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.

 

 

 

The departure of the cup winning icons

watsonSteve Bruce signed Ben Watson for Wigan Athletic in January 2009. Watson scored what was considered a crucial goal in a 2-1 win away at Sunderland a couple of months later. But neither Bruce nor Watson could have guessed that the same player would score the most important goal in Latics’ history some four years later.

Ben Watson became a household name through his fantastic header from Shaun Maloney’s corner. He caught the attention of not only the media, but also of other football clubs. Watson’s contract ends in summer and there is a strong possibility that Latics will cash in on any reasonable offer that comes in.

It has never been easy for the likeable Watson at Wigan. In his early years with the club he was sent off on loan to both West Bromwich and Queens Park Rangers. His best season was in 2011-12 when he made 23 starts with 6 appearances from the bench. In the latter part of that season he was superb in the deep-lying playmaker role as Latics shocked the Premier League elite with amazing results.

Jordi Gomez’s contract is also up at the end of the season.

Gomez was pivotal in the cup run, scoring three goals and making four assists. His assist for Callum McManaman’s goal in the semi-final against Millwall will stick in the minds of Wigan supporters for years to come. In the FA Cup Final Gomez had played remarkably well in a midfield holding role, but as fate would decree, he was the one to go off after 81 minutes to allow Watson to come on.

Like Watson, Gomez has never had an easy time at Wigan.

Roberto Martinez brought him to Wigan in the summer of 2009, following excellent performances for Swansea. Gomez tends to polarize opinion at Wigan. His fans regard him as a skilful player who can dictate play and make a difference. His detractors would say he does not like” to get stuck in” and passes the ball sideways or backwards too often

Were either Gomez or Watson to leave Latics this month they would leave behind great memories of their role in the club winning the FA Cup. But why would Latics allow them to leave?

Financial considerations must clearly come into play. Latics have had a huge drop in their revenue through relegation from the Premier League.

A look at what happened to Bolton Wanderers a year before is chilling.

Last season Bolton spent their first year back in the Championship after 11 years in the ‘greed league’. They have recently released the financial figures for the year ending June 2013. It reveals a loss of £50.7m.

They had a turnover of £28.5m, compared with £58.5m the year before. Although they had cut staff salaries down around 33% from the previous year is still came to £37.4m, way beyond turnover. Gate receipts amounted to only £3.8m. It is the broadcast revenue that hit Bolton hardest, at £19m compared with £42m the year before.

Even with a parachute payment of around £16m, Bolton still made a huge loss.

Bolton continue to survive thanks to owner, Eddie Davies, to whom they are indebted by over £150m. However, financial fair play regulations will tighten the knot on Davies’ contribution in the future.

In Latics’ latter years in the Premier League Dave Whelan put them on a sound financial footing. Roberto Martinez worked wonders on a limited budget and won the FA Cup in the process.

It is now a period of adjustment. Wigan Athletic have to deal with the decreased revenues in the Championship and make best use of their parachute payments while they last.

Big money signings in the January transfer windows are unlikely. Latics need to continue to downsize their staffing costs towards Championship norms.

One thing is for sure. The financial gap between the Premier League and the Championship will continue to grow.

Wigan Athletic need to regain their place in the elite league or risk sinking down into the lower echelons when the parachute payments run out. Let’s look at playing the likes of Liverpool or Arsenal, rather than Rochdale or Macclesfield.

In order to maintain financial stability it will not only be the likes of Ben Watson and Jordi Gomez in the shop window for the January sales.

But both players will have a place in the hearts of Wigan Athletic supporters if they do depart this month.

Without them Latics would not have won the FA Cup.

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