|Full name||Darren Carl Huckerby|
|Date of birth||23 April 1976|
|Place of birth||Nottingham, England|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|1996||→ Millwall (loan)||6||(3)|
|2003||→ Nottingham Forest (loan)||9||(5)|
|2003||→ Norwich City (loan)||16||(5)|
|2008–2009||San Jose Earthquakes||28||(9)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 30 August 2009|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 17 March 2009
As a player, he was a forward from 1993 until 2009. He played most matches for Norwich City, but also featured for Newcastle United, Coventry City, Leeds United, Manchester City, Lincoln City, Millwall and Nottingham Forest. He finished his career by playing in the US, appearing in Major League Soccer for San Jose Earthquakes.
Huckerby was born in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England. His mother is of partial Georgian descent. Huckerby started playing professionally for Lincoln City in Football League Division Three. Huckerby was promoted to the first team at Sincil Bank by Keith Alexander, but also played under the stewardship of both Sam Ellis and Steve Wicks before being sold in 1995. He finished his spell with Lincoln having scored 5 goals in 28 league appearances.
Huckerby made a three division step up by signing for Premier League title contenders Newcastle United in a £400,000 deal in 1995. Despite being highly rated by the fans and pundits, Huckerby found first team chances severely limited, especially since manager Kevin Keegan decided to scrap the reserve team, in response to a requirement from the FA that a certain percentage of home reserve fixtures be played at St James' Park. Keegan believed that this would negatively affect the pitch condition, which was already in poor state. This of course meant that, with no reserve team football, Huckerby was not match fit for the majority of his time on Tyneside. Huckerby made only one appearance for the Magpies, before being loaned out to Millwall. Huckerby then joined Coventry City for £1 million in time for the start of the next season, signed by then City boss Gordon Strachan.
The striker's pace and dribbling ability, combined with a very successful partnership with Dion Dublin saw Huckerby play a key role at Coventry. Huckerby and Dublin's partnership did not go unnoticed and earned Huckerby a call up to the England B squad, whilst Dublin managed call ups to the full squad, under Glenn Hoddle. Huckerby played a major role in Coventry's Premier League survival, culminating with a final day 2–1 win at Tottenham Hotspur in 1997. His success with the Sky Blues continued throughout the following season as Coventry enjoyed a ten-game unbeaten run and reached the quarter finals of the FA Cup, narrowly losing on penalties to Sheffield United. Huckerby scored several goals, most notably the winner in a 3–2 victory over Manchester United at Highfield Road, a dazzling run past a few defenders before slotting past Kevin Pilkington. He notched up 14 goals that season, his best Premier League return of goals.
He was sold to Leeds United the following summer for a reputed £6 million. His time at Elland Road was not a success, in 40 league games he scored only two goals against former club Coventry City and Watford. He had to contend with some top players such as Mark Viduka, Alan Smith and Michael Bridges at his time at Leeds, and as a result he was never a regular, although he did play his part in some good European Cup runs for Leeds, scoring against Partizan Belgrade in the 1999–2000 UEFA Cup, and also scoring once in Leeds' 6–0 thrashing of Beşiktaş in their 2000–01 Champions League campaign. He scored six goals in total, also scoring twice in the League Cup against Tranmere, but his time at Leeds will be remembered as disappointing by both the player and the fans.
Manchester City signed him in December 2000 for £3.38 million, as they attempted to avoid relegation. Although the club did eventually go down, he stayed on and won a First Division championship medal, adding 26 goals in all competitions during the campaign, including two hat-tricks.
Huckerby started the new campaign as first choice, and scored the team's first goal of the season, a header against former employer Newcastle that secured a 1–0 win. However, the arrivals of Nicolas Anelka and Jon Macken meant less playing time, and he eventually ended up playing out the end of the season on-loan to Nottingham Forest, being part of the team that reached the Division One playoffs in 2003.
Huckerby spent a three-month loan spell with Norwich City, before signing permanently in December 2003, for a fee of £750,000, which rose to £1 million when the Canaries were promoted at the end of the season. At Norwich, Huckerby's career settled, and he netted 14 league goals in the First Division in the 2003–04 season. He was instrumental in Norwich's march to the First Division championship in 2003–04, and came second in the supporters vote for player of the season behind Craig Fleming.
