|Full name||Tony Andrew Craig|
|Date of birth||20 April 1985|
|Place of birth||Greenwich, England|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back, left back|
|2004–2005||→ Wycombe Wanderers (loan)||14||(0)|
|2008||→ Millwall (loan)||5||(1)|
|2011||→ Leyton Orient (loan)||4||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14 October 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
Tony Andrew Craig (born 20 April 1985) is an English professional football centre back who plays for Brentford. He began his career at Millwall and made over 230 appearances across three spells with the club.
Born in Greenwich, London, Craig came through the youth ranks at Millwall. Adept as a centre back or a left back, Craig received his maiden call into the first team squad for a Division One league match against Bradford City on 5 April 2003. He was an unused substitute during the 1–0 win. Craig was an unused substitute for three of the following games and made his professional debut with a starting appearance in a 3–3 draw with Nottingham Forest on 26 April 2003. He lasted 67 minutes before being substituted for Robbie Ryan. He started in the final game of the 2002–03 season at home to Coventry City and scored the first senior goal of his career in the 2–0 win, opening the scoring on 51 minutes. Craig began the 2003–04 season as a virtual ever-present and completed his first 90 minutes for the club in a 0–0 draw with Stoke City on 26 August 2003. His final appearance of the season came in a 0–0 draw with Rotherham United on 11 October. Craig made 10 appearances during the 2003–04 season and scored no goals.
Craig began the 2004–05 season out of favour with manager Dennis Wise and had to wait until 19 February 2005 for his first appearance, which came with a start in a 1–0 league defeat to Stoke City. He appeared in 10 successive games for the Lions through to mid-April, which were his only appearances of the season. Under new manager Colin Lee, Craig made sporadic appearances during the opening two months of the 2005–06 season, before cementing a regular place in the team in late 2005 under new manager and former teammate Dave Tuttle. The first red card of his senior career in a 2–0 defeat to Reading on 17 December failed to halt Craig's progress. Craig received his second red card of the season for two bookable offences committed in a 1–1 draw with Ipswich Town on 11 March 2006. Craig made 33 appearances during the 2005–06 season and scored no goals as the Lions suffered relegation to League One.
Under new manager Nigel Spackman, Craig started Millwall's first two games of the 2006–07 season, but was sent off after only four minutes of the latter game against Leyton Orient. Craig returned to the team after his suspension and the replacement of Spackman with Willie Donachie, but a dislocated shoulder suffered in a 2–0 Football League Trophy second round win over Bournemouth on 14 October 2006 saw Craig out of action until January 2007. Upon his return, Craig immediately regained his starting spot and was credited with assists for both Neil Harris' goals in a 2–0 win over Carlisle United on 10 March. Craig made 32 appearances during the 2006–07 season and scored his only goal of the campaign in the final game of the season against Bradford City. Craig departed the club in June 2007, having made 87 appearances and scored two goals in his four years as a first team player.
Wycombe Wanderers (loan)
Craig joined League Two side Wycombe Wanderers on a "short term" loan on 22 October 2004 and made his debut with a starting appearance in a 1–1 home draw with Mansfield Town. The loan was later extended to 22 January 2005, but a failure to extend the loan further saw Craig make his final appearance for the club on 22 January in a 1–1 draw with Macclesfield Town. Craig made 18 appearances for the Chairboys and scored no goals.
Craig signed for Championship side Crystal Palace on 27 June 2007 on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee. Upon joining, he said "It's a nice step up for me. I've played in the Championship before with Millwall and I'm thoroughly looking forward to it". Craig had a successful start to his Palace career, starting in 13 of the Eagles' opening 14 games, but a shoulder injury suffered in a 0–0 draw with Scunthorpe United on 3 November 2007 put him out of action for the next four months. He was an unused substitute for the final game of the season against Burnley, which saw Palace confirm a spot in the 2008 Championship play-offs. Craig was an unused substitute for both matches against Bristol City in the playoff semi-finals, which Palace lost 4–2 on aggregate and consigned the club to Championship football for another season. Craig departed the Eagles in July 2008, having made just 14 appearances and fallen behind Clint Hill and Lee Hills in the pecking order for the left back position.
Return to Millwall (loan)
Craig returned to Millwall on a one-month loan on 27 March 2008. He made five appearances and scored against Carlisle United in the final match of his spell, before returning to Crystal Palace on 27 April.
Third spell with Millwall
Craig signed permanently for the second time with Millwall on 11 July 2008, on a three-year deal. Manager Kenny Jackett said he "was very impressed with Tony during his loan spell here last season and I think he'll be a good asset for us". Craig made a personal-best 52 appearances during the 2008–09 season, scoring two goals and helping Millwall to a place at Wembley Stadium for the 2009 League One play-off Final versus Scunthorpe United. Goals from Gary Alexander put the Lions 2–1 ahead, but the season ended in heartbreak for Craig after second half strikes from Matt Sparrow and Martyn Woolford sent Scunthorpe to the Championship.
