Connell with the victory parade that followed Bradford City's victory in the 2013 Football League Two play-off Final
|Full name||Alan John Connell|
|Date of birth||5 February 1983|
|Place of birth||Enfield, England|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Current club||Bradford City|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21:50, 26 November 2013 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Connell came through the youth academy at Tottenham Hotspur but received his first professional contract from Ipswich Town, despite this he failed to make an appearance and joined Bournemouth in 2002 where despite making over 50 league appearances he was largely used as a back-up striker. This prompted him to move to Torquay United in 2005 after three years with Bournemouth. A year later he moved on again to Hereford United before re-signing for Bournemouth in 2008. In his second season back with the club he helped them to a 2nd place finish in League Two thus securing promotion to League One. In the summer of 2010 he signed for Conference National side Grimsby Town where he scored 25 league goals in 46 appearances, this earned him the "Supporters Player of the Season" and eventually a move to Swindon Town where he again won promotion from League Two. After a year with Swindon he moved once again, signing with Bradford City.
Born in Enfield, Connell was a trainee at Tottenham Hotspur as a youngster but soon transferred to George Burley's Ipswich Town in 2001. During Connell's only season at Portman Road he was part of the squad that was relegated after finishing 18th in the Premier League. Ipswich also that season reached the third round of the UEFA Cup, but despite all this Connell failed to make an impact and was released in the summer of 2002 after failing to make an appearance for the first team at Portman Road.
Connell then transferred to Bournemouth after a successful trial period at the end of the 2001–02 season. Alan was handed his professional debut by Sean O'Driscoll on 13 August 2002 in the clubs 0–0 home draw with Kidderminster Harriers. He would go on to score 7 goals in 14 games before he suffered a cruciate ligament injury in October 2002 in a match against Leyton Orient which ruled him out for the remainder of his first season. By the end of the season Bournemouth had earned promotion from Division Three via a play-off final victory over Lincoln City at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. During the 2003–2004 season, Connell would only feature 7 times for The Cherries. His final season at Bournemouth was also thwarted by a foot injury. In all, 42 of his 61 appearances for the Cherries were from the substitutes' bench and he scored 11 goals.
He moved to Torquay United in the summer of 2005 for a fee of £5,000, making his debut in the 0–0 draw against Notts County on the opening day of the 2005–2006 season. However he failed to secure a regular first-team place and Bournemouth even tried to sign him back on loan in March 2006. By the end of the season Torquay had narrowly avoided relegation from the Football League and Connell would eventually leave the club after making 26 appearances in all competitions, scoring 7 goals.
In the summer of 2006 he signed for newly promoted Conference National play-off champions Hereford United in July 2006. After initially being restricted to substitute appearances, Connell broke into the starting eleven and went on to become the top goalscorer at the club, despite not always playing in his favoured role as a striker. In the second half of the season, he was usually named in the starting XI as other strikers at the club were rotated. He was named Player of the Month for October. He finished the season on 51 appearances in all competitions scoring 10 goals
Return to Bournemouth
On 29 August 2008 Bournemouth re-signed Connell for an undisclosed fee. The club who had recently been relegated back into Football League Two were also handed a point deduction for financial irregularities. Connell and Bournemouth secured their Football League status and prevented a second successive relegation when they beat relegation rivals Grimsby Town 2–1 at home on the penultimate day of the 2008–09 season. Other results had meant Grimsby also avoided the drop. During the 2009–10 season despite a transfer embargo being placed on the club, Bournemouth surged home to finish 2nd in the League and earn promotion back to Football League One with Connell scoring the goal that secured promotion, away to Burton in the last away game of the season. Connell made 60 appearances, scoring 8 goals during his second spell with the club.
In July 2010, he moved to Conference National side Grimsby Town. The club had suffered relegation in the previous season from League Two, whilst Connell and former club Bournemouth had earnt promotion. On 17 July 2010 Alan scored on his home debut for Town in a 2–1 friendly win over Sheffield Wednesday. He then made his league debut on 14 August 2010 in a 1–0 win against Crawley Town and scored his first league goal in the 2–1 home defeat against Hayes & Yeading. Connell went on to score 14 goals in his opening 19 appearances for The Mariners doubling the total of the previous seasons top goalscorer Peter Sweeney and doing so in little over two months into the season, prompting club chairman John Fenty to state in a fans forum that the club would be aiming to keep Connell and not cash in on the forward in the January transfer window. On 1 January 2011 Connell scored two free kicks which were his 18th and 19th goals of the season during Grimsby's 7–2 victory over Mansfield Town.
On Saturday 30 April 2011, Connell scored his 29th goal of the season in all competitions against AFC Wimbledon – Grimsby's final game of the 2010–11 season. He received several player of the year trophies at the club's annual awards night. On 24 June 2011 Grimsby joint-manager Paul Hurst revealed the club had received a number of offers for the player, one from a Football League One club, another from a Football League Two side and a third bid from a fellow Conference National side, all of which were dismissed haven been described as "derisory".
On 7 July 2011 amongst speculation of Connell's future at Grimsby, chairman John Fenty stated that the player wasn't for sale and also mentioned he had received an official bid from fellow Conference National side Luton Town that he described also as "derisory", and on 13 July 2011 Fenty commented that Connell would definitely not be sold to another club in Grimsby's division, mentioning that the player is happy at Grimsby.
Connell Signed for Swindon Town on 15 July 2011, for an undisclosed six-figure sum, thought to be in the region of £115,000. He scored his first and second goals for the club on 3 September 2011, helping his team to a 3–2 win over Rotherham United.
On 20 July 2012, Connell joined Bradford City on a two-year contract. He made his debut on 11 August in the League Cup during a 1–0 win against Notts County. He made his league debut a week later against Gillingham. He made his home debut on 25 August, coming on as a substitute for Nahki Wells during a 5–1 win against AFC Wimbledon. He scored his first goal for the club on 8 September, coming off the bench to score in a 1–1 draw against Accrington Stanley. He scored again in the following game, a 3-0 win against Barnet at Valley Parade.
- Player of the Year: 2010–11
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2010). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2010–11. Mainstream Publishing. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-84596-601-0.
- "Connell joins Grimsby". vitalfootball.co.uk. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Grimsby striker 'is not for sale'". BBC Sport. 17 November 2010.
- "Grimsby Town 7–2 Mansfield Town". BBC Sport. 1 January 2011.
- "Player of the Year". Grimsby Town F.C. 28 April 2011.
- "Notts County 0–1 Bradford City" BBC Sport. 11 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- "Gillingham 3–1 Bradford" BBC Sport. 18 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- "Bradford 5–1 AFC Wimbledon" BBC Sport. 25 August 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
- "Accrington 1–1 Bradford" BBC Sport. 8 September 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- "Bradford 3-0 Barnet" BBC Sport. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
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