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Stephen Neal Clemence (born 31 March 1978) is an English former football midfielder who made nearly 250 appearances in the Premier League and English Football League. He is currently the first team coach of Sheffield Wednesday.

Stephen Clemence
Stephen Clemence.jpg
Pictured in 2004 pre-season
Personal information
Full name Stephen Neal Clemence[1]
Date of birth (1978-03-31) 31 March 1978 (age 41)[1]
Place of birth Liverpool, England
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[2]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Sheffield Wednesday (first team coach)
Youth career
1994–1997 Tottenham Hotspur
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–2003 Tottenham Hotspur 91 (2)
2003–2007 Birmingham City 121 (8)
2007–2010 Leicester City 31 (2)
Total 243 (12)
National team
1995–1996 England U18 7 (2)
1998 England U21 1 (0)
Teams managed
2019 Sheffield Wednesday (caretaker manager)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Clemence began his career with Tottenham Hotspur, where he spent six years as a professional but never established himself as a regular first-team player. He was capped once for England at under-21 level. He moved on to Birmingham City in 2003, where he was chosen player of the 2006–07 season, at the end of which he signed for Leicester City. An injury prone player, Clemence was well known for his passion, drive, leadership and commitment on the pitch.[3] He suffered a series of long-term injuries in his career, the worst being a damaged heel while at Leicester, which brought his career to an end after 18 months on the sidelines. After retirement he joined the coaching staff at Sunderland before moving to Hull City as reserve-team manager and as first-team coach, Aston Villa as first-team coach, and onto Sheffield Wednesday [4]

Contents

Club careerEdit

Tottenham HotspurEdit

The first team Clemence played for was Tottenham Hotspur, for whom he made his debut against Manchester United on 10 August 1997, a match Tottenham lost 2–0. His season was cut much shorter by a four-day spell in February 1998, during which time Clemence picked up a red card against Barnsley. He involved himself to a greater degree the following season, displaying more of the form which won him a place in the England U21 side. He scored three times during his spell at Spurs, his first coming in the 1997–98 FA Cup against Fulham,[5] followed by two league goals against Derby County[6] and Sunderland.[7] Despite not being part of Tottenham's squad for the 1999 Football League Cup Final he made three appearances during their victorious League Cup campaign.[8]

Clemence's injury woes started when he suffered a torn medial ligament in his left knee, following a collision with Blackburn Rovers midfielder Garry Flitcroft in a match at Ewood Park in August 2001. His injury required surgery and was thought he would be out for three months.[9] However, despite clocking up a few hours of football in the reserves,[10] he played only three first-team matches at the end of the 2001–02 season.[11][12] Further injuries prevented his returning to training until October 2002.[13][14] In what turned out to be his last season at Tottenham, Clemence played only once, in a 2–1 League Cup defeat to Burnley on 6 November 2002, in which he picked up a calf injury.[15]

Birmingham CityEdit

 
Clemence takes a shot at goal for Birmingham City against Manchester United on 25 March 2006.

When Clemence recovered from the calf injury, Luton Town manager Joe Kinnear had expressed interest in signing him on loan,[16] but when the transfer window opened in January 2003, Premier League newcomers Birmingham City agreed a fee, believed to be in the region of £1.3 million, for a permanent transfer.[17] The move was completed, for a fee reported by the BBC as £900,000, on 10 January; Clemence signed a three-and-a-half-year contract.[18] He made his debut two days later in a 4–0 defeat to Arsenal at St Andrew's.[19]

In July 2003, Birmingham City participated in the Premier League Asia Trophy in Kuala Lumpur; they failed to reach the final, but Clemence scored the third goal as they beat the Malaysian national team 4–0 to secure third place.[20] Injury struck again in the 2003–04 season, meaning that once again he had to sit several games out. He also found himself competing with David Dunn and Robbie Savage for a central midfield spot.[21] Nonetheless, he finished the season by making his 50th appearance for the club.

In the 2004–05 season, Clemence's first team chances were again in the balance when the club signed Muzzy Izzet, but he stated he would fight for his place in the team.[22] The club opened talks with Clemence in May 2005,[23] and he signed a new three-year contract on 14 October.[24] Clemence suffered a calf problem in a 1–0 defeat to Aston Villa two days later,[25] and on 4 April 2006, he tore a hamstring in a 1–0 win over Bolton Wanderers, sidelining him for the remainder of the season as Birmingham were relegated from the Premier League.[26][27]

He contemplated leaving the club after being dropped twice in 2006–07,[27] but later became an integral part of the team,[28] helping the club win promotion back to the Premier League.[29] For his contributions, Clemence won both the club's player of the year and players' player of the year awards that season.[3] He played his last match for Birmingham in a 1–0 defeat to Preston North End on 6 May 2007, missing out on the Championship title.[30]

In July 2007, Bruce confirmed that Clemence would be leaving the club because he could not guarantee him first-team football.[31] He was linked with a £500,000 move to Charlton Athletic,[32] Southampton were also believed to be monitoring him,[33] while Leicester City were seeking a double signing with teammate DJ Campbell.[31]

Leicester CityEdit

 
Clemence (right) and Matthew Oakley playing for Leicester City on 23 February 2008.

