Loft leading Port Vale out for the match against Northampton Town on 20 April 2013.
|Full name||Douglas James Loft|
|Date of birth||26 December 1986|
|Place of birth||Maidstone, England|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Playing position||Left-back / Midfielder|
|2006–2009||Brighton & Hove Albion||39||(2)|
|2009||→ Dagenham & Redbridge (loan)||11||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 4 October 2014 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
A non-league player at Hastings United, he won a move to Championship club Brighton & Hove Albion in January 2006. He remained on the fringes of the first team in 2006–07 and 2007–08, before he was loaned out to Dagenham & Redbridge in February 2009. He signed with Port Vale in June 2009, where he found regular first team football throughout 2009–10 and 2010–11. He was voted as the club's Player of the Year in 2012, and helped the club to secure promotion out of League Two in 2012–13. He signed with Gillingham in June 2014.
Brighton & Hove Albion
Loft, an England Schoolboy international, signed for Brighton & Hove Albion in January 2006 from non-league side Hastings United, where he was spotted by scout Dean White. After impressing manager Mark McGhee in a two-week trial, he then signed an 18 month contract with the club. He made three appearances for the first-team in the 2005–06 season, making his debut on 11 March 2006 at home to Preston North End. His first senior goal came in his third appearance, against Stoke City at Withdean, in the last game of the season; Loft came off the bench and scored Brighton's goal in the 5–1 reverse. At the end of the season Brighton were relegated out of Championship and into League One.
Loft made eight substitute and five starting appearances for Brighton in the 2006–07 season, scoring a goal in the 4–1 home victory over Leyton Orient. None of these appearances were at his preferred position in central midfield. On the fringes of the first team, he was substituted after 31 minutes in a clash with Chesterfield as a tactical move in Dean Wilkins' first full game in charge.
Loft signed a new one-year contract with the Seagulls in June 2007, and made seventeen appearances in the 2007–08 season, scoring one goal. This goal was a dramatic last minute equaliser in an FA Cup tie with Cheltenham Town. He was rewarded with a new one-year deal in May 2008, surviving something of a cull at the club.
He made thirteen appearances during the 2008–09 season, including a memorable performance in the League Cup victory over Manchester City. In February 2009, Loft joined League Two side Dagenham & Redbridge on loan for the remainder of the season. After impressing in his loan spell, Loft was recalled by Brighton at the beginning of April 2009 to aid the club in their battle against relegation.
In May 2009 Loft was informed that he would be leaving Brighton after the expiration of his contract the following month. He was, though, able to find another club rapidly, as Loft quickly agreed a two-year contract with League Two side Port Vale, teaming up with former manager Micky Adams and former teammate Tommy Fraser. He missed the opening two weeks of the 2009–10 pre-season with illness, though started to hit his best form after settling into the side. He was transfer listed in late September, along with the entire Port Vale squad, after Adams saw his team slip to a third consecutive defeat. After another battle with injury, Loft returned to the first team with a "rasping half-volley into the top corner" in a 2–2 home draw with Torquay United in November. He ended the campaign as a semi-regular, not quite making the 40 game mark.
"Doug has got a bit of everything. He can get forward, he has a good range of passing with both feet, but it can take people time to settle."—Brighton, then Vale manager Micky Adams assesses Loft's ability.
Starting the 2010–11 in the first team, he lost his place in mid-August when it transpired that a suspected minor knock of two bruised ribs was in fact a far more serious case of two broken ribs and a collapsed lung. This kept him out of action for three weeks. Vale's form suffered around the Christmas period, though Loft was a stand-out performer. However a calf strain took him from full fitness back to the treatment room. Upon recovering from his injury in February, he found himself aiming to impress new manager Jim Gannon and win a new contract in the summer. On 29 March, his 'stunning 25 yard shot' past Lincoln City earned him his first goal of the season, and also won the "Valiants" three vital points in the hunt for promotion. The next month he began contract talks on a new two-year deal, also picking up a hamstring injury that kept him out for the rest of the season. Nevertheless his performances over the season were enough to win him a new two-year deal.
