On January 31st
2006, Norwich replaced Dean Ashton
a new goalscorer on a permanent basis - Welsh international Robert
Earnshaw from West Brom.The basic fee is £2.75m, with a further
£750k based on various conditions, which could see the total
rise to £3.5m, plus a 10% sell-on clause.
Robert began his career at Cardiff City and made his debut in
the 1997/98 campaign. He was a prolific goalscorer scoring 84
goas in 178 appearances for the Ninian Park side. In is younger
seasons, he had loans with Middlesborough (no appearances) and
Morton (3 appearances, 2 goals). He joined Gary
Megson's West Brom in August 2004 for £3m. He scored
17 goals in 24 starts for them during the 2004/5 Premiership campaign
but fell out of favour with manager Bryan Robson during the 2005/6
season especially after Nathan Ellington joined from Wigan. At
the date of signing, he has 23 international caps and has scored
9 international goals.
His full debut came on 5th February in the 2-1 defeat to Ipswich
at Carrow Road.
A rich vein of scoring form saw the Football
Rumours website link Rob with a £4million return to
the Premiership if Portsmouth avoid relegation
On 27th May 2006, Earnie scored twice for Wales to give them
a 2-1 win over World Cup finalists Trinidad and Tobago, in a game
which Wales also fielded Carl Robinson
and Simon Davies. This led to speculation
on the Football Rumours website and on the Pink Un message boards
on 29th May 2006 that Earnie was off to either Watford or Sheffield
United. Both clubs are willing to pay £4.5 million for him
but supposedly Watford are likely to get the striker however as
they are prepared to offer £4.2 million + their 21 year
old French striker Hameur Bouzazza. Speculation in the People
on25th June 2006 suggested that Blackburn manager Mark Hughes
might buy his compatriot Earnshaw to replace the Liverpool-bound
Rob started the 2006/7 season well scoring against Preston, Luton,
twice against Barnsley, twice against Southend and against Plymouth
by the end of September 2006. However City's form slipped and
Nigel Worthington was sacked on 2nd October 2006. Rob put the
uncertainty of the managerial situation at Carrow Road behind
him when he scored Wales' second in a 3-1 win over Cyprus on 11th
October 2006, Jason Koumas and Craig Bellamy scoring the others.
With 17 goals scored for City by the beginning of January 2007,
Earnshaw was undoubtedly linked by the media as a target for Premiership
sides when the Transfer Window opened on 1st January 2007. Newcastle
were said to be preparing a £6.5million bid before Christmas
2006 with Wigan and Middlesborough also reported to be watching
Earnshaw. Portmsouth were then linked with Harry Redknap said
to be preparing a £4million bid. Earnshaw's former Welsh
manager Mark Hughes was the next to be linked with speculation
of a £5million transfer. On 3rd Janaury 2007, Norwich dismissed
speculation linking Premiership bottom placed side Watford with
a move for Earnie.
Injuries ruled Earnie out of most of the second half of the 2006/7
season but he finished the campaign with 19 goals.
Linked to Watford and Charlton during May and June 2007, Rob
signed for Derby County, newly promoted to the Premiership, for
£3.5million on 29th June 2007 as the Rams exploited a minimum
fee clause in Rob's contract.
Earnshaw however didn't settle well at Pride Park and scored
just two goals during the season, and had not even commanded a
regular first team place. In March 2008, he lost his place in
the Welsh international squad. However that did not deter Glenn
Roeder from making an attempt to bring Earnshaw back to Carrow
Road on loan in mid-March. However, according to reports in the
Midlands, Roeder's plans were blocked by Jewell "because
it was not in Derby's best interests". Roeder instead signed
Blackburn's Dutch Under-21 international Maceo
Rigters on 19th March 2008 until the end of the season. Derby
were relegated to the Championship on 29th March 2008
In May 2008, rumour had it that Norwich City, Notts Forest and
Cardiff City were fighting it out to secure Earnshaw's signature
for the 2008/9 season as Paul Jewell had indicated his willingness
to listen to bids for the Welsh international. On 14th May 2008,
it was reported that Earnshaw was in discussions with newly promoted
Notts Forest over a £2.5million move to the City Ground,
although Sheffield United were also said to be interested. Jewell
added: "I think it's a fair price. It's a loss of £1.1m
over a year but as I've said, I want to change things around quite
drastically and everyone has a price."
Earnshaw signed for Notts Forest in May 2008 for £2.65m,
signing a three year deal. He made his competitive debut in a
00 draw with Reading on 10 August 2008, scoring his
first competitive goals for Forest in their League Cup first-round
tie at home to Morecambe, getting two on 13 August 2008. He finished
the season with 17 goals in 34 appearances.
In August 2009, he was linked with a move to Newcastle United
and Middlesbrough, ollowing the latter's sale of Robert Huth and
Tuncay to Stoke City.
Out of contract at the end of the 2010/11 season, Rob was believed
to be close to signing for Birmingham before the sensational departure
of Blues boss Alex McLeish to Aston Villa. Earnshaw scored nine
times in the Championship in 2010/11 and grew frustrated at the
rotation policy adopted by Billy Davies as he juggled with so
many options up front. Instead Earnshaw signed a two year deal
with Malky Mackay's Cardiff on 6th July
In February 2012, Earnshaw was linked with a cross-atlantic transfer
to Vancouver Whitecaps where former colleague Carl
Robinson is part of the coaching set-up.
On 20th September 2012, Earnshaw was loaned to Israeli side Maccabi
Tel Aviv, managed by former Barcelona and Manchester United midfielder
Jordi Cruyf. He said "I've got no doubt that this is going
to make me a better player and understand the game more, I've
not come here just to play football, I've come here to learn and
be better... the football is right up there tactically. Sometimes
you have to broaden your horizons and broaden your mentality as
well." He made his Maccabi debut on 24th September, coming
off the bench for their 3-0 Premier League win at home against
Ironi Kiryat Shmona.
On 1st March 2013, Earnshaw joined Toronto FC of the Major League
Soccer. He was joined in Toronto by Darel Russell. Earnshaw made
his debut on 2nd March in a 1-0 defeat to Vancouver Whitecaps.
Earnshaw said "I could have stayed in the UK, a number
of teams were interested in signing me. Playing for Toronto, though,
excites me. Its really something that I was prepared for.
I turned down options in England for the chance to play in the
MLS. I want to get better. I want to experience MLS football.
Make no mistake about it, I am in Toronto to get better, help
my team win matches and nothing else. What attracted me to Toronto
was the team. Its a good club, a good set-up and an extremely
good franchise. I have signed for Toronto because Im excited
about this challenge. He marked his home debut with
a brace of goals as Toronto beat Sporting Kansas City 2-1.
He was released by Toronto at the end of the 2013 season after
failing to agree a new contract. On 20th March 2014, reports linked
Earnshaw with a short-term contract at Blackpool. This was confirmed
the following day and Earnshaw made his debut as substitute in
Blackpool's game with Bolton on 25th March 2014.