Premier League Career: Tottenham Hotspur (2005-2006), Charlton Athletic (2006-2007), Sunderland (2008-2011), Blackpool (2011)
Turning professional in August 1999, Republic of Ireland international Andy Reid would start and finish his career in the same place – the second-tier of English football with Nottingham Forest. In-between that, he had spells with four Premier League clubs but never quite managed to scale the heights he achieved at Forest.
Reid started making a name for himself at a couple of Irish youth clubs – Lourdes Celtic and Cherry Orchard. There were a number of clubs queuing up to get his signature but ultimately, he chose Nottingham Forest over the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United. His breakthrough season came in 2003-2004. Despite missing a fair portion of the campaign due to injury, Reid finished as the club’s top scorer with 13 goals and was named in the PFA Division One Team of the Year. It was at this time he decided a new challenge was required.
On the eve of the 2004-2005 campaign, he handed in a transfer request but ultimately stayed until January 2005, moving on deadline day to Tottenham Hotspur alongside his teammate Michael Dawson. A combined fee of £8 million was paid to Forest by Spurs. However, his dream move quickly turned sour.
After his debut performance for Tottenham in a win over Portsmouth, manager Martin Jol was quoted as saying; “Andy Reid also did well on his debut, and you worry a bit how new players will cope with the Premiership.” You got the sense the manager was never certain of Reid’s qualities and neither were the Tottenham supporters.
He scored once for Tottenham in a 5-1 demolition of Aston Villa in May 2005 but he never hit the heights of his time at Forest and was derided as a flop by many journalists analysing the dealings in the January transfer market of that season. In August 2006, he moved to Charlton Athletic for £3 million. Once again, Reid experienced turmoil with three managers that season and Charlton were ultimately relegated from the top-flight.
Back in the Championship, Reid sparkled even when Charlton didn’t. Three years after his January deadline day move to Tottenham, Andy was moving again on the final day of the window – this time to Sunderland in a £5 million transfer. He was signed by fellow Irishman Roy Keane and the early signs were encouraging. Reid set-up a goal on his debut and scored a late winner against West Ham United at the end of March. However, his performances quickly went back to games where he was glorious and other matches where he barely existed on the pitch. By now, injuries were also taking their toll on a player who won 29 international caps for his country, scoring four goals.
His Sunderland career petered out in 2010 and after a three-month loan spell at Sheffield United; he signed for battling Blackpool in January 2011. It was his fourth Premier League club and once again, it ended in disappointment. Reid only made five appearances and the Tangerines’ lost their battle to stay in the top-flight. He returned to Nottingham Forest to finish his playing career. Although he was named Forest’s Player of the Year in 2014, Andy could not keep clear of the treatment table. Eventually, these setbacks caught up with him and he retired from the game in July 2016.
Andy Reid never quite settled away from Nottingham Forest and once a spate of injuries take their course, it is difficult to rediscover early heights. One thing you did get from him – he loved a January transfer.