Sproule playing for Bristol City.
|Full name||Ivan Sproule|
|Date of birth||18 February 1981|
|Place of birth||Castlederg, Northern Ireland|
|Height||1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|2010||→ Yeovil Town (loan)||2||(0)|
|2011||→ Notts County (loan)||5||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18:05, 27 January 2015 (UTC).
Ivan Sproule (born 18 February 1981 in Castlederg, County Tyrone) is a Northern Irish professional footballer currently playing for Linfield F.C.. Early in his career Sproule played in Northern Ireland for Omagh Town and Institute. He became a full-time professional in January 2005, after he signed for Scottish Premier League side Hibernian, just a month before his 24th birthday. He made a significant impact at Hibernian, scoring a hat-trick against Rangers and earning selection by the Northern Ireland national team.
Sproule moved to Football League Championship club Bristol City in 2007. After four years with the club, including loan spells at Yeovil Town and Notts County in his final season, Sproule agreed to return to Hibernian in May 2011. After a year with Ross County, Sproule returned to Northern Ireland.
Sproule, a winger who was known for his explosive pace, played in the Irish Football League for semi-professional clubs Omagh Town and Institute. He combined playing football with his full-time career as an engineer. Scottish Premier League club Hibernian invited him for a trial in January 2005, after he had been transfer listed by Institute. He impressed manager Tony Mowbray and signed as a full-time professional until the end of the season, which meant that he had to give up his day job as a fabrication engineer. Hibs paid Institute a transfer fee of £5,000.
The gamble of signing a player from outside professional football paid off for both Sproule and Hibs. Although he had a slow start with Hibs and it was rumoured that he would return to Northern Ireland, he scored one of the goals in a 3–1 win over Celtic at Celtic Park. Sproule was offered an extended contract which he accepted. Sproule hit the headlines in August 2005 by scoring a hat-trick in a 3–0 defeat of champions Rangers at Ibrox Stadium. His performances caused Sproule to be linked with a £1 million move to Ukrainian club FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, who had played against Hibs in the 2005–06 UEFA Cup.
Sproule caused further damage to Rangers by helping Hibs eliminate them from the 2005–06 Scottish Cup. Sproule scored one goal and assisted with another, as Hibs again won 3–0 at Ibrox. He was part of the team that won the 2007 Scottish League Cup Final. In total, Sproule made 94 appearances in his first spell with Hibs, scoring 18 goals.
Sproule joined Bristol City on a three-year contract on 27 June 2007 for an undisclosed fee, believed to be about £5.00. He made his debut for the West Country club on 29 August 2007 against Manchester City in the League Cup. He was made to sit out the first four games of the season due to a suspension which he received while playing for Hibernian. He scored his first goal for Bristol City on 24 October 2007 in their 2–1 victory over Southampton. Sproule was part of the Bristol City squad who were beaten in the Championship 2008 play-off final against Hull City.
Sproule fell out of favour at Bristol City in 2010, making his last start for the first team in August. He was loaned to Yeovil Town in November. He was then loaned to Notts County in March 2011.
In April 2011, Sproule held discussions with Colin Calderwood about a proposed return to Hibernian. Sproule signed a pre-contract agreement with the club a month later. On the opening game of the season, he played his first Hibs match in a 2–0 loss against Celtic; scored on his first match two months later, in a 3–2 win over St. Johnstone. Sproule fell out of favour at Hibs during the 2012–13 season, making only one starting appearance.
Sproule moved to Ross County on a free transfer in January 2013. He scored two goals in his first appearance for the club, in a 4–1 victory at St. Mirren on 19 January. After the match, Manager Derek Adams praised Sproule's performance, while Sproule, himself, say his debut was a 'dream' A week later, Sproule scored again but this time was against his former club Hibs in a 1–0 win. Sproule scored 8 goals in 24 appearances for Ross County, but decided to leave the club in November 2013 due to personal reasons.
Sproule was called into the Northern Ireland squad for the first time in September 2005, immediately after his hat-trick for Hibs against Rangers. He came on as a substitute in the 1–0 win against England at Windsor Park to win his first cap. Sproule scored a goal on his first start for Northern Ireland, against Estonia on 1 March 2006. Sproule made a total of 11 appearances for Northern Ireland between 2005 and 2007.
