Wigan Athletic FC: International players – A to Z – (part two)

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The story of those Latics greats continues…

GABOR BUKRAN – JOSIP SKOKO

GABOR BUKRAN

Played just once for Hungary whilst at Walsall. Gabor signed for the club on 6th August 2001, the eve of the new season along with Polish International Dariusz Adamczuk. He impressed during a short trial at the club and despite being a goal scorer on his first game for the club, a friendly at the JJB Stadium against Everton, Latics were hammered 6-1. He made his Latics League debut on 11th August 2001 in the first game of the season at the JJB Stadium against Brentford.

The game resulted in a 1-1 draw. He had only signed for the club on a non contract basis and soon got fed up of that situation, because the Brentford game was his only competitive appearance for the club as he failed to turn up at the team hotel for the following game, away at Brighton and Hove Albion. This was enough to ensure that he never played for the club again. The irony of the whole situation was that manager Paul Jewell was about to offer Gabor a contract.

GARETH FARRELLY

Gareth made 6 appearances for the Republic of Ireland whilst at Bolton Wanderers. He signed for Latics on a free transfer on 9th March 2004 in a deal that would keep him at the JJB Stadium until the end of the 2003/04 season. He made his Latics League debut on 13th March 2004 against Bradford City at Valley Parade. The game resulted in a 0-0 draw and he was substituted by Neil Roberts at half time.

Gareth made a bit of club history on the day by becoming the first player to play for and against Latics as a First Division club. Ironically, he played against Latics for Bradford! He was to make just 2+5 League appearances without scoring before being released at the end of the season.

GARY CALDWELL

Gary had made 36 appearances for Scotland during which he netted twice, whilst with Hibernian and Celtic. It was from the Glasgow giants that he was signed by Roberto Martinez for a fee of a million pounds on 13th January 2010.

He had been destined to join Middlesbrough, along with three other Celtic team mates, but he decided that his future lay in the Premier League and not with his former Celtic manager Gordon Strachan. He made his debut for the Blues three days later against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux which was won 2-0.

To date (26 May 2011) he has made 46 international appearances and netted twice.

GARY TEALE

Gary was signed by Paul Jewell from Ayr United for a fee of £275.000 on 14th December 2001 along with Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper John Filan. He made his Latics debut against Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park on 16th December 2001 in a game that resulted in a 1-1 draw. Gary made his first appearance for Scotland whilst still a Latics player, like his fellow countryman Lee McCulloch, when he played for Scotland in a 1-3 defeat against Switzerland at Hampden Park on 1st March 2006, just four days after appearing for Latics in the final of the Carling Cup at the Millennium Stadium.

He came onto the field of play in the 46th minute as a replacement for Barry Ferguson and after a shaky start was unlucky not to score on his debut. He left the JJB Stadium on 11th January 2007 to sign for Derby County for a fee of £600.000. His last league game for Latics was the Premiership clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Boxing Day 2006, a game the Blues lost 3-1.

His final Latics league career total read 111+37 appearances and he netted 8 league goals. To date (May 2011) he has made 13 appearances for Scotland without scoring and is plying his trade at Sheffeild Wednesday.

GED BRANNAN

Ged played for the Caymen Islands whilst at Norwich City. Latics manager Bruce Rioch took advantage of a cash crisis at Firs Park and Motherwell had no option but to accept a Latics bid of £175,000 when the player himself could have left the club for nothing by the season’s end anyway. Ged had wanted to return to his native North West for a long time and he arrived at the JJB Stadium on Thursday 15th January 2001.

He made his Latics debut, along with another new recruit, Peter Beagrie, in a home League game against Bristol Rovers on 17th January 2001. He played a total of 52 League games, scoring 3 League goals before signing for Accrington Stanley after loan spells at Dunfermline and Rochdale.

