Ronnie Wallwork

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Ronnie Wallwork
Wallwork, Ronnie.jpg
Wallwork in 2007
Personal information
Full name Ronald Wallwork
Date of birth (1977-09-10) 10 September 1977 (age 37)
Place of birth Newton Heath, Manchester, England
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Playing position Defender
Defensive midfielder
Club information
Current team
Ashton United
Youth career
1993–1995 Manchester United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1995–2002 Manchester United 19 (0)
1997–1998 Carlisle United (loan) 10 (1)
1998 Stockport County (loan) 7 (0)
1999 Royal Antwerp (loan) 17 (2)
2002–2008 West Bromwich Albion 93 (2)
2004 Bradford City (loan) 5 (2)
2004 Bradford City (loan) 2 (2)
2006 Barnsley (loan) 2 (0)
2007 Huddersfield Town (loan) 16 (3)
2008 Sheffield Wednesday 7 (0)
2014- Ashton United
Total 178 (12)
National team
1997 England U20 4 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Ronald "Ronnie" Wallwork (born 10 September 1977) is an English former footballer who could play as either a defender or a midfielder. An England under-20 international, he began his career at Manchester United, where he made his professional debut in 1997. He never fully established himself in the United first-team however, and was loaned out to Carlisle United and Stockport County. During a further loan spell at Royal Antwerp, he was banned from football for life for attacking a Belgian referee, although the ban was later substantially reduced. He returned to football in 2014 signing for Ashton United.

In 2002, Wallwork moved to West Bromwich Albion, where he was the Player of the Year for 2004–05. He was not always a regular in the side however, and spent time on loan at Bradford City, Barnsley and Huddersfield Town. His spell at Barnsley was cut short when he was stabbed in a nightclub, causing him to miss more than two months of the 2006–07 season. Wallwork was transferred to Sheffield Wednesday in January 2008, but was released just four months later and has since been without a club. In December 2011, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to three counts of receiving stolen goods.

Football career[edit]

Manchester United[edit]

Born in Newton Heath, Manchester, Wallwork attended The Football Association's School of Excellence at Lilleshall as a teenager.[1] A lifelong Manchester United supporter, he joined the club as an apprentice in April 1993, following a spell playing Sunday league football.[2][3] Wallwork signed his first trainee contract in July 1994, before turning professional in March 1995.[2] He became a regular in the Manchester United junior sides, making 77 appearances for the club's various youth teams from 1994 to 1997. Wallwork helped United to win the FA Youth Cup in 1995 and was named as the club's Young Player of the Year in 1996.[2][4] In the summer of 1997, he represented the England under-20 team at the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship in Malaysia, where he played in all four of his country's matches. England won all three group games to progress to the knockout stages, but lost to Argentina in the round of 16.[5]

"I've been a Red all my life and I used to stand on the Stretford End, so to get picked to play for the team you love is an honour. I'd been playing Sunday league football when United came in for me."

Ronnie Wallwork[3]

By the start of the 1997–98 season, he had become a regular in the Manchester United reserve team and made his senior debut on 25 October 1997, when he came on as a 64th-minute substitute for Gary Pallister in the 7–0 home win against Barnsley.[6] Later that season, Wallwork was loaned out twice: firstly to Carlisle United, where he scored his first goal in professional football, and then to Stockport County. He joined Royal Antwerp on loan during the following season and helped them to reach the play-offs, but their hopes of promotion to the First Division were ended by a defeat to La Louvière.[7] After the match, Wallwork grabbed referee Amand Ancion by the throat, for which he was banned from football for life.[8] Another Manchester United loanee, Danny Higginbotham, was banned for a year for his part in the attack. A Belgian court reduced Wallwork's sentence to a three-year suspension, of which two years were probational, while Higginbotham's ban was reduced to four months.[9] The remaining twelve months of Wallwork's ban applied only in Belgium, rather than the worldwide ban given under the initial ruling.[10]

The 1999–2000 season saw Wallwork make further progress at Manchester United as he made seven appearances for the first-team, mostly as a defensive midfielder. Then, in 2000–01, he amassed enough league appearances to qualify for a Premier League winner's medal.[4] However, his spell in the United first-team was short-lived, as the signings of centre-back Laurent Blanc and central midfielder Juan Sebastián Verón made Wallwork surplus to requirements. He made his final appearance for United on 26 January 2002, playing 61 minutes of the FA Cup Fourth Round match against Middlesbrough before being replaced by Ryan Giggs. In his seven years at United, Wallwork played just 28 times, and in the summer of 2002 his contract was not renewed.[11]

West Bromwich Albion[edit]

"Ronnie is the best Bosman transfer of the summer [of 2002]. He was a marvellous player at Old Trafford but he was unfortunate that he never had a set position. He came here as a promising young centre-half, we farmed him out to get him some experience, and ended up playing him in a variety of positions, all of which he did well in."

