FAMOUS FIVE: Players for City and Leicester

Lazy one this week as we can’t think of anything else to do – after all, we covered City playing against reigning champions prior to day one of this season. Rest assured that none of the players below ever won the Premier League though…

1: Matt Fryatt

FryattMSupercool finisher and genuinely great goalscorer, whose ability as a first-rate Championship striker under Nigel Pearson and Nick Barmby was only really appreciated when he was out injured for almost all of the promotion season under Steve Bruce as City often struggled for goals.

Fryatt banged them in as a teenager for Walsall, playing in both games against City in 2004/05 as Peter Taylor’s side won promotion from League One, before joining Leicester in early 2006. One of his earliest games for the Foxes came in an infamous 3-2 win over City the day before his 20th birthday, when Boaz Myhill was lobbed from the halfway line by Joey Gudjonsson for one of their goals. Fryatt didn’t score that day – he never did score against the Tigers – but ended the season with six goals and in his five years at Leicester was generally never short of confidence, including a 20-goal blitz before the Christmas period of 2008/09. By the end of 2010 he had more than a half-century of goals in a Leicester shirt.

Nigel Pearson left Leicester to become manager of the Tigers in the summer of 2010 and brought Fryatt along in January 2011 for £1.2m. He scored on his debut against Portsmouth, thumped in an enjoyable hat-trick at Scunthorpe soon afterwards and on his 25th birthday scored the only goal at Nottingham Forest, arguably the most memorable strike of his City career. He carried on scoring for fun right through to the end of the 2011/12 season when a hat-trick against Barnsley helped him towards a healthy 16 goals for his first full season.

Injury in a League Cup tie against Rotherham in August 2012 ruled him out for almost the entire 2012/13 campaign and, while City did enough to win promotion, the absence of a natural finisher was a constant worry throughout, despite the arrival of Sone Aluko as both scorer and provider. He and Fryatt would have been ideal together.

On achieving fitness, Fryatt scored four times in a loan spell with Sheffield Wednesday before returning to the Circle and putting away his first Premier League goal in December 2013 as City humped Fulham 6-0.

With two big-name, expensive strikers arriving in January, Fryatt was at his most useful in the burgeoning FA Cup campaign, for which Nikica Jelavić and Shane Long were cup-tied. He got four, including a key equaliser at Wembley in the semi-final against Sheffield United, as City reached the final.

He ploughed a lonely furrow against Arsenal but worked hard as City lost the game 3-2. Just 11 days earlier, he had hammered in a 25-yard consolation goal at Manchester United, his second and final Premier League goal and his last goal, as it would turn out, in City colours.

Fryatt was offered a new deal but decided to join Nottingham Forest on a free in the summer of 2014. His Midlands roots played a part, as well as his concern over a lack of first team football, though upon receiving a glut of social media messages of goodwill from Hull City fans, admitted publicly that he should have stayed, signed the deal and fight for a place. It’s doubtful that he would have been prolific in the Premier League but a fit and focussed Fryatt would have helped the Tigers go up automatically and avoid all that play-off nonsense in 2016.

Fryatt will be 31 this weekend and he remains at Forest, but hasn’t played for two years since suffering a serious Achilles tendon injury in a game at Charlton.

2: Ian Ormondroyd
OrmondroydFamously compared to a flamingo by Jimmy Greaves in his weekly magazine column, Ormondroyd was ridiculed throughout his long career just by dint of being almost two metres tall, but he was seldom an ineffective or unwatchable player.

After scoring prolifically at Bradford, his hometown club, Ormondroyd joined Aston Villa and became a cult hero on the left wing for two seasons before joining Derby and then, eventually, Leicester City in 1992.

He played in three consecutive play-off finals for the Foxes, winning the latter, before joining City on loan after Leicester manager Brian Little left for Aston Villa.

Ormondroyd was an instant success at Boothferry Park, scoring twice on his debut against Cardiff and another brace at Bournemouth three weeks later.

He found the net six times in ten games under his former Bradford manager Terry Dolan, but was then recalled by Leicester manager Mark McGhee, who proceeded to pick him once and then leave him in the reserves.

