Tag Archives: Neil Warnock

The Clubs: Cardiff City

All-Time Premier League Record (upto 11th September 2018)

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
42 7 11 24 34 79 -45 32 2

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Steven Caulker 38
Fraizer Campbell 37
David Marshall 37
Jordon Mutch 35
Gary Medel 34
Peter Whittingham 32
Ben Turner 31
Kevin Theophile-Catherine 28
Kim Bo-Kyung 28
Aron Gunnarsson 23

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Jordon Mutch 7
Fraizer Campbell 6
Steven Caulker 5
Peter Whittingham 3
Craig Bellamy 2
Juan Cala 2
Kim Bo-Kyung 1
Victor Camarasa 1
Aron Gunnarsson 1
Kenwyne Jones 1

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Cardiff City 3-1 Fulham 8th March 2014 2013-2014
Cardiff City 3-2 Manchester City 25th August 2013 2013-2014
Fulham 1-2 Cardiff City 28th September 2013 2013-2014
Cardiff City 2-1 Norwich City 1st February 2014 2013-2014
Cardiff City 1-0 Swansea City 3rd November 2013 2013-2014

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Cardiff City 0-4 Hull City 22nd February 2014 2013-2014
Sunderland 4-0 Cardiff City 27th April 2014 2013-2014
Cardiff City 3-6 Liverpool FC 22nd March 2014 2013-2014
Chelsea 4-1 Cardiff City 19th October 2013 2013-2014
Cardiff City 0-3 Arsenal 30th November 2013 2013-2014

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Malky Mackay 1 27th December 2013
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 1 18th September 2014
Neil Warnock 1  

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Cardiff City 2-3 Arsenal 2nd September 2018 32,316 2018-2019
Cardiff City 0-0 Newcastle United 18th August 2018 30,720 2018-2019
Cardiff City 3-6 Liverpool FC 22nd March 2014 28,018 2013-2014
Cardiff City 2-2 Manchester United 24th November 2013 28,016 2013-2014
Cardiff City 0-3 Arsenal 30th November 2013 27,948 2013-2014

 

Intro

Cardiff City defied the expectations of many experts to earn promotion back to the Premier League for the 2018-2019 season, four years after their one-season dalliance in the top-flight which ended with a swift return to the Championship. Their sole full season did have a few highs but their relegation was unsurprising after a controversial decision was made by owner Vincent Tan to sack the manager, Malky Mackay. This time round, it is the experienced Neil Warnock in-charge and he will make the Bluebirds tough to beat.

 

2013-2014

Popular Scot Malky Mackay guided Cardiff City into the top-flight for the first time in the Premier League era as champions of the Championship. Mackay spent big to acquire the services of defensive midfielder Gary Medel and centre-back Steven Caulker. Both impressed but the overall quality of the squad wasn’t quite good enough to ultimately avoid an instant return to the second-tier.

Cardiff started well enough and no supporter will ever forget their first-ever Premier League home game at The Cardiff City Stadium. Big-spending Manchester City arrived and were expected to turn the Bluebirds over. However, Cardiff dominated the aerial battles and two headers from Fraizer Campbell helped the newcomers to a shock 3-2 victory. Unseen at the full-time whistle was a frosty reception given by owner Vincent Tan towards Mackay. It was already the beginning of the end for Mackay.

Cardiff did beat Swansea City 1-0 in the maiden Welsh Derby at Premier League level and drew at home with reigning champions Manchester United. However, hours before a trip to Anfield, an e-mail was leaked into the press from Tan telling Mackay to resign as boss or face being sacked. Mackay came out fighting after the 3-1 defeat to a Luis Suarez-inspired Liverpool FC side but a 3-0 home beating by Southampton on Boxing Day was the final blow. A day later, Tan sacked Mackay, much to the fans’ disgust. The real reasons for his sacking weren’t fully revealed until his application and sudden withdrawal for the vacant managerial position at Crystal Palace eight months later.

Ex-Manchester United scoring legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed as new manager but the club were in a tailspin and he couldn’t guide them out of it either. Poor business in the January transfer window, including a swap deal with Stoke for Kenwyne Jones to arrive in-exchange for Peter Odemwingie didn’t help matters. Cardiff’s Premier League flame was extinguished on the final Saturday of the season when they lost 3-0 to Newcastle United. They finished bottom of the table with just seven wins to their name and 30 points. Solskjaer achieved just two league wins during his five-month reign as boss.

