Rory Delap

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Rory Delap
Rory Delap 2009.jpg
Delap playing for Stoke City in 2010
Personal information
Full name Rory John Delap
Date of birth (1976-07-06) 6 July 1976 (age 37)
Place of birth Sutton Coldfield, England
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)[1]
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1992–1994 Carlisle United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–1998 Carlisle United 65 (7)
1998–2001 Derby County 103 (11)
2001–2006 Southampton 132 (5)
2006–2007 Sunderland 12 (1)
2006 Stoke City (loan) 2 (0)
2007–2013 Stoke City 178 (8)
2013 Barnsley (loan) 6 (0)
2013 Burton Albion 6 (1)
Total 504 (33)
National team
1996–1998 Republic of Ireland U21 6 (1)
1998–2004 Republic of Ireland 11 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 3 August 2013 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).

Rory John Delap (born 6 July 1976) is a former footballer who played as a midfielder. Born in England, he has made 11 appearances for the Republic of Ireland national football team.

Delap started his career at Carlisle United and impressed enough to earn a move to Premiership side Derby County in 1998. He joined Southampton, spending five years on the south coast, before moving to Sunderland. He did not spend long on Wearside, joining Stoke City on loan in October 2006. In just his second match for Stoke, against his parent club Sunderland, Delap suffered a broken leg. Despite this, Delap signed a contract at Stoke in January 2007. He went on to become a vital member of the squad and his long throw-ins helped Stoke to gain promotion to the Premier League and consolidate in the league.

A midfielder by trade, he is renowned for his long throw-in ability.[2] Between the touchlines, he is famed for his fitness and work rate, giving him a valuable role in breaking up opposition play. Delap was a talented javelin thrower in his youth, and was touted to represent Ireland in the Olympics after his throw-ins shot to prominence following Stoke's promotion to the Premier League.[3]

He is currently coaching the Derby County under-14s and has recently completed his UEFA B coaching license.[4][5]

Career[edit]

Carlisle United[edit]

Although Delap was born in Sutton Coldfield to Irish parents, his family moved to Carlisle when he was just six months old. He therefore supported Carlisle United and attended matches at Brunton Park with his father.[6] He was one of several promising players who came through the ranks at Brunton Park during the mid-1990s, alongside Matt Jansen, Scott Dobie and Lee Peacock. In 1997 he was part of the side which gained promotion to Division Two and defeated Colchester United on penalties to win the Football League Trophy at Wembley Stadium.[7]

Derby County[edit]

Delap was signed by Derby County manager Jim Smith for £200,000 in February 1998, and went on to make 13 appearances during the remainder of the 1997–98 season.[8] Despite failing to score a league goal during the 1998–99 season, he did manage to find the net in a second round League Cup tie with Manchester City. During the 1999–00 season he was Derby's top scorer with eight goals. His first goal of that campaign came during a 2–1 defeat to Arsenal.[9] After scoring his second goal of the season in a 2–0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday, his third came during a 3–3 stalemate with his future club Southampton. An impressive 3–1 home victory over Chelsea saw Delap score two goals and increase his season tally to five, while it was just two games later when he scored against eventual champions Manchester United during a 2–1 loss at Pride Park.[10] Later that season Delap scored and assisted a goal in Derby's 3–0 win over Leicester City - a game in which Stan Collymore broke his leg.[11] His eighth and final goal of the campaign came after just 22 seconds during a 4–4 draw with Bradford City, although he was later sent off for conceding one of four penalties.[12] During the 2000–01 season Delap once again scored against both Leicester and Bradford. He scored his final goal for Derby in a 1–0 victory over Ipswich Town on 2 December 2000, which brought his total league tally to 11.[13]

Southampton[edit]