Scottish & English career statistics
- As of 29 November 2013
|Yeovil Town (loan)||2010–11||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|Notts County (loan)||2010–11||5||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||0|
- Scores and results list Northern Ireland's goal tally first.
|International appearances and goals|
|1.||7 September 2005||Windsor Park, Belfast||England||1–0||0||2006 World Cup qualifier|
|2.||15 November 2005||Windsor Park, Belfast||Portugal||1–1||0||Friendly|
|3.||1 March 2006||Windsor Park, Belfast||Estonia||1–0||1||Friendly|
|4.||21 May 2006||Giants Stadium, New Jersey||Uruguay||0–1||0||Friendly|
|5.||26 May 2006||Soldier Field, Chicago||Romania||0–2||0||Friendly|
|6.||16 August 2006||Olympiastadion, Helsinki||Finland||2–1||0||Friendly|
|7.||6 February 2007||Windsor Park, Belfast||Wales||0–0||0||Friendly|
|8.||28 March 2007||Windsor Park, Belfast||Sweden||2–1||0||Euro 2008 qualifier|
|9.||17 October 2007||Råsunda Stadium, Solna||Sweden||1–1||0||Euro 2008 qualifier|
|10.||17 November 2007||Windsor Park, Belfast||Denmark||2–1||0||Euro 2008 qualifier|
|11.||21 November 2007||Estadio Gran Canaria, Las Palmas||Spain||0–1||0||Euro 2008 qualifier|
Sproule is married and has three sons. A second child was stillborn in November 2009, causing him to miss Bristol City's match against Nottingham Forest. City manager Gary Johnson dedicated their equalising goal in the match to Sproule, who had sent a message of support to his teammates. Johnson commented:
|“||We respect him for thinking of us at a time when we're thinking about him. It was a major shock to all of us and we're all very close to Ivan.||”|
- "Ivan Sproule". Irish Football Association website.
- Gordon, Phil (27 November 2005). "Sproule's Best efforts can harm McLeish". The Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 15 February 2009.
- "Beuzelin admits high expectations". BBC Sport. BBC. 1 December 2005. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
- "Four on Institute transfer list". BBC Sport. BBC. 7 January 2005. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
- "Sproule joins Scottish club Hibs". BBC Sport. BBC. 28 January 2005. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
- "Hibs' Ivan the Incredible". Scotland on Sunday. 28 August 2005.
- "Celtic 1–3 Hibernian". BBC Sport. BBC. 30 April 2005. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
- "Rangers 0–3 Hibernian". BBC Sport. BBC. 27 August 2005. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
- "Rangers 0–3 Hibernian". BBC Sport. BBC. 4 February 2006. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
- "Bristol City sign Hibs' Sproule". BBC Sport. BBC. 28 June 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
- "Yeovil Town sign Bristol City winger Ivan Sproule". BBC Sport. BBC. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
- "Notts County sign Ivan Sproule and Njogu Demba-Nyren". BBC Sport. BBC. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- "Winger Ivan Sproule in line for Hibernian return". BBC Sport. BBC. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- "Winger Sproule signs pre-contract deal with Hibernian". BBC Sport. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- "Ross County sign Hibs winger Ivan Sproule on a free transfer". STV. STV Group. 10 January 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
- Miller, Stevie (19 January 2013). "St Mirren 1–4 Ross County". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
- "Ross County: Manager Derek Adams delight at Ivan Sproule debut". BBC Sport. BBC. 19 January 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
- "Ivan Sproule sparkles on his debut to silence critics and sink Saints". Daily Record (Trinity Mirror). 20 January 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
- "Ross County 1–0 Hibernian: Ivan Sproule strikes against his former team". Sport STV. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- "Ross County star Ivan Sproule: I've moved on but I'll always be a Hibee". Daily Record (Trinity Mirror). 1 February 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- "Ivan Sproule leaves Ross County to return home for 'personal reasons'". STV Sport. STV. 29 November 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
- "Ivan Sproule signs for Linfield". The Scotsman (Johnston Publishing). 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- McBurnie, John (18 December 2013). "Linfield sign Sproule – eight years after Ibrox hat-trick". Edinburgh Evening News (Johnston Publishing). Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "Northern Ireland 1–0 England". BBC Sport. BBC. 7 September 2005.
- "Sproule hungry for more NI goals". BBC Sport. BBC. 1 March 2006.
- Ivan Sproule career statistics at Soccerbase
- "Bristol City boss dedicates late equaliser to Sproule and his family after tragedy". Bristol Evening Post. 9 November 2009.
- "Johnson dedicates goal to Sproule". BBC Sport. BBC. 9 November 2009.