Stephen Hunt (footballer born 1981)
Hunt with the Republic of Ireland ahead of the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying Group B game against Russia
|Full name||Stephen Patrick Hunt|
|Date of birth||1 August 1981|
|Place of birth||Portlaoise, Ireland|
|Height||1.72 m (5 ft 7 1⁄2 in) |
|Current club||Ipswich Town|
|2000||Republic of Ireland U21||1||(0)|
|2007–||Republic of Ireland||39||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18:06, 26 March 2014 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Hunt's position is left midfield, although he can also play at left back and as an attacking midfielder. He previously played for Brentford, Crystal Palace, Reading, Hull City and Wolverhampton Wanderers. His younger brother, Noel, is also a footballer.
Hunt became known for his creative and skilful play as well as his work rate as a winger. Although born in Laois, Hunt grew up in Clonea-Power, Waterford. He was a talented under-age hurler and soccer player. He played for Waterford hurlers at under-15 and under-16 levels. Hurling was his first love.
Hunt's first introduction to organised football was when he moved to the Christian Brothers' Secondary School in Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary at the age of 11. During his time at secondary school he also began playing for Waterford soccer side Johnville and won a Munster Schools Junior Cup with Carrick CBS. This gained Hunt a degree of recognition and he played in the Kennedy Cup with Waterford County. He later excelled for Carrick United at various age levels, before going to England starting his career as a trainee with Crystal Palace. Failing to make an impact on the first team, Hunt had trials with clubs including Dundee United before leaving to join Brentford. In his four years at the West London club, he became an integral part of the team.
In 2005 Hunt rejected a new contract and decided to leave Brentford. After agreeing to join Bradford City, late interest from Reading, then in the Football League Championship, made him change his mind.
Hunt was denied more starting appearances in his first Reading season by the form of Bobby Convey. He still made a good contribution, appearing from the bench, as Reading won the Championship title and promotion to the Premiership during the 2005–06 season.
On 14 October 2006, Hunt's knee collided with Chelsea's goalkeeper Petr Čech when the Reading player was lunging at the ball, resulting in Čech undergoing surgery for a depressed fracture of the skull. Since the injury, Petr Čech has to wear a head protection during every game. Following the incident, Premier League officials, players, pundits, player's representatives and even MPs expressed views either condemning or supporting Hunt and the others involved in the aftermath of the incident. The FA eventually confirmed that no action would be taken against Hunt but, in the mean time, both Hunt and team-mate Ibrahima Sonko, involved in a collision in the same match with Čech's replacement Carlo Cudicini, had allegedly received death threats from Chelsea fans. Hunt scored his first Premier League goal in the 6-0 home win over West Ham.
During the January 2008 transfer window, Reading rejected a series of bids (peaking at £5.5 million) from Sunderland for Hunt, but Reading confirmed that they had no intention of selling players at that time. On 1 February 2008, Hunt signed a new deal with Reading keeping him at the club until the summer of 2011. In 2007–08, Hunt scored 6 goals in 39 appearances for Reading's first team but could not prevent the club being relegated on goal difference.
On 4 February 2009, Reading confirmed that Hunt had signed a new three-and-a-half year contract, that would keep him at the club until the summer of 2012. However, after the club failed in their attempt to win an instant return to the Premier League, losing in the playoff semi finals to Burnley, Hunt announced his intention to leave Reading in the hope securing a move back to the Premier League.
On 13 August 2009 it was confirmed that Hunt had signed for Hull City for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around the region of £3.5 million. He scored his first goal for the club 28 minutes into his debut against Chelsea on 15 August 2009. This was also the first goal of the 2009–10 Premier League season. However, he was taunted by Chelsea fans throughout the game, due to the incident with Cech. Hunt also scored in his next match, his home debut for Hull City, but they were beaten 5–1 by Tottenham.
In the January transfer window, Hunt was the subject of a £5 million bid from Wolverhampton Wanderers, but the Tigers rejected it. Shortly after, Hunt suffered a foot injury that ruled him out of the run-in. In his absence, the club were relegated amid growing financial worries.
On 21 June 2010 Wolverhampton Wanderers signed Hunt on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee, reported to be £3 million. Hunt, still recovering from his foot injury from his time with Hull, did not return to action until several months into the season, making his Wolves debut as a substitute against Chelsea on 23 October 2010. He scored his first goal for the club on 27 November, a 3–2 win against Sunderland.
In the early part of 2011, Hunt suffered calf and hernia injuries which kept him out of action for up to three months. He returned from injury for the final five fixtures of the season and scored three minutes from time on the final day of the season against Blackburn Rovers to guarantee Wolves their Premier League safety.