 

2018-2019

After a four-season absence, Cardiff returned to the top-flight and despite not winning any of their first four games, will scrap for every point possible. Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge has already shown his penalty-saving instincts, saving efforts from Callum Wilson and Kenedy in the season’s early weeks. The save from the latter in stoppage-time earned Cardiff a goalless draw with Newcastle United for their first point back in the big time.

The Bluebirds came from behind twice in their last match against Arsenal before being narrowly beaten 3-2 by the Gunners but Neil Warnock’s side will battle throughout and will win plenty of admirers throughout the season for the never-say-die attitude that the manager will demand from his players.

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The Clubs: Queens Park Rangers

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
278 81 65 132 339 431 -92 308 7

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Andy Impey 142
Simon Barker 132
David Bardsley 131
Clive Wilson 118
Alan McDonald 116
Les Ferdinand 110
Ian Holloway 107
Trevor Sinclair 101
Ray Wilkins 84
Steve Yates 82

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Les Ferdinand 60
Bradley Allen 20
Charlie Austin 18
Kevin Gallen 18
Gary Penrice 17
Simon Barker 15
Danny Dichio 13
Andy Impey 11
Trevor Sinclair 10
Djibril Cisse 9

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Queens Park Rangers 5-1 Coventry City 23rd October 1993 1993-1994
West Ham United 0-4 Queens Park Rangers 28th August 1993 1993-1994
Queens Park Rangers 4-1 Tottenham Hotspur 3rd October 1992 1992-1993
West Bromwich Albion 1-4 Queens Park Rangers 4th April 2015 2014-2015
Queens Park Rangers 3-0 Ipswich Town 2nd October 1993 1993-1994
Everton 0-3 Queens Park Rangers 20th November 1993 1993-1994
Queens Park Rangers 3-0 Newcastle United 4th February 1995 1994-1995
Queens Park Rangers 3-0 Southampton 30th March 1996 1995-1996
Queens Park Rangers 3-0 West Ham United 27th April 1996 1995-1996
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-3 Queens Park Rangers 17th September 2011 2011-2012

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Fulham 6-0 Queens Park Rangers 2nd October 2011 2011-2012
Manchester City 6-0 Queens Park Rangers 10th May 2015 2014-2015
Chelsea 6-1 Queens Park Rangers 29th April 2012 2011-2012
Queens Park Rangers 0-5 Swansea City 18th August 2012 2012-2013
Leicester City 5-1 Queens Park Rangers 24th May 2015 2014-2015
Queens Park Rangers 0-4 Leeds United 4th April 1994 1993-1994
Blackburn Rovers 4-0 Queens Park Rangers 26th November 1994 1994-1995
Leeds United 4-0 Queens Park Rangers 24th January 1995 1994-1995
Queens Park Rangers 0-4 Bolton Wanderers 13th August 2011 2011-2012
Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Queens Park Rangers 24th August 2014 2014-2015

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Gerry Francis 3 11th November 1994
Ray Wilkins 3 4th September 1996
Neil Warnock 3 8th January 2012
Mark Hughes 2 23rd November 2012
Harry Redknapp 3 3rd February 2015
Chris Ramsey 2 4th November 2015

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Queens Park Rangers 2-3 Manchester United 5th February 1994 21,267 1993-1994
Queens Park Rangers 1-3 Manchester United 18th January 1993 21,117 1992-1993
Queens Park Rangers 0-1 Liverpool FC 23rd November 1992 21,056 1992-1993
Queens Park Rangers 0-0 Arsenal 2nd September 1992 20,868 1992-1993
Queens Park Rangers 4-1 Tottenham Hotspur 3rd October 1992 19,845 1992-1993
Queens Park Rangers 1-3 Liverpool FC 18th August 1993 19,635 1993-1994
Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Leeds United 24th October 1992 19,326 1992-1993
Queens Park Rangers 2-3 Manchester United 10th December 1994 18,948 1994-1995
Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Aston Villa 8th May 1993 18,904 1992-1993
Queens Park Rangers 3-0 West Ham United 27th April 1996 18,828 1995-1996

 

Intro

Queens Park Rangers have experienced an up-and-down adventure in the Premier League. They were the best team in the capital in the 1992-1993 Premier League season but were relegated just three seasons later. Neil Warnock ended their 15-year hiatus in 2011 but QPR have since gone down on two more occasions, attempting to spend big and not getting the balance of their squad right. Former Premier League manager Steve McClaren has recently replaced Ian Holloway and will try to get the club away from the mid-table reaches of the Championship on a regular basis.

