As the Owen Coyle revolution continues so too does our coverage of Wigan Athletic’s new signings. This week’s guest writer is Dan Bennett of Vital Blackpool (http://blackpool.vitalfootball.co.uk/), who kindly shares his insight on Scottish left-back Stephen Crainey — a man he dubs Mr. Consistent:
Although not one of the most exciting footballers to admire, Stephen Crainey certainly is one thing — consistent.
In total he has made 295 club appearances and had played for four different clubs before joining Wigan. He started his career at Celtic where he was never really first choice left back, and made 58 appearances over five years at Celtic Park before moving on to Southampton.
Crainey never truly found his feet at Southampton and only made 5 appearances for the club before a swift transfer move to Leeds United. It’s fair to say he did well at Leeds, his solid performances at left back won him many fans and in the 2005-2006 season made a total of 30 appearances for the club. This was the season Crainey had made the most appearances for any of his clubs until that point.
However this was soon set to change as Crainey made his move to Blackpool, a club where his talents were truly appreciated. His ability never looked in doubt, and in the first season he spent with the club he made 43 appearances. His excellent work ethic and fantastic defensive play pleased many Tangerine fans and he soon became a favourite.
Crainey was part of the famous team that secured promotion to the Premier League with Blackpool, and featured many times the following year in the top division. Blackpool’s defence often came under scrutiny whilst Ian Holloway was manager of the club, and although Crainey was not the ‘perfect defender’ he rarely performed badly in a Pool shirt.
He’s certainly a player that Blackpool fans wanted to see back at the club next season; he was offered a fresh deal at the club but took the opportunity to move on. If he features frequently for Wigan next season, he’ll be a player that will always give his all in every game he plays. Even if he’s used as a squad man, Crainey’s performances are still likely to impress Latics fans.
He is certainly the solid and decent championship standard player that many of the clubs in this league desire. Luring Crainey to the club away from other potential suitors was certainly a great bit of business on behalf of Wigan Athletic. Latics fans will surely hope his championship experience can help you bounce back first time of asking.
Many thanks to Dan for his insights and to Vital Blackpool editor Jon Pearcy for his help.