28th September – Willy Caballero

Manchester City definitely needed real competition for Joe Hart and in the summer they signed birthday boy Willy Caballero as they believe they can really push the England number one.

The new goalkeeper is 33 today and this would suggest that he is in the best years of his career and won’t want to just sit on the bench behind Joe Hart. This could be a stroke of genius from Manuel Pellegrini as it will either make Hart play better or if he does have another dip in form like he has done at times during the last two seasons there is an able deputy.
Willy MCFC
Cabellero is also an Olympic gold winner as helped Argentina win the football tournament in 2004 and he started his career in his country of birth with Boca Juniors, making his debut in 2001. He stayed at the Argentinean giants for three years and helped them win the Argentine Primera Division, the Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup all in 2003.

But in 2004 he decided it was time for him to try and make his mark in Europe and joined Spanish side Elche. After a difficult start he returned to Argentina in 2006 when he joined Arsenal de Sarandi and appeared in 13 league games for them. When he went back to Spain he got his confidence back and became Elche’s undisputed number one goalkeeper and produced a lot of fantastic performances in his 186 league games for the club which convinced Malaga to sign him on the 10th February 2011.
Willy Elche
He made his debut against Villarreal in a 1-1 draw on the 20th February and went on to play in every game until the end of the season. The goalkeeper quickly became a fan favourite as his saves and consistent performances helped the club eventually pull away from the relegation zone after a very difficult season.

The following season started better for the club and the goalkeeper kept his place in the starting lineup and on the 1st October he became a record holder for Malaga. He did not concede a goal for 480 minutes beating Pedro Contreras’ previous record of 429. Unfortunately just a few days later he was sent off against Levante for handling outside the box and his team went on to lose the game 3-0.

He quickly returned to the side and on the 18th January 2012 his contract was extended by the club, tying him down until 2016. However, a fracture in his left hand caused in a game against Espanyol on the 25th March meant he had to sit out the rest of the season. Caballero returned to full fitness and only missed two league games all season during the 2012-13 campaign and helped his team finish in 6th place in La Liga and was seen as one of the best keepers in the division.
Willy Malaga
On the 8th July 2014 he was reunited with former Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City after they paid a fee believed to be around £6 million for his services. He made his debut in the Community Shield as City lost 3-0 to Arsenal but he had to wait until the 27th September to make his Premier League debut in a 4-2 win over Hull City.

The final word can go to Manuel Pellegrini. “Caballero can be in any team, he is a very good goalkeeper. If you want to be a top goalkeeper you must have all the attributes, good distribution, to know when to go for the ball, to be good one on one and to not concede early goals. Replacing Hart with Caballero doesn’t make a difference.”

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25th September – Glenn Murray

Glenn Murray has to be one of the unluckiest players ever after working so hard to get to the Premier League and then miss pretty much the whole campaign must have been hard to take.

At the age of 31 he is at the stage of his career where it is unlikely that a Premier League team will take a chance on him and he will have to be at a club that gets promoted. He is still contracted to Crystal Palace but is currently on loan at Reading.

The striker started his career at non league side Workington Reds before going to America to sign for Wilmington Hammerheads, where he spent one season, scoring three goals in 14 games before returning to England. He joined Barrow and impressed with seven goals in seven games and earned a move to Conference side Carlisle United.
Murray CU
He did not have the greatest goal scoring record at Carlisle but played a part in two successive promotions as they won the Conference Playoffs in 2005 and then won League Two a season later. But he would only go on to play one League One game for the club and had to join Stockport County to get regular football and in two months he played 11 games and scored three goals. After initially joining Rochdale on loan he signed for them permanently in January 2007. During his loan spell he scored four goals in 12 games. He finished the 2006-07 season with 16 goals in 31 league games and was seen as the player that could lead the club to promotion.

