Those we have loved – 2
In the latest of a regular series, we look at some of the former Blues now playing in the professional game.
Midfielder Tom Champion has now carved out a regular place in the Cambridge United side having helped them to a promotion and FA Trophy double last season. “Champs” had been a fixture at the Blues between 2005 and 2010 (although he did have an ill-advised and thankfully brief spell at Braintree) before moving onto Dartford where he spent three years making 111 appearances. He was ever present for United last season as won twice at Wembley and aside from a brief spell out injured this year has retained his place now the Abbey Stadium side are back in the Football League.
To say we’ve been through a few goalkeepers in the 15years Blues’ have played at Woodside Park would be an understatement. Some have gone on to better things, some haven’t but Robbie Elliott certainly fits into the former category.
The Londoner signed for Charlton Athletic as a 17-year-old in 2004 and spent six games on loan with the Blues that season. He finally established himself with the Addicks in the 2008/9 season and made 110 appearances in four years before somewhat surprisingly signing for Newcastle United in 2011.
He made his Newcastle debut on 20 September 2011 against Nottingham Forest in the League Cup in what proved to be his only game that season. The following campaign saw 17 appearances but last year saw his career again stall with just four starts for the Magpies. He looked to have made the breakthrough as starting keeper this season, but an injury in the first half in the 2-1 win against Chelsea saw him taken off at half-time and he has yet to return to the squad to add to his six appearances in 2014/15
Despite being born in England, Elliot is eligible for the Republic of Ireland through his father’s family from Cork and has represented Ireland at under-19 level. On 5 October 2013, he received his first call-up to the Republic of Ireland senior squad as a replacement for the injured Darren Randolph for the games against Germany and Kazakhstan.He won his first international senior cap for the Republic of Ireland on Sunday 25 May 2014 in a friendly match against Turkey at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Ireland lost the match 2-1.[Elliot came on as an 84th minute substitute in Ireland’s 4-1 hammering of USA in their most recent game.
With David Forde having been preferred to Shay Given in the European Championship loss against Scotland a few days earlier, Elliott appears to be third choice for his adopted country but we could yet see him in action against England when the sides meet in next June’s friendly in Dublin.
And while we’re on the subject of keepers from a while ago, Jamie Ashdown is currently looking for a new club having left Crawley Town by mutual consent a month before his contract was due to expire in December.
Having joined home-town Reading as a youngster, he played a few games on loan to the Blues in 2001/2 and went on to make 109 appearances for Portsmouth, picking up winners and runners-up medals in the FA Cup and setting a club record of 636 minutes without conceding a goal. He was released in 2012 due to Pompey’s financial meltdown but chipped in £1000, and persuaded ten other players to do likewise, to support the club’s fans bid to buy the club.
His two years at Elland Road never really worked out. He did make eight appearances in the cup competitions during the 2012/13 season but never got on the pitch the following campaign before going onto play nine games for Crawley this season.
Next time: Danny Green, Jack Midson and Harlee Deen (probably).
Read the first part of this series: http://www.bsfc.co.uk/loved/