Spencer Prior was a £300,000 signing from Southend in June
1993. Primarily a centre-back, Spencer had played 135 league games
for the Shrimpers before his move to Carrow Road. At the time
he was also a target for Wolves and when interviewed about his
decision to join Norwich, he quoted that he preferred to take
his chance of playing in the UEFA cup rather than the First Division.
89 appearances were clocked up for the Canaries before he joined
Leicester City for £600,000 in the summer of 1996. He was
a regular in the Leicester defence (34 league appearances) throughout
their successful 1996/97 season that has seen them win the Coca
Cola Cup and reach the fifth round of the FA Cup. He made another
30 appearances in 1997/98.
Spencer was then signed by Derby County in August 1998 for £700,000
to replace Christian Dailly who joined Blackburn following Colin
Hendry's move to Rangers.
According to the News of the World (28th November 1999),
Spencer has been told by Rams manager Jim Smith that he can leave
the club. Ipswich and Hearts were rumoured to be interested but
whilst Hearts prefer a player swap, Smith wants about £600,000
in order to sign French defender Jean Francois Hernandez from
Spanish club Rayo Vallecano. A fortnight later saw the Sunday
tabloids link Spencer with a move to Steve
BBC's Ceefax reported on 26th January 2000 that Nottingham Forest
had made a £300,000 bid for Spencer. This move fell through scuppering
Derby's plans to sign Stig Inge Bjornebye from Liverpool. In early
February 2000, the media reported that Sheffield Wednesday were
preparing a move for Spencer to bolster their defence in their
struggle against relegation from the Premiership.
Spencer signed for Manchester City on 22nd March 2000 for a fee
rumoured to be either £300,000 or £500,000 and was instrumental
in assisting City to promotion to the Premiership. By February
2001, Spencer was linked with moves to First Division Wolves and
Crystal Palace, the latter having allegedly offered £700,000 for
a player on the fringes of Man City's first team. On March 18th
2001, the Sunday People claimed that David Platt was hoping
to bring Spencer back to the Midlands for £700,000 to strengthen
Nottingham Forest's bid for promotion via the play-offs. However
Spencer's £500,000 a year wages proved to be a problem for Forest.
Placed on the transfer list at City following their relegation
in May 2001, Forest again were linked with a move for Prior but
surprisingly Teamtalk linked
him with a move to Wales to join ambitious Cardiff City. However
his wages were again likely to prove problematic. The move was
finally agreed with both partners happy although Spencer should've
checked the small print inserted by Bluebirds chairman Sam Hamman
that stated Spencer had to "have intimate relations with a sheep"
and eat "sheep's testicles" !
In May 2002, Spencer was linked with a move to Wigan to replace
Arjan De Zeeuw who was likely to join Birmingham. Cardiff's financial
problems as a result of the ITV Digitial fiasco meant that they
would hope to cut costs and Spencer as a high wage earner would
be a prime target. In the end, Spencer stayed with the Bluebirds
for another two seasons before he was released in May 2004.
In June 2004, Peterborough manager Barry Fry revealed that Spencer
was one of three players that he was talking to in the prospect
of bringing them to London Road. At the beginning of July 2004,
Spencer returned to Essex joining Colchester United on trial.
When that fell through, he joined his old club Southend on trial.
The Shrimpers managed to find the finances to bring Spencer back
to his first club on a permanent basis. He was in the Southend
team that won the League Two play-off finals at the Millennium
Stadium against Lincoln City on 28th May 2005.
Spencer retired at the end of the 2006/7 season and is reported
to have moved to Australia where he is commentating on football
for Fox Sports. At the end of December 2008, it was reported that
he had signed for Newcastle Jets of the Australian A-League as
a guest player just days after the Jets lost captain Jade North
to South Korean side Incheon United
He currently combines being the Assistant Coach for the Women's
National Side, appointed in January 2011, with running his own
football distribution company Love Football. He was appointed
Technical Director for Football Federation Tasmania in August
2013, working on player development and coach education.