On this week in Town’s history: Six of the best and not-so-good transfers
Football writer Carl Marston looks back on this week in Town’s history, and discovers a few interesting new arrivals during the last week of November
The last week in November, over past seasons, has featured a steady flow of new arrivals at Portman Road, from heavyweights to lightweights, from big names to the easily forgotten.
Here’s a selection that I have unearthed over the last 30 years or so, occurring at a time before the open-and-shut transfer windows were introduced and loan markets were restricted to certain months.
All were signed during the period November 23-30.
1 SHEFKI KUQI
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This popular striker needs no introduction. Bagging four goals in an initial loan spell from Sheffield Wednesday, Kuqi then endeared himself further to Town fans by choosing to sign permanently on November 27 2003, rather than leaving for Norwich City instead.
He went on to plunder 20 goals in 48 outings during the 2004-05 season, forming a lethal partnership with Darren Bent in the Championship, before moving on to Blackburn Rovers.
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VERDICT: a big hit
2 JASON CUNDY
Ironically, defender Cundy is often best remembered by Town fans for a bizarre goal he scored against them, rather vthan for his three years at Portman Road.
The ex-Chelsea centre-half was signed by Town, from Tottenham, for a £200,000 fee on November 25, 1995, after an initial loan spell.
Over the course of the three seasons, Town finished fourth, fifth and third in the second tier to reach the play-offs, although Cundy’s only full campaign was in 1997-98 when he played 50 games.
That was his one injury-free season, featuring three goals in three wins over Portsmouth, West Brom and Charlton. He was part of a defence that also included the likes of Tony Mowbray, Jamie Clapham, Mark Venus and Mauricio Taricco.
Alas, George Burley’s Town failed to win promotion during this period, and Cundy was bedeviled by injuries, a knee problem eventually ending his career at the age of 30.
He was later to survive two bouts of testicular cancer.
As for that freak goal – it was a wind-assisted 40-yarder for Tottenham, netted against Town in a 1-1 draw at Portman Road in 1992. Cundy was off balance, near the half-way line, when he connected with his right boot, the ball soaring over keeper Craig Forrest into the roof of the net
VERDICT: haunted by injuries
3 JORDAN GRAHAM
Loan players come and go, and are often soon forgotten, especially youngsters just starting out on their professional careers.
Young winger Graham is a case in point – even though he returned to Town a second time.
A product of the Aston Villa Academy, Graham originally arrived on loan from Villa Park on November 28, 2013, as a fresh-faced 18-year-old. He made his professional debut in Town’s 2-1 win over Huddersfield, as a 78th minute substitute for Frank Nouble, and likewise featured in a 3-0 win at Doncaster, again as a replacement for Nouble.
But he then returned to Villa. He did re-sign for Town, on loan from Wolves during Paul Hurst’s ill-fated stay, but left for Oxford when Paul Lambert took charge.
VERDICT: easily forgotten, not once but twice
4 STERN JOHN
This was a gamble that didn’t really pay off for under-pressure manager Roy Keane, almost a sign of desperation.
Front-runner John, brought in on loan from Crystal Palace (on November 26, 2009) to score goals, only managed one goal in nine outings, a 3-2 win over Coventry.
Already a veteran, at the age of 33, with 115 caps for Trinidad & Tobago, John was well past his best, in the twilight of his career.
VERDICT: an aging stop-gap
5 SEAN ST LEDGER
This centre-half was destined never to play for Town. Originally, a deal and transfer was agreed with Leicester in early 2012, but that deal fell through when the Foxes had an injury crisis and St Ledger became indispensable to manager Nigel Pearson.
St Ledger did finally sign for Town on November 27, 2014, but never made an appearance and eventually left for America.
VERDICT: what might have been
6 RORY FALLON
Front-runner Fallon, a New Zealand international, arrived on loan from Plymouth Argyle on November 23, 2010, with manager Roy Keane hoping he would help solve his side’s goalscoring problems.
Fallon’s Town debut was an unfortunate one, as a substitute in a 4-1 thumping at deadly rivals Norwich City.
He ended up only playing six games, scoring in his penultimate appearance, a 1-1 draw at Coventry City’s Ricoh Arena when playing up top with Jason Scotland.
Often an isolated figure up top, I felt a little sorry for Fallon, and I don’t think he minded returning to Home Park after two months to resume his Plymouth career.
VERDICT: flattered to deceive