Leon Clarke

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For other people named Leon Clarke, see Leon Clarke (disambiguation).
Leon Clarke
Leon Clarke May 2007.jpg
Personal information
Full name Leon Marvin Clarke[1]
Date of birth (1985-02-10) 10 February 1985 (age 29)
Place of birth Wolverhampton, England
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Number 9
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2007 Wolverhampton Wanderers 74 (13)
2004 Kidderminster Harriers (loan) 4 (0)
2006 Queens Park Rangers (loan) 1 (0)
2006 Plymouth Argyle (loan) 5 (0)
2007–2010 Sheffield Wednesday 83 (18)
2007 Oldham Athletic (loan) 5 (3)
2007–2008 Southend United (loan) 16 (8)
2010–2011 Queens Park Rangers 13 (0)
2011 Preston North End (loan) 6 (1)
2011–2012 Swindon Town 2 (0)
2011 Chesterfield (loan) 14 (9)
2012–2013 Charlton Athletic 7 (0)
2012 Crawley Town (loan) 3 (1)
2012 Scunthorpe United (loan) 15 (11)
2013 Coventry City (loan) 1 (0)
2013–2014 Coventry City 34 (23)
2014– Wolverhampton Wanderers 15 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:01, 13 September 2014 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).

Leon Marvin Clarke (born 10 February 1985) is an English footballer who plays as a striker for Football League Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Clarke began his career with his current club but then played for eleven different clubs – in both permanent and loan deals – over the subsequent years after leaving Wolves for Sheffield Wednesday in 2007. He returned to Wolves in January 2014 having led the League One goalscoring charts while at Coventry City.

Career[edit]

Wolverhampton Wanderers[edit]

Leon Clarke during his second spell at Wolves

Having progressed through Wolves' youth academy, Clarke made his senior debut for his hometown club in a League Cup win over Darlington on 23 September 2003.[2] Though he did not feature at all in the team's Premier League campaign of that season, he was awarded a two-year contract extension during it.[3]

After a loan period at Kidderminster Harriers in Spring 2004,[4] he made his breakthrough into the Wolves first team in the 2004–05 season, making his league debut as a substitute in their opening match at Stoke[5] and going on to score his first goal in the following game against Preston.[6] He ended the campaign with eight goals from 31 appearances.[7]

During the 2005–06 season his fortunes were mixed, as he benefited from injuries to others in the early part of the season, before slipping down the pecking order later in the season, after new players were signed. He angered sections of the Wolves' support after making a "shhh"-ing gesture toward the crowd after he scored a goal against Plymouth in January 2006.[8][9] Although his manager, Glenn Hoddle, was not critical of Clarke's gesture,[8] the striker was only selected once more during the remainder of the season and was twice loaned out to other Championship sides; first to Queens Park Rangers,[10] then to Plymouth Argyle,[11] failing to score at either.[7]

Clarke returned to feature regularly for Wolves during the first half of the 2006–07 season and set himself a target of 15 goals for the campaign.[12] However, in the January transfer window he was transfer-listed when manager Mick McCarthy said he wanted to "freshen up" the strike force.[13]

Sheffield Wednesday[edit]

On 15 January 2007, then Sheffield Wednesday manager Brian Laws announced that the Owls had completed the signing of Clarke for an undisclosed fee, thought to be around £300,000 signing a contract until 2009.[14] He was issued with the number 18 shirt, but only made five substitute appearances for the club before it was announced that he was to spend a month on loan at League One promotion-chasing side Oldham Athletic after Clarke requested a loan move to gain playing time.[15] The striker made five appearances for Oldham, netting three times; his first goal coming against League One rivals Doncaster Rovers in a 4–0 victory on 11 March 2007.[16]

After returning to Hillsborough, he was immediately placed in the first team and scored on his first start in a 2–1 victory at Cardiff City.[17] The early stages of the 2007–08 season, saw him only start one game though and he was again loaned out, joining League One Southend United until January on the final day of the 2007 summer transfer window.[18] Having scored on his club debut and set up both other goals in a 3–0 victory against Gillingham,[19] Clarke ended this loan spell with eight goals from 16 appearances.[7] After returning to his parent club he was restricted to one start and five substitute appearances in the rest of the 2007–08 season.[7]

Although the 2008–09 season began with Clarke being told he was now surplus to requirements at Sheffield Wednesday,[20] he remained with the club and achieved his best goal return for them as he ended the campaign with eight goals from 30 appearances.[7] He was rewarded with a contract extension for a further year after his manager praised him making "a fantastic amount of progress" during the year.[21]