The 2007-08 season started well for the striker and after nine goals in 23 games, Murray joined League One side Brighton in January. He made his debut in a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Northampton Town but on his home debut he scored twice in a 3-0 win over Crewe. He ended the season with eight goals in 21 games.
Murray BH
Injuries in the following campaign restricted his playing time but he did still manage 12 goals and had a similar record in the 2009-10 season. His final year at Brighton proved to be his most successful as he scored 22 goals in 42 league games. After he rejected Brighton’s new contract offer he left after hitting the back of the net 53 times in the league for the club.

This was forgotten by the Brighton fans after he signed for their rivals Crystal Palace in May 2011. But his first season wasn’t as successful as he hoped as he only scored six times but the 2012-13 season must have been like a dream for the striker. On the 22nd September he scored a 20 minute hatrick against Cardiff City and followed this up with more goals and another hatrick in November against Ipswich Town.

At times he was unstoppable and before Christmas he had scored 22 goals which is a record. However, his dream soon turned into a nightmare as he picked up a serious knee injury but his 30 goals in 42 games were good enough to help Palace get promoted. Murray eventually returned on the 8th February 2014 as a substitute against West Brom.
Murray CP
Since he has only played 15 Premier League games and on the 1st September 2014 he was loaned out to Reading. On his debut he scored twice against Fulham in a 3-0 win but he did miss a penalty against Sheffield Wednesday in the following game.

The final word can go to Ian Holloway. “There are not many strikers who have got 30 in one season. What he’s done is phenomenal. It’s not just that. It’s his work rate, he leads the line and how he brings other people into the game is as good as I’ve seen.”

11th September – Andrea Dossena

Not many players have as good a week as Andrea Dossena did in March 2009 as he scored against both Real Madrid and Manchester United for Liverpool.

Unfortunately he did not live up to his potential in the Premier League and despite this fantastic week for both him and the club he will largely be forgotten by a lot of fans. The left back struggled to adapt to the pace of the English game but he has had some success throughout his career. Now at the age of 33 he is a free agent and he can be signed outside of the transfer window so he could be playing for a new club soon.

Dossena began his career at Italian side Verona and after impressing as a youth player, he was promoted to the first team squad and made his debut on the 18th November 2001 in the derby against Chievo. He spent four seasons at the club, playing 99 Serie A games and scoring three goals before signing for Treviso in 2005.
Dossena Verona
His stay at Treviso was only for one season but he performed well in his 21 games to convince Udinese to sign him in 2006. Over the next two seasons he was a consistent left back and played in 63 league games and was awarded an improved contract in October 2007. However, by the end of the season he was being linked with moves away and on the 4th July 2008, he signed for Liverpool for an undisclosed fee.
Dossena Udinese
He was seen as the direct replacement for John Arne Riise and made his debut on the 16th August in a 1-0 win over Sunderland. Although he played well in this game, his form was poor for the large majority of his time at the club and didn’t get back into the side until an injury to first choice left back Fabio Aurelio. He once again did not convince the fans and manager that he was the right man for the job and was replaced by Emiliano Insua.

Now when he did get the chance he was played on the left wing and he was quite successful in this position, scoring his first goal for the club on the 10th March 2009 after coming on as a substitute against Real Madrid in the Champions League and then four days later repeating this by scoring against Manchester United in a 4-1 win at Old Trafford.

He only played 18 league games for Liverpool and signed for Napoli on the 8th January 2010, making his debut in the Coppa Italia against Juventus. He rediscovered his early career form at Napoli and played a lot of games at the club but it was not until the final game of the 2011-12 season that he became a fan favourite as he scored twice against Siena to guarantee the club Europa League football for the next season.
Dossena Napolu
After falling out of favour he joined Palermo on loan in January 2013 and played 11 times for the club before joining Sunderland on a free transfer on the 2nd September 2013. He made his debut in a 2-1 win over Newcastle United, however he was sent off in his next game against Hull City for a ridiculous challenge on David Meyler. At the end of the season after making just seven league appearances he was released.

The final word can go to Rafael Benitez. “We are happy with him because we know that he is a good player and he is working hard but we also know he can get better. Dossena is keen to learn and he will get better with more games and more time.”