 

1992-1993

Queens Park Rangers finished as London’s top team in the first Premier League season, ending in an excellent fifth position. Les Ferdinand achieved back-to-back hat-tricks during the Easter programme and finished runner-up to Teddy Sheringham in the race for the Golden Boot. It wasn’t quite enough to achieve European football for the following season but it showed how far Gerry Francis’ side had come.

 

1993-1994

Although there was a drop from fifth to ninth place, Queens Park Rangers were once again an entertaining side to watch in 1993-1994. Francis’ excellent reign saw him linked to the England job when Graham Taylor resigned and he then turned down the chance to manage an ambitious Wolverhampton Wanderers in Division One in March 1994. The sale of Darren Peacock to Newcastle United frustrated the manager but Les Ferdinand sparkled again with 16 goals.

 

1994-1995

Queens Park Rangers underperformed badly in the 1994-1995 early weeks and a nine-game winless sequence early on saw them struggling in 20th after a 4-2 loss to Norwich City in October 1994. Their season kick-started at the end of October with back-to-back home victories over Aston Villa and Liverpool FC but the corner would be turned without Gerry Francis. He resigned in early November after feeling trust had broken down between himself and the board over the planned appointment of club icon Rodney Marsh as a Director of Football.

Francis was replaced by former player Ray Wilkins, who was released by Crystal Palace to take his first job in management. He guided QPR to a fine eighth-place finish and the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. Les Ferdinand was top scorer again but would leave in the off-season to join Newcastle United.

 

1995-1996

The decision not to reinvest the Ferdinand money was a bad decision, even though both Kevin Gallen and Danny Dichio did well in a struggling side. Three wins in the first eight matches did have QPR in 12th place at the end of September but that was the highest the Hoops would get all season in the table.

A dire run of seven successive defeats from Boxing Day to 11th February would give Wilkins’ side too much to do. Despite a 3-0 victory in their final home match of the season against London rivals West Ham United, Queens Park Rangers were relegated in 19th place – ending their 13-year stay in England’s top-flight.

 

2011-2012

After an absence of 15 years, Queens Park Rangers returned to the top-flight in-time for the 2011-2012 season with Neil Warnock as the club’s manager. He invested in experience in the summer, with the likes of Joey Barton, Anton Ferdinand, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Kieron Dyer among the new recruits.

QPR actually made a decent start and when they won 3-2 away at Stoke City in mid-November, they moved into ninth place. However, that would be Warnock’s final win as manager. Two points from the next eight matches saw them drop into relegation danger and Warnock lost his job as a result. He was replaced by Mark Hughes.

Loftus Road became a tough place for stronger sides to visit. The likes of Liverpool FC, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur were all beaten there in the run-in and it was this fortress that ensured QPR escaped relegation on the final day of the season by just a single point.

 

2012-2013

It took Queens Park Rangers a full 17 matches before they even tasted victory in a wretched 2012-2013 campaign. When it came in a 2-1 success over London rivals Fulham, the die looked like it had already been cast. Mark Hughes was sacked in mid-November and an ageing squad just didn’t perform even for Harry Redknapp. It was a team with plenty of individuals but they didn’t seem to gel as a team.

Redknapp did make QPR tougher to beat when he arrived but just three further victories were achieved against Southampton, Sunderland and most surprisingly, away at Chelsea in January 2013. Shaun Wright-Phillips’ winning goal at Stamford Bridge was the only bright spark in a wretched season. Relegation was officially confirmed by a forgettable 0-0 draw at Reading in April, who also went down on the same afternoon.

 

2014-2015

After a late winner from Bobby Zamora in the Championship play-off final against Derby County, QPR returned to the top-flight and Redknapp was still at the helm. He spent £32 million in the summer in a bid to try and avoid the problems of the last Premier League campaign.

He did have a proven goalscorer in Charlie Austin. Austin scored 18 Premier League goals and netted a hat-trick in a thrilling 3-2 comeback victory over West Bromwich Albion in December. It was part of a home sequence that saw QPR amass 13 points from five games, including a 2-2 draw with defending champions Manchester City, where Austin again starred with two goals.

