Them and Us – David Connolly (West Ham United and Wigan Athletic)

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The trip to the Boleyn Ground to take on Premier League rivals West Ham United in the Capitol One Cup, third round encounter tomorrow evening is an opportune time to look back at the career of a player who has featured for both clubs during his career.

David James Connolly, who was born in Willesden on 6th June 1977  is a striker who started his career with Watford in 1994, for whom he netted 10 times in 26 League games before signing for Feyenoord, becoming one of the highest paid players in Holland, in 1997.  Whilst in Holland he had loan spells with fellow Dutch outfit Excelsior and Wolverhampton Wanderers, before returning to England, signing for Wimbledon in 2001.

His next port of call was West Ham United when then Hammers boss Glenn Roeder paid the Dons £285,000 in August 2003.  Thirty nine games and 10 goals later he was transferred to Leicester City for a fee of £500,000, finishing as the club’s top scorer in his first season.

David was signed by Paul Jewell on transfer deadline day, 31st August 2005, for a fee of £2,000,000 from the Foxes. His three-year deal included a proviso that the Foxes receive an additional £1 million dependent on his appearances and goal scoring ratio for Latics.

A former Republic of Ireland international, he made his Latics League debut on 10th September 2005 at the Hawthorns against West Bromwich Albion. In what was a dream debut he scored his first goal for the club in the 40th minute in a game that resulted in a 2-1 win for Latics. Even sweeter for David was the fact that the player he had replaced in the Latics team (Nathan Ellington) was in the losing Baggies team.

On 8th October 2005 he returned to international football after a two-year lay off in the Irish’s 1-0 win over Cyprus in a World Cup qualifying game. However, he failed to get a regular first team place at the JJB Stadium and made just 5+11 Premiership appearances, scoring once. His last appearance for Latics was a Premiership fixture against Reading at the JJB Stadium on 26th August 2006 which the Blues won 1-0.

He had made just two substitute appearances during the 2006/07 season before being transferred to Sunderland for an undisclosed fee on 31st August 2006. Also joining him at the Stadium of Light was his Latics team mate Graham Kavanagh who also signed for the Mackems on the same day. He is currently out of the game after plying his trade at Southampton whom he helped to their current Premier League status at the end of last season.

He made 41 appearances for his country netting nine times in the process and it is somewhat surprising that, even at the age of 35 he is not still playing the game at some level.

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