29th August – Stephen Carr

Stephen Carr is one of the few footballers in the world that has retired from the game and then came back to produce some of the best performances of his career.

The right back announced his retirement in December 2008 but came out of retirement in 2009 and went on to play until 2013. Carr was a consistent player all through his career but when he came back he seemed to have even more passion for the sport and did everything he could to help influence games.

Carr started his career at Tottenham Hotspur and went on to make his debut on the 29th September 1993 away to Ipswich Town. This would be his only league appearance until the 1996-97 season when he became first choice for Spurs and became one of the most promising right backs in the Premier League. In the following season he featured in 38 league games.

In the late 90s and 00s he was definitely one of the best and consistent right backs in the country and picked up his first medal after helping Spurs win the League Cup, beating Leicester City 1-0 in the 1999 final. After scoring a fantastic goal against Manchester United in the 1999-00 season he was linked with moves away from the club but these never materialised.
Carr Spurs
Injuries would slow down Carr’s career as in the summer of 2001 he started having problems with his knee which required an operation. This meant that he missed all of the season. Carr returned in October 2002 and despite being out for so long he never looked like he had been away.

He played 272 games for Tottenham scoring eight goals before moving on to Newcastle United. Carr made his debut against Middlesbrough in a 2-2 draw. In his first season he played 26 games in the league but it was a disappointing one for the club as they finished 14th. The 2005-06 season was much tougher for him as a persistent knee injury kept him out for two months and he only played 19 league games.
Carr NUFC
The following season he once again picked up an injury, this time with a fractured foot. When he did return he played at left back and this was seen as the beginning of the end for him as he fell further down the pecking order in the 2007-08 season.

After failing to find a suitable club, Carr announced his retirement from the game on the 1st December 2008 but he unexpectedly returned signing for Birmingham City on the 23rd February and made his debut the following day in a 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace. Carr helped the club win promotion and signed a new two year deal at the end of the season and was part of the impressive team that went a club record 12 games unbeaten in the Premier League. During the season he was also given the captain’s armband and led the team to victory in the 2011 League Cup final against Arsenal.
Carr BC
However, at the end of the season they were relegated but Carr went on to make his 100th appearance for the club in a Europa League game against Portuguese club Nacional. Carr only played a further 21 times over the next two seasons after picking up several injuries and officially retired from the game with 500 senior appearances to his name at club level.

The final word can go to former Birmingham manager Alex McLeish. “He has done well – his hunger has been superb ever since he arrived. He is fully motivated with the kind of quality that counts in the Premier League – he’s always positive and he has got a winner’s attitude.”

8th August – Louis Saha

The scorer of the quickest goal in an FA Cup final turns 36 today and that man is someone that scored consistently most of his career.

Whenever Louis Saha stepped on the pitch defenders knew they were in for a long afternoon and had to deal with his clever movement and fantastic finishing ability. The only reason the striker did not quite get as many goals as his quality deserved was because of injury problems but he still enjoyed a lot of success, particularly in England where he spent most of his career.

He began his career with Metz in 1995 before moving to the senior squad in 1997 where he played 21 league games in his first season scoring one goal. His performances impressed enough to earn him a move to Premier League club Newcastle United on loan in January 1999. While at the club he scored one league goal in 11 games and also scored in their run to the FA Cup final, however he was left out of the squad to play in the final and returned to Metz. He stayed at the French club for one more season before moving back to England.

