Eric Young (footballer, born 1960)
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Eric Young (born 25 March 1960 in Singapore) is a retired professional footballer, who was a strong, commanding centre-half, nicknamed "Ninja" due to his ever-present brown headband, which he wore during matches to protect scar tissue on his forehead.
|Date of birth||25 March 1960|
|Place of birth||Singapore|
|1982–1987||Brighton & Hove Albion||126||(10)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Young started his career at non-league Southall and then moved to Slough Town where his commanding style was noticed by a number of league clubs; he played for Slough for 3 seasons. Young was eventually signed by Brighton & Hove Albion in 1982. During the period in non-league football Young continued with his accountancy training. He made his league debut in the first match of the 1982–83 season and went on to make 126 appearances for the club, scoring 10 goals before transferring to Wimbledon for £70,000 on the eve of the 1987–88 season.
He became a fan favourite at Wimbledon and formed a formidable central defensive partnership with Andy Thorn, playing in the club's famous victory over Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup Final. After 99 appearances and 9 goals for Wimbledon, in 1990 he was sold to Crystal Palace for £850,000 (at the time a huge transfer fee for a 30-year-old). At Palace he continued his consistently reliable form, and Palace had previously signed Thorn in 1989 which meant the resumption of the Thorn/Young defensive partnership that had proved so successful at Wimbledon. Young was a mainstay in the team that finished third in the old first division (now the Premiership) and kept his place in the side until a falling out with manager Alan Smith at the beginning of the ill-fated 1994–95 season saw him dropped until the final five matches of that campaign.
After 161 appearances and 15 goals for Palace, he then joined Wolverhampton Wanderers on a free transfer. He spent two seasons at Wolves before completing his professional career, briefly returning to Palace in 1997 without playing a senior game, but then continued to play non-league football for another four seasons whilst also qualifying as a chartered accountant, before finally hanging up his boots at the age of 41 at Egham Town.
He is now working as an accountant in a construction based company in Heathrow.
As a British citizen who was born abroad, FIFA eligibility rules at the time of Young's first international selection entitled him to represent any of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom at international level. He opted for Wales, despite having no specific family connection to that country.
He made his international début for Wales, aged 30, versus Costa Rica in a friendly game at Ninian Park in 1990, alongside fellow débutantes Gary Speed and Paul Bodin. Despite his comparatively late start, Eric won a total of 21 caps for Wales.