Connolly playing for Cardiff City in 2015
|Full name||Matthew Thomas Martin Connolly|
|Date of birth||24 September 1987|
|Place of birth||Barnet, England|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|2006–2007||→ Bournemouth (loan)||5||(1)|
|2007–2008||→ Colchester United (loan)||16||(2)|
|2008–2012||Queens Park Rangers||116||(2)|
|2012||→ Reading (loan)||6||(0)|
|2015||→ Watford (loan)||6||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:33, 4 March 2017 (UTC).
Having started his career at Arsenal he went moved to Queens Park Rangers, going on to win the Football League Championship in 2011. It would be the first of three titles in four years, as he won the same division again on loan at Reading in 2012 and Cardiff in 2013, whom he had joined permanently one year previously.
Born in Barnet, London, Connolly attended Nicholas Breakspear R.C school started his career as a youth at Arsenal, eventually making the reserve side. In September 2006 he was made captain of Arsenal's reserves. He made his first-team debut for Arsenal on 24 October 2006, starting a League Cup third round match against West Bromwich Albion.
On 23 November 2006 Arsenal announced he was going on loan to Bournemouth until 2 January 2007. In total he played seven games for Bournemouth (five in League One and two in the FA Cup), and scored his first goal at senior level in a 2–0 win over Nottingham Forest, on 5 December 2006. He returned to Arsenal as scheduled at the start of January 2007, and came on as a substitute for Armand Traoré against Liverpool in the League Cup Quarter-finals on 9 January.
On 9 July 2007 Arsenal announced he would be spending the whole of the 2007–08 season on loan to Colchester United, although he eventually was recalled midway through the loan on 2 January 2008.
Queens Park Rangers
The same day, his transfer to Queens Park Rangers was announced, after a lack of first-team opportunities were offered by Arsenal. His debut came on 5 January, in a 1–0 loss to Chelsea in the FA Cup. He scored his first goal for QPR against Blackpool on 16 January 2010. In the meantime, in November, he received his first call-up to the England U-21 squad, where he joined Arsenal teammate Theo Walcott. His second goal came on 6 March against West Bromwich Albion in a 3–1 win.
During the 2010–11 season, Connolly played a part in QPR's Championship title win playing 36 out of 43 games.
He joined Reading on a loan on 31 January 2012 until the end of the 2011–12 season. He made his debut on 11 February 2012 in a 2–0 win against Coventry City. He only played 6 times during Reading's promotion push which resulted in Reading winning the Championship title.
On 20 August 2012, QPR had accepted an £500,000 bid from Cardiff City for Connolly's services. On 22 August, the deal was completed and Connolly signed a contract that would keep him at the Cardiff City Stadium for 3 years. He made his debut in the Severnside derby against Bristol City on 25 August. He scored his first and second goal for the club in a 3–0 win over Blackpool on 29 September. His third goal came a month later against Burnley, and later scored his fourth against Middlesbrough. Making thirty-six appearances and scoring five goals, Connolly was a key figure as Cardiff won the Championship title, the third time in successive seasons that Connolly has achieved the feat.
He started the Premier League season playing at right back until new signing Kevin Theophile-Catherine became a permanent fixture in the side. Cardiff were relegated after just one season in the top flight. Connolly had then returned to the starting eleven partnering Mark Hudson in a 1–1 draw at Blackburn Rovers.
On 19 March 2015 Connolly joined another Championship side, Watford, on loan until the end of the 2014–15 season, despite having played 26 times for Cardiff that season. Manager Russell Slade stated the deal was a business rather than a footballing decision, with Connolly expressing his surprise at the move. Whilst at Watford, Connolly achieved the feat of being promoted to the Premier League for the fourth time with four different clubs (QPR, Reading, Cardiff and Watford). At Watford Connolly scored once; in a 3–1 win at Nottingham Forest.
Connolly rejoined the Cardiff squad for the 2015–16 season, earning himself a permanent place in the side alongside Sean Morrison. He had become of interest to other clubs during the January transfer window, due to his impressive performances that season. Which earned him a contract extension till 2019 and also the club's Player of the Year award.
As of 4 March 2017
|Club||Season||Division||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Total||Discipline|
|Bournemouth (Loan)||2006–07||League Two||5||1||2||0||2||0||9||1||1||0|
|Colchester United (Loan)||2007–08||Championship||16||2||0||0||0||0||17||2||1||1|
|Queens Park Rangers||20||0||1||0||0||0||21||0||4||0|
|Queens Park Rangers Total||116||2||1||0||8||0||125||2||17||3|
|Cardiff City Total||130||7||2||0||5||0||137||7||25||1|
- Queens Park Rangers
- Championship: 2011–12
- Cardiff City
- Championship runner-up: 2014–15
- "Premier League clubs submit squad lists". premierleague.com. Premier League. 2 September 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
- "Premier League Player Profile Matthew Connolly". web page. Premier League. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- "Banfield: 'The senior players impressed me'". Arsenal F.C.
- "West Brom 0–2 Arsenal". BBC Sport. 24 October 2006. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- "Connolly joins AFC Bournemouth on loan". www.arsenal.com. Arsenal FC. Archived from the original on 19 December 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- "Bournemouth 2–0 Nottm Forest". BBC Sport. 5 December 2006. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
- "Cherries v Bees". Vitalfootball. Archived from the original on 20 December 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2007.
- "Liverpool 3–6 Arsenal". BBC Sport. 9 January 2007. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- "Matthew Connolly joins Colchester United on loan". Arsenal F.C.
- "Colchester to lose on-loan Gunner". BBC Sport. 30 December 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- "Sky Sports – Football – Premier League – News – Connolly links up with QPR". Sky Sports.
- "Blackpool 2 – 2 QPR". BBC Sport. 16 January 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
- Arsenal.com: Matt Connolly called up for Under-21 action
- "Reading sign QPR defender Matthew Connolly on loan". BBC Sport. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- "Royals swoop for Matthew Connolly". Reading Football Club. 10 October 2013. Archived from the original on 18 April 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- "Cardiff City close to signing QPR defender Matthew Connolly". South Wales Echo. 20 August 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
- "DEAL DONE: CONNOLLY SIGNS FOR CITY". Cardiff City FC. 22 August 2012. Archived from the original on 24 August 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
- "Blackburn Rovers 1–1 Cardiff City". BBC Sport. 8 August 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- "Matt Connolly says the Watford squad is more talented than the QPR, Reading and Cardiff City sides he was promoted to the Premier League with". Watford Observer. 6 April 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
- "Nottm Forest 1–3 Watford". BBC Sport. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- "Connolly signs long-term deal". Cardiff City F.C. Official Site. 19 January 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- "Cardiff City end of season awards RECAP: Matt Connolly named Player of the Year". Wales Online. 7 May 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
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