Fulham signed the striker for £2.1 million in 2000 and scored 27 goals in his first season to help the club get promoted to the Premier League. He took to the league much quicker this time and ended the year with eight league goals. In the following season he was not as successful because of injuries but did still manage five goals in 17 games. In his final season he showed his true quality and by January he had 15 goals in just 22 games which convinced Manchester United to sign the forward for £12.4 million.
Saha Fulham
Saha impressed immediately by scoring seven times in his first 10 starts including a goal on his debut against Southampton. The following year was very stop start as he had niggling injuries and only made 22 appearances. In the 2005-06 season he became Wayne Rooney’s main strike partner after a good run of form in front of goal which meant that Ruud Van Nistelrooy had to settle for a place on the bench for large periods of the season. Saha ended the campaign with 15 goals and began the next very well however injuries once again caught up with him and he could not fulfil his potential.
Saha MU
The 2007-08 season followed a similar pattern and this turned out to be his last at Old Trafford as he left for Everton. It was in this season that he scored after just 25 seconds in the FA Cup final against Chelsea, unfortunately Everton went on to lose the game. In the 2009-10 season he also went on a good goalscoring run by scoring in seven consecutive games and ended the season with 13 Premier League goals. He left Everton in January 2012 to join Tottenham Hotspur and on his full debut for the club he scored twice in a 5-0 victory over Newcastle United.
Saha Everton
Despite his good form he was not given an extended contract and signed for Sunderland. But his time there was less successful as he failed to score in 14 appearances and left for Lazio on the 6th February 2013 and after six league games for them he announced his retirement.

The final word can go to Sir Alex Ferguson. “Louis is a young and exciting talent and has made incredible progress. We have got a young and gifted centre forward. To have finally secured this deal is fantastic and great boost to the club.”

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.”

26th May – Scott Murray

Scott Murray will forever be a club legend for Bristol City not only has he played for the club over 300 times he has also been their kit man making him a club legend.

Murray, now 40, must have a lot of love for the club and will do any job just to see them succeed. It is also worth pointing out that in the modern day the kit man does a lot more than many expect them to, they usually help new players settle into the club and make sure all of the players are happy and can be a big influence in the dressing room.

The Scottish midfielder started his career in the Highland Football League and his performances for Fraserburgh FC caught the eye of giants Celtic and Liverpool who both offered him trials. However, he did not get a contract with either but did still get a move to the Premier League as Aston Villa decided to sign him for a Highland League record of £35,000. Murray impressed for the reserve team and scored the quickest ever hatrick in the reserve league, his three goals came in just 12 minutes. He found it difficult to break into the first team and only played four league games for the first team before moving onto Bristol City in December 1997.
Murray BC
His first spell at the club was very successful and the fans took to him straightaway as he put in very consistent performances. During his six years at the club he played 225 league games and scored 46 goals which is an impressive record for a midfielder and he was even the club’s top scorer in the 2002-03 season.
Murray Reading
In June 2003 he joined Reading for £650,000 and was a regular under manager Alan Pardew but his stay only lasted 34 games and he rejoined Bristol City in March 2004 and made a big impact. Their form improved when he came back in the side and they reached the playoff final. Unfortunately they lost out to Brighton. In his second spell at City he was made captain by Brian Tinnion and in the 2006-07 season he scored one of the goals of the season as he chipped Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer in an FA Cup game.

Murray was a key player in the club’s promotion season even though he suffered a stress fracture in his fourth metatarsal bone which meant he was only able to play 37 times, despite this he signed a new one year contract extension which delighted manager Gary Johnson. “We want Scott around at the club. He is good enough to be a player in the squad and he is a big player for us on and off the field.”

On the 15th September he joined Cheltenham Town on loan and played 13 times, scoring twice before returning to his parent club. He was released at the end of the 2009 season after playing another 129 league games for the club, adding another 28 goals to his record. He joined Yeovil Town in the summer and he scored two goals for the club in his only season at the club but they were important as they helped secure a draw against Brighton and personally they were his 100th and 101st career goals.
Murray Bath
After being released he signed for Bath City on a part time basis so he could also be a part of Bristol City’s backroom staff. He stayed for two years, scoring 14 times in 68 games before retiring in the summer of 2012.

The final word can go to the fans of Bristol City who love having him at the club and feel he will be beneficial as the kit man. “You want someone to do that who has Bristol City running through his veins, who has a footballing brain and can make everyone in the dressing room laugh and enjoy being at training and matchdays. Step forward Mr Murray you are the perfect man for this job.”