He went on to double his 2010–11 goal tally within the opening four games of the 2011–12 season. Micky Adams described his performance against Burton Albion as "outstanding". His four goals in six games earned him a nomination for the League Two Player of the Month award for August, though the award was instead given to Dagenham defender Mark Arber. Loft explained the cause of his good form as "[being] given the licence to get on the ball a lot more and do what I want". An injury crisis in January left Loft filling in at left-back for a number of games. It was in this role that he was named in the League Two Team of the Week for his performance in the 1–0 win over Rotherham United at the Don Valley Stadium on 21 January, where he "showcased his phenomenal stamina and mobility by making a huge impact at both ends". At the end of the campaign he was voted as the club's Player of the Year, and also picked up the Away Travel Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Season awards.
Loft was appointed club captain in July 2012, following the departure of Marc Richards. He started the first 13 games of the 2012–13 season, mostly at left-back, before a calf injury sustained in a 2–0 win over Exeter City at St James Park on 6 October forced him out of action for a month. After returning to fitness he built an impressive partnership with Ryan Burge in the centre of midfield. He opened his account for the season on 2 March, netting a "superb 25-yard drive" for Vale's consolation goal in a 2–1 defeat to Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium. However three days later he received a red card for 'violent conduct' in a goalless home draw with Bradford City. Vale secured promotion with a third-place finish at the end of the season, with Loft featuring 36 times. He signed a new one-year contract in the summer after protracted negotiations.
He started the 2013–14 season strongly, and recovered from a calf injury which kept him out injured for five weeks to make a man-of-the-match winning performance on his return during a 2–1 victory over Notts County on Boxing Day. Assistant manager Mark Grew said that "[this season he has] played wide left, wide right, in the middle and at left full-back, and he never looks out of place". He was ruled out for the rest of the season after picking up a "facial injury" following a training ground altercation with teammate Daniel Jones in mid-April. Adams was keen to stress that Loft was the innocent party in the confrontation and Jones was sacked following a club investigation.
In June 2014 Loft turned down a new contract with Port Vale and signed for League One rivals Gillingham; manager Peter Taylor said that "he's a player I have looked at for a very long time... we are delighted to get him". He chose to sign with Gillingham so that he could take his young family back to their home county of Kent.
Style of play
Loft is a versatile player, and in November 2010 was described by Port Vale teammate Gareth Owen as "...one of the fittest at the club but he's got a lot of skill with it... I've been surprised by how strong he is. He's got a good footballing brain and I like having him outside me (at wing back) because he always wants the ball and I know he'll do his defensive duties as well."
He is able to play with both feet, and likes to attack from the central midfield position. He can also play in other positions if necessary, and has received praise for his performances as a left-back. He has also found success as a right-back, setting up two goals from the position in a 2–1 win over Gillingham in February 2012.
|Season||Club||Division||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|2005–06||Brighton & Hove Albion||Championship||3||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||1|
|2008–09||Dagenham & Redbridge (loan)||League Two||11||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||11||0|
|2009–10||Port Vale||League Two||32||3||2||0||3||0||0||0||37||3|
- with Port Vale
- Hugman, Barry J. (ed) (2008). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2008–09. Mainstream. ISBN 978-1-84596-324-8.
- "Name: Doug Loft". port-vale.co.uk. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
- Doug Loft career stats at Soccerbase
- "Brighton 1-5 Stoke". BBC Sport. 30 April 2006. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
- Dudding, Tim (30 April 2006). "Brighton vs Stoke City". seagulls.co.uk. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
- "Albion boss explains early change". BBC Sport. 1 October 2006. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
- "Kuipers seals new Brighton deal". BBC Sport. 11 June 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
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- "Ten let go in Seagulls clear-out". BBC Sport. 6 May 2008. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
- Owen, Gareth. "My Favourite Game". port-vale.co.uk. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
- "Loft seals Dagenham loan switch". BBC Sport. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
- "Still offers high praise for Loft". BBC Sport. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
- "Fourteen let go in Brighton cull". BBC Sport. 12 May 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
- "Vale sign ex-Seagulls midfielder". BBC Sport. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
- "Breaking News: Port Vale complete Loft signing". The Sentinel. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
- "Loft edges closer to full fitness". BBC Sport. 27 July 2009. Retrieved 27 July 2009.
- "Port Vale: Fit-again Loft now hitting the heights". The Sentinel. 8 September 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
- "Adams puts Vale squad up for sale". BBC Sport. 27 September 2009. Retrieved 27 September 2009.