Although undergoing a groin operation, Hunt was largely a regular player for Wolves throughout the 2011–12 season as the club suffered relegation. His campaign back in the Championship was hampered by a persistent hip injury but he played regularly throughout the final months as the team was once again relegated. At the conclusion of the season it was announced that Hunt would be free to leave as his contract had expired. In total he made 66 appearances for the club, scoring eight times.
Hunt earned his first cap for the Republic of Ireland in their 2–1 win away to San Marino on 7 February 2007, coming on as a substitute. Later that year he was sent off following a challenge on Jan Polák in a match against the Czech Republic on 12 September 2007.
The midfielder became a regular member of Giovanni Trapattoni's team that narrowly failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. Hunt scored his first, and to date only, international goal through a late penalty in a 2–3 friendly defeat to Poland at Croke Park on 19 November 2008. He was subsequently selected as part of Ireland's squad for the Euro 2012 tournament but did not play in any of their games.
- Republic of Ireland
- Reading Player of the Year 2007–08
- Hull City Player of the Year 2009–10
- Football League Championship Team of the Year: 2008–09
- "Premier League Player Profile". Premier League. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- "Stephen Hunt signs for Club Déise". Munster Express. 16 June 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
- Crawford, Caroline (31 July 2012). "'I'll never give up on the hurling dream, it was my first love' -- Stephen Hunt". Irish Independent. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- "Decision Time fpr Trial Trio". Dundee United F.C. 22 January 2001. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- "Keeper Cech has surgery on skull". BBC Sport (BBC). 15 October 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- "Mourinho angry as keepers injured". BBC Sport (BBC). 14 October 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- "Coppell gives his views on Chelsea game, Hunt collision, ref Riley and more". readingfc.co.uk. 14 October 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- "Reading/Chelsea statement". thefa.com. 19 October 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- "Police probe Royals death threats". BBC Sport (BBC). 16 November 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- Kempson, Russell (17 November 2006). "Reading pair get death threats as Chelsea row turns sinister". London: The Times. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- "Statement on Reading Threats". www.chelseafc.com. 16 November 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2009.[dead link]
- "Reading rule out Hunt departure". BBC Sport (BBC). 31 December 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- "Reading hoping to hang on to Stephen Hunt". London: The Times. 31 December 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- "Blacks Cats fail in second bid for Royals ace". Sky Sports. 7 January 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- "Sunderland raise Hunt bid to £4.5m". The Daily Mail (London). 10 January 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- Jacob, Gary; Caulkin, George (24 January 2008). "Tottenham step up bid to clinch deal for Tiago". The Times (London). Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- "Hunt signs a new contract". readingfc.co.uk. 1 February 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- "Hunt to extend contract". readingfc.co.uk. 4 February 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
- "Hunt seeks 'fresh start'". msnsport.skysports.com. 9 June 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
- "Duo Complete City Moves". Hull City A.F.C. 13 August 2009. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
- "Hull complete Hunt & Ghilas deals". BBC Sport (BBC). 13 August 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
- "Chelsea 2 – 1 Hull". BBC Sport (BBC). 15 August 2009. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
- Lyon, Sam (18 August 2009). "Hull 1 – 5 Tottenham". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 18 August 2009.
- "Hull reject Wolves transfer bid for Stephen Hunt". BBC Sport (BBC). 1 February 2010.
- "Stephen Hunt injury hits Hull survival hopes". BBC Sport. 13 April 2010.
- "Hull reshuffle board to deal with financial issues". BBC Sport. 11 May 2010.
- "Wolves sign winger Stephen Hunt from Hull". BBC Sport. 21 June 2010.
- "Stephen Hunt hoping to make impact for Wolves". BBC Sport. 13 October 2010.
- "Chelsea 2–0 Wolves". BBC Sport. 23 October 2010.
- "Wolves 3–2 Sunderland". BBC Sport. 27 November 2010.
- "Injured Wolves midfielder Hunt eyes comeback date". BBC Sport. 10 March 2011.
- "Wolves winger Stephen Hunt to undergo hernia surgery". BBC Sport. 7 April 2011.
- "Wolverhampton 2–3 Blackburn". BBC Sport. 22 May 2011.
- "Wolves' Stephen Hunt has successful groin operation". BBC Sport. 5 April 2012.
- "Wolves: Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Stephen Hunt released". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 17 May 2013.
- "Stephen Hunt". Soccerbase.
- "Town Confirm Hunt Deal". TWTD.co.uk. 8 November 2013.
- "San Marino 1–2 Rep of Ireland". BBC Sport. 7 February 2007.
- "Czech Republic 1–0 Rep of Ireland". BBC Sport (BBC). 12 September 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- "Ireland suffer defeat against clinical Poland side". FAI. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2009.
- "Euro 2012: Defender Kevin Foley left out of Republic squad". BBC Sport. 29 May 2012.
- "Hunt voted the official readingfc.co.uk / Courage player of the month". readingfc.co.uk. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
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