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Darren Eadie

Darren Eadie
Norwich Career: 1992-1999 (204 appearances, 36 goals) 
Current Club: Leiston (Southern League) (Joint-Manager)
Date of Birth: 10/06/1975
Nationality: English


A favourite with the Carrow Road faithful for the fact he remained loyal to Norwich City despite transfer speculation from Premiership clubs for over 3 years. His loyalty may derive from the fact that the club supported him through his many injuries that limited his appearances. Darren even missed the start of the 1999/2000 campaign due to injury and considering his few appearances, the fact that Norwich received £3million for him can be considered as good business. With debts of £7million, Norwich were in the position where they had little option to reject bids for their stars and when Martin O'Neill's Leciester made approaches again for Eadie in December 1999, the board had to accept his departure on December 10th. The Norwich City Board made the following statement

"A Statement to Norwich City Supporters from your Board of Directors regarding Darren Eadie: The events of the last few days have left everyone who cares about Norwich City feeling a range of emotions. To explain the background, the Club has decided to issue this special message to the fans. Firstly, it is important to say that under Football League and FA Regulations, the contractual details of all transfer fees are private and confidential, notwithstanding the fact that, sometimes, those details do find their way into the open in some way, shape or form. On Tuesday of this week, the Board received an offer of what it considered to be a substantial fee for the transfer of Darren Eadie. At that time, Leicester City requested that both Clubs would make no official statement concerning the possible transfer. Darren was advised of their interest, and was given permission to speak to them. Despite media speculation in Leicester and Norwich, the Board took the view that we should respect Leicester City's wishes and make no official comment. The Board is acutely aware that fans get upset at some transfers, particularly when it is of a player such as Darren who was a talisman to many. But is a sad fact of football in the present time that most clubs have to sell to make ends meet. There were suggestions that the board was not "up front" enough with the fans when the subject of player sales was raised. However, the Board has frequently said that it could not rule out player sales, and this fact was reemphasized at the recent EGM. It would have been wrong to start speculation about when and how much such sales might be, because it would weaken the club's ability to negotiate. Comments have been made that the timing was bad, but you cannot "time" a transfer. When the offer was received and then, after negotiation increased, we had a simple choice - to accept or turn down. It was not a decision that the Board took lightly, but they feel that they have done right for the Club as a whole. The press has hinted that Darren's sale will lead to more sales. Because of the financial support that the Club has received from the Directors and Club President Geoffrey Watling, the Club has not been forced to offer Darren for sale at a cut price to other clubs. We have been able to wait for offers that properly compensate the Club for the loss of Darren's services, to come to us. However, whilst we would never rule out the possibility of future sales, this transfer, on top of other plans we have put into place, gives the Board a degree of financialflexibility. Darren's transfer certainly means that the Board is under less pressure. We always have to recognise that if another team wants to buy one of our players, and the player wants to move to better himself, either by playing opportunities, higher division, wages etc, then we have to weigh up the pro's and cons. We DO NOT WANT to lose all our better players. We want to keep them at Carrow Road for as long as possible, but we have to balance that against the need to ensure that if a player wants to move, we must obtain the best possible compensation for the loss of that player's services. The Board is now under no immediate pressure to sell any other players.Was Darren Eadie forced to go? That was certainly not the case. He has given hints in the past at being happy at Norwich City, but he has ambition, like anyone else who wants to be among the best in his or her profession. Ultimately, it was up to Darren to decide if he wanted to move or not. If the Club is serious in its desire to reach the Premier League, shouldn't it be buying to strengthen the squad or keep our existing players? What the Board is not prepared to do is to take risks that could be to the detriment of your Club. We feel in a very privileged position, in that we are custodians of Norwich City for the present time. It's not our Club; it's yours, and it is the Board's duty to see that it is still in business in the future. We had a £7 million debt once before, and the Club nearly folded. Has anything changed ? There is a serious difference between those times and now. Firstly, the club is very fortunate to be owned by two people - Delia and Michael - who care passionately for the club, and work night and day to put money into the dream. Secondly, in the past, most of the debts were short term, and as such, could be called in very quickly. The debts are currently structured in such a way so as to relieve the pressure by having longer-term borrowing. The debt is too high, but it is serviceable i.e. we can cover with relative comfort the interest charges and repayments. Finally, we would like to say that no matter how saddened we ALL are to see Darren leave, one man does not make a club. He was a very big part of it, but in times when he was injured, we had to manager without him, and we must again. We should be grateful that we were all able to enjoy his skills for so long, and look to the future."

A youth team product, Darren made his debut in the UEFA Cup match with Vitesse Arnhem in September 1993. He had a successful 1996/97 season in which he established himself as a first team regular and scored 17 goals. In addition to England Under 21 caps, he was called into Glenn Hoddle's England squad for Le Tournoi in the summer of 1997. However injuries denied him the opportunity to gain his first international cap. Injuries plagued him throughout 1997/98 forcing him to miss England B call-ups. Darren was the subject of transfer speculation in the summer of 1998 with Leicester and West Ham enquiring into this new addition to the England warm-up squad that met in August 1998.

