22nd June – Stephen Crainey

Stephen Crainey was part of Blackpool’s exciting Premier League campaign that saw them become one of the most enjoyable teams to watch.

Under Ian Holloway, Blackpool played an attacking brand of football that made many neutrals excited but it wasn’t always easy for Crainey in the top flight due to this style.

The defender started his career at Celtic and would play a total of 58 times for the club and helped the team win the Scottish League Cup and the SPL title. Although never a regular he earned a move to Premier League side Southampton on the 6th February 2004 and made his debut in a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal. However, after just five Premier League appearances he was on the move again.

Crainey Celtic

Crainey signed for Leeds United, initially on loan and then permanently, and in doing so became the first player Leeds had paid for since 2004. Despite this, he still couldn’t hold down a regular place and after three seasons and the club being relegated to League One he was released from his contract.

Crainey LU

Blackpool signed the left back and he became a fan favourite and club hero. In his first season he would go on to score his first ever league goal in a 2-2 draw with Sheffield United and helped the club to their highest finish in the Championship in 27 years. Due to his form he was linked with moves away but instead he signed a new contract. However, an injury at the start of the 2008-09 season meant he missed the first half of the campaign but he would recover and become a key player once more.

Crainey then helped Blackpool to arguably one of their greatest ever achievements by appearing in 46 games during the 2009-10 season which saw them gain promotion to the Premier League. In the top flight their efforts were very enjoyable to watch and if it wasn’t for an injury to Crainey in January they may have been more solid at the back and came closer to escaping relegation. Everyone expected them to be one of the worst in the history of the league but they almost pulled off a shock.

Crainey Blackpool

Upon relegation Crainey again signed a new contract to ward off interest from Premier League clubs, such as Wigan Athletic, and he continued putting in solid performances in the Championship and scored his second goal for the club against Birmingham City on the 26th November 2011.

He would stay at Blackpool for one more season before deciding to move on and he did eventually sign for Wigan. This only lasted for one season and in 2014 he signed for Fleetwood Town, where he would play 28 league games before leaving for AFC Fylde, his final club.

The final word can go to former Fleetwood Town manager Graham Alexander. “He has played at the top level and is still hungry for success. We thought we needed to bring in more added quality and experience. Crainey certainly provides that.”

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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.”