On 10 July 2001, Southampton signed Delap for a fee of £4 million. In the process he not only became Stuart Gray's first signing since replacing Glenn Hoddle as manager, but also Southampton's record transfer - a tag he held onto for almost 11 years, before they signed Jay Rodriguez from Burnley for £7 million on 10 June 2012.[14] Prior to Delap's arrival, His former club Carlisle received £700,000 from the deal. Delap's first goal for Southampton came during the 3–1 victory over Ipswich Town at Portman Road on 2 March 2002.[15] It was just later that month when he scored his first goal at St Mary's against Fulham, in a game that finished 1–1. [16]

Although Delap was unable to find the net during the 2002–03 campaign, he made a total of 30 appearances in all competitions, and despite having to miss out due to an ankle injury,[17] helped Southampton to the 2003 FA Cup Final. While they narrowly lost to Arsenal after Robert Pirès scored the only goal of the game in the 38th minute, the Gunners had already qualified for the Champions League after finishing second in the Premier League that season, meaning Southampton qualified for the UEFA Cup. Their UEFA Cup campaign was short-lived though, after a 1–1 draw with Steaua București at St. Mary's being followed by a 1–0 away defeat on 15 October 2003.[18] Delap played in both legs.

Delap's third goal for Southampton and arguably the best of his career, was a spectacular bicycle kick in a 1–0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on 27 March 2004. The 64th-minute strike ended his near two-year goal drought.[19] Seven months later he scored two headers in a 2–2 draw with Arsenal at Highbury. Both goals came in the last ten minutes of the game, and would have secured three points for Southampton had it not been for Robin van Persie's last-minute equaliser, which maintained Arsenal's position at the top of the Premier League.[20]

Sunderland[edit]

From Southampton, Delap was signed by Mick McCarthy for Sunderland in the 2005–06 season. He made six appearances for the club that season before injury struck. On 8 April 2006, under caretaker manager Kevin Ball,[21] he clashed heads with team-mate George McCartney during his side's league game with Fulham, a game that was subsequently abandoned.[22] In doing so, he broke his nose and underwent an operation to adjust it correctly after being selected to play at Manchester United only to withdraw after suffering a nose bleed during the warm-up.[23] Thus he was ruled out for the remainder of the season and Manchester United relegated Sunderland and their own title hopes with a 0–0 draw.[24] He scored once in the league during his spell at Sunderland, a crucial equaliser in a 2–2 draw with Everton on 1 April 2006.[25]

Stoke City[edit]

Rory Delap in 2008

Having become a marginal figure when Roy Keane took over as manager of Sunderland, Delap transferred to Stoke City on loan in October 2006.[26] He made his debut in the 4–0 thumping of Leeds United at Elland Road. A week after signing on loan, Delap made his home debut for Stoke City against his former club Sunderland on 17 October 2006. However after a challenge from Sunderland player Robbie Elliott he sustained fractures to his tibia and fibula early in the game resulting in a broken leg.[27][28] Despite the fact that his injury sidelined him for the remainder of the 2006–07 season, Stoke City manager Tony Pulis signed Delap on a permanent basis[29] on 9 January 2007.[30] On 15 July 2007, Delap made his comeback in a pre-season friendly with Newcastle Town.[31] Delap impressed after returning from injury, playing 46 games as, particularly in the second half of the season, Stoke finished second and secured promotion to the Premier League for the first time.

The potency of the "Delap Special" reached new heights as Stoke City began their debut Premier League season. Of their first 13 goals, seven were credited as Delap assists.[32] Stoke's first Premiership goal from a Delap throw was Mamady Sidibe's injury-time winner against Aston Villa on 23 August 2008. His throws continued to cause further problems for Stoke's opposition throughout the season, and would have earnt the Potters a point against Everton on 14 September, had it not been for Tim Cahill's 77th-minute header. The game finished 2–3, with both Stoke goals coming from Delap throws.[33] Tony Pulis suggested his absence was a crucial factor in Stoke's 2–0 defeat to Chelsea on 27 September.[34] He returned the following week to face Portsmouth, and despite helping to create Ricardo Fuller's goal from a throw-in, Stoke lost the game 2–1.[35] It was just one game later when Delap scored his first goal of the season and only his third in a Stoke shirt. He met Sidibe's cross at the far post to give his side an important 2–1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.[36] Delap was sent off in Stoke's 1–0 win over Manchester City for fouling and kicking out at Shaun Wright-Phillips.[37]