Away form was less impressive though. They collected just seven points on their travels and none under Redknapp’s time at the club. He stepped down in early February, citing a knee operation as the cause for his abrupt departure. Chris Ramsey took caretaker charge but QPR were fighting a losing battle and their fate was sealed by a 6-0 loss at Manchester City in May.

Premier League Files: Clint Hill

Premier League Career: Queens Park Rangers (2011-2013, 2014-2015)

Clint Hill made 72 Premier League appearances across three campaigns for Queens Park Rangers. The tough-tackling central defender is still playing professionally in 2018 – now playing for Carlisle United in SkyBet EFL League Two.

It has been a professional career that has already spanned 20 years. Hill made his breakthrough with his local club Tranmere Rovers in 1997. He made 140 appearances across five seasons at Prenton Park and was involved in some epic cup runs under John Aldridge’s management. This included Tranmere’s surprise appearance at the 2000 League Cup final. It ended in personal pain for Hill. Not only did they lose 2-1 to Leicester City; he was sent off too.

He moved to Oldham Athletic in 2002 but a broken leg in a League Cup tie away at Crystal Palace restricted him to just 18 appearances for them. He moved to Stoke City a year later but injuries again played a part in failing to make a significant impact. He made 80 appearances across five years in Staffordshire and was shipped out on-loan to Crystal Palace during Stoke’s promotion-winning season to the Premier League in 2008.

He made the move into a permanent stay in January 2008 and enjoyed his best spell of football since his Tranmere days. Immediately liked by Neil Warnock for his uncompromising approach towards tackling, Hill stayed with the club until July 2010, when he joined Queens Park Rangers on a free transfer. Warnock had taken over as manager at Loftus Road a few months earlier as Palace were struggling financially and he wasted no time in making Hill an integral part of the QPR defence. He ultimately enjoyed promotion to the Premier League in 2011.

His Premier League bow was not one Hill wants to remember. A head-butt on Bolton’s Martin Petrov saw him sent off as Bolton won 4-0 at Loftus Road. Warnock decided to allow the centre-back to join Nottingham Forest on a three-month loan deal in September but he was recalled early and then became a regular in the team when Mark Hughes succeeded Warnock as manager in January 2012.

Two months later, he thought he’d scored his first Premier League goal away at Bolton Wanderers but it wasn’t given by the officials. Television replays confirmed the ball had crossed the line from Hill’s header. He admitted he was “gutted” by the decision.

QPR survived on the final day of the season despite losing 3-2 to Manchester City and Hill was awarded the Player of the Season by both the fans and his fellow teammates. This prompted the hierarchy to offer him a one-year contract extension which he accepted.

It was another season of struggle in 2012-2013 for Queens Park Rangers. Harry Redknapp succeeded Hughes in November and handed the captain’s armband to the veteran, taking the captaincy away from Ji-Sung Park in the process. However, Hill’s heroics couldn’t prevent QPR from relegation in April 2013.

He remained as skipper on their return to the Championship and helped the Hoops to promotion via the play-offs back to the Premier League for the 2014-2015 season. He finally got his first Premier League goal with a header in a 3-3 draw with Aston Villa but once again, the campaign ended in relegation for the club.

Hill was released in 2016 and spent a season in Scottish football with Rangers, even scoring an equaliser in an Old Firm Derby at Celtic Park. He joined Carlisle United in the summer of 2017. Playing football is something Clint Hill has always been passionate about and by continuing at fourth-tier level in England, this demonstrates his desire to still compete even as he closes in on his 40th birthday.

Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 3-3 Crystal Palace (August 2014)

Goalscorers: Dwight Gayle 1, Daryl Janmaat 37, Jason Puncheon 48, Rolando Aarons 73, Mike Williamson 88, Wilfried Zaha 90

Teams:

Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini, Massadio Haidara, Daryl Janmaat (Vurnon Anita 79), Mike Williamson, Remy Cabella, Jack Colback, Moussa Sissoko, Siem de Jong (Ayoze Perez 79), Yoan Gouffran (Rolando Aarons 67), Emmanuel Riviere

Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni, Scott Dann, Damien Delaney, Martin Kelly, Adrian Mariappa, Joel Ward, Mile Jedinak, Yannick Bolasie (Glenn Murray 83), Jason Puncheon, Marouane Chamakh (Fraizer Campbell 52), Dwight Gayle (Wilfried Zaha 70)

Referee: Mike Jones, Attendance: 49,226

This encounter in late August was between two teams who hadn’t enjoyed positive starts to the 2014-2015 Premier League campaign. Newcastle United had failed to score in their first two matches, whilst Crystal Palace had started without a manager after Tony Pulis’ abrupt departure on the eve of the campaign and two successive defeats. However, they had appointed Neil Warnock on the eve of the game for his second spell at Selhurst Park. It would be a thrilling return.

