Championship

Look at him now: Matt Derbyshire and Blackburn Rovers

Look at him now: Matt Derbyshire and Blackburn Rovers

Reflecting on the career of Matt Derbyshire, you could safely say that is has had it’s ups and down, bumps and bruises, commiserations and jubilations along the way.

Despite emerging as one of the country’s most promising talents, the former Football League man finds himself a very long way from home now and a far sight from his days as a prospect star – but, by his own admission, he does not mind (as per Planet Football).

How Derbyshire came to be is a classic tale of boy achieving dream. The forward had been a Blackburn man his whole life; born there, raised there, taught how to play there and found his love for the beautiful game there. It was only right that he also made his career there, and that is exactly what he did in 2003 – slotting straight into the academy system from humble non-league side Great Harwood.

Clubs are always careful when exposing their most promising assets to the melee of first-team football too soon through fear of burnout and other such complications. So Matt Derbyshire had to wait for his big moment. First, he found himself tested in the second tier playing for Plymouth Argyle where minutes were hard to come by and despite making 12 appearances failed to register a single goal. Lesser players may have been overcome with disappointment with that embarrassing showing, but Derbyshire jumped back on the horse and targeted League Two Wrexham next. Clearly having learned from his previous experience, the Englishman bagged an impressive 12 times in 16 league games. He was ready.

Or was he?

In his opening season of Premier League football he only managed a paltry five goals in 22 appearances. The following year was not to be any more fruitful either. With exotic talents hailing from far and wide in Roque Santa Cruz, Benni McCarthy and Carlos Villanueva, the boy next door found it difficult to really establish himself in the side.

He may have scored twice against Manchester United at Old Trafford but as soon as Sam Allardyce arrived on the scene, the young lad from Blackburn’s dream was over.

‘We all know Big Sam and I won’t take anything away from him, but I went from playing every week to being fifth-choice striker,’ he recalls (via Daily Mail)

‘He said I had to fight for my place, but I knew and we all know what centre-forwards he likes, the one big man up front.’

For the man who scored one of the opening goals at the ‘new Wembley’ (as per The Guardian), some may consider his career trajectory to be a little underwhelming. From the point he was exiled from the Blue and Whites’ squad, he spent time in Greece with Olympiakos, then back to England with Birmingham, Nottingham Forest and Oldham Athletic. After bouncing around the lower tiers of English football, however, his time was up. From Rotherham, where he was frozen out by former manager Alan Stubbs, he moved his family 3000 miles away to most unlikely of locations – Cyprus.

Derbyshire now turns out for Omonia Nicosia having been bought by former Newcastle man John Carver, and with a tally of 50 goals in 84 games we think it is fair to say he has found his level.

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