Delap did not wait long into the new season to use the "Delap Special". His throw-in in the opening game of the 2009–10 season against Burnley earned Stoke a 2–0 victory.[38] Delap gave away two penalties within three games. One was against Portsmouth and the other was against Arsenal. Aruna Dindane of Portsmouth was struck in the head by Delap's boot[39] while Andrei Arshavin was tripped up by Delap's long leg.[40] Both penalties were saved by Thomas Sørensen.

Rory Delap in 2010

Delap proved a crucial factor in Stoke's 2009–10 FA Cup campaign. Despite falling behind in the 22nd minute of their third round clash with York City, Stoke managed to gain the lead in the space of just two minutes. Danny Parslow headed Delap's throw into his own net, before Ricardo Fuller put Stoke ahead after York failed to clear another Delap throw. Stoke won 3–1 after Matthew Etherington's free-kick and drew Arsenal in the fourth round.[41] Just 70 seconds into their tie with Arsenal, Fuller gave Stoke the lead after beating Lukasz Fabianski to the ball and headed home from a Delap throw. Despite Denílson's equaliser, Fuller struck again in the 78th minute, before Dean Whitehead added a third just four minutes from time.[42] The Potters drew Manchester City in the fifth round. After falling behind to an early goal from Shaun Wright-Phillips, Stoke drew level when Fuller converted Delap's throw. Several pundits drew comparisons to Fuller's goal against Arsenal in the previous round. An eventual 1–1 stalemate meant a replay was required.[43] The replay also finished 1–1 over 90 minutes, thus extra time was required. It was just five minutes into extra time when Ryan Shawcross beat Shay Given to the ball and headed in from Delap's throw, before Tuncay made it 3–1 in the 99th minute.[44] Stoke met Chelsea in the quarter finals. Delap's dreaded delivery looked certain to have an impact yet again, although after it had initially been cleared a Stoke shot was saved off the line. Chelsea proved too strong for Stoke, ending their campaign in the process.[45]

Delap made his 300th appearance in the Premier League on 13 September 2010 against Aston Villa becoming the 82nd player to reach the landmark.[46] On 16 October 2010, Delap scored his first goal in 21 months against Bolton Wanderers. Although Rory's goal was the equaliser, Stoke lost 2–1 during injury-time, with Ivan Klasnić's winner ironically occurring from a long throw-in. Just a few minutes after his goal Klasnić received two yellow cards in quick succession, with the second coming after catching Delap in the face while challenging for a header.[47] He scored another rare goal against West Bromwich Albion in February 2011.[48] Delap's throw-ins were another major factor in Stoke's 2010–11 FA Cup campaign. Not only did one lead to an assist in their fifth round victory over Brighton & Hove Albion,[49] but another helped give them their ticket to Wembley after they defeated West Ham in the sixth round.[50] Delap played in the semi final against Bolton Wanderers and the 2011 FA Cup Final with Stoke losing 1–0 to Manchester City.[51] In April 2011 Delap signed a one year extension on his contract keeping him at the Britannia Stadium until 2013.[52] After turning 35 Delap stated that he has no plans for retirement.[53] On 1 May 2012 Delap signed a one-year contract extension which will see him extend his stay at Stoke until the end of the 2012–13 season.[54] However Delap found himself out of favour in 2012–13 making just one appearance away at Reading on the opening day of the season.[55] He left Stoke after the end of the 2012–13 season bringing a seven year spell at the club to an end.[56]

Barnsley loan[edit]

On 31 January 2013, Delap joined Barnsley on loan until the end of the season.[57] Soon after his move to Oakwell, he expressed his desire to make the move permanent in order to continue his playing career.[58] Following his debut in a 2–1 win over Blackpool,[59] his throw-in quickly caused problems as it created Scott Golbourne's equaliser in a 3–2 victory over Middlesbrough.[60] He then assisted Chris Dagnall's header in his third league appearance against Wolves,[61] before his throw created Tomasz Cywka's goal in a 5–3 defeat to Bristol City.[62]