Teamtalk reported the actual transfer story as follows: Leicester manager Martin OíNeill has completed the signing of Norwich City forward Darren Eadie for a club record £3 million. The former England Under-21 player has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract which will keep him at Filbert Street until the summer of 2003 Eadie and OíNeill know each other from the Leicester managerís brief spell in charge at Carrow Road in 1996, and the Foxes boss has never been one to forget a talented face. OíNeill left for Filbert Street in December of that year but that season saw Eadieís most successful spell as a player as he hit 17 goals in 42 league games for the Norfolk side. O'Neill said: "I worked with him for six months at Norwich and he was terrific. I have asked about him a number of times since then but I've always been knocked back. I'm absolutely delighted to get him now." The deal breaks Leicesterís previous record transfer fee of £2.5 million when the club signed Frank Sinclair from Chelsea in the summer of 1998, but Eadie will not be eligible for Leicesterís FA Cup tie at Hereford on Saturday or the Worthington Cup game with Leeds. The Chippenham born player has been dogged by injuries in the last two years with knocks including neck and hamstring problems, a broken cheekbone and a long-term knee injury.

Darren made his debut for Leicester against Derby on 18th December 1999 in a 1-0 defeat but he came close to scoring. He was sent off in the FA Cup 4th Round clash with Arsenal on 9th January 2000. Darren was injured in Leicester's clash with Derby in April 2000 and missed the remainder of the 1999/2000 season. Darren's position as Leicester's record signing was equalled by the summer 2000 signing of Gary Rowett (from Birmingham) but toppled by the 27 July 2000 acquisition of Ade Akinbiyi.

Norwich fans were horrifed to read on Thursday 24th May 2001 in The Sun and on Teamtalk that Darren was Ipswich boss George Burley's number one summer transfer target. The Norwich City messageboards were filled with horrifed Norwich fans. Some of whom offered up death threats, others reminding the fans of Darren's pledge earlier in his career that he could never join Ipswich. The following day saw Burley categorically state that he was not interested in signing Eadie. Phew !

Returning with the Leicester side for the clash with Norwich on 5th October 2002, Darren stated that he would be keen to return to Carrow Road when his contract with Leicester expires at the end of the season. In April 2003, he admitted that he might have to retire in the summer of 2003 when his contract with Leicester expires as he is unlikely to recover from injury. He had battled against a nagging knee injury for the past five years but admitted he may now be forced to throw in the towel. .

"It's gone past frustration, to be honest. I've now virtually said to myself I'm going to retire ? but miracles do happen," revealed Eadie. "I had another operation on my knee two weeks ago to see what was going on with the cartilage. It was not as serious as the operation I had in Sweden seven months ago and it was carried out by the surgeons in Leicester, but it's a case of just seeing what happens next."

Having made just 40 appearances for the Foxes, Eadie was hardly in the position to argue for a new contract especially as financial matters at the Walkes Stadium are still perilous despite their promotion to the Premiership. Darren has already committed himself to moving back to Norwich and has agreed to train with the Canaries during the summer. However mere days later saw Darren announcing his retirement. He has worked for Anglia TV and BBC Radio Leicester.

In July 2012, Darren breavely shared that he had fought sever depression and panic attacks since retiring. He told the Independent that he "would be hit by a depression so deep that it left him driving around the country lanes of his native Norfolk, so traumatised that he had to stop and call his wife out to come and rescue him. The same illness left him unable to go into the sea with his children on holiday, or to complete a birthday meal with his wife when the panic which was regularly seizing him took over once again" The article can be found at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/darren-eadie-life-after-football--depression-and-panic-attacks-7936382.html

Eadie came out of retirement in September 2018 to play for Anglian Combination side Sherringham managed by his brother-in-law Chris Wigger. Eadie was named on the bench for the Shannocks’ Anglian Combination Premier Division clash at Wroxham Reserves, and played an important role as the visitors came away with a 1-0 win.

On 18th March 2020 Eadie and Wigger were appointed as joint managers of Southern League side Leiston who had announced Glen Driver and Tony Kinsella would be leaving the club. Eadie said “For me it’s another challenge and we will see how far it can go. Me and Chris are ambitious. I think these are exciting times for Leiston fans.” Leiston chairman Andy Crisp said: “It’s with excitement we welcome both Darren and Chris as joint managers of our first team here at Leiston FC. While Darren will need no introduction, he is joined by Chris who has a wealth of experience at non league level. Chris is ambitious and is relishing a new challenge. Darren and Chris have enjoyed much success at Sheringham with two promotions gained in the last three seasons. Darren has been assisting Dave Williams (head of Leiston’s youth development) by way of recruiting young players for our Youth Development Scheme so already has a good understanding of our club and what want to do moving forward. In such unprecedented times its difficult to forecast what’s happening with the remainder of the current season but clearly health and people’s welfare is far more important than any football decisions. However, the appointments of both Darren and Chris focuses on the vision our Football Club as we look beyond the current crisis and shows our intentions to prepare for the new season ahead and beyond."

In December 2020 he set up, in partnership with logistics boss Stuart McBurney to create a new firm called Elite Fortress offering removals and storage for "high profile, privacy-conscious individuals". Elite Fortress offers a round the clock service moving and also storing expensive items such as jewellery and even sports cars. They are aiming also to create a support network for young footballers who arrive at a new club. Elite Fortress gives them someone they can contact 24 hours a day as well as finding them somewhere to live and help with relocating their family.

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