Blake lining up for Wales in 2011
|Full name||Darcy James Blake|
|Date of birth||13 December 1988|
|Place of birth||New Tredegar, Wales|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Playing position||Defender / Midfielder|
|2009||→ Plymouth Argyle (loan)||7||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 08:25, 14 February 2014 (UTC).
Darcy James Blake (born 13 December 1988) is a Welsh former international footballer. Blake won 14 caps for Wales at full international level and has made more than 100 appearances in the Football League.
He withdrew from playing professional football in 2014, instead turning out for Gwent-based amateur Tredegar Arms FC. He also played for amateur rugby team New Tredegar (seconds) rugby team in Division Two of the Gwent, Newport and Pontypool District League.
Blake joined the Cardiff City youth side at the age of 10 and as a youngster he supported both Liverpool and Cardiff. He attended Blackwood Comprehensive school, the same school as Alex Evans who has recently signed a professional contract for Cardiff City. Blake signed his first professional contract at the club in 2006 along with fellow academy graduate Chris Gunter.
Blake made his first team debut on 17 April 2006 against Crewe Alexandra in the Football League Championship, but had to wait until 20 February 2007 to make his first league start for the club in a match against West Bromwich Albion, Cardiff losing the match 1–0. Blake also received a man of the match award in the semi final of the FAW Premier Cup against The New Saints after playing in the centre back position with his strength and tackling earning him the man of the match award
He can play in several positions and played at centre back, right back and right wing for the "Bluebirds". Blake began the 2007–08 season in the reserves but after a number of injuries affecting the team he began to make an impact on the first team, which included coming on as a substitute for Kevin McNaughton during a 2–0 win over Middlesbrough in the FA Cup quarter-final which was followed by his first league start of the season at right back in a 1–1 draw with Colchester United. In total he made 13 appearances during the season, including featuring in three of the clubs six matches as they reached the FA Cup final.
During the 2008–09 season Blake replaced Kevin McNaughton as right back after McNaughton suffered in an injury. He made seven appearances before being removed from the side.
On 28 August 2009, Blake signed for fellow Championship club Plymouth Argyle on loan until January 2010, making his debut the following day in a 3–1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday. In his fifth appearance for the side, he was sent off for the first time in his professional career during a 1–1 draw with Ipswich Town on 24 October 2009. Plymouth appealed the decision but the red card was upheld and he was subsequently suspended for three matches. Blake completed his loan at Plymouth on 31 December 2009 and returned to Cardiff. However, Plymouth manager Paul Mariner stated his desire for Blake to return to the club during the January transfer window.
Return to Cardiff
On 19 January 2010, Blake was named on the bench in a FA Cup third round replay with Bristol City, where he came on to make his first appearance of the season, before making his first start of the season in the fourth round against Leicester City four days later. He went on to establish himself in the side as a centre-back, making a career high 24 appearances and playing in the play-off Final. He started the next season as a regular in the side, playing at right back which again shows his versatility. He was also the first Cardiff City player to be awarded the Npower Man of the Match in the first home game of the season.
Blake missed Cardiff's 2011–12 pre-season through injury but returned in a 1–1 draw with Burnley coming on for Joe Mason on 20 August. His first start off the season was the following game against Huddersfield Town. He made his 100th appearance against Portsmouth on 27 August, which was also his first league start of the season. His impressive form for Wales, didn't help his chances in cementing a first-team place in the Cardiff squad. This led to former Wales striker Iwan Roberts questioning his future at Cardiff City Stadium. Cardiff boss, Malky Mackay, replied to this saying Blake was "in his plans" but his injuries and fitness were a problem. Despite Wales' winning ways with Blake in the side the newly partnership of Mark Hudson and Ben Turner kept him at reserve level at club level, he confirmed he will hold talks with boss Malky Mackay over his future at the Welsh capital. His 100th appearance came in a 1–0 win over Nottingham Forest on the final day of 2011. However it took him 4 months into 2012 to make his first appearance of the year, which eventually came against Middlesbrough.
On 9 August 2012, Blake rejected new terms at Cardiff, where he only had a year left on his contract following his time as a bit part player the previous season. On 22 August, Blake entered talks with Crystal Palace over a possible move.
On 20 March 2014 Blake joined Newport County on non contract terms. He made his debut for Newport in the league two match versus Torquay United on 22 March. He remained at Newport County until the end of the 2013-14 season. Blake went on to train with Plymouth Argyle in July 2014, the club he was loaned to in 2009. However, Blake left Plymouth Argyle on the 28 August 2014 having failed to earn a permanent deal.
Blake was a regular for the Wales under-19 squad before he was called up to the under-21 squad for the first time in 2006 by coach Brian Flynn and made his debut for the side against Israel and has been a regular at under-21 level since. Usually playing at right back, he was part of the team that finished top of their qualifying group for the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship before losing in the playoff match against England.
In May 2008 he received his first call-up, alongside six other uncapped members of Wales under-21 side, to the Wales team. Blake made his full international debut on 12 October 2010 versus Switzerland in Basel. He played his second game against Scotland, in the Nations Cup, where Wales lost 3–1. On 10 August 2011 Blake scored his first senior career goal in a 2–1 defeat against Australia. A suspension to James Collins meant that Blake, was to start the following game against Montenegro at Centre-Back, he then kept his place in the side for the reminder of the Euro 2012 qualifiers.
- Cardiff City
- FA Cup Runner-up: 1
- Football League Championship Play-Off Runner-up: 1
- Football League Cup Runner-up: 1
- "Search 1984 to 2006 – Birth, Marriage and Death indexes". Findmypast.com. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
- "How former Cardiff City star Darcy Blake fell out of love with football and became a rugby player!". Wales Online. 21 September 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- "Blake and Gunter join the paid ranks at Cardiff". South Wales Echo. 8 November 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
- "Crewe 1–1 Cardiff". BBC Sport. 17 April 2006. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- "Blake a jack of all trades at Bluebirds". South Wales Echo. 17 October 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
- "Welcome Mr Darcy". Plymouth Argyle FC official Site. 28 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
- "Plymouth 1–3 Sheff Wed". BBC Sport. 29 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
- "Plymouth 1–1 Ipswich Town". BBC Sport. 24 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
- "Dismissal Stands". PAFC.co.uk. 29 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
- "Aaron's Bristol booster". cardiffcityfc.co.uk. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- "Darcy Blake should consider Cardiff City exit, says Iwan Roberts". BBC Sport. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- "Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay says Darcy Blake 'in his plans'". BBC Sport. 14 October 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
- Phil Blanche (15 November 2011). "Wales defender Darcy Blake plans showdown talks with Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay". South Wales Echo. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
- "Darcy Blake rejects Cardiff City contract and could move to Crystal Palace". South Wales Echo. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- "Cardiff City defender Darcy Blake linked with Crystal Palace". BBC Sport. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
- Blake joins Newport
- "Parry and Bellamy return for Wales". BBC Sport. 18 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-18.
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