Burton Albion[edit]

After leaving Stoke, Delap spent time on trial with League Two side Burton Albion in an attempt to earn a contract.[63] He signed a one-year contract with the Brewers on 18 July 2013.[64] His third appearance and first as a contracted Burton player was a friendly against Stoke. Burton lost the game 2–0, as Delap played 55 minutes at right-back.[65][66] He played seven matches for Burton scoring once in a 2–2 draw against Cheltenham Town on 3 August 2013.[67] On 16 December 2013 Delap announced his retirement from football.[68][69]

International career[edit]

A former Republic of Ireland under-21 international, Delap won 11 caps for the national team between 1998 and 2004. He was not included in the Irish squad for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, where the nation reached the final sixteen of the tournament. His international career was marked by a number of withdrawals, the last of which was with a twisted knee on 25 April 2004 before a midweek friendly with Poland.[70]

Under-21[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Goals Result Competition Report
1. 30 May 1996 United Park  Norway 0 1–1 Friendly [71]
2. 1 April 1997 Gradski Stadion Kavadarci  Macedonia 1 0–4 1998 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualification [72]
3. 29 April 1997 Stadionul Național  Romania 0 1–0 1998 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualification [73]
4. 19 August 1997 Dalymount Park  Lithuania 0 2–0 1998 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualification [74]
5. 11 February 1998 Tolka Park  Northern Ireland 0 0–1 B International [75]
6. 11 March 1998 Tolka Park  Northern Ireland 0 0–1 B International [76]

Senior[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Goals Result Competition Report
1. 25 March 1998 Andrův stadion  Czech Republic 0 1–2 Friendly [77]
2. 22 April 1998 Lansdowne Road  Argentina 0 0–2 Friendly [78]
3. 23 May 1998 Lansdowne Road  Mexico 0 0–0 Friendly [79]
4. 13 November 1999 Lansdowne Road  Turkey 0 1–1 Euro 2000 Qualifying Play-off [80]
5. 17 November 1999 Bursa Atatürk Stadium  Turkey 0 0–0 Euro 2000 Qualifying Play-off [81]
6. 26 April 2000 Lansdowne Road  Greece 0 0–1 Friendly [82]
7. 17 April 2002 Lansdowne Road  United States 0 2–1 Friendly [83]
8. 21 August 2002 Helsinki Olympic Stadium  Finland 0 0–3 Friendly [84]
9. 20 November 2002 Karaiskakis Stadium  Greece 0 0–0 Friendly [85]
10. 18 November 2003 Lansdowne Road  Canada 0 3–0 Friendly [86]
11. 31 March 2004 Lansdowne Road  Czech Republic 0 2–1 Friendly [87]

Throw-ins[edit]

Delap after a throw in 2009

Delap, a former schoolboy javelin champion,[88] is renowned for having one of the longest and most feared throw-ins in football; his throws, noted by Martin O'Neill as equivalent to "a corner or a free kick", often range 30–40 metres (98–131 ft) (averaging 38 m (125 ft)), and can reach the speed of 60 km/h (37 mph). They have served as an assist in more than one case before 2008. Numerous experts, including his former manager Tony Pulis, have commented on the technique Delap employs, the length and flatness undoing many a defence. "It causes so many problems (amongst the opposition defence). I think it's because they're so flat. They're not lofted into the air, he throws it pretty flat and it's very difficult for defenders to pick up the flight."[89]

Fellow professionals similarly renowned for long throw-ins, such as Mario Melchiot, formerly of Wigan Athletic, and Lee Dixon, formerly of Arsenal, have also spoken of their admiration for Delap. Melchiot described Delap's ability as "one hell of a throw-in" and a "great weapon", having already set Delap out for unique praise in stating that he did not think there was "anyone in the league that can throw like him".[90]

