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They Played for Both Clubs: Middlesbrough - Michael Ricketts

Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Ricketts

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Michael Barrington Ricketts was born in Birmingham in December 1978.

He turned professional at Walsall in 1996 under the tutelage of future Wigan Athletic assistant manager Chris Nicholls. Ricketts made his debut in the second half of the 1995/96 season for the club though it would take until the following season for him to record his first professional goal.

It would take until the 1999/2000 season for Ricketts to hit his stride, scoring 11 goals in 32 First Division games. Walsall were relegated at the end of the season, and Ricketts' contract expired meaning that he could move on for a nominal fee.

Bolton Wanderers took the plunge, laying out £400,000 for the striker, as they began their third consecutive First Division campaign. Ricketts was suspended for the first few games of the season following on from a red card earned whilst at Walsall, though he did score on his home debut against Preston North End.

Bolton finished third, qualifying for the play-offs. Two late goals gave the Wanderers a 3-0 win over local rivals Preston North End in a pulsating Play Off Final, with Ricketts scoring one of the goals. He ended the season as top goalscorer for the club with 24 goals.

The following season saw Ricketts maintain his excellent form, scoring 15 times between August and January including a memorable winner against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Due to this great run of form he received a call up for England's friendly against the Netherlands in February 2002. At the time, Bolton manager Sam Allardyce likened him to Manchester United striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy but unfortunately he had little impact on the game playing only 45 minutes.

He would fail to trouble the scorers again for the rest of the season at club level.

Ricketts began the 2002/03 season out of the Bolton side following rumours of a bust-up between Ricketts and Allardyce. He scored 6 goals in 22 games, mainly from the sub's bench, before leaving the club for Middlesbrough in somewhat acrimonious circumstances.

"Middlesbrough are a far bigger club than Bolton - I can achieve my ultimate career aims here."

He would go on to score just four goals in 40 games for Boro after his £3.5m move North. Whilst at Middlesbrough he did, however, win the League Cup in the 2003-04 season, coincidentally against Bolton Wanderers.

In June 2004, he signed for Championship side Leeds United on a free transfer. Ricketts failed to impress, failing to score in 25 league appearances, although he did manage a solitary goal in the League Cup against Swindon Town.

He was then loaned out to Stoke City in February, but also failed to impress there, and returned to Leeds. He made five more appearances, scoring once against Oldham Athletic, again in the League Cup. He was then loaned out to Cardiff, where he scored four goals in 11 appearances, before returning to Leeds.

On 30 January 2006 he signed for Championship side Burnley in a loan deal that would keep him at Turf Moor until the end of the season. Despite scoring twice in his first three matches against Plymouth Argyle and Ipswich Town, he again failed to impress (he did not score again) and returned to Leeds after the season had finished.

On 30 June 2006, Ricketts signed a two-year deal with Championship side Southend United with an option to extend for another year. A clause in the contract he signed stated that he was prohibited from playing against Leeds United. However after only a couple of months into the new season, Southend released Ricketts on the basis that he was overweight and had put on weight since joining the club, questioning his level of fitness.

After leaving Southend, Ricketts joined Preston North End, playing a handful of games for their first team. In March 2007 he scored the winner against Ipswich Town.

However, Ricketts' fitness and his inability to break into the first team on a regular basis led to him being released by Preston on 8 May 2007, again leaving him without a club until being picked up by Oldham Athletic, for whom he signed until 2010.He scored two league goals during his time at Oldham, in victories over Swansea City and his former club Walsall.

On 2 November 2007, he returned to his first club Walsall on a three-month loan deal from Oldham. He made his second debut for Walsall in a league match against Cheltenham Town on 3 November. On 31 January 2008, transfer deadline day, Ricketts had his contract cancelled by Oldham Athletic.

On 24 July 2008, Ricketts once again rejoined Walsall and scored nine goals in his third spell there. At the game against Southend United played at Roots Hall on 7 March 2009, Ricketts was sent off in the 14th minute when he attempted to punch Kevin Betsy.

At the end of the season he was released.

On 14 August 2009, it was announced that Ricketts had signed a one year deal with Tranmere Rovers (his 11th professional club). Ricketts stated playing for John Barnes was a major factor in his decision to join the club. He made his debut for the club as a substitute in a League Cup game against his former club Bolton Wanderers on 25 August.

He scored his first goal for Tranmere in a 2-1 defeat at Exeter City on 19 September 2009. On 21 January 2010, Ricketts cancelled his contract by mutual consent and retired from professional football.

"People say England was the start of the decline but I don't agree. I was proud to play for my country and will always be grateful for it."

Career Statistics

Club

Season

League

FA Cup

League Cup

Other

Total

Division

Apps

Goals

Apps

Goals

Apps

Goals

Apps

Goals

Apps

Goals

Walsall

1995-96

Second Division

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1996-97

Second Division

11

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

12

1

1997-98

Second Division

24

1

2

0

1

0

4

1

31

2

1998-99

Second Division

8

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

9

0

1999-2000

First Division

32

11

2

0

3

0

0

0

37

11

Total

76

14

4

0

6

0

4

1

90

15

Bolton Wanderers

2000-01

First Division

39

19

4

2

1

1

3

2

47

24

2001-02

Premier League

37

12

2

1

3

2

0

0

42

15

2002-03

Premier League

22

6

1

1

0

0

0

0

23

7

Total

98

37

7

4

4

3

3

2

112

46

Middlesbrough

2002-03

Premier League

9

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

9

1

2003-04

Premier League

23

2

2

0

5

1

0

0

30

3

Total

32

3

2

0

5

1

0

0

39

4

Leeds United

2004-05

Championship

21

0

0

0

3

1

0

0

24

1

2005-06

Championship

4

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

5

1

Total

25

0

0

0

4

2

0

0

29

2

Stoke City (loan)

2004-05

Championship

11

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

11

0

Cardiff City (loan)

2005-06

Championship

17

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

17

5

Burnley (loan)

2005-06

Championship

13

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

13

2

Southend United

2006-07

Championship

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

Preston North End

2006-07

Championship

14

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

16

1

Oldham Athletic

2007-08

League One

9

2

1

0

2

0

1

0

13

2

Walsall

2007-08

League One

12

3

4

2

0

0

0

0

16

5

2008-09

League One

28

9

1

1

1

1

2

1

32

12

Tranmere Rovers

2009-10

League One

12

2

4

0

1

0

0

0

17

2

Career Total

349

78

25

7

23

7

9

4

406

96