GEOFF SLEIGHT

Geoff made just 1 appearance for Australia, but it was an historic occasion. It was Australia’s first ever World Cup qualifying game against North Korea in Cambodia on 21st November 1965. Whilst at Springfield Park in season 1963/64 the former Bolton Wanderers player made 16 League appearances and scored 4 League goals. He has recently sent a letter of support to the North Korean FA who are in the process of making a film entitled ‘The Game Of Their Lives’. The Koreans were based in Middlesbrough and progressed to the quarter finals of the tournament proper. Geoff may be featured in the film which is due for release at the end of October 2002. What follows is Geoff’s message.

“Hello, My name’s Geoff Sleight and I’m speaking to my friends in North Korea. And I say friends because I played at number seven in the World Cup game in November 1965 against Korea. I played for Australia. And I hate to remind you but you managed to beat us 6?1 on that evening. You were far too good for us. You were a wonderful team. You had all played many times for your country and that was our first game for Australia. I wish we could have played more often together and I wish we could have given you a much better game. But as I said previously you were much too good for us and I was delighted

when you went on to play in England and you did so well, especially to beat Italy 1?0. Unfortunately, if you had not come up against Eusebio of Portugal, I am sure that you would have been in the semi-final of the World Cup in 1966 and you would have had to play England.

I don’t know whether you would have beaten England but it would have been a wonderful achievement for you to be there. Could I take the opportunity to say hello to all the players. I only remember Pak Aoo lk and Han Bong Jin. I don’t remember all the other players, but I’ve just seen pictures of you on the television and it is just as though it was last year, not thirty five years ago. I hope that one day Australia meets North Korea again, and hopefully we can show you how much we have improved.
Geoff Sleight,
Player, Australia Football Squad, Cambodia 1965

GEORGE EASTHAM

Played just once for England whilst at Bolton Wanderers. His only cap was won on 18th May 1935 when England defeated Holland 1-0. George and his son George Eastham jnr, the Arsenal legend actually became the first ever father and son to play for England. He joined Latics during season 1945/46 when a rather limited Cheshire League returned after the Second World War.

He played 21 League games and scored 4 League goals that season and during the following campaign he made a further 7 League appearances and scored twice. He later played in the same Ards (Northern Ireland) team as his son.

GORDON MILNE

Played 14 times for England whilst at Liverpool. His first cap was won on 8th May 1963 when England drew 1-1 against Brazil. Gordon followed in his father Jimmy’s footsteps when he became manager of Latics arriving from Blackpool on 4th February 1970. His first task as manager was to watch Tony McLaughlin score SEVEN goals against Darwen in a Lancashire Challenge Trophy second round game that resulted in an 11-1 victory in front of 742 fans at Springfield Park.

He took over the reigns from Duncan Colquhoun who had been caretaking following the shock exit of Ian McNeill who had been at loggerheads with chairman Arthur Horrocks. He made his Latics Northern Premier League debut against Scarborough in which Latics earned a 1-1 draw on a snow covered pitch. He led the Blues to the runners up spot by the end of the season but by the end of the next Northern Premier League campaign (1970/71) Latics won the Championship.

In January 1972 he became the manager of the England Youth team and it was no surprise when he left Springfield Park to manage Coventry City by the start of season 1972/73. In total he made 66+3 League appearances for the Blues and scored 4 League goals.

GRAHAM KAVANAGH

Graham played 9 times for the Republic of Ireland, scoring once, whilst with Middlesbrough, Stoke City, Cardiff City. Graham arrived at the JJB Stadium on 4th March 2005 for a fee of £350,000 from crisis club Cardiff City. The Bluebirds were facing administration and had put their whole team up for sale. Graham was the pick of the bunch. He made his Latics League debut on 5th March 2005 against Ipswich Town at the JJB Stadium. The game resulted in a 1-0 win. His signing was instrumental in helping the club achieve Premiership status for the first time in its history by the end of the campaign.

He made 11+0 League appearances without scoring during that historic season before adding to his International appearances during the summer of 2005 against China and Israel. By the time he retired from international football he had played 16 games during which he netted once.