The visitors made a wonderful start and Dwight Gayle scored the opening goal after just 29 seconds. He was in the right place to finish from close-range after Tim Krul had diverted Marouane Chamakh’s effort onto the post. This followed up a midweek hat-trick for Gayle in the League Cup win over Walsall.

Managed at the time by Alan Pardew, Newcastle knew they needed to end their goalscoring drought; otherwise the natives on Tyneside would get incredibly restless. Sure enough, they levelled eight minutes before the interval. Full-back Daryl Janmaat broke into the box and when his first attempt on-goal was blocked, he followed up swiftly to defeat Julian Speroni and level the scores. It was his first Newcastle goal since joining in the summer from Dutch side Feyenoord.

Only a couple of minutes had passed in the second half before Jason Puncheon restored Palace’s lead. Newcastle backed off Puncheon and it was a fatal error. His volley took a nick off Fabricio Coloccini which was enough to leave goalkeeper Krul stranded and beaten for the second time in the afternoon. It was a nice moment for Puncheon. Doubts had immediately surfaced about his future at the club after Warnock’s appointment. The pair had fallen out the previous season over a missed penalty at Tottenham when Warnock was a TV pundit. An unsavoury post on Twitter followed from the midfielder, earning him a £15,000 fine from the FA for his actions.

Pardew responded by bringing on 18-year-old Rolando Aarons and the Jamaican added some zest to the Newcastle attack. He scored his first senior goal in the 73rd minute, heading home in the penalty area after Scott Dann had failed to clear Remy Cabella’s corner. Aarons then had a big part to play in Newcastle taking the lead. His 88th minute shot hit the bar but fell perfectly for Mike Williamson to tap home his first Magpies’ goal.

However, just when it looked like the points would be staying in the north east, Palace rallied again. In the fifth minute of stoppage-time, Newcastle failed to clear their defensive lines and Wilfried Zaha bashed home an equaliser in his first game back at the club on-loan from Manchester United.

A point apiece was a fair result. Warnock would be sacked by December and he would be replaced by…Newcastle manager Alan Pardew. He took the Eagles’ to their highest league finish in the Premier League era of 10th.

Premier League Files: Paddy Kenny

Premier League Career: Sheffield United (2006-2007), Queens Park Rangers (2011-2012)

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Paddy Kenny is still operating in the game, now at semi-professional level with Maltby Main, currently playing in the ninth tier of the English league system. He featured in the Premier League for two campaigns with Sheffield United and Queens Park Rangers and was a popular favourite with the current Cardiff City boss, Neil Warnock.

Born in Yorkshire, Kenny began his career with Bradford Park Avenue. He was playing semi-professional at weekends and earning his income in the working week as an engineer. His impressive performances for Bradford PA saw him earn trials at Birmingham City and Bradford City. Warnock eventually snapped him up at Bury as those clubs dithered on signing him in the summer of 1998. His career would be twinned with Warnock’s movements for the bulk of his prime years in football.

After four years at Gigg Lane, he was signed by Warnock again, who was now in charge of Sheffield United. In his first full season at Bramwall Lane, he played a significant part in the Blades’ run to the FA Cup semi-finals, the final four of the League Cup and a spot in the play-off final which ended in a 3-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Promotion was finally achieved to the Premier League in 2006.

In just his fourth Premier League appearance, Kenny saved his first penalty in the top-flight, keeping out an attempt from Lucas Neill in a goalless draw between Sheffield United and Blackburn Rovers. In the same match, his opposite number, Brad Friedel made two penalty saves. Despite some unsavoury off-field headlines including requiring 12 stitches following a drunken brawl in Halifax in November 2006, he was a key figure in their season back in the Premier League. Despite his best efforts though, Sheffield United were relegated on the final day of the season after losing 2-1 at home to relegation rivals Wigan Athletic.

