Premier League Career: Queens Park Rangers (1992-1994), Newcastle United (1994-1998), Blackburn Rovers (1998-1999)
Darren Peacock made nearly 400 league appearances in his career. He spent eight seasons in the Premier League playing for Queens Park Rangers, Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers. A very nasty neck injury ended his playing days at the start of the millennium.
Darren began his career in the lower leagues of English football with Newport County. When Newport went bankrupt, Hereford United picked him up on a free transfer in 1989 and turned him into a very capable and towering central defender. In his first full season with them, he was voted Player of the Year. Gerry Francis and Queens Park Rangers were impressed and in 1990, parted with £200,000 to bring Peacock to west London.
He made over 100 league appearances for the Hoops and was a constant threat at attacking set-pieces. On transfer deadline day in March 1994, he was sold to Newcastle United for £2.7 million. It is believed that this transaction started the rift between Francis and the club’s board which led to his decision to resign as first-team manager seven months later.
Kevin Keegan had every faith in Peacock’s abilities and he immediately broke into their first-team setup, helping Newcastle to a third-place finish in their very first Premier League season. In total, he would make 176 appearances for Newcastle, scoring four goals. One of his rare goals was the opener in the 5-0 demolition job Newcastle dished out on Manchester United in October 1996.
Kenny Dalglish started to break up the team that had come within a whisker of the Premier League title in 1995-1996 and in 1998, sold Peacock to Blackburn Rovers. This is where his injury problems began to occur. He scored just once against Southampton in a 3-3 draw but Blackburn’s decline was well underway and they would be relegated at the end of the 1998-1999 campaign. It was whilst he was on-loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers that saw the end of his career.
In a match against Fulham, he collided with his own goalkeeper, Michael Oakes and suffered damaged vertebrae in his neck and compression to his spine. Despite being knocked out in the collision, he carried on playing and it was only when he returned to Blackburn that it became clear how close he had come to paralysis. In December 2000, he retired on medical advice.
On retiring, Peacock moved to the Algarve with his family but returned to England for a two-year spell as manager of non-league side Lancaster City between 2013 and 2015 when his assistant manager was his former teammate at Queens Park Rangers, Trevor Sinclair.
Peacock also had one of the most famous haircuts in the 1990s. His long hair which stretched over the back of his shirt made him a firm favourite with supporters, especially at Newcastle.