.”

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24th February – Kevin O’Connor

One club players don’t come around too often and Kevin O’Connor has progressed right from the youth team at Brentford to now being part of their coaching staff.

He is only 33 but it seems like he is focusing on the next stage of his career as he has had limited playing time this season but he will be happy to still be involved at Brentford. They are definitely a team on the up despite the uncertainties around the managerial position. Since signing for the club he has played in every position and is currently fourth on Brentford’s all time appearance list.

O’Connor first signed with Brentford as a striker and after a run of 23 goals in 30 reserve games he was given a professional contract in 1999. He went on to make his debut on the 15th February 2000 as a substitute in the Football League Trophy defeat to Exeter City and went on to make his first start in a draw with Wycombe Wanderers a few days later. An injury slowed his progress and he had to wait over a year to score his first goal in a 2-1 win over Bristol City.

OC Brent 1

After Steve Coppell became manager in 2001, O’Connor became a regular in the side and made 32 appearances helping his club reach the playoffs, unfortunately they were beaten in the final by Stoke City. New manager Wally Downes was impressed by his performances and he was an ever present in the side for the following campaign and was now seen as a winger and contributed nine goals.

During the 2004-05 season O’Connor was moved to right back and was given the captain’s armband on the 19th October against Hartlepool United. The season again ended in disappointment as they were defeated in the playoffs, this time by Sheffield Wednesday. He would go on to suffer even more heartbreak in the playoffs in the 2005-06 season but he did manage to score eight times in 38 games. Even worse was to follow as the club were relegated in 2007 after finishing bottom.

OC Brent 3

Relegation meant another position change for O’Connor as he played predominantly in the centre of midfield in League Two. He started off well in his new position by scoring goals against Notts County and Barnet in August 2007. But he only added one more goal over the course of the season as the club finished midtable. In the following season Brentford won the league and O’Connor was awarded a new contract. He was impressive once again in League One and made 49 appearances over the season and was given a testimonial at the end of the campaign.

The 2010-11 season was the last one that he featured regularly for the club as injuries stopped him from playing. But he was on the pitch for one of the most exciting endings to the season ever against Doncaster Rovers in the final game of the 2012-13 season. Brentford were awarded a penalty in the last minute and Marcello Trotta took the ball off O’Connor but missed the spot kick and Doncaster ran down the other end and scored, winning the game 1-0 meaning Brentford and O’Connor had to go through the playoffs. Once again they failed to get promoted after losing against Yeovil Town.

OC Brent 2

Finally in the next campaign they would get promoted to the Championship and on the final day of the season O’Connor made his 500th appearance for the club. Since promotion he has not played a league game but he has been an important member of the coaching staff, helping the team challenge for the playoffs and will be needed now more than ever with Mark Warburton expected to leave in the summer.

The final word can go to Mark Warburton. “Kevin has seen so much change at the club and yet has maintained his exceedingly high standards throughout and it is this outstanding quality that we need to keep at Brentford. I am delighted that Kevin O’Connor will be extending his stay at the club.”

30th October – Iain Hume

The Indian Super League has only been set up recently and the teams involved have spent a lot of money in recruiting players and one of those that will be familiar to English fans is Iain Hume.

Hume will line up alongside Michael Chopra and David James for the Kerala Blasters and has already shown his goalscoring prowess by scoring two in his first three games and will be hoping that this good form can continue and lead his side to the title. Back in England he will be remembered as a good player but one that maybe could have done had it not been for a terrible injury.

The 31 year old started his career at Tranmere Rovers and quickly rose up through the ranks making his debut at the age of just 16. Under the guidance of Brian Little he began to get more and more first team action but he had to wait until the 2002-03 season to score his first goal. Afterwards he became a consistent goalscorer and had his best season during the 2004-05 season when he scored 16 goals. He was linked with moves during the summer but started the next season at Tranmere, however this would only last seven games as he joined Leicester City on deadline day in August.
Hume TR
During his three seasons at Leicester he was again a consistent goalscorer, hitting nine, 14 and 11 goals. But during his time at the club he developed into more of an all round player and was now not only seen as a goalscorer but someone that could set up goals. Unfortunately in his last season Leicester were relegated from the Championship and after 34 goals in 132 appearances he left.
Hume LC
Barnsley signed the striker for £1.2 million and he lived up to his price tag straightaway by scoring five minutes into his debut away to QPR. His home debut was not as successful as he was sent off against Coventry City but he bounced back and scored against Derby County, Doncaster Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday in quick succession. But on the 8th November 2008 he suffered a fractured skull and internal bleeding after an elbow from Sheffield United’s Chris Morgan and due to this life threatening injury he needed surgery and it is credit to the player that he recovered.

