Of the current top five journeymen in the Championship, Laura Jones takes a look at why they have moved on so often.
The January transfer window can bring many footballers the opportunities to play at a higher level or for a club that will provide them with an outlet to start again. The transfer window can be an unsettling time for players who are surplus to requirement or don’t fit into their club’s current plans.
There are players currently playing in the Championship who have ‘started again’ multiple times. I’ve had a look at who has played at the most clubs at a senior level and the possible reasons behind why they’ve never found that one club to settle down with.
In some of these cases a player may have been attached to club but not made any appearances for them.
Chris O’Grady and Michael Hector
In the ‘14 team’ club are Brighton and Hove Albion’s Chris O’Grady and Michael Hector of Chelsea. These players are no strangers to a loan move and both are currently enjoying spells with Nottingham Forest and Reading, respectively.
Striker O’Grady has been sent out on loan nine times and defender Hector 11 times – 12 if you count his immediate loan back to Reading after signing for the Stamford Bridge club. Whilst O’Grady has been your grafter journeyman who didn’t quite make the grade at his clubs, Hector’s loans have been for development purposes.
Those players who have tipped the 15-club record have also taken different paths. Goalkeeper David Button was much like Hector in that by the time he was 23 years old he had been loaned out 11 times by his parent club, Tottenham Hotspur. With a brief stop at Charlton Athletic, Button finally found the warm embrace of Brentford in 2013 and he has made over 113 appearances for the Bees.
Also hitting the 15-club mark is Wes Thomas. Striker Thomas has worked his way up through the lower leagues from Waltham Forest and Thurrock to Dagenham and Redbridge and Crawley Town, before hitting his highest point at Birmingham City but yet again he’s out on loan from City at Swindon Town. With other in-form strikers such as Matt Tubbs at Crawley Town and Lewis Grabban at Bournemouth dislodging him from clubs, Thomas has failed to make a real impact which would ensure a longer term relationship with a club.
Our number one Championship journeyman is Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Paul Rachubka. In total he’s been attached to 17 football clubs during his 16-year senior career. Brian Kidd convinced American-born Rachubka to join Manchester United and he made three appearances before being loaned out to Royal Antwerp and Oldham Athletic in 2001. He was sold to Charlton Athletic at the end of his second season.
He made a total of zero appearances for the Addicks but was loaned out five times before Huddersfield Town decided to sign him after he helped them to win promotion from Division Three. As Rachubka would find out in later moves to Blackpool and Leeds United, there would always be a new player to displace him either because of injury or his form.
Football is a heartless mistress for those who don’t quite make the grade or whose club courts the attention of someone else to take their place. Rachbuka is 34 years old and on a one-year contact with Bolton as cover for first-choice keeper Ben Amos, so there is every possibility he could be playing at club 18 next season. Let’s hope this one looks after him for a little bit longer.
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