|Full name||Michael Bridges|
|Date of birth||5 August 1978|
|Place of birth||North Shields, England|
|Height||6 ft 1 in (1.86 m)|
|Playing position||Second striker / Attacking midfielder|
|Current club||Newcastle Jets|
|Wallsend Boys Club|
|2004||→Newcastle United FC (loan)||6||(0)|
|2004||→ Sunderland (loan)||11||(1)|
|2005||→ Carlisle United (loan)||7||(3)|
|2007–2008||→ Sydney FC (loan)||9||(2)|
|2008–2009||→ Carlisle United (loan)||30||(7)|
|2009||Milton Keynes Dons||1||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 3 December 2013.
† Appearances (Goals).
- 1 Club career
- 2 Honours
- 3 References
- 4 External links
Bridges emerged as one of the Premier League's most promising young strikers during the 1996–97 season at Sunderland, but was unable to save them from relegation. Two years later he helped them return to the Premiership and joined Leeds United for £5million soon afterwards.
He made a total of 79 Appearances at Sunderland, and scored 16 Goals.
In his first season at Elland Road, Bridges scored 19 Premiership goals including a debut hat-trick against Southampton – the first Leeds player to score a hat-trick in a competitive game since Gary McAllister in October 1995.
Bridges also helped his side finish third in the Premiership, qualify for the Champions League and reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup. Bridges was seriously injured in the 0–0 draw with Beşiktaş J.K. and was plagued with injuries over the next 4 seasons of his Leeds United career, only making 10 appearances and not scoring any goals.
As a result of his injuries he was loaned out to Newcastle United in a loan swap with Stephen Caldwell in January 2004 to help alleviate their striker crisis. After only making a single start for Newcastle, on the right wing as opposed to in his favoured striking role, Bridges was out of contract in the summer of 2004 with his contract not being renewed due to his injury problems, he made only 6 appearances for Newcastle, and failed to score in any of those matches.
He was quickly snapped up by Bolton Wanderers but made no first team appearances. Released by Bolton he spent the rest of the season back at the Stadium of Light with Sunderland, scoring once against Stoke, before joining Bristol City, where he scored once in the League Cup against Barnet.
His spell at Ashton Gate ended in November 2005, and he joined Carlisle United, becoming perhaps their most influential player in their successful promotion charge into League One. Bridges' 15 goals made him very popular in Carlisle and thanks to them he reestablished his football career, but the fans were sad when he decided to leave Brunton Park on transfer deadline day, 31 August 2006. It was reported that Hull City had a £250,000 bid for Bridges turned down, and that because of this, Bridges handed in a transfer request. Hull returned with an improved bid of £350,000, and this was accepted.
His first season at Hull was largely disappointing. However, he did earn the Tigers their first league win of the season with a spectacular goal against Leicester City, but through a combination of injuries (back and ankle), suspension (following a sending off in a reserve game) and simply not being selected, he made only eight starts and seven substitute appearances for the Tigers, scoring further goals against Cardiff in the league and Crewe Alexandra in the League Cup.
He scored his first league goal for the club on 3 November in the 1–0 win over Newcastle Jets. A viral infection forced him to miss two matches away at Adelaide United and Wellington Phoenix and following this found it hard to regain favour of coach John Kosmina. He returned to the Sydney first team in January as a substitute against Queensland Roar.
After just nine games and two goals Bridges returned to Hull after the expiration of his six-month loan deal.
Return to Carlisle United
On 24 July 2008, Bridges returned to Carlisle, on a season-long loan deal. The club had first option on signing him permanently, at the end of the loan, as his Hull City contract where to expire. After the now departed manager John Ward had left him out of every starting line-up since the start of the season, Bridges finally got a starting place in the League One fixture against top of the table Leicester City at Brunton Park. Although Carlisle lost the game 2–1, Bridges and his strike partner Danny Graham looked to be forming an impressive partnership and this was later proved so in a 3–0 boxing day victory over Huddersfield Town with Michael Bridges on the scoresheet. He then started the following game, a 0–0 draw away at promotion chasing Oldham Athletic.
Milton Keynes Dons
On 8 August 2009, he was signed by Milton Keynes Dons on a non-contract basis. He came on as a substitute towards the end of the match on the opening day of the season against Hartlepool United and started in a League Cup defeat against Swindon Town, being replaced in the second half. He left the club after three weeks and making two appearances, and decided to return to Australia to continue his career.
On 25 September 2009, it was confirmed that Bridges was trialling with the Newcastle Jets with a view to earn a six-month contract at the club. He announced on Fox Sports' Matchday Saturday program that, if all went well, he and Jets coach, Branko Čulina would sit down and discuss a contract. Bridges signed a contract to play for the Jets for the remainder of the 2009–10 season on 30 September.