Alex Ferguson[12]

In July 2002, Wallwork moved on to West Bromwich Albion on a Bosman free transfer, becoming the first player signed by Albion following their promotion to the Premier League.[13] Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson called him the "best Bosman of the summer".[14] Before the season started, Wallwork and his Albion team-mates were involved in a dispute over bonuses with the club's new board of directors. According to his agent, the player was said to be "shocked and disturbed" at the prospect of an 80% reduction in bonuses compared with that offered by the outgoing board.[15] Wallwork made his Albion debut as a substitute in a 3–1 home defeat to Leeds United on 24 August,[16] and he went on to play in 27 of Albion's 38 Premier League games in 2002–03.[17] Following the death of his mother in February 2003, he and his team mates each wore a black armband for the match against Bolton Wanderers.[18] The club was eventually relegated at the end of the campaign and Wallwork fell out of favour during 2003–04, taking part in just five league matches during the first half of the season.[19] In January 2004, he joined Bradford City on an initial month-long loan, during which time he scored in his first and last games.[20][21][22] Albion initially refused an extension to the loan, citing concerns over the financial situation at Bradford, who were on the verge of administration.[23] A second loan deal for a further two months at Bradford was agreed shortly afterwards,[24] and Wallwork scored a further two goals, taking his total with Bradford to four in seven games.[19] He attributed his new-found goalscoring form to tactical instructions from manager Bryan Robson, who told him to get forward more often, in contrast to his deeper-lying role at West Bromwich Albion.[25] A broken toe sustained in a match against Rotherham United meant that he returned earlier than scheduled, however.[26][27] While Wallwork was sidelined for six weeks, his West Bromwich Albion team mates secured promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Back in the top division, Wallwork was still unable to force his way back into Albion manager Gary Megson's matchday squad. However, when Bryan Robson – who had been Wallwork's manager at Bradford – replaced Megson in November 2004, Wallwork became an integral part of the team. Robson referred to Wallwork as "an intelligent footballer" who could "sit, pass the ball and change the direction of a game" from central midfield.[28] Wallwork returned to the team the following month and was ever-present throughout the second half of the season,[29] scoring his first Albion goal in a 2–0 home win over Manchester City on 22 January 2005.[30] The club successfully avoided relegation, retaining their top-flight status on the final day of the season, when they beat Portsmouth. Albion became the first Premier League club to avoid relegation having been bottom of the table at Christmas.[31] For his efforts, Wallwork was named as Albion's Player of the Year for 2004–05.[32] In May 2005, he signed a new contract, to keep him at Albion until June 2007.[33]

"I was Player of the Year one minute at West Brom, the next I was out of the team and then out of the club. Things can change very quickly in football, it comes with the territory."

Ronnie Wallwork[34]

The following season Wallwork played in 31 out of 38 Premier League games,[35] but was unable to prevent Albion's relegation to the Championship. He nevertheless signed a new two-year deal with the club in August 2006.[36] He remained a regular in the side during the early part of the 2006–07 season, but following the appointment of Bryan Robson's successor Tony Mowbray in October, Wallwork played just once more for the club.[37] Mowbray described Wallwork as "a very good professional", but preferred a number of other midfielders ahead of him when selecting the team,[38] moving Jonathan Greening from a wide position into the central midfield holding role previously occupied by Wallwork.[39] In order to continue playing first-team football, Wallwork joined Barnsley on loan on 22 November 2006; the loan spell was due to last until 1 January 2007, though West Bromwich Albion had a recall option after 28 days.[40]

On 30 November 2006, Wallwork was attacked while on a night out with his girlfriend Amy Broadbent at the Sugar Lounge night club in Manchester. He was approached by a former boyfriend of Broadbent, Robert Rimmer, who asked him to leave. When Wallwork refused to do so, Rimmer used a fish knife to stab the footballer seven times in the hand, back and stomach.[41][42] After being rushed to hospital, Wallwork's condition was said to be stable and his injuries were not thought to be life-threatening. Police investigating the stabbing described the attack as "not random".[43] They later named 20-year-old Rimmer as the suspect and appealed for him to contact them.[44] Rimmer handed himself into a police station in Manchester and was arrested on 7 December.[45] In December 2007, Rimmer, from Gorton, Manchester, was jailed for five-and-a-half years for stabbing Wallwork after admitting wounding with intent at Manchester Crown Court. Rimmer's friend, Charles Ebbrell, a 27-year-old from Denton, Greater Manchester, was given a suspended jail sentence after he admitted punching Wallwork during the attack.[41] Wallwork was released from hospital on 10 December 2006,[46] the same day that Barnsley and West Bromwich Albion faced each other in a league game; Barnsley supporters displayed a "Get well soon Ronnie" banner during the match.[47] After returning to light training in late January,[48] Wallwork made his comeback from the stabbing on 21 February 2007, playing the full 90 minutes in a West Bromwich Albion reserve team game against Walsall.[49]

Huddersfield Town[edit]