HENDRY THOMAS

Hendry played33 times for Honduras during his spell at Deportivo Olimpia, netting twice. It was from Olimpia that he was signed by Roberto Martinez on 9th July 2009. Outgoing Latics boss Steve Bruce was thwarted in an effort to sign him for Latics at the start of the previous season and it is reported that Bruce was also keen on taking Thomas to Sunderland with him.

He made his Premier League debut for Latics on 15th August 2009 against Aston Villa at Villa Park in what was the opening game of the new season. The game resulted in a 2-0 victory for the Blues who continued an impressive record of never losing at Villa Park in a top flight encounter.  As at January 2011 he had made 38 international appearances during which he has netted twice.

HENRI CAMARA

Played 39 times for Senegal and scored 9 goals for them during his days at Grasshoppers Zurich, Sedan, and Wolverhampton Wanderers. He arrived at the JJB Stadium on 6th August 2005 in a club record deal of £3.300.000 signing a three-year contract. He made his Latics League debut on 14th August 2005 in the epic opening game of Latics’ first Premiership season. The game was against Chelsea at the JJB Stadium and Latics lost 1-0.

Four days later he played for Senegal against Ghana, thus earning his first cap as a Latics player. On 8th October 2005 he became the first player to score two goals in an international game whilst a Latics player. The game was against Mali in an African Nations World Cup qualifying game against Mali which Senegal won 3-0. Henri was badly missed in January 2006 when he disappeared for over a month to take part in the African Nations Cup. He played five games and scored two goals as Senegal reached the third/fourth place play off game. losing 1-0 to Nigeria.

He is held in such high esteem in Senegal that in November 2006 the national team actually cancelled an international fixture so that Henri could be at the birth of his son, Henri Warren. In December 2006 he was given the accolade of being named Senegal’s Player of the Year and paid tribute to Latics by declaring, “People back home laughed at first when I joined Wigan but now they know I’ve never been happier in my career”.

He spent season 2007/08 on loan at West Ham United after falling down the pecking order at the club courtesy of the arrivals of Ant

oine Sibierski and Marcus Bent. He also failed to get into the team on a regu;lar basis the following 2008/09 season and he joined Stoke City on loan on 2nd February 2009 for the reaminder of the season by which time his Latics contract would come to an end. His Latics Premier League appearance consisted of 46+23 appearances during which he scored 20 goals, a total that has since been beaten by Hugo Rodallega.

His international tally stands at 99 caps and 31 goals and he is now retired. He is currently (May 2011) playing for Greek Super League outfit Atromitos.

HUGO RODALLEGA MARTINEZ

Hugo won 21 caps for Colombia, scoring seven goals prior to arriving at the JJB Stadium. Hugo was signed by Steve Bruce on 25th January 2009 on a three and a half year deal from Mexican outfit Necaxa for a fee of £4,500,000.

He made his Latics debut, as a substitute for Amr Zaki, on 29th January 2009 against Liverpool at the JJB Stadium in a game that resulted in a 1-1 draw. During season 2010/11 he became the club’s all time leading top flight scorer, succeeding Senegal striker Henri Camara.

As at January 2012 his international tally reads 40 games played, 8 goals scored.

IAN NOLAN

Played 17 times for Northern Ireland whilst at Sheffield Wednesday and Bradford City. He arrived at the JJB Stadium on 5th August 2001 after a trial period in which he played for Latics in a pre season tour of Scotland. He made his Latics League debut on 11th August 2001. The game was the first of the season at home to Brentford and the game finished 1-1. Three other Internationals made their Latics debuts on the same day, Dariusz Adamczuk, Jason De Vos and Gabor Bukran .

He made just 5+3 League appearances without scoring before being released at the end of the 2001/02 season. In April 2002 he became only the the fifth Latics player to gain an International cap whilst playing for the club when he played in a 0-5 defeat for Northern Ireland against Spain. This was to be his 18th and final appearance for his country.