He made his return nine months later in a friendly against Gainsborough on the 21st July 2009 and would go on to play 37 games during the season, scoring five goals. On the 14th September 2010 Hume joined Preston North End and made his debut against Norwich City. He would only have to wait a week for his first goal as he scored from 20 yards against Coventry and followed this up with a goal against Leeds United in a 6-4 win. On the 11th December Hume scored the 50th goal of his career in a 1-0 win over Ipswich Town. Despite his 12 league goals it was not enough to keep the club in the Championship but for his commitment to the team he was awarded the vice-captaincy.
Photo : Ian Robinson Preston North End photocall at Deepdale Iain Hume
Niggling injuries would keep him out of the team and he could not inspire his team to promotion in the following campaign. This led to him being loaned out to Doncaster Rovers on the 31st August 2012 for the season and his job was to help them get promoted to the Championship. His work rate and skill made him a fan favourite and he scored some crucial goals in the season as the club won the League One title but this did not secure him a permanent move. Last season was difficult for him as he was in and out of the Preston squad and also had a loan spell at Fleetwood Town but after being released by his parent club he has decided to make the move to India.

The final word can go to Darren Ferguson. “Iain made a big impact when he first came in. He has great energy and a great enthusiasm for the game. He’s made a big difference here. He and Jon Parkin do work well together. Iain gives us options, as well as playing up front he can play wide right.”

12th September – David Prutton

With 25 England under 21 caps to his name a lot was expected of David Prutton unfortunately his career did not quite progress as well as he hoped but he has still had a decent career.

Now a free agent he has been looking for a club and started doing media work, suggesting that he may already have plans for when he does announce his retirement. Prutton has been a model professional for most of his career but he is arguably most famous for an incident while at Southampton.

The midfielder came through the youth system at Nottingham Forest and went on to make his debut in 1999 and stayed with the club until 2003, making 155 appearances for Forest and scoring seven goals. He moved to Southampton for £2.5 million which was seen as a great investment.
Prutton proved to be a versatile player for Southampton and impressed in his first four months at the club, playing in midfield and at right back. During the 2003-04 season he continued his progression by playing 30 times and scored his first goal for the club on the final day against Charlton Athletic.
Prutton Forest
The 2004-05 season however was one to forget as Southampton were relegated to the Championship and Prutton was banned for 10 games after being sent off in a game against Arsenal and then proceeding to push referee Alan Wiley on several occasions while shouting at the assistant referee. He tried to put it right by staying at the club and help them get promoted, however he broke his metatarsal in September against QPR and after he returned he could not break into the side.
Prutton Soton
In January 2007 he returned to Nottingham Forest on loan to try and help them secure promotion back to the Championship. He played 13 times but he was sent off in League One semi final second leg against Yeovil Town. After his loan spell he joined Leeds United on the 7th August 2007.

During the 2007-08 season he was one of their most consistent performers, however there would be playoff heartbreak for him as they lost in the final against Doncaster Rovers. Under both Dennis Wise and Gary McAllister he was an automatic first choice but this changed when Simon Grayson took over. Once again Leeds lost in the playoffs but Prutton usually had to settle for a place on the bench before joining Colchester United on the 26th January 2010.
Soccer - Coca-Cola Football League One - Leeds United v Crewe Alexandra - Elland Road
He scored on his debut against MK Dons and ended the season in good form, despite being offered a new contract by the club he decided to sign for Swindon Town. He only stayed for one season as they were relegated to League Two and signed for Sheffield Wednesday. He also scored on his debut for Wednesday with a fantastic volley against Rochdale on the opening day of the 2011-12 season.