To increase the momentum of the throw, Delap takes four steps from the advertising boards around the pitch, followed by one long stride. In doing this he plants his front foot solidly on the ground propelling all momentum forward, thus increasing the speed with which the ball is released. Delap says he does not work on building his upper body strength and physique, although he uses his shoulders and lower back muscles to give power to his throw. For the ball to reach his target faster, Delap throws it on a flat trajectory releasing in such a way to cause large amounts of backspin. This helps to counter gravity so the ball will travel on a more level elevation even though it is released at such a low angle. He tends to target two players within 6ft of each other. His throw-ins are reputed as more accurate than most corners being that more muscles are used to control the direction in which the ball travels.[91]

I have never seen anyone with a throw-in like Delap's and I believe his missiles have created seven out of Stoke's 13 league goals this season. I had a long throw and used to practice them, but I could only just about get it in the box. My team-mate Perry Groves could throw it a long way and we have seen the likes of Dave Challinor and Andy Legg do it – but nothing like Delap. Most long throws tend to be a bit loopy, whereas Delap's are fired in like a free-kick – but even more dangerous.

Former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon, speaking in 2008[32]

Factors, according to Dixon's analysis, which further enhance the dangerous nature of Delap's throw-ins are the fact that "you cannot be offside from a throw-in, so the attackers can crowd the six-yard box" and "because a free-kick starts with the ball on the ground it means it has to have a natural arc in order to get up and over the first defender", whereas "from a throw-in the ball starts from six foot and it is the angle and trajectory of Delap's darts that make them so potent".[32]

In the 2008–09 Premier League season Delap's throw-ins led directly to both goals scored in at least two matches. Both Stoke goals in the 3–2 loss to Everton on 14 September 2008 came about as a result of Delap's throw. Afterwards Everton manager David Moyes referred to Delap as the "Human Sling".[92] Later, Delap used his ability to help score Stoke's goals in the 2–1 victory over Arsenal at the Britannia Stadium on 1 November 2008. The first of these travelled 45 metres from the sideline into the penalty area.

The then Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari described the technique as "fantastic" and suggested the goalkeeper ought not to attempt claiming the ball in this situation. "I think he puts the ball better with his hands than his foot, it's fantastic. I have never seen anything like this in my life; 10 metres outside midfield, this boy puts the ball inside the area. Maybe it's not beautiful football but it's effective."[93]

While many believe Delap should use his throwing ability to his team's advantage, Arsène Wenger is against the idea. He stated in an interview on the Arsenal website. "For example at Stoke, for Rory Delap it is like kicking the ball. It is a little bit of an unfair advantage. He is using a strength that is usually not a strength in football. So [the rule I would change would be] maybe to play throw-ins by foot. Why not? I think it would make the game quicker. Football is the most popular team game in the world and one day some crazy guy said 'we don't use the hands'. How could you have imagined on that day a game that is completely natural to play with your hands would become the most popular sport?"[94][95][96]

Some teams have used techniques to try and put Delap off his long throws. Notable examples include, against Hull City on 29 November 2008; goalkeeper Boaz Myhill kicking the ball out for a corner instead into touch when under pressure. Unused Tigers substitute Dean Windass received a yellow card for unsporting behaviour after warming up too close to Delap when preparing to take a throw-in.[97] On 27 March 2010, West Ham United erected an extra set of hoardings considerably close to the touchline to hamper Delap's run-up, but he was still capable of reaching the penalty box in spite of the limited space. These hoardings backfired when a misplaced throw from Hammers defender Julien Faubert led to Ricardo Fuller to score the only goal of the game in the Potters' favour.[98] Burnley also tried a similar tactic however the match finished 1–1 with Stoke's goal coming from a Delap throw.[99]

Delap served as the inspiration for Danny Brooks – a P.E. teacher from West Yorkshire who broke the world record for the longest football throw-in. He performed a flip throw to gain extra momentum and lifted the record to 49.78 metres (163 ft).[100] The record was once again broken on 18 June 2010, and is now held by Thomas Gronnemark of Denmark, who threw the ball 51.33 metres (168 ft).[101]