IAN WILSON

Played 5 times for Scotland whilst at Leicester City and Everton. Ian arrived at Springfield Park following an injury crisis during which Bryan Hamilton also brought Chris Makin on loan from Oldham Athletic in the first month of the 1992/93 season. Ian was not playing for any club and only played on a non contract basis as a favour to Hamilton.

He made his Latics League debut with Chris Makin on 29th August 1992 against Swansea City at Springfield Park which Latics lost 2-3. He made 5 League appearances without scoring before he was released. This picture was taken during his spell at Leicester City.

JAMIE LAWRENCE

Played 42 times for Jamaica whilst at Leicester City and Bradford City and Latics. He was signed on a month’s loan from Walsall on 19th November 2003. Tony Dinning switched top the Bescot Stadium club for a month as part of the same deal. Jamie had played for Paul Jewell whilst at Bradford City and the boss was pleased to acquire his services from Walsall who were managed by ex Latics first team coach Colin Lee.

He made his Latics League debut as a substitute on 29th November 2003 against West Ham United at Upton Park, a game which the Blues lost 4-0. However, during his short spell at the JJB Stadium he made just 0+4 League appearances, without scoring before returning to the Bescot Stadium on 21st December 2003. He is the author of a brilliant book about his life story entitled ‘From Prison to the Premiership’.

JAMES McARTHUR

James was signed by Roberto Martinez from Hamilton Academical on a four year deal for a undisclosed fee, believed to be around £500,000, with potential add-ons for appearances etc, etc.

He made his Premier League debut on 14th August 2010 on the opening day of the 2010/11 season against Blackpool at the DW Stadium. The game resulted in a 0-4 defeat. After settling in at the DW Stadium he won his first Scotland cap on 16th November 2010 against the Faroe Islands at Pittordrie. On the same evening Latics’ sentre half Steve Caldwell was also Scotland’s captain.

As at January 2012 his international tally reads, played 5 games, scored once.

JAMES McCARTHY

James had represented the Republic of Ireland at Under 17’s, 18’s, 19’s and 21’s levels when he was signed from Hamilton Academicals for a fee of £1,200,000 by Roberto Martinez on 16th July 2009. He had to bide his time getting into the first team squad on a regular basis, but he achieved this during the second half of the Premier League campaign.

He then became an integral part of the first team and he made his first full international appearance for the Republic of Ireland against Brazil on 2nd March 2010 at the Emirates Stadium on the back of some sterling performances for the Blues.  Even though he had played this game debate raged about his aeligibility to still play for Scotland as this game was a friendly.  However, the decidsion was made final when he won his second cap for the Irish against Macedoni and the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on 26th March 2011, when he replaced Robbie JKeane in a Euro Quailifier.

As at January 2012 his international tally reads, 3 games played without scoring.

JASON DE VOS

Played 32 times and scored twice for Canada whilst at Dundee United. He signed for Latics on 30th July 2001 from Dundee United for

£500,000 whilst he was the current captain of Canada. He arrived at the JJB Stadium after putting himself on the transfer list at Tannadice and Latics secured his services despite the close attentions of both Wimbledon and West Bromwich Albion.

Latics boss Paul Jewell was delighted with the signing as it was less than a year since he had had a £1 million plus bid turned down for the six foot four inches tall defender when he was the manager of Sheffield Wednesday. He made his Latics debut on 11th August 2001 in the first game of the new season against Brentford at the JJB Stadium which resulted in a 1-1 draw. He added 5 more International caps and a goal to his collection when he skippered Canada to their CONCACAF Gold Cup third place in January/February 2002.

A further Canadian appearance in a 3-1 victory over Switzerland in May 2002 brought his tally up to 38 appearances. By the time he left Latics to join Ipswich Town in June 2004 he had represented his country a further 11 times and to date (January 2012) his international tally is 49 games played and 4 goals scored. His Latics career consisted of 87+3 league games, during which he scored 15 league goals.

