A Cardiff and a Bolton fan’s view of Adam Le Fondre

 

 

Wigan Athletic yesterday announced the loan signing of 29 year old striker Adam Le Fondre from Cardiff City. The loan is until the end of the season, when the player’s contract at Cardiff is due to expire.

The 5 ft 9 in tall Le Fondre is a proven goalscorer with a tally of 175 in his professional career, including 14 for Reading in the Premier League in the 2012-13 season. Although he has been through some lean times in the last couple of seasons he is eager to get back to his best. On signing for Latics he said:

“This move is going to give me a platform to perform again and consistently play football. There is a lot of hard work in front of me and a lot of goals to score, but that’s what I am here to do.

Le Fondre was born in Stockport and joined his local club. He made his debut for County in September 2004 as an 18 year old, scoring a goal in a 3-1 League Cup win over Bury. He went on to make 63 appearances, scoring 18 goals in three seasons there. In January 2007 he went on loan to Rochdale, the move becoming permanent that summer. He went on to spend two more seasons at Rochdale making a total of 96 appearances and scoring 34 goals.

Rotherham United paid an undisclosed transfer fee for Le Fondre in the summer of 2009. He stayed there two seasons with a goal tally of 54 in 96 games. In late August 2011 he joined Reading, then in the Championship, for a fee of £350,000. Reading were promoted that season , with Le Fondre scoring 16 goals in 38 league appearances. The 2012-13 season saw him break the Premier League record for goals as a substitute, also being voted Reading’s Player of the Season. The 2014-15 season saw Reading back in the Championship, Le Fondre scoring back to back home hat tricks in January 2014 against Bolton Wanderers and Blackpool.

Le Fondre left Reading in the summer of 2014 having scored 42 goals in 110 appearances in all competitions, signing for Cardiff City for an undisclosed fee. In January 2015 he joined Bolton Wanderers on loan, finishing their top scorer for the 2014-15 season with 8 goals. Le Fondre spent the 2015-16 season on loan at Wolves where he made 26 appearances, scoring three goals. He had made a total of 23 appearances for Cardiff, scoring three goals.

In order to learn more about Le Fondre’s time at Cardiff we contacted Ben James of the View from the Ninian site.

Here’s over to Ben:

The signing of Adam Le Fondre promised so much and delivered very little. A shaky start under Ole meant ALF was either played out of position or not given enough game time. While fans were expecting goals, he couldn’t deliver and was quickly shipped out on loan around Christmas of that first season.

And after that, he’s never really been back. I had very high hopes for him but he’s not fulfilled any of the promise and I think it’s more the clubs fault than his.

I hope he can turn it around at Wigan because he’s talented, no doubt. It just feels like a case of right player, wrong time for Cardiff.

 

To learn more about Le Fondre’s time at Bolton we contacted Chris Mann of the Burnden Aces fan site http://www.burndenaces.co.uk (Twitter @BurndenAces ).

So, Adam Le Fondre joins the ever-growing list of former Bolton players to pitch up at the DW Stadium.

 Le Fondre – Alfie as he became to be known – has a record that speaks for itself. He’s scored goals at every level, including the Premier League, but appears to have hit a sticky patch in his career.

 Wanderers fans were first introduced to Le Fondre when he netted a first-half hat-trick in our dismal 7-1 defeat at Reading in January 2014. Luckily for you, Adam Bogdan avoids embarrassment due to being an unused substitute that day, as was Craig Davies. Sanmi Odelusi got 25 minutes though…

 He joined Cardiff City at the end of that season but struggled to hit top form for the Bluebirds, before finding success once again during a loan spell at Macron Stadium – netting eight times in 17 games and claiming the Golden Boot award, despite signing midway through the campaign.

 Le Fondre struck up a superb partnership with the emerging Zach Clough at the time and hopes were high that a permanent deal could be struck, before the full extent of our financial problems became public knowledge.

 Clearly, Le Fondre was out of our price range, as was pretty much every professional footballer on the planet, and he instead spent last season on loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Again, he failed to impress, but any player would struggle to score goals when restricted to the substitute role he was largely given.

 For whatever reason, his time at Cardiff hasn’t worked out. Le Fondre is too good to be rotting away in the reserves of any Championship club.

