Kieron Dyer’s career set to take another twist as he prepares to enter the jungle
- Credit: Archant
As former Ipswich Town midfielder Kieron Dyer prepares to enter the I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here jungle on Sunday, we take a look at his career on the pitch.
A fresh-faced Dyer makes his Ipswich debut
Aged just 17, former Westbourne High School pupil Kieron Dyer made his first professional appearance as he came off the bench for the Blues in their 3-1 home victory over Crystal Palace on Boxing Day 1996. He played just the final four minutes, as goals from Adam Tanner, Paul Mason and Richard Naylor secured a comfortable home win.
Opening his account in style
After winning a regular place in George Burley’s side by the end of his first season in professional football, Dyer started the 1997/98 season in spectacular form and got on the scoresheet for the first time away at Bradford in August. He did so in style, after picking up a throw out from Richard Wright before charging down the right hand side and finishing neatly past Mark Prudhoe. Sadly his effort was wasted as the Blues lost 2-1.
Scoring with a broken leg
Dyer scored some memorable goals in his Ipswich career, but his effort against Watford in March 1999 was particularly iconic. The young midfielder rolled the ball past Alec Chamberlain after 17 minutes, giving the Blues the lead, with it later revealed he did so with a fracture in his leg. He was helped off the field before the half-hour mark and missed six weeks of action.
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The play-offs were Dyer’s last stand
The game which ultimately proved to be Dyer’s last in an Ipswich shirt was also one of his most iconic. Sadly, however, the play-off semi-final second leg with Bolton in 1999 didn’t provide the homegrown hero with a glorious send-off. Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Dyer scored twice in a game which the Blues ultimately lost on away goals, including a stunning header from edge of the box which took the game to extra-time. After the game, with tears in his eyes, Dyer’s boots ended up in the North Stand as a gesture which made it clear the game was likely to be his last in a blue shirt.
That Bolton loss did indeed turn out to be Dyer’s final outing in Ipswich blue, as the youngster headed north to Newcastle United in a deal worth around £6million. He was the only English player signed by Ruud Gullit during his spell at St James’ Park, but didn’t play under the legendary Dutchman long as he was sacked following the 2-1 loss to Sunderland. Sir Bobby Robson replaced him, and it was under the former Ipswich boss Dyer played the best football of his career.
Making his mark for his country
It didn’t take long before Dyer’s potential was recognised by the England set-up as, having represented his country at youth, under 21 and ‘B’ level, he was called into the senior side in September 1999. He started the match against Luxembourg at Wembley in the slightly unfamiliar right back role, but his game ended at the break as he injured himself while setting up Alan Shearer’s goal in the eventual 6-0 win. He went on to win 33 caps.
Heading to the World Cup
The pinnacle of every player’s career is surely representing your country at a World Cup? Dyer did this in 2002, when named in Sven Goran Eriksson’s squad for Japan and Korea, where he made three appearances as a substitute before the Three Lions exited the competition at the hands of Ronaldinho and Brazil. He also made the squad for Euro 2004 in Portugal, but only played seven minutes in what proved to be his final trip to a major tournament.
Sadly, for many people, one of Dyer’s most memorable moments was a negative one, as he clashed with Newcastle teammate Lee Bowyer in a game against Aston Villa in 2005. The pair had to be separated following a disagreement and were both shown red cards. Dyer was banned for three games for his role, but Bowyer was given an extra game as well as a £200,000 fine after being found to be the aggressor.
Back to where it all began
After leaving Newcastle for West Ham, injuries began to strike and Dyer found gametime hard to come by, which led to a fairytale homecoming in 2011 when he returned to Portman Road on loan. In total he made four appearances, two at Portman Road, which included two wins, a draw and a defeat.
Calling it a day
Sadly Dyer’s injury problems eventually got the better of him and, after spells with Queens Park Rangers and Middlesbrough, his career ended in 2013 after 424 club games and 53 goals. Since hanging up his boots, Dyer has gone into coaching at the Ipswich Town Academy.