Craig was in and out of the team during the 2009–10 season, not holding a regular place until December 2009. In the absence of Paul Robinson, Craig took over the captaincy. He made 35 appearances and scored two goals to help Millwall to the 2010 League One play-off Final for the second season in succession. Craig was hit by injuries twice during the season, first he suffered a fractured cheekbone and eye socket in a defeat to Wycombe Wanderers on 21 November 2009 and later a foot injury against Huddersfield Town in April 2010. In the 2010 League One play-off Final, the Lions were triumphant and defeated Swindon Town 1–0 to return to the Championship after three seasons in League One, though Craig was forced off with a broken metatarsal on 44 minutes.
Craig had a mixed 2010–11 season back in the Championship, having runs as a starter through the middle of the campaign and made 26 appearances. Craig began the 2011–12 season as a regular starter, but fell out of favour and didn't recover his starting position back on a regular basis until the final month of the season, though he still managed 28 appearances. Craig left The New Den in July 2012, having made 141 appearances and scored four goals in his third stint with the club. He made 233 appearances and scored seven goals across his three spells with the Lions.
Leyton Orient (loan)
Craig signed for League One side Leyton Orient on a one-month loan on 24 November 2011, to cover for Orient's injured Aston Villa loanee Nathan Baker. Craig made four appearances for Orient and was recalled by Millwall on 28 December.
Craig joined League One side Brentford on 13 July 2012 for an undisclosed fee on a three-year contract. Craig had a successful first season with Brentford, appearing in all but four of the Bees' matches, to record a seasonal-best 55 appearances. He received the first red card of his Bees career in a tempestuous 2–2 draw with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on 16 April 2013, a game which saw teammate Clayton Donaldson and Craig's opposite number Harry Maguire also sent off. The season ended in heartbreak for Craig, with defeat to Yeovil Town in the 2013 League One play-off Final. After missing the first game of the 2013–14 season through an ankle knock, Craig was again an ever-present starter until he received another red card in a 0–0 draw with Carlisle United on 31 August 2013. After serving his suspension, Craig returned to the side and despite breaking two bones in his hand in a 2–1 victory over Gillingham on 24 January 2014, he saw out the game and played the subsequent matches with his hand in a cast. In a season which saw Brentford promoted automatically to the Championship, Craig made 48 appearances. Craig held the captaincy for much of the season (in place of the injured Kevin O'Connor) and jointly lifted the League One runners-up trophy with O'Connor after the final game of the season against Stevenage on 3 May. After the game, he said "to lift the trophy was the sort of thing you dream of when you are a kid. There was a full house here and I thoroughly enjoyed it. As a defender, I wanted 20 clean sheets for the season. Thankfully we got that. We wanted to finish on a high and we did". The following evening, Craig was presented with the Players’ Player of the Season and Bees Travel Club Player of the Year awards.
Craig began the 2014–15 Championship season alongside James Tarkowski at centre back and started each of the club's first five games, before receiving his first red card of the season on 23 August, for bringing down former teammate Clayton Donaldson in the box after 16 minutes of a 1–1 draw with Birmingham City on 23 August. While suspended, Craig was replaced by Harlee Dean in the starting lineup and lost his place in the team for the first time since arriving at Griffin Park. He returned to the starting lineup just over a month later against Leeds United, helping the Bees to a clean sheet in a 2–0 win. Craig signed a new contract on 11 November, which will keep him at Griffin Park until the summer of 2017. Craig again lost his starting place to Dean in January 2015 and fell out of the squad entirely when Liam Moore arrived on loan in late February. After Moore was dropped in early March, Craig returned to the bench.
As a player
As an individual
Craig is a lifelong Millwall supporter.
Club career statistics
- As of match played 7 February 2015.
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Wycombe Wanderers (loan)||2004–05||League Two||14||0||2||0||0||0||2[a]||0||18||0|
|Millwall (loan)||2007–08||League One||5||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||1|
|Leyton Orient (loan)||2011–12||League One||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||0|
- Appearances in the Football League Trophy.
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2010). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2010–11. Mainstream Publishing. p. 99. ISBN 978-1-84596-601-0.
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2009). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2009–10. Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84596-474-0.
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- "BBC Sport – Brentford 0–0 Carlisle". Bbc.co.uk. 2013-08-31. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
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- "Brentford Stevenage". Brentfordfc.co.uk. 2014-05-03. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
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- "BBC Sport – Brentford 2–0 Leeds United". BBC Sport. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
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