He later had a second spell at Bradford and then a season each at Oldham and Scunthorpe before retiring in 1998 due to arthritis. Now 52, he remains a club ambassador at Bradford and works on local radio commentaries there under his long-time nickname of Sticks.

3: Wayne Brown

BrownWShiny-pated centre back renowned for his one great season at City when he partnered Michael Turner with total authority for the whole 2007/08 campaign which ended in promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs at Wembley.

Brown, signed from Colchester in 2007 for £450,000, relied on his reading of the game and his general toughness as he was neither tall nor quick, but he played 41 league games in that wondrous season, keeping many a savage centre forward at bay. He scored just once – a flick header at the Circle in a 3-1 win over Ipswich, his first club – and famously jumped on Boaz Myhill’s back at Wembley after the City keeper caught the final cross from a desperate Bristol City side prior to the whistle confirming City’s place in the the top tier. Brown promptly jumped on him again to give him a kiss, allowing for a photo opportunity that became part of City folklore.

Such were the harsh realities of football that Brown was immediately regarded as unsuited to the Premier League by his namesake manager Phil, who bought Anthony Gardner and, later, Kamil Zayatte to provide competition and partnerships for Turner. Brown’s only top flight game was the notorious 5-0 cuffing by Wigan at the Circle, during which he was handed his arse by Amr Zaki and Emile Heskey numerous times.

Looking back, given an obvious lack of match fitness, that was an unfair task for the 31 year old centre back but nevertheless his days were numbered and he joined Preston North End on loan in October 2008. He then joined Leicester, again on loan, in January 2009, helping them to the League One title, before making the deal permanent in the summer.

Brown was again a competent and consistent Championship centre back in Leicester colours but after it emerged he had voted for an extremist party at the 2010 general election, tensions in the first team squad arose and he was quickly sold to Preston. His namesake former manager then arrived at Deepdale and for the second time made the centre back surplus to requirements, but Brown eschewed offers from other league clubs to stay in Lancashire and play non-league football while pursuing business interests. Eventually he returned to Colchester to join the coaching staff, and there he remains. He’s 40 later this year.

4: Terry Heath

HeathTStriker who won the League Cup with Leicester and then wrote his name in FA Cup folklore for the Tigers while barely playing a league game for either. Eventually he found his calling, not to mention form and consistency, at Scunthorpe, for whom he scored 50 league goals, before a spell at Lincoln City and early retirement in 1973 through injury. He died in 2011.

5: Kevin Ellison
EllisonKevinAnother shiny-pated funster, and something of a contradictory figure during his time at the Circle, as he was always praised for his attitude and application despite being fairly obviously limited as a footballer.

Ellison, a left winger from Liverpool, was scouted by Leicester while playing non-league football for Altrincham and played six minutes of Premier League football for them when coming on as a sub at Manchester United in March 2001. His manager Peter Taylor then sold him to Stockport but still saw fit to try him again after becoming City manager, and Ellison joined the Tigers from Chester midway through the League One promotion campaign in 2004/05.

He scored a memorable solo goal at promotion rivals Tranmere but otherwise seemed a fairly haphazard signing borne out of panic after first choice left winger Stuart Elliott (and his goals) were forced into absence via a smashed cheekbone. Upon Elliott’s earlier than anticipated return, Ellison became a regular substitute.

Ellison played occasionally in the 2005/06 campaign, memorably so as a very obviously left-footed right winger in a game at Luton which was probably his best performance in a City shirt as the Tigers won 3-2. He also scored a magnificent solo equaliser at Southampton that season – his second and final goal for City – but was generally regarded as out of his depth. His clear willingness to work meant he avoided the worst kind of stick from the City fans, and he left for Tranmere early the next season after Phil Parkinson made it clear he wasn’t going to play.

Another spell at Chester and two seasons at Rotherham followed before he joined Morecambe in 2011 and, brilliantly, he remains there to this day as the club’s record scorer in league football, with 62 goals coming in more than 230 appearances. He is now 38 and shows no signs of slowing down, and all power to his elbow for that.

1 reply
  1. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    There are several ex City players that I really haven’t rated… then seen pop up with other clubs looking quite useful. Ellison is one such. Seen him score some nice goals for Morecambe on highlights shows.

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