Personal life[edit]

Rory's father is John Delap from Letterkenny and his mother Maura Delap from Kells.[102] He moved to Carlisle when he was six months old. Rory is the nephew of Paddy Delap, a Letterkenny businessman, golfer,[103] and athletics coach who runs Clarke's Newsagent's and organises an annual charity cycling event in aid of cancer noted for launching the career of former Cervélo TestTeam member Philip Deignan.[104] Another uncle, Anthony, is an award winning actor-playwright whose works have been performed at An Grianán Theatre in the town.[105] Delap appears on the cover of "...And She Laughed No More: Stoke City's First Premiership Adventure", a book written by Stoke supporter Stephen Foster.[106]

Charity work[edit]

Rory has been acknowledged for his generosity towards The Donna Louise Children's Hospice based in Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent. Rory's first venture was a 202-mile bike ride from Newcastle upon Tyne to Edinburgh in June 2000.[107] Delap repeated the same route in June 2010, this time completing it in just two days.[108] Delap also took part in and won Marco Pierre's Stoke Kitchen contest, with the proceeds benefiting Caudwell Children. The contest also featured a special appearance from Soccer AM's Tubes.[109][110] Due to the use of his shoulders and lower back muscles when throwing a football, Delap is one of the faces of Back In Play, a campaign to help raise awareness towards Ankylosing spondylitis.[111]

Career statistics[edit]

As of 4 May 2013[112][113]
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other[A] Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Carlisle United 1992–93 Third Division 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
1993–94 Third Division 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0
1994–95 Third Division 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
1995–96 Second Division 19 3 0 0 1 0 4 0 24 3
1996–97 Third Division 32 4 3 0 3 0 7 0 45 4
1997–98 Second Division 9 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 12 0
Total 65 7 3 0 5 0 0 0 14 0 87 7
Derby County 1997–98 Premier League 13 0 0 0 0 0 13 0
1998–99 Premier League 23 0 1 0 3 1 27 1
1999–2000 Premier League 34 8 1 0 2 0 37 8
2000–01 Premier League 33 3 1 0 2 1 36 4
Total 103 11 3 0 7 2 0 0 0 0 113 13
Southampton 2001–02 Premier League 28 2 0 0 1 0 29 2
2002–03 Premier League 24 0 4 0 2 0 30 0
2003–04 Premier League 27 1 0 0 3 0 2 0 32 1
2004–05 Premier League 37 2 4 0 2 0 43 2
2005–06 Championship 16 0 0 0 2 0 18 0
Total 132 5 8 0 10 0 2 0 0 0 152 5
Sunderland 2005–06 Premier League 6 1 0 0 0 0 6 1
2006–07 Championship 6 0 0 0 1 0 7 0
Total 12 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 13 1
Stoke City 2006–07 Championship 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
2007–08 Championship 44 2 1 0 1 0 46 2
2008–09 Premier League 34 2 1 0 1 0 36 2
2009–10 Premier League 36 0 5 0 0 0 41 0
2010–11 Premier League 37 2 6 0 3 0 46 2
2011–12 Premier League 26 2 3 0 1 0 6 0 36 2
2012–13 Premier League 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Total 180 8 16 0 6 0 6 0 0 0 208 8
Barnsley (loan) 2012–13 Championship 6 0 1 0 0 0 7 0
Total 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
Burton Albion 2013–14 League Two 6 1 0 0 1 0 7 1
Total 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 1
Career total 504 33 31 0 29 2 8 0 14 0 587 35
A. ^ The "Other" column constitutes appearances and goals in the Football League play-offs and Football League Trophy.

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Carlisle United
Stoke City

Individual[edit]

  • Stoke City coaching staff's player of the Year: 2009
  • Sir Stanley Matthews Potteries Footballer of the Year: 2009

References[edit]

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  37. ^ Delap sees red
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  39. ^ Stoke City 1 – 0 Portsmouth
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External links[edit]