The following season saw Clarke score six further goals, including one against Crystal Palace on the final day of the season in a match that could have seen either side relegated from the Championship. However, in celebrating the goal, he kicked the advertising boarding, dislocated his toe and had to be substituted.[22] The game finished 2–2, which saw Wednesday relegated to League One.[22] Three days later it was announced he would not be offered a new contract.[23]

Queens Park Rangers[edit]

Clarke signed for Queens Park Rangers on 21 May 2010 on a two-year contract, with manager Neil Warnock stating that he believed Clarke had "underachieved" but was "worth a gamble".[24] However, he struggled to make any impact, failing to score in fifteen appearances before being loaned to Preston North End in January 2011 until the end of the season.[7][25] He scored his only goal during his six Preston games on 15 February 2011 against Watford.[26]

Swindon Town[edit]

On 19 August 2011, QPR – now promoted to the Premier League – confirmed that Clarke's contract had been terminated by mutual consent.[27] The same day, he signed for League Two side Swindon Town on a two-year contract.[28]

After a 1–3 loss to Southampton, Clarke was involved in an altercation with Claudio Donatelli, the Swindon fitness coach. After his manager Paolo Di Canio intervened, the manager and player were shown on television cameras arguing and having to be separated by coaching staff.[29] Swindon Town chairman Jeremy Wray subsequently confirmed that the club would be looking to offload Clarke on loan as a result of the incident and Di Canio himself stated that Clarke would never play for Swindon whilst he (Di Canio) remained as manager.[30]

On 8 September, he signed a three-month loan deal at League One club Chesterfield.[31] Manager John Sheridan had been in charge at Oldham when Clarke spent a loan spell there. Following his loan move to Chesterfield, Clarke refuted comments by Di Canio that he is "not very professional".[32] He subsequently scored on his home debut, followed by a first professional hat-trick against Carlisle, to end his loan spell with nine goals from 16 appearances.[7]

Charlton Athletic[edit]

On 1 January 2012, Clarke signed for Charlton Athletic as part of a swap deal in exchange for Paul Benson.[33] He made his first appearance for Charlton on 2 January 2012, coming on as a substitute against Brentford in a 2–0 win. However, his time at Charlton was short-lived as Clarke initially struggled; having made only one start.[7] In March 2012, he was loaned out to Crawley Town until the end of the season.[34] Here, he made only three appearances, scoring his only goal for the club on 27 March against Bradford.[35]

In the summer transfer window, Charlton rejected bids for Clarke from both Cheltenham Town[36] and Oldham Athletic.[37] However, he did not return to the Charlton team and instead was again loaned out, this time joining Scunthorpe United in September 2012 on a three-month loan.[38] He expressed doubts regarding his future at Charlton Athletic.[39]

After scoring six times in his first eight games, it was reported that Charlton were keen to use Clarke, once his loan spell ended and therefore Scunthorpe would be unable to sign him on a permanent basis.[40] He ended this loan stay with 11 goals from 15 appearances.[41][7]

Coventry City[edit]

On Christmas Eve 2012, it was announced that Clarke had been given permission by Charlton to train with League One side Coventry City with a view to a permanent move.[42] On 1 January 2013, having initially been granted a loan move,[43] he made his debut in a 0–1 defeat to Shrewsbury Town.[44] After a first start in a 0–3 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup,[45] he signed a permanent two-and-a-half-year deal as a free transfer after Charlton had agreed to cancel his contract.[46][47]

Having scored his first goal for Coventry in a 3–2 victory over Preston North End in the Football League Trophy on 10 January 2013,[48] Clarke ended the 2012–13 season by scoring eight goals in eleven games in the league until an ankle complaint meant he underwent surgery in March, ruling him out for the remainder of the season.[49] At the end of the campaign he was named in the division's PFA Team of the Year.[50]

The 2013–14 season began with Coventry City deducted ten points for failing to agree to a CVA and also having been forced to relocate their home games to Northampton Town's home ground Sixfields. Nonetheless, Clarke's first fourteen league games saw him score eleven times and form a goalscoring partnership with young striker Callum Wilson, who scored ten in the first twelve games. His form led to him being linked with a number of Football League clubs due to Coventry City's financial plight, including Scunthorpe United, Sheffield United and former club Swindon Town.[51][52][53]

The January 2014 transfer window brought renewed interest in Clarke, who had produced the best goal return of his career with 18 goals in half a season, with his former side Wolverhampton Wanderers reportedly bidding for him.[54] Amid this speculation Clarke entered a transfer request[55] and did not feature in a further match after citing a foot injury which provoked an unhappy reaction from his manager Steven Pressley.[56] On 29 January Wolves announced that they had had their bid for Clarke formally accepted by Coventry.[57]

