28th August – Kevin McNaughton

Kevin McNaughton has played over 500 games in his professional career and despite retiring once he came back to play more and be as consistent as he always was.

The defender did initially retire in 2017 but has had to play further games due to an injury crisis at Scottish club Forfar Athletic where he had been a first team coach.

McNaughton started his career in Scotland with Aberdeen and made his debut at 18 in a 2-1 defeat to St Mirren and would eventually become a regular during the 2000-01 season. He was showing a lot of promise and was even named PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year at the end of the 2001-02 season. However, an injury in the following season slowed down his development and at times he struggled to regain his previous form.

McNaughton Aberdeen

He did eventually show his qualities once more and this led to him being linked with moves to Scottish giants Celtic and other clubs in England. After 201 appearances for Aberdeen he did leave the club on a free transfer on the 26th May 2006 joining Cardiff City. Initially McNaughton was used a sa left back by Dave Jones in the Championship but in the following campaign he was moved to the more familiar right back position. During this season he played an important role in helping the club reach the final of the FA Cup and even scored his first goal for the club in the Fourth Round victory over Hereford United.

The 2009-10 season was much more difficult for the defender as he struggled with injuries however he bounced back by playing every game in the following season and his consistent performances earned him the Player of the Season vote. Over the next few seasons his popularity continued to grow among the Cardiff fans and he helped them reach the League Cup final which they unfortunately lost on penalties against Liverpool.

McNaughton CC

On the 21st August 2012, McNaughton played his 400th career game for Cardiff in a 0-0 draw with Brighton and played a role in helping the club gain promotion to the Premier League. He was given a new one year deal but unfortunately only played five times in the top flight and during the season he joined Bolton on loan and would play 22 times for the club over two spells.

McNaughton BW

After he was released by Cardiff he joined Wigan Athletic but only played twice for the club before joining Scottish side Inverness. However, an injury put an end to his season and he announced his retirement but in December 2017 he reversed this decision and is now a registered player for Forfar.

The final word can go to Malky Mackay. “Kevin has been a terrific servant. Good, experienced professionals like Kevin are essential for a squad’s success and I know this news will please City supporters, as much as it does my staff and I, who know and appreciate what a hard working and dedicated player Kevin is.”

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10th August – Roy Keane

Roy Keane never wanted to be second best on the pitch but now he is second in charge at both Aston Villa and Republic of Ireland.

He may just be using these positions to get himself back into coaching before becoming a manager at another club in the future but he will definitely get the respect of the players that are working under him and this can only be beneficial to Paul Lambert and Martin O’Neill.

Keane’s career started in 1989 with Cobh Ramblers and quickly progressed to the first team and was soon being scouted by teams in England. It was Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest that took a chance and signed him in the summer of 1990 for £47,000.
Keane CR
Over the next two years he visited Wembley twice but left both times as a loser and with Forest struggling in the league other clubs were interested in his services. Although he was voted the Player of the Season by the Forest fans he could not keep them up and in 1993 he signed for Manchester United for a British record fee of £3.75 million.
Keane NF
He enjoyed a great start to his career there by scoring twice on his home debut and then later scored the winning goal against Manchester City. By the end of the year he helped the club to the Premier League title and broke his Wembley losing streak by winning the FA Cup. The following season was less successful as they lost the title and Keane picked up his first red card for stamping on Gareth Southgate.

In the summer a lot of senior players left the club and Keane was seen as one of the more experienced players and this led to better performances as the club once again won the league and FA Cup double and despite injuries in the following campaign he picked up his third Premier League medal.

At the start of the 1997-98 season he took over as club captain but he missed most of the season because of an incident with Alf-Inge Haaland which led to the Leeds United midfielder accusing him of feigning injury. Keane did not play again that season but returned the following year to captain the side in the treble winning season. Although he missed the final of the Champions League he was inspirational in the semi final against Juventus.

In 1999-2000 Manchester United won the title again and Keane won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award and the Football Writers award. However, things would take a turn in 2001 when he met Haaland on the field once again and got sent off for a blatant knee high foul with Keane later admitting to doing it on purpose and wanting to hurt his opponent.
Keane MU
After coming back from his ban and a hip operation many believed that Keane had come back a different player however he still managed to pick up another Premier League and FA Cup trophy before his unexpected departure in 2005. After 480 appearances and 50 goals in all competitions Keane left for Celtic.

His time at Celtic only lasted six months but he did still help the club win the SPL and the Scottish League Cup. After his retirement he became manager of Sunderland in August 2006 with the club second bottom of the Championship. It was not long before results picked up and at the end of the season Sunderland were champions and Keane was named the Championship Manager of the Year.

After keeping Sunderland in the Premier League, the second season proved tougher and on the 4th December he decided to step down as manager. Keane’s final managerial job to date was at Ipswich Town where he had minimal success and didn’t come close to reaching the playoffs and after just 28 wins in 81 games he was sacked in 2011.

The final word can go to Lambert. “Roy has a great knowledge of football and he’ll be a great asset. As a player, he was one of the most accomplished in the history of the Premier League. I’m really looking forward to working with him and I’m delighted that he’s here.”

31st March – Tommy Smith

Ipswich Town’s current longest serving player and Player of the season is 24 today and has already had a remarkable career.

Tommy Smith has proven himself at club level time and time again with brilliant performances and crucial goals but it is his time at international level that has made him standout from most Championship players.

Although he played for the England under 17s and 18s he decided to play for New Zealand. This gave him the opportunity to go to the 2010 World Cup and the All Whites were many fans second team at the tournament because of how well they played and the amount of commitment they showed. Smith was a major part of this and played every minute helping the team get three historical points which included draws against Slovakia, Paraguay and Italy. They even finished above Italy in the group however they did not do enough to qualify for the knockout stages.
Smith action
But back to Smith’s club career and it seems like he was always going to be a success as he was shortlisted for the Youth Apprentice Trophy which is given to the Championship’s best youth player. After this he went on loan to Stevenage and was wanting to progress his career quickly however he broke his ankle in a training session and missed most of the season. But Roy Keane was willing to give him a chance along with other promising youngsters like Connor Wickham.
Smith Ipswich
The defender has never been someone to just sit on the bench and wait for his chance he wants to play football and every time he was left out of the team for a spell either through injury or other players form he would go out on loan and show his potential.
Smith NZ
He seems like a player that loves playing football and being out on the pitch and the last word can go to his manager Mick McCarthy who commented on this and how professional the man is. “He travelled to China with New Zealand, played and then travelled back. I actually wondered if he had stayed at home and the rest of my squad had travelled to China.”