Wallwork was loaned out to Huddersfield Town on 27 September 2007, joining up once more with manager Andy Ritchie, who had brought him to Barnsley the season before.[50] He made his Huddersfield debut in a 2–0 home win over Luton Town on 29 September 2007.[51] On 20 October, he scored his first goal for Town in a match against Oldham Athletic, which finished 1–1. His loan was extended by another month on 29 October. He was also given permission by West Bromwich Albion to play in Town's FA Cup first round tie against Accrington Stanley on 10 November.[52] Wallwork's loan was extended on 22 November until 29 December, the maximum loan period of 93 days permitted under league rules, when he returned to West Bromwich Albion.[53]

Sheffield Wednesday[edit]

On 11 January 2008, Wallwork signed for Sheffield Wednesday on a free transfer until the end of the season, with a view to an extension afterwards.[54][55] He made his debut the following day, coming on as a half-time substitute for Steve Watson in a 1–0 defeat away at Cardiff City.[56] He lost his place in the team to new signing Adam Bolder, and although he came on as an early substitute for Graham Kavanagh against Charlton Athletic on 12 February 2008,[57] he did not play for nearly another month until his appearance in a 2–1 victory against Queens Park Rangers. Wallwork played just seven games for Wednesday,[58] who released him on 14 May 2008.[59] He trained with former club Carlisle United in August 2008,[60] but failed to earn a permanent contract. The player "wasn't strong enough or fit enough for the levels we're at", according to Carlisle manager John Ward.[61]

In 2014 he returned to football, signing for Ashton United.[62]

International career[edit]

In the summer of 1997, he represented the England under-20 team at the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship in Malaysia, where he played in all four of his country's matches. England won all three group games to progress to the knockout stages, but lost to Argentina in the round of 16.[5]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Last updated 14 May 2008:[63][64][65][7]

Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other[66] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Manchester United 1997–98 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
1998–99 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
1999–2000 5 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 7 0
2000–01 12 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 16 0
2001–02 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Subtotal 19 0 2 0 5 0 1 0 1 0 28 0
Carlisle United (loan) 1997–98 10 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 12 1
Stockport County (loan) 1997–98 7 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
Royal Antwerp (loan) 1998–99 17 2 0 0 0 0 3 0 20 2
West Bromwich Albion 2002–03 27 0 2 0 1 0 30 0
2003–04 5 0 0 0 2 0 7 0
2004–05 20 1 3 0 0 0 23 1
2005–06 31 0 2 0 2 0 35 0
2006–07 10 1 0 0 2 1 12 2
2007–08 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Subtotal 93 2 7 0 7 1 107 3
Bradford City (loan) 2003–04 7 4 0 0 0 0 7 4
Barnsley (loan) 2006–07 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Huddersfield Town (loan) 2007–08 16 3 2 0 0 0 18 3
Sheffield Wednesday 2007–08 7 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
Total 178 12 11 0 12 1 1 0 2 0 204 13

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Manchester United

Individual[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Wallwork runs a clothes business, D&R Designers, in Failsworth, Greater Manchester. In 2007, the business was burgled, with hundreds of pounds worth of goods stolen.[68] On 18 August 2008, Wallwork was seen to be talking on his mobile phone while driving his BMW 525, in Failsworth. He pleaded guilty to the offence five months later and was fined £35, ordered to pay £35 costs and a £15 victim surcharge, and was given three penalty points on his licence.[68] On 18 January 2011, he was charged with concealing criminal property in connection with offences relating to stolen cars.[69] On 1 July 2011, he pleaded guilty to three counts of handling stolen cars.[70] Judge Simon Newell denied Wallwork's defence lawyer's pleas for his client to be given a suspended sentence and jailed Wallwork for 15 months on 5 December 2011. He called the set-up "professional and sophisicated".[71]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ a b c d "Footballer hurt in stab attack". Shropshire Star (Midland News Association). 1 December 2006. Retrieved 12 January 2008. 
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  59. ^ "Wednesday release seven players". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 14 May 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2008. 
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  62. ^ "Wallwork coup for Robins". Northern Premier League. 6 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
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  65. ^ "Royal Antwerp Football Club Uitslagen & Rangschikking 1998–1999". rafc.be (in Flemish). Royal Antwerp FC. Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
  66. ^ Includes FA Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, FIFA World Club Championship, Belgian Second Division Final Round and Football League Trophy.
  67. ^ "Intercontinental Club Cup 1999". rsssf.com. Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 22 October 2008. 
  68. ^ a b Greer, Stuart (14 January 2009). "Ronnie's bad run continues in court". Oldham Advertiser (MEN Media). Retrieved 23 January 2009. 
  69. ^ Scheerhout, John (19 January 2011). "Ex-United star Ronnie Wallwork charged by police in stolen cars probe". Manchester Evening News (MEN Media). Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  70. ^ Kirby, Dean (1 July 2011). "Former Manchester United starlet Ronnie Wallwork facing jail after pleading guilty to handling stolen cars". Manchester Evening News (MEN Media). Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  71. ^ Ronnie Wallwork jailed for 15 months "Ronnie Wallwork jailed for 15 months". BBC News. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 

External links[edit]