Return to Wolverhampton Wanderers[edit]

On 30 January 2014 Clarke rejoined his first club Wolverhampton Wanderers, now playing in League One, after signing an eighteen-month deal (with Wolves holding the option of an additional year) for an undisclosed fee reported to be £750,000.[58][59] Upon signing, Clarke admitted that he had shown "a lot of immaturity" during his first spell at the club and that he believed he was now "a completely different person".[60] He made his second Wolves debut on 1 February in a 2–0 win over Bradford,[61] with his first goal since rejoining coming on 11 March in a 4–1 victory at Swindon.[62]

Career statistics[edit]

As of 23 February 2014[63]
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other[A] Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2003–04 Premier League 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 3 0
2004–05 Championship 28 7 1 0 2 1 0 0 31 8
2005–06 Championship 24 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 26 2
2006–07 Championship 22 5 0 0 1 0 0 0 23 5
Kidderminster Harriers (loan) 2003–04 Division Three 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Queens Park Rangers (loan) 2005–06 Championship 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Plymouth Argyle (loan) 2005–06 Championship 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
Wolverhampton Wanderers Total 74 13 3 1 6 1 0 0 83 15
Sheffield Wednesday 2006–07 Championship 10 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 1
2007–08 Championship 8 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 10 3
2008–09 Championship 29 8 0 0 1 0 0 0 30 8
2009–10 Championship 36 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 37 6
Oldham Athletic (loan) 2006–07 League One 5 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 3
Southend United (loan) 2007–08 League One 16 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 16 8
Sheffield Wednesday Total 83 18 2 0 2 0 0 0 87 18
Queens Park Rangers 2010–11 Championship 13 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 15 0
Preston North End (loan) 2010–11 Championship 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 1
Queens Park Rangers Total 13 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 15 0
Swindon Town 2011–12 League Two 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 4 0
Chesterfield (loan) 2011–12 League One 14 9 1 0 0 0 1 0 16 9
Swindon Town Total 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 4 0
Charlton Athletic 2011–12 League One 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
2012–13 Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Crawley Town (loan) 2011–12 League Two 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1
Scunthorpe United (loan) 2012–13 League One 15 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 15 11
Coventry City (loan) 2012–13 League One 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Charlton Athletic Total 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
Coventry City 2012–13 League One 11 8 0 0 0 0 3 2 14 10
2013–14 League One 23 15 4 3 1 0 1 0 29 18
Coventry City Total 34 23 4 3 1 0 4 2 43 28
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2013–14 League One 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Career totals 284 87 12 4 12 1 5 2 313 94
A. ^ The "Other" column constitutes appearances (including substitutes) and goals in the Football League Trophy.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Professional retain list & free transfers 2012/13" (PDF). The Football League. 18 May 2013. p. 32. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Wolves 2-0 Darlington". BBC Sport. 23 September 2003. 
  3. ^ "Double joy for Wolves duo". BBC Sport. 3 March 2004. 
  4. ^ "Harriers add trio". Sky Sports. 25 March 2004. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Stoke 2-1 Wolves". BBC Sport. 8 August 2004. 
  6. ^ "Wolves 2-2 Preston". BBC Sport. 11 August 2004. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Soccerbase: Leon Clarke". Soccerbase. 
  8. ^ a b "Clarke taunt OK with boss". Birmingham Mail. 8 January 2006. 
  9. ^ "Ince warns Clarke to let feet do the talking". Birmingham Mail. 9 January 2006. 
  10. ^ "QPR snap up Wolves pair on loan". BBC Sport. 1 February 2006. 
  11. ^ "Argyle complete Clarke loan swoop". BBC Sport. 23 March 2006. 
  12. ^ "Striker sets Wolves goal target". BBC Sport. 7 November 2006. 
  13. ^ "Clarke transfer listed by Wolves". BBC Sport. 8 January 2007. 
  14. ^ "Owls sign Wolves striker Clarke". BBC Sport. 15 January 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2008. 
