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They Played for Both Clubs: Nathan Blake

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Someone scored a goal........

Nathan Alexander Blake was born in Cardiff in January 1972.

He began his career at Newport County, before being picked up by Premier League giants Chelsea when still a teenager. He left the club in 1990 without turning professional.

Upon being released by Chelsea, Blake returned to Cardiff where he turned pro in late 1990, making his full debut at home to Bristol Rovers.

He soon became a regular in the Cardiff side, and helped the club to the Third Division title in 1992/93, scoring 11 times.

The 1993/94 season began well for Blake, who struck 14 goals in just 20 games. It was during this season that he rose to national prominence when he scored a spectacular goal against Manchester City to send them crashing out of the FA Cup.

This form attracted Premier League Sheffield United to snap him up for £300,000 in February 1993.

Blake left Cardiff having scored 40 goals in 164 appearances.

It was in his first season at United that Blake suffered relegation - something which would haunt him for the rest of his career. Fun fact - Blake has been relegated from the Premier League five times, a record he holds jointly with Hermann Hreiðarsson. True, that.

However, Blake soon recovered and indeed would be top scorer for United in each of the next two seasons. It was this form that prompted Premier League strugglers Bolton Wanderers in December 1995 in a £1,2m deal.

Blake was again thrust into the midst of a relegation battle, and again couldn't stop his team from being relegated, with Blake's only goal coming in a 4-1 away win against Middlesbrough.

However, after returning to the First Division, Blake formed a strong partnership with Scottish striker John McGinlay, making 50 appearances in all competitions and scoring 25 goals as Bolton won the First Division title in the final season at Burnden Park.

Blake was top scorer in the 1996/97 season, notching 14 times. Yet again, he was part of a relegated side as Bolton failed to maintain Premier League status.

He began the 1997/98 season as Bolton's main man, and started the season strongly. His good form was noticed by Premier League sides and a cash-strapped Bolton couldn't refuse a £4.25m bid from neighbours Blackburn Rovers.

However, we can laugh at what happened next.....Blake and Blackburn suffered relegation, with the striker scoring just three times for his new club.

He would remain at Ewood Park for two further seasons, the second of which saw him again win promotion, but he managed only 9 goals over these seasons.

He started the club's return in the top flight, and scored their opening goal away at Derby County, but was swiftly returned to Division One when he was sold to Wolverhampton Wanderers in September 2001 for an initial £1.5m fee.

Blake began life at Wolves in fine form, scoring on his debut and finishing the season with 11 goals, but this wasn't enough for promotion as the club suffered Play Off heartache against Norwich, which is funny.

The next season saw Blake better his tally, as his 12 goals helped the club go one step further as they won the play-offs. Blake himself scored in the 3-0 final win over his former club Sheffield United, held in his homecity of Cardiff.

His final crack at the Premier League was hindered by a year of niggling injuries that kept him sidelined for the majority of the games. He managed just one goal, against Newcastle United, from 13 appearances as the club proved unable to survive, and Blake was released after making 85 appearances, scoring 26 times in all competitions.

He joined fellow relegated club Leicester City on a one-year contract after having also had a trial at Sunderland.

His opportunities here were mostly only as a substitute and he never scored a league goal for the Foxes, but did score once in a League Cup defeat to Preston North End.

Failing to make an impact, he was instead loaned out to Leeds United in January 2005, where he managed the final goal of his league career against Coventry City.

His loan was cut short by a ruptured hamstring and he returned to Leicester, but did not feature again before being released by the club in June 2005.

Blake suffered humiliation in August 2005 when he was given a six-month suspension for testing positive for a recreational drug.

After serving his suspension, he had a trial at Stoke City but decided he was unwilling to commit to playing full-time anymore.

Instead, he spent two months playing for non-league Newport County, where he had originally been a trainee, before his deal ended in October 2006.

A full international, Blake won 29 caps for Wales, scoring 4 times.

He made his debut on 9 March 1994 in a 1-3 friendly loss to Norway and scored his first goal against Moldova in a Euro 96 qualifying defeat.

He also set the unfortunate record of being the first player to score an international goal at Wales' Millennium Stadium when he put through his own net against Finland on 29 March 2000.

He announced his retirement in September 2004, 10 months after playing his final match in the Euro 2004 play-off loss to Russia.