In his first game for the Jets, a 1–1 draw with Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on 5 October, Bridges set up Korean midfielder Song Jin-Hyung for the opening goal of the match in the sixth minute. He managed to last for around 80 minutes before being replaced by Sasho Petrovski. Branko Čulina expressed his surprise that Bridges had lasted so long and suggested that he would only improve as he continued to increase his match-fitness. On 23 October, Bridges scored his first goal for the Jets, netting the opener in the team's 2–1 home win over their derby rivals, the Central Coast Mariners. It was the Jets' first victory after a six-game winless streak.
As Bridges settled in with his new team, he began to find consistent form. A week after the Jets' derby victory, he floated in a cross to set up strike partner Labinot Haliti's opening goal in Newcastle's 1–1 away draw with Brisbane Roar. Despite squandering several chances in a mid-week 3–0 defeat away to Wellington Phoenix. The Jets missed several good chances in the first half of the match, with both teams goalless at half-time, but in the 55th minute Bridges set up Jets captain Matt Thompson for the opening goal before earning and converting a penalty in the 85th minute to seal the victory. Bridges missed the Jets' next game, a 1–0 home defeat to the Phoenix in sweltering conditions, but he was instrumental in helping the Jets to a 3–1 victory over Sydney FC on 29 November. Bridges had an early headed goal disallowed for offside, but converted a penalty in the 24th minute to give his side a 1–0 lead at half-time.
He scored again in the 50th minute after finishing a precise through-ball from Matt Thompson, and in turn set up Thompson for the decisive goal of the match in the 58th minute before being substituted a minute later in light of a recent hamstring injury. Following the Sydney match, which saw the Jets notch up their first ever win against their big-city rivals at the Sydney Football Stadium, Bridges pledged his commitment to the club by signing a two-year extension to his contract on 2 December which will see him play with the Jets until the end of the 2011–12 A-League season. In his first game against Brisbane Roar on 16 January after a scrappy first half leaving both sides goalless. Bridges set up Matt Thompson with a back-heel through ball and Thompson scored past the goalkeeper to make it 1–0. Moments later Thompson was once again in the penalty area this time with a defender who hand balled and the Jets were awarded a penalty. Bridges stepped up and converted with a low shot into the bottom right corner out of the goalkeeper's reach.
On 22 July 2010 Bridges was named captain of the Newcastle Jets alongside defender Ljubo Miličević who was named the vice-captain thereby becoming the first international captain in the club's history. On 29 April 2011, Bridges announced his retirement from his playing career following a knee injury, taking on a new role with owners of the Newcastle Jets, Tinkler Sports Group.
Return from retirement
On 7 November 2011, Bridges returned from retirement signing a contract with the Jets until the end of the 2011–12 season. Bridges then played his first game back against Melbourne Victory which the Jets won 3–0. Bridges scored his first goal after his return to football in a 3–0 win over Melbourne Heart. Since then he has been a starter in the attacking midfield role. On 14 March 2013, Bridges extended his contract with the Jets for another season. Bridges' agreement includes involvement with the Emerging Jets program in the off-season. Bridges followed up this extension by scoring a goal in 1–1 draw with Adelaide United the following day.
- Football League Two (IV): 2006
- "Stoke 0–1 Sunderland". BBC. 27 November 2004. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
- "Bristol City 2–4 Barnet". BBC. 23 August 2005. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
- "Leicester City vs Hull City". The Tigers Official Website. 12 September 2006. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
- "Profile-Michael Bridges". The Tigers Official Website. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
- "Hull 4–1 Cardiff". BBC. 16 December 2006. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
- "Crewe 0–3 Hull". BBC. 15 August 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
- "Dwight Sells Sydney To Bridges". FourFourTwo Australia. 15 October 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2007.
- "English striker Bridges signs on loan". sydneyfc.com. 17 October 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
- Windass and Bridges among eight released by Hull
- "Newcastle Jets 0 Sydney FC 1". sydneyfc.com. 3 November 2007. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
- Bridges jets out of Sydney
- "Bridges returns to Carlisle". Sky Sports. 24 July 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2008.
- "Bridges makes late arrival". Milton Keynes Dons F.C. 8 August 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
- "MK Dons 0 – 0 Hartlepool". BBC Sport. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
- "MK Dons 1 – 4 Swindon Town". BBC Sport. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
- "Bridges concludes Dons spell". Milton Keynes Dons F.C. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
- Jets swoop for Bridges
- "Michael Bridges announces shock retirement". The Roar. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011.