JASON KOUMAS

Played 22 times and scored 6 times for Wales whilst at Tranmere Rovers and West Bromwich Albion. He arrived at the JJB Stadium on 10th July 2007 from West Bromwich Albion, signing a four-year deal and costing £5.300.000, just £200.000 short of the club’s all time transfer fee record for Emile Heskey. Jason was eligible to play for both Cyprus and Wales and was called up to both squads at the same time, opting for Wales. His first game for the club was on 17th July 2008 when Latics beat Dutch Second Division outfit, FC Zwolle by 2-0 in a Holland training camp game.

He made his Latics Premiership debut on 11th August 2007 in an away game at Everton, which Latics lost 2-1. Since arriving at the JJB Stadium he has added 7 caps and 4 goals to his international tally (29 caps, 11 goals). As at the end of season 2008/09 he had played 26+20 Premiership games for Latics, netting once. He retired from international football on 4th August 2009 and his final international tally stood at 34 caps and 10 goals.

He is cyurrently (May 2011) plying his trade with Cardiff City after securing a loan move from Latics in the summer of 2010.

JASON ROBERTS

Jason was a regular starter for Grenada when he arrived at the JJB Stadium in a club record £1,,400,000 deal and signed a three and a half year contract. He made his Latics League debut on Saturday 17th January 2004 against Preston North End at Deepdale. And what a debut it was, he became the fastest debutant to ever score a goal after he netted after just 34 seconds in a 4-2 win for the Blues. In fact, he went down in history as the scorer of the third fastest goal scored on a debut in the entire history of League Football.

Not content with that historic feat he then became the first ever Wigan Athletic to score an International goal when he scored for Grenada against Guyana on 11th March 2004 whilst serving a three match ban for Latics!

After making 83 league appearances and scoring 37 league goals for the Blues he signed for Latics’ Premiership rivals Blackburn Rovers in a £3.000.000 deal on 3rd July 2006. His current (January 2012) international record reads, 22 games played, 12 goals scored.

JASON SCOTLAND

Played 40 times for Trinidad and Tobago whilst with Defence Force, Dundee United, St Johnstone and Swansea City. He was signed from Swansea City on 10th July 2009 following both his manager, Roberto Martinez and team mate, Jordi Gomes to the DW Stadium.

He signed a three year deal and Latics paid the Swans two million pounds for his services. Following a goal scoring debut in a pre season frirendly against Preston North End at Deepdale he made his Latics Premier League debit on the opening day of season 2009/10. The game played against Aston Villa at Villa Park on 15th August 2009, resulted in a 2-0 win for the Blues.

He is currently (January 2012), plying his trade at Ipswich Town and his international tally reads, 41 games played, 8 goals scored.

JEAN BEAUSEJOUR

Jean, who had been capped 43 times by Chile whilst based in Chile and Birmingham City, was signed for an undisclosed fee from Birmingham City on 24th January 2012.  He signed a two and a half year contract and manager Roberto Martinez had finally got his man after two previous transfer window attempts.  He is yet to make his Latics Premier League debut

JEFF KENNA

Played 27 times for the Republic of Ireland without scoring during his time at Blackburn Rovers. He signed for Latics on 2nd November 2001 from Blackburn on a month’s loan. The Blues owed his signing due to the generosity of Glasgow Rangers because one of their players, Dariusz Adamzcuk was at the JJB Stadium at the time and Latics would not have been able to sign Jeff if the Scottish outfit hadn’t cancelled Adamzcuk’s (who was back at Ibrox injured) loan period. Jeff made his debut on 3rd November 2001 at London Road in a League fixture against Peterborough United which Latics won 2-0. In total he played 6 League games for the club during which he scored once, before returning to Ewood Park.