Wednesday got promoted at the end of the season and in the following campaign Prutton played his part in keeping them in the Championship but he was getting less game time. He had to go out on loan to play games, firstly to Scunthorpe United and then Coventry City before being released by his parent club.

The final word can go to Coventry City manager Steven Pressley. “He has played at the highest domestic level. He also has a detailed knowledge of this division and its demands. It was vitally important that we brought in a player with established quality, leadership skills and experience and David certainly fits that mould.”

23rd August – Steve MacLean

Steve MacLean was already a legend at Sheffield Wednesday but when he convinced striker Stevie May to join the club he became even more of a hero to their fans.

On the day that May scored his first goal for Wednesday, MacLean was at St Johnstone also doing what he does best and scored the only goal of the game against Aberdeen. MacLean will now have to be the main striker at St Johnstone but it is something that the 32 year old is used to and at times in his career he has been prolific and helped his clubs achieve their aims.
MacLean and May
MacLean started his career at Forres Mechanics in Scotland before being signed by Rangers. He stayed at the club for two seasons but spent the whole of the 2003-04 season out on loan at Scunthorpe United and earned the nickname ‘The Loan Ranger’ as he scored 23 league goals in 42 appearances. Despite this effort and his good goal record he was deemed not good enough by Ranger manager Alex McLeish and was placed on the transfer list.

On the 7th July 2004 he joined Sheffield Wednesday on a three year deal and it would become arguably his best time of his career. He hit the ground running and in his first season he hit 20 goals, including a hatrick against Doncaster Rovers which made him the first Wednesday player to score an away hatrick for 32 years. His impressive goal return also made him the first Wednesday player to hit the 20 goal mark in one season since Mark Bright in 1994.

But his greatest moment in a Wednesday shirt was in the League One Playoff final when he held his nerve to score an equalising penalty to take the game to extra time against Hartlepool United which they then went on to win. Many believed he wouldn’t be fit for the game, but he was there when he was needed most.
MacLean Wednesday
The following season was much tougher for MacLean as he suffered a broken leg just before the start of the Championship season and only played six times, scoring twice. But the 2006-07 season was a much better year, despite a few more injuries he finished the season as joint top scorer alongside Deon Burton with 13 goals.

After 35 goals for the club he joined Cardiff City on a free transfer on the 22nd June 2007. The striker got off to the worst possible start by missing a penalty on his debut in a 1-0 defeat to Stoke City. However, he made up for this by scoring in the next game away to QPR. Unfortunately injuries and the manager going for other options meant this would be his only goal for the club.

After short spells at Plymouth Argyle, Aberdeen, Oxford United, Yeovil Town and Cheltenham Town, it seems like he has finally found a new place to call home at St Johnstone. He became a club legend at the club when he scored the second goal in the 2014 Scottish League Cup final to secure a 2-0 win, helping them win their first ever major competition in Scotland.
MacLean SJ
The final word can go to St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright. “He’s a big character in the dressing room. On and off the pitch he’s a leader for us, he’s someone that gets people going. He’s a good footballer, he’s a good number nine.”

18th August – Ross McCormack

Ross McCormack has not had the greatest start to his time at Fulham but there is no doubting that over the last few years he has been one of the best strikers in the Championship.

With a huge fee paid for the 28 year old he was expected to lead the line for Fulham and score the goals to get them back to the Premier League. Obviously it is only early in the season and it is likely that if he is given the chances then he will certainly put a lot of them away.

The Scotland striker started his career at Rangers and made his first appearance for them at the age of 17 on the 1st May 2004 against Motherwell and on the final match of the season he scored his first professional goal against Dunfermline. His next significant contribution was in the Champions League when he scored an equaliser against Porto in his first European game. Despite this memorable goal he was being linked with loan moves away from the club to gain experience.

Doncaster Rovers took a chance on the young striker and he helped keep their playoff challenge alive as he scored five times in 19 games. At the end of his loan spell he returned to Rangers but was told that he was not part of their plans and moved to Motherwell. It was a difficult start first season at the club because of various injuries and he only managed to play 12 times in the league. However the following season was much more successful as he scored 11 goals and received the Young Player of the Month in October 2007.
McCormack Mother
On the 28th June 2008 McCormack signed for Cardiff City and made his debut on the opening day of the season against Southampton and then followed this up a week later with his first goal against former club Doncaster Rovers. It only took him three months to match his best goalscoring season and despite injuries to his hamstring in the second half of the season he still managed to finish as the club’s top scorer with 23 goals and even scored the last Cardiff goal at Ninian Park in a 3-1 win pver Burnley on the final day of the season.