Reverting to a left wing role for much of Norwich's Premier League spell in 2004–05, Huckerby scored seven goals. He was linked with a transfer to either Liverpool or Celtic the following summer, but spoke of his intention to see out his contract in East Anglia.
He was voted Norwich City player of the year by supporters in 2004–05 and 2006–07, and placed second behind Gary Doherty for the 2005–06 season, winning the award twice and adding two runner-up positions in his first four seasons. He was voted into the Norwich City Hall of Fame in 2004. On 13 April 2008, he played his 200th game for Norwich, in the East Anglian Derby against Ipswich Town.
On 4 May 2008, Huckerby scored in his final game for the club in a 4–1 defeat away at Sheffield Wednesday. Two days later, it was announced that his contract would not be renewed as he could not be guaranteed a place in the first team in the 2008–09 season. This upset fans who felt that Huckerby, a fan favourite, deserved a proper farewell. However, an opportunity was made with a special tribute at a 'Greatest Ever' event at Carrow Road held later in May.
In 2012, Huckerby returned to Carrow Road to play in Adam Drury's testimonial match against Celtic, coming on in the 76th minute showing his trademark bursts of pace and skill. Former Celtic and Norwich striker John Hartson who was co-commentating on Sentanta Sports claimed he looked fit and sharp enough still to be playing professionally.
San Jose EarthquakesEdit
Huckerby moved to the United States joining Major League Soccer club, San Jose Earthquakes in July 2008. MLS rules at the time dictated that Toronto FC owned the right to sign Huckerby. To acquire those rights, San Jose traded allocation money and use of an international roster slot for the 2008 through 2013 seasons to Toronto.
He made his debut on 19 July 2008 against Toronto, in a 0–0 draw, and scored his first goal against New York Red Bulls on 27 July. A video of sports anchor Gary Radnich interviewing Huckerby for American television channel KRON became popular on YouTube, with over 200,000 views. The segment included several amusing inaccuracies. These included describing the player as "from the Nor Folk team in the North East of England", proclaiming him to be a "Legend" several times, and claiming that he scored the "Greatest goal ever". KRON also showed a clip of him scoring against Birmingham City when in fact the anchor was referring to a goal scored against Manchester United. During his time with San Jose, Huckerby was often linked with a return to Norwich City, particularly after the manager who had released him at Norwich – Glenn Roeder – was sacked in January 2009, but he stayed at San Jose.
In a crucial match for the Earthquakes, on 3 August 2008, Huckerby scored his second goal, against Los Angeles Galaxy, in a 3–2 Earthquakes win. On 30 August, he headed in the winning goal in the side's 2–1 victory over Kansas City Wizards, extending San Jose's unbeaten streak to seven games. During this stretch, Huckerby notched three goals and three assists.
During the 2009 Major League Soccer season, Huckerby underwent surgery to eliminate his hip injury. However, on 16 September 2009, at age 33, Huckerby announced that he was '99% sure' of his retirement.
After retiring from football in 2009, Huckerby returned to playing football in the Masters Tournament in June 2011 in which he scored 8 goals in the Yorkshire Masters for his old club Leeds United. In the Grand Masters final Huckerby added a further 6 goals to his tally, making him overall tournament golden boot winner with 14 goals. Leeds were overall runners up in the tournament, losing 8–3 to Rangers in the final.
On 14 April 2013, Huckerby played in a charity game at Lowestoft Town's Crown Meadow ground. He played for the ex professionals against a select eleven which included students from Lowestoft College.
Huckerby made one appearance with the England B team in 1998.
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|1993–94||Lincoln City||Third Division||6||1||0||0||0||0|
|1995–96||Newcastle United||Premier League||1||0||1||0||0||0|
|1996–97||Coventry City||Premier League||25||5||4||2||0||0||29||7|
|1999-00||Leeds United||Premier League||33||2||3||0||1||0||37||2|
|2000–01||Manchester City||Premier League||13||1||3||1||0||0||0||0||16||2|
|2002–03||Nottingham Forest||First Division||9||5|
|2003–04||Norwich City||First Division||36||14||1||0||0||0|
|USA||League||Open Cup||League Cup||North America||Total|
|2008||San Jose Earthquakes||Major League Soccer||14||6|
|2009||San Jose Earthquakes||Major League Soccer||11||3|
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