 If his time at Bolton is anything to go by, Alfie may take a couple of games to get into his stride. If so, stick with him and once that first goal arrives and the confidence begins to return, Latics should have one of the division’s top goalscorers on their books and, if you play your cards right, a man who will be available for free next summer.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Another FA Cup Final for Whelan

dave whelan espn

My first visit to a professional  football ground was in 1960, when my father took me to Springfield Park to watch a schoolboy game. My mother never really understood my dad’s obsession with football and why he would want to walk 40 minutes across town to that windy ground in Springfield, often in awful weather. Sometimes he would get a lift from Dick Smith, who ran the Darlington Street post office. Dick had a very upright stance and my Dad told me that it was from his time in the Royal Guards. That ride across town was a real treat for my father, but it was the matches against teams like Prescot Cables and Leyland Motors that kept him in awe of the ground and the club that played there.

During my childhood my father would reminisce of his first visit to that eccentric old home of Wigan football. The year was 1932 and times were tough for people in the depression. Despite the economic crisis a new football club had been launched in the town. It played its first competitive game at Springfield and a crowd of over 5,000 witnessed  that Cheshire League defeat to Port Vale’s reserve team. Seeing Latics playing in red in the FA Cup semi final yesterday brought back memories of my father telling me that this very first Wigan Athletic team had played in that red and white shirts.

My father developed a lifelong love of football – and Wigan Athletic in particular – following that first visit to Springfield Park. It was to be imparted to me and his grandson, Ned, whose life has been spent overseas but who has remained obsessed with Wigan Athletic. As a kid there was nothing he wanted more than a visit to Springfield Park.

1960 was to prove an eventful year for the future of the Latics. In those days you were starved of football on television. It was to be four years later that the BBC put out the iconic “Match of the Day” programme. However, there was one exception – the FA Cup final – which was broadcast live, albeit in black and white. It was in early May of that year that I was to see the sad sight of Wigan’s most successful home –produced player, Dave Whelan, being carried off the Wembley pitch with a broken leg. Ten man Blackburn went on to lose 3-0 to Wolves. Wigan had been very much a rugby town in Whelan’s youth. It was a significant achievement for him to make it in the First Division and play full back for Blackburn in that FA Cup final.

If Whelan had not broken his leg in that cup final, where would Latics be today? The broken leg that damaged  his football career, was to prove the catalyst for him to build up huge business empires, making him one of England’s richest men. Many wonderful stories have been written about Whelan’s rise from the ashes and his incredible achievement of establishing Wigan Athletic as a Premier League club. Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.

Wigan Athletic have always had to fight against the odds. For so many years they were shackled in their attempts to get into top league football. The archaic system of Football League clubs voting whether clubs should be promoted or relegated kept them out until 1978 when they got into the old Fourth Division by the skin of their teeth. It had taken them 46 years to get out of the semi-professional leagues, despite being consistently among the elite in that sphere.

With Whelan’s guidance and considerable financial support Wigan were able to make the jump between League 2 –the modern day equivalent of the old fourth division – and the Premier League in only 10 years. Crowds when he took over the club in 1995 had dipped below 2,000, basically on a par with what they would get as a non-league club.  Latics average attendances since joining the Premier League have averaged around 18,000, well above that of Wigan Warriors. Let it be no longer said that Wigan is a rugby town. No matter how die rolls this season, to stay in the Premier League for 8 years has been a remarkable achievement.

Springfield Park is now no more. Fans no longer wander up First or Second Avenue – what great names evocative of New York – to watch Latics play there. So many Wiganers will have fond memories of Latics  games at the old stadium during the eras  in the Lancashire Combination, Cheshire League and the lower divisions of the Football League. However, Whelan ensured another shining achievement for the club and the town with the construction of the excellent JJB Stadium, housing its first league game in 1999.

Since 1960 Dave Whelan and Wigan Athletic have come so far, against the odds. Let’s hope that Roberto Martinez will allow the chairman the chance to walk out again on the Wembley turf with the team on Cup Final day. Dave Whelan has had to wait 53 years to repeat history, but who could begrudge him that privilege, given what he has done for the club and the town?

Like us on Facebook, or follow us on twitter here.