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Ivan Sproule
Ivan Sproule.jpg
Personal information
Full name Ivan Sproule
Date of birth 18 February 1981 (1981-02-18) (age 28)[1]
Place of birth Castlederg, Northern Ireland[1]
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Playing position Winger
Club information
Current club Bristol City
Number 17
Youth career
2000–2003 Omagh Town
2003–2005 Institute
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2007 Hibernian 71 (12)
2007– Bristol City 90 (6)
National team
2005– Northern Ireland 11 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:24, 9 December 2009 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 21:12, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

Ivan Sproule (born 18 February 1981 in Castlederg, County Tyrone) is a Northern Irish professional association football player who plays for Bristol City in the Football League Championship. Sproule, a winger who is known for his explosive pace,[2] only turned professional after he signed for Scottish Premier League side Hibernian in January 2005, just a month before his 24th birthday. His early career had been spent at Omagh Town and Institute, semi-professional clubs in the Irish Football League. He combined playing football with his full time career as an engineer.[3]

Contents

Club career

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Hibernian

Scottish Premier League club Hibernian invited him for a trial in January 2005, in which he impressed manager Tony Mowbray and signed as a full-time professional until the end of the season, which meant that he had to give up his day job as a fabrication engineer.[3][4]

The gamble of signing a player from outside professional football paid off for both Sproule and Hibs. Although he had a slow start with Hibs and it was rumoured that he would return to Northern Ireland,[1] he scored one of the goals in a 3–1 win over Celtic at Celtic Park.[5] Sproule was offered an extended contract which he accepted.

Sproule hit the headlines in August 2005 by scoring a hat-trick in a 3–0 defeat of defending champions Rangers at Ibrox Stadium.[6] His performances caused Sproule to be linked with a £1M move to Ukrainian club FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, who had played against Hibs in the UEFA Cup.[3] Hibs had paid Institute a transfer fee of just £5,000.[7]

Sproule caused further damage to Rangers by helping Hibs eliminate them from the 2006 Scottish Cup. Sproule scored one goal and assisted with another, as Hibs again won 3–0 at Ibrox[8]. Sproule's name was often sung by the Hibs fans with "He's here, he's there, he's every-f**king-where", a reference to his speed. He was part of the team that won the 2007 Scottish League Cup Final; in total, he made 94 appearances for Hibs, scoring 18 goals.

Bristol City

Sproule joined Bristol City on a three-year contract on 27 June 2007 for an undisclosed fee, believed to be about £500,000.[9] He made his debut for the West Country club on 29 August 2007 against Manchester City in the Carling Cup. He was made to sit out the first four games of the season due to a suspension which he received while playing for Hibernian. He scored his first goal for Bristol City on 24 October 2007 in their 2–1 victory over Southampton with a thrilling 50 yard run around several players followed by a low left footed shot. Sproule was part of the Bristol City squad who were beaten in the Championship play-off final against Hull City, played at Wembley Stadium on 24 May 2008.

International career

Sproule was called into the Northern Ireland squad for the first time in September 2005, immediately after his hat-trick for Hibs against Rangers.[1] He came on as a substitute in the famous 1–0 win over England at Windsor Park to win his first cap.[10] Sproule scored on his first start for Northern Ireland against Estonia on 1 March 2006. His goal was the only goal of the game and was scored with his first touch, with only 2 minutes of the game played.[11] During this match, the Northern Ireland fans sang "And I can't - help - falling in love - with - Sproule", after his maiden international goal.

He was left out of the initial Northern Ireland squad for the matches in October 2006 with Denmark and Latvia, but was later added for the Latvia match due to call-offs by other players.

Personal life

Sproule has a wife, Janet, and one son, Sam.[12] A second child was stillborn in November 2009, causing him to miss Bristol City's match against Nottingham Forest.[12] City manager Gary Johnson dedicated their equalising goal in the match to Sproule, who had sent a message of support to his teammates.[12][13] Johnson commented:[13]

We respect him for thinking of us at a time when we're thinking about him. It was a major shock to all of us and we're all very close to Ivan.

References

  1. ^ a b c d Ivan Sproule, Irish Football Association website.
  2. ^ Gordon, Phil (27 November 2005). "Sproule's Best efforts can harm McLeish". The Independent on Sunday. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/scottish/sproules-best-efforts-can-harm-mcleish-517144.html. Retrieved 2009-02-15.  
  3. ^ a b c Beuzelin admits high expectations, BBC Sport, 1 December 2005.
  4. ^ "Sproule joins Scottish club Hibs". BBC Sport website. 28 January, 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/irish/4217061.stm.  
  5. ^ "Celtic 1–3 Hibernian". BBC Sport website. 30 April, 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/4495875.stm.  
  6. ^ "Rangers 0–3 Hibernian". BBC Sport website. 27 August 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/4187314.stm.  
  7. ^ Hibs' Ivan the Incredible, Scotland On Sunday, 28 August 2005.
  8. ^ "Rangers 0–3 Hibernian". BBC Sport website. 4 February 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_cups/4676068.stm.  
  9. ^ "Bristol City sign Hibs' Sproule". BBC Sport website. 28 June 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/b/bristol_city/6769397.stm.  
  10. ^ "Northern Ireland 1–0 England". BBC Sport website. 7 September 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/4212920.stm.  
  11. ^ "Sproule hungry for more NI goals". BBC Sport website. 1 March 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/4761878.stm.  
  12. ^ a b c Bristol City boss dedicates late equaliser to Sproule and his family after tragedy, Bristol Evening Post, 9 November 2009.
  13. ^ a b Johnson dedicates goal to Sproule, BBC Sport, 9 November 2009.

External links


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