He stayed in Yorkshire despite Warnock resigning from his position as manager. 2009 would be a real low point in his career. He failed a drugs test following a play-off victory over Preston North End. He admitted later in an interview with the Independent: “I looked back and realised I’d taken these tablets (ChestEze) for a chest infection. I seriously didn’t think about it. In hindsight it was so stupid and clumsy of me. It is a lesson for everyone that you have got to be careful.”

He was banned from all professional football in September 2009 for nine months and had to train in parks rather than training fields. Sheffield United stuck by him and agreed a new contract with the player but he opted to join Queens Park Rangers in the summer of 2010 – managed now by…Neil Warnock!  During his first season at Loftus Road, he achieved promotion again to the Premier League and a Championship title winners’ medal in the bargain. He remained as first-choice goalkeeper on the Hoops’ return to the Premier League elite, keeping seven clean sheets in 33 appearances. QPR retained their Premier League status on the final day of the season despite losing that epic 3-2 clash at Manchester City. For the record, Kenny was the goalkeeper beaten by Sergio Aguero’s dramatic injury-time heroics.

Mark Hughes had replaced Warnock during the 2011-2012 season and he elected to sign Robert Green that summer on a free transfer from West Ham United. That meant Kenny would be deemed surplus to requirements. Warnock was now in charge of Leeds United and guess who he signed…Paddy Kenny! He stayed at Leeds for two years and has also had brief spells with little success at Bolton Wanderers, Oldham Athletic, Ipswich Town and Bury for a second time. He won seven caps at international level before retiring in 2007.

Premier League Files: Stuart McCall

Premier League Career: Bradford City (1999-2001)

Having made a staggering 763 league appearances in his career, there isn’t much that Stuart McCall hasn’t achieved in his footballing life. He has played in the Premier League, represented Scotland at two major international tournaments and is now back at Bradford City as manager, aiming to guide the Bantams out of League One.

It is the club McCall will always claim to be his home, having made his professional debut with Bradford back in 1982. His first spell with the Yorkshire team ended in 1988, appearing 238 times and being appointed club captain at just the age of 21 during that time. He won promotion to Division Two in 1985 but that was overshadowed by the horrific fire at Valley Parade when the main stand was engulfed by flames on the final day of the season. McCall’s father sustained serious burns in the blaze.

He joined Everton for £850,000 in June 1988 after getting frustrated with a lack of ambition at Bradford. He scored twice in the 1989 FA Cup final against Liverpool FC but Ian Rush’s own double ensured the trophy would return to Anfield after a 3-2 victory. Unfortunately, he had joined Everton at a time where their decline was starting to emerge and that near-miss in the FA Cup final was the closest he would get to winning silverware on Merseyside. In 1991, he moved to Scottish football, joining Rangers and he would spend seven wonderful seasons at Ibrox. This came at a time when Rangers were the dominant force in Scotland. McCall won six successive league titles, three Scottish Cups and two League Cups in a glorious spell where he was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame.

Although he had one more year on his deal in Glasgow, new Rangers manager Dick Advocaat allowed McCall to leave on a free transfer in the summer of 1998 and he would ultimately return to Bradford and as club captain too. His inspired performances in the centre of midfield would win him the club’s Player of the Year award and a final day victory at Molineux over Wolverhampton Wanderers would seal a surprise promotion to the Premier League.

McCall’s experience would be essential in 1999-2000 if Bradford were to avoid an immediate relegation. He helped the club claim 26 of their 36 points at Valley Parade, including a late 93rd-minute equaliser at home to Tottenham Hotspur. By now, he was already showing an interest in coaching. After Paul Jewell’s resignation shortly after the season ended, he was appointed assistant manager to Chris Hutchings. When Hutchings was sacked in November 2000, he even had a couple of games in caretaker charge before Jim Jefferies was appointed as Hutchings’ successor. Bradford were relegated with just 26 points and he even had a fight with teammate Andy Myers on the pitch during a 6-1 defeat to Leeds United which went unpunished by the club.

McCall was released by Bradford in May 2002 and he would play another 71 league matches for Sheffield United over the next two seasons. He retired just a few weeks before his 41st birthday in 2005. At international level, he won 40 caps for Scotland and played at Italia 90 and EURO 96, scoring in a group stage victory over Sweden in the former competition. He retired in 1998 after being left out of the squad for the World Cup finals in France.