- Shaw, Steve (24 November 2009). "Port Vale: Fit again Loft back with a bang". The Sentinel. Retrieved 24 November 2009.
- "Port Vale 2 - 2 Torquay". BBC Sport. 23 November 2009. Retrieved 24 November 2009.
- "Port Vale: Assistant Geoff Horsfield confident over duo's fitness". The Sentinel. 17 August 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
- Shaw, Steve (20 August 2010). "Port Vale: Adams backs Loft to recover". Retrieved 20 August 2010.
- "Port Vale's Doug Loft close to return from injury". BBC Sport. 13 September 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
- "Port Vale: Post-match stats for Vale's League Two defeat at Rotherham". The Sentinel. 3 January 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- "Double Injury Blow". port-vale.co.uk. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- Baggaley, Michael (6 January 2011). "Port Vale: Injury sidelines top scorer Richards for six weeks". The Sentinel. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "Port Vale midfielder Doug Loft aiming for run in team". BBC Sport. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
- "Port Vale's Doug Loft relieved to end goal drought". BBC Sport. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
- Shaw, Steve (8 April 2011). "Port Vale: Trio offered chance to extend Vale Park stay". The Sentinel. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
- Shaw, Steve (14 April 2011). "Port Vale: Injured Loft out for rest of season". The Sentinel. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
- "Port Vale offer Micky Adams manager position". BBC Sport. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- "Port Vale: Loft looks to continue scoring spree". The Sentinel. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
- "Port Vale boss Micky Adams hails goalscorer Doug Loft". BBC Sport. 17 August 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
- "Loft Nominated for Award". port-vale.co.uk. 6 September 2011. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
- "Port Vale: Wing man Jarrett can help Vale soar, says Loft". The Sentinel. 10 September 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- "Doug Loft enjoying best run in Port Vale team". BBC Sport. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- Johnson, Dave (21 January 2012). "Rotherham United v Port Vale". port-vale.co.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
- "Team of the Week". port-vale.co.uk. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
- "Port Vale: Match and player statistics". The Sentinel. 23 January 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
- "Loft grateful for award success". The Sentinel. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
- "Doug Loft named as new Valiants captain". The Sentinel. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- "Doug Loft injury at Exeter City a major blow for Micky Adams". The Sentinel. 8 October 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
- "Doug Loft starts negotiations over new contract". The Sentinel. 15 February 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
- "Oxford Utd 2 - 1 Port Vale". BBC Sport. 2 March 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- "Port Vale 0 - 0 Bradford". BBC Sport. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- "Port Vale: Skipper Doug Loft signs new one-year contract". BBC Sport. 4 July 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- "Doug Loft desperate to make up for lost time". The Sentinel. 28 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- Baggaley, Michael (12 April 2014). "Injured Doug Loft is ruled out for Port Vale as club refuse to comment on reports of altercation with Daniel Jones". The Sentinel. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- Baggaley, Mike (12 April 2014). "Port Vale manager Micky Adams says Doug Loft was not to blame in training ground bust-up". The Sentinel. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- "Daniel Jones sacked over Doug Loft 'facial injury'". BBC Sport. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
- "Doug Loft: Gillingham sign Port Vale midfielder". BBC. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
- "Skipper Doug Loft sad to leave, but ends his spell at Vale Park for family reasons". The Sentinel. 11 June 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Versatility will help Port Vale - Gareth Owen". BBC Sport. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- "Port Vale midfielder Doug Loft happy in left-back role". BBC Sport. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
- Johnson, Dave (1 March 2012). "Port Vale v Gillingham". port-vale.co.uk. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
- Shaw, Steve (16 October 2010). "Port Vale: Doft Loft targets injury-free spell to boost season". The Sentinel. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- "Awards success is all relative for family man Loft". The Sentinel. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
- Includes other competitive competitions, including the Football League Trophy
- "Games played by Doug Loft in 2005/2006". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Games played by Doug Loft in 2006/2007". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Games played by Doug Loft in 2007/2008". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Games played by Doug Loft in 2008/2009". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Games played by Doug Loft in 2009/2010". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Games played by Doug Loft in 2010/2011". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Games played by Doug Loft in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Games played by Doug Loft in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Games played by Doug Loft in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Games played by Doug Loft in 2014/2015". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011.