  15. ^ "Oldham sign Owls striker Clarke". BBC Sport. 1 March 2007. 
  16. ^ "Oldham 4-0 Doncaster". BBC Sport. 9 March 2007. 
  17. ^ "Cardiff 1-2 Sheff Wed". Oldham Athletic. 7 April 2007. 
  18. ^ "Southend sign Clarke and Odhiambo". BBC Sport. 31 August 2007. 
  19. ^ "Southend 3–0 Gillingham". BBC Sport. 8 September 2007. 
  20. ^ "Owls boss Laws looks to sell pair". BBC Sport. 2 June 2008. 
  21. ^ "Wednesday extend Clarke contract". BBC Sport. 21 April 2009. 
  22. ^ a b "Sheff Wed 2-2 Crystal Palace". BBC Sport. 2 May 2010. 
  23. ^ "Irvine reveals retained list". Sheffield Wednesday F.C. 5 May 2010. 
  24. ^ "QPR sign Sheffield Wednesday striker Leon Clarke". BBC Sport. 21 May 2010. 
  25. ^ "QPR striker Leon Clarke makes Preston North End switch". BBC Sport. 28 January 2011. 
  26. ^ "Watford 2-2 Preston". BBC Sport. 15 February 2011. 
  27. ^ "Clarke contract terminated". QPR official website. 19 August 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  28. ^ "Striker Leon Clarke joins Swindon Town on two-year deal". BBC Sport. 19 August 2011. 
  29. ^ "Swindon boss Paolo Di Canio in bust-up with own player". BBC Sport. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  30. ^ "Leon Clarke to leave Swindon Town after Di Canio spat". BBC Sport. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  31. ^ "Chesterfield complete Clarke loan". BBC Sport. 9 September 2011. 
  32. ^ "Clarke denies Di Canio comments". Sky Sports. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2012. 
  33. ^ "Swindon swap Leon Clarke for Charlton's Paul Benson". BBC Sport. 30 December 2011. 
  34. ^ "Crawley Town sign Leon Clarke from Charlton Athletic". BBC Sport. 17 March 2012. 
  35. ^ "Bradford 1–2 Crawley". BBC Sport. 27 March 2012. 
  36. ^ "Robins striker bid rejected". Sky Sports. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  37. ^ "Addicks reject Clarke bid". Sky Sports. 9 July 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  38. ^ "Scunthorpe United sign Karl Hawley and Leon Clarke". BBC Sport. 7 September 2012. 
  39. ^ "Scunthorpe loanee Leon Clarke sees no Charlton future". BBC Sport. 11 September 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  40. ^ "Charlton are keen to bring Leon Clarke back from his loan at Scunthorpe". Sky Sports. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  41. ^ "Clarke sad to leave Scunthorpe". Sky Sports. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  42. ^ "Coventry City trial for Charlton Athletic striker". BBC Sport. 24 December 2012. 
  43. ^ "Leon Clarke: Coventry City sign Charlton Athletic striker on loan". BBC Sport. 1 January 2013. 
  44. ^ "Coventry 0–1 Shrewsbury". BBC Sport. 1 January 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  45. ^ "Tottenham 3–0 Coventry". BBC Sport. 5 January 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  46. ^ "Clarke completes move to Coventry". BBC Sport. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  47. ^ "Charlton cancel Clarke's contract". Charlton Athletic F.C. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  48. ^ "Coventry's comeback against Preston unbelievable – Robins". BBC Sport. 10 January 2013. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  49. ^ "Leon Clarke: Coventry striker faces ankle surgery". BBC Sport. 14 March 2013. 
  50. ^ "Gareth Bale wins PFA Player of Year and Young Player awards". BBC Sport. 28 April 2013. 
  51. ^ "Coventry 'disgusted' with Iron boss' comments about Leon Clarke". Scunthorpe Telegraph. 15 August 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  52. ^ "Sheffield United 'make inquiry' about Leon Clarke". Coventry Telegraph. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  53. ^ "Swindon Town show interest in Coventry striker". BBC Sport. 7 August 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  54. ^ "Pressley confirms Clarke bid". Sky Sports. 17 January 2014. 
  55. ^ "Leon Clarke: Coventry City striker hands in transfer request". BBC Sport. 13 January 2014. 
  56. ^ "Leon Clarke: Coventry boss Steven Pressley feels 'let down'". BBC Sport. 29 January 2014. 
  57. ^ "Wolves and Coventry agree Leon Clarke deal". BBC Sport. 29 January 2014. 
  58. ^ "Leon Clarke re-signs for Wolves from Coventry". BBC Sport. 30 January 2014. 
  59. ^ "Confirmed: Clarke returns". Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. 30 January 2014. 
  60. ^ "Leon's vow". Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. 30 January 2014. 
  61. ^ "Wolves 2–0 Bradford". BBC Sport. 1 February 2014. 
  62. ^ "Swindon 1–4 Wolves". BBC Sport. 11 March 2014. 
  63. ^ Leon Clarke career stats at Soccerbase

External links[edit]