He stayed with the Blades’ after retirement and became Neil Warnock’s assistant manager, leaving in 2007 after Warnock’s resignation following their crushing relegation from the Premier League. His first managerial post was at Bradford in 2007, and he also spent four years as boss of Motherwell. He returned to Valley Parade for a second managerial spell in 2016 after Phil Parkinson’s departure for Bolton Wanderers. He only narrowly missed out on promotion to the Championship in his first season back in May 2017, losing the play-off final to Millwall.

Stuart McCall was a player with plenty of heart and determination to succeed. He also seems to have plenty of commitment as a manager and will be hoping to get Bradford into the Championship at the end of the 2017-2018 campaign.

Premier League Files: Robert Snodgrass

Premier League Career: Norwich City (2012-2014), Hull City (2014-2015, 2016-2017), West Ham United (2017)

Robert Snodgrass has been like a yo-yo in recent years, spending seasons in-between struggling Premier League sides and higher forces in the Championship. This season, the Scottish international is on-loan to Aston Villa after a disastrous five months at West Ham United.

To be fair to Snodgrass, his time at West Ham was not helped by a lack of research done by the club when they signed him in January 2017 from Hull City. Being asked to play outside of his natural position by then manager Slaven Bilic led to a rapid deterioration of his career at the London Stadium. On leaving, he revealed: “I went to West Ham and had a manager that played me out of position. To be honest with you, it was very tough to take.”

Born in Glasgow, Snodgrass began his playing days with Livingston after turning down an apprenticeship offer from Celtic. He spent four years in their youth ranks before graduating into the first-team setup in 2003. He scored 15 times in 79 games and impressed on a regular basis. He left the club in 2008 after deciding not to extend his contract.

Barnsley offered him a trial on his release from Livingston but it didn’t go well. Leeds United stepped in and took the player on for the 2008-2009 season. Snodgrass would spend the next four campaigns in Yorkshire, scoring 35 times in 168 league appearances. Highlights included being part of the Leeds side that won at Old Trafford in the FA Cup third round in 2010 and being made club captain in his final season by Neil Warnock. However, with Leeds stranded in the Championship, Snodgrass knew he’d have to move if he wanted to sample the joys of Premier League football.

That opportunity arrived in the summer of 2012, as Norwich City snapped him up on an undisclosed fee. His first goal was a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane with Tottenham Hotspur. He impressed as the season progressed and the Canaries finished a comfortable 11th in the table. The fans at Carrow Road quickly recognised Snodgrass’ strong form and he was runner-up in the club’s Player of the Season awards to central defender Sebastien Bassong.

Snodgrass had already produced a reputation of being a fine dead-ball specialist. His first goal of 2013-2014 was a cracking free-kick when Norwich beat West Ham United 3-1 in November 2013. A winning goal against Tottenham followed later in the season but the East Anglian side failed to build on their promising previous two seasons and were relegated to the Championship.

He stayed in the Premier League though, joining Hull City in June 2014. Fate would deal him a dreadful blow. He sustained a serious injury on the opening day of the 2014-2015 campaign when Hull won 1-0 at Queens Park Rangers. Tests later revealed a dislocated kneecap which would keep him on the sidelines for the entire campaign. In fact, he wouldn’t return to first-team action for 15 months. By that point, Hull had been relegated.

The Scot battled hard to return to full fitness and he scored four times on his return to action in 24 matches as Hull went straight back up to the top-flight through the play-offs. This gave Robert another opportunity to sparkle and he did so, scoring seven times in the first 20 matches of the 2016-2017 season. This included an opening day winner over champions Leicester City and a trademark free-kick at home to Everton in December.

By now, Marco Silva had arrived as Hull boss and wanted to bring in some players from the continent. Whilst he appreciated Snodgrass’ qualities, he saw him as an asset which the club could cash in on. Hull accepted offers of £10 million from Burnley and West Ham United. He would choose to move to the capital. It didn’t work out.

15 games later and without a goal, he was informed he could leave the club permanently or on-loan. The chance to work with Steve Bruce again at Aston Villa was an opportunity too good to turn down and Snodgrass decided to drop back down to the Championship. He has made himself a regular at Villa Park as the former European champions aim to return to the elite for the 2018-2019 Premier League season.