The 2009-10 season was much tougher as he only managed four league goals and after falling down the pecking order he signed for Leeds United on the 27th August 2010. It took him a while to get going at Leeds and had to wait until the 30th April 2011 to score his first goal in a 1-0 win over Burnley and then followed this up with a goal on the final day in a 2-1 win over QPR.
McCormack CC
This gave the striker confidence for the new season and he started it brilliantly by scoring nine goals before the end of September and became the first Leeds player in over 50 years to score in six consecutive games. He went on to finish the season as the top scorer with 19 goals in all competitions. Despite him being linked with the Premier League his season was disrupted early on by an injury and he could not replicate his goalscoring form of the previous season, however he did manage 12 assists as he was often played out wide.
McCormack LU
Last season was very impressive despite Leeds not having the best of years and McCormack finished with 29 goals in all competitions. This was even more impressive considering what was going on at the club at the time and it is easy to see why Fulham wanted the striker so much, although some would argue that they overspent on the player.

The final word can go to Brian McDermott who gave him the captain’s armband at Leeds. “I actually spoke to Ross in April and said ‘we need leaders, are you a leader?’ I see him as a talisman and a leader. He has matured an awful lot, everyone knows what he thinks about Leeds United.”

19th July – Drew Talbot

Drew Talbot will always be a legend at Sheffield Wednesday after scoring in their 4-2 victory over Hartlepool United in the League 1 Playoff final.

Talbot is now 28 and has had an interesting career with him changing position and becoming a very versatile member of the Chesterfield squad. He is now mostly known as a fullback but has played as a winger and a centre forward in his career and it was in this position where he made his name in football.

He started his career at Sheffield Wednesday and broke into the team on a regular basis in the 2004-05 season, where, although he was mostly used as a substitute, he still managed to score five times, including that goal at the Millennium Stadium. The game finished 2-2 and went to extra time before Glenn Whelan gave Wednesday a 3-2 lead and then in the very last minute Talbot scored to ensure the club’s promotion back to the Championship. Captain Lee Bullen remembers not only the goal, but the importance of it to the fans. “I was in prime position, right behind Drew as he picked the ball up on the halfway line. I was focussed on him but my peripheral vision could see a whole stadium of Owls slowly rising to their feet in anticipation of years of disappointment being laid to rest.”
Talbot SW
Big things were expected from the striker, however injuries took their toll on him and the next year proved to be very disappointing and would not play again until September 2006 where he made a substitute appearance against Derby County in a 2-1 defeat. Despite his return he struggled to keep his place in the team and went out on loan to League 1 side Scunthorpe United. However, he only stayed for three games but did manage to score against Doncaster Rovers. His loan was cut short because he was transferred to Luton Town for £250,000, his time at Sheffield Wednesday ended with 4 league goals in 29 games.
Talbot Luton
At Luton Town he made his debut against Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup and he didn’t have to wait long until he scored his first goal which came on his home debut against his former club. Despite some impressive performances he could not stop Luton getting relegated from the Championship and he was linked with a transfer away from the club and he turned down a move to Italy on transfer deadline day.

The next few years were tougher with a serious knee injury ruling him out for a few months and he only managed to play 11 games in the 2008-09 season. On the 27th January he joined Chesterfield on loan and he scored his first goal against Notts County and ended his loan spell with two goals in 17 games. At the end of the season he signed for the club permanently and ended his first full season with 10 goals in all competitions but the club narrowly missed out on a playoff position.
Talbot Chesterfield
Under John Sheridan, Talbot moved to right back and performed very well in that position so he has been used there for a lot of his 184 league appearances for the club.

The final word can go to Chesterfield goalkeeper Tommy Lee who tweeted after it was announced that Talbot had signed a new contract at the club. “Made up Drew has signed, proper player. He can play anywhere, but as a fullback there isn’t many better. Fantastic bit of business.”