Manager Paul Jewell wanted to sign him permanently but the deal was scuppered because of Jeff’s pay demands. Later that season he signed for Birmingham City and helped the St Andrews outfit to promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs. Birmingham were managed by ex Latics manager Steve Bruce with another ex Latic boss, John Benson, as his assistant.

JESUS SEBA

Jesus is of course one of the legendary ‘Three Amigo’s’!

Despit

e playing for the Spanish Under 21?s team, prior to arriving at the club, Jesus represented Aragon twice after leaving Springfield Park in October 1996. He represented them firstly whilst Aragon were a non FiIFA affiliated outfit against Castille in 2001.

Four years later he also played against Chile, in what was the clubs first game against a FIFA accredited international team.

JOHN FILAN

Played 3 times for Australia during his time at Budapest St George. He narrowly missed out on a bronze medal at the Olympic games in Barcelona in 1992 when Australia were beaten by Ghana in a bronze medal play-off game, ironically he was in the team that neat Ghana earlier during the games. He signed for Latics from Blackburn Rovers on 14th December 2001 foe a fee of £600,000 and the deal was expected to keep him at the JJB Stadium until the summer of 2005.

John was going to sign for Stoke City in a loan deal the previous day but a goalkeeping crisis (Derek Stillie, Stewart Kerr and Scott Tynan all injured) forced Paul Jewell’s hand.

He made his debut on 15th December 2001 against Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park and the game resulted in a 1-1 draw. By the end of season 2001/02 he had made 25+0 League appearances, during which time the club lost just 4 League games. The following season saw him make 46 League appearances, making him an ever present, in the Second Division Championship winning season. He broke the all time club goalkeeping record for clean sheets in League games when he achieved an amazing 25 shut outs during that campaign. In all Latics lost just 4 League games that season under his custodianship. The first season in Division One (2003/04) would have seen him make a second consecutive ever present record but for a sending off offence.

He was an ‘ever present’ in the following Coca Cola Championship campaign. He was instrumental in ensuring that the Blues were promoted to the Premiership at the end of it. The first Premiership season saw John facing stiff competition from Mike Pollitt and he made a further 15 league appearances bringing his all time Latics career total to 177 games played. He also played as a used substitute in the 2006 Carling Cup Final for the Blues. During season 2006/07 he was loaned to Doncaster Rovers for a short spell before making a final 10 Premiership appearances following injuries to Kirkland and Pollitt. He returned to Australia at the end of the campaign and his Latics career finally consisted of 187 league appearances

JOSIP SKOKO

Played 40 times and scored 6 goals for Australia whilst at Hajduk Split, KCR Genk and Genclerbiligi. It was from Genclerbirligi that he signed for Latics. Although he had two years left on his contract he was allowed to leave on a free transfer as Genclerbiligi wanted to save on his wages so that they could buy some more players. Josip was in the top twenty earners in Turkish football and had almost signed for Manchester City in the pre season of 2005/06, but Stuart Pearce pulled out of signing him at the last moment.

His work permit finally arrived on Thursday 19th August 2005 after he had been provisionally signed a week earlier. At the time of his signing his was training with Australia, aiming to please new manager Gus Hiddink in order to add to his international tally. He made his Latics league debut on 10th September 2005 in a game against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns, coming onto the field of play as a late substitute in what turned out to be Latics’ first ever Premiership away win! However, he made only 3+2 Premiership appearances during the Premiership campaign and found himself loaned to Championship outfit Stoke City from January until the end of the league campaign.

At the end of the season he was named in the Australian squad that would travel to Germany to compete in the World Cup Finals. As at 8th February 2007 he has made 48 international appearances and scored 8 goals for the Socceroos. His current (May 2009) international record reads, 51 games played, 9 goals scored. He has also played his last international game following his decision to concentrate on club football. His last game for the Socceroos was on 10th September 2007 in a 0-1 defeat against Argentina in a friendly game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. He was released at the end of season 2007/08 his Latics career consisted of 34+10 Premiership appearances during which he failed to score.

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