On 9 July, Leicester City made an offer for Clemence, which Birmingham rejected, demanding an increased bid for the player.[31] On 13 July, Clemence signed a three-year contract with Leicester in a deal which "could rise to £1m".[34] DJ Campbell joined him at the club seven days later.[35] Clemence was named the new team captain on 28 July,[36] and was picked by the BBC as Leicester's key player for the 2007–08 season.[37] Clemence later admitted that "when [manager] Martin Allen was here, we didn't have a settled team and we were not sure if our jobs were safe."[38]

He made his debut in a 1–0 defeat to Blackpool at the Walkers Stadium on 11 August 2007.[39] Clemence scored his first goal with the stoppage-time winner for Leicester in a 3–2 League Cup win over Nottingham Forest on 18 September,[40] and his second in a 1–1 draw with Charlton Athletic on 29 December.[41] He suffered a calf strain in January 2008,[42] followed by a thigh injury in early March, though he was sidelined for only a short while.[43] On 29 March, Clemence tore a calf muscle in a 1–0 win over Scunthorpe United which kept him out for what remained of the season, as Leicester were relegated from the Championship.[44][45] It proved to be the final competitive match of his career.

Clemence underwent an operation in April and was expected to recover in time for pre-season training. However, he suffered complications following surgery on his Achilles tendon.[46] As a result, Clemence played no part in the 2008–09 season, while vice-captain Matthew Oakley took over the armband and helped the club regain promotion from League One.[citation needed] He had a second operation in October 2008, in which "the surgeon had to take the Achilles off the heel-bone, clear out the rubbish and then sew it back on. He also had to shave some of the bone off the heel."[38] As of July 2009, Clemence was yet to recover from his heel injury, an ordeal he considered "tough to deal with mentally because this is the longest time I've had out of the game."[47]

He marked his return to action in a 3–1 win over Derby County reserves on 8 September 2009, playing for 30 minutes as a substitute.[48] He played his first full game in a 1–0 win over Barwell reserves on 13 October, and scored the match-winning penalty.[49] Manager Nigel Pearson, however, said on 26 November that Clemence would not be rushed back into the first team, adding he wanted him to be "absolutely spot on" before returning.[50] He returned to training intermittently with the squad in early December.[51] On Easter Monday 2010 however, Clemence announced his retirement from football after failing to fully recover from his heel injury,[52] and he was released by Leicester at the end of the season.[53]

After playingEdit

In the summer of 2010, Clemence joined Steve Bruce's staff at Sunderland as a development coach with the reserve team. Bruce was the manager who signed him for Birmingham City.[54]

On 2 July 2012, it was announced that Clemence had taken up the post of reserve-team manager at Hull City, again under Bruce.[55]

In October 2016, Clemence left Hull City and reunited with Bruce again, this time as Aston Villa's first-team coach.[56] But on 3 October 2018, head coach Steve Bruce, Colin Calderwood, Steve Agnew, Gary Walsh and Clemence himself, were all fired.[57]

On 2 January 2019 Sheffield Wednesday announced, that the club had appointed Steve Bruce as the club's new head coach from the 1st February 2019 together long-time coaching associates, Clemence and Steve Agnew. Clemence and Agnew would be in charge of the team in his absence until the 1st February, where Bruce would arrive.[58] With the arriving of Bruce, Clemence would function as a first team coach.[59]

International careerEdit

Clemence was capped by the England national under-18 team, scoring two goals in seven appearances, between 1995 and 1996.[60] He was capped once by the under-21 team, as a substitute in a 2–0 away win over Sweden on 4 September 1998.[61] He was eligible to play for Northern Ireland through his Northern Ireland-born grandmother.[62] Clemence rejected the chance to represent the country in both May and July 2004, a decision which manager Lawrie Sanchez said he would respect.[63] Sanchez did ask Clemence to reconsider in October 2006,[64] but he never represented a national team at senior level.

Personal lifeEdit

Clemence was born in Liverpool. He is the son of England international goalkeeper Ray Clemence, who was then a Liverpool player.[60] In 2003, he married model and actress Angela Saunders.[65] Their son, Jack, was born in early 2005,[66] and their daughter, Sadie, some two years later.[67] He married former Brookside actress Suzanne Collins in June 2017.[68] When asked to name a favourite book as part of a 2005 scheme to promote reading, organised by the National Literacy Trust in conjunction with the Premier League, Clemence chose The Twits by Roald Dahl, which he had enjoyed as a child.[69]

Clemence is the brother-in-law of former footballer Dougie Freedman, married to his sister Sarah, and of golfer Brian Davis, married to Julie.[70]

On 21 November 2004, Clemence and Birmingham City teammate Dwight Yorke had two Blackburn Rovers supporters arrested by police for racist abuse during a match at Ewood Park, before pressing charges against them.[71]

Career statisticsEdit

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Tottenham Hotspur 1997–98[72] Premier League 17 0 2 1 2 0 21 1
1998–99[73] Premier League 17 0 1 0 3 0 21 0
1999–2000[74] Premier League 20 1 1 0 0 0 3[a] 0 24 1
2000–01[75] Premier League 29 1 4 0 2 0 35 1
2001–02[12] Premier League 6 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
2002–03[76] Premier League 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
Total 89 2 8 1 8 0 3 0 108 3
Birmingham City 2002–03[76] Premier League 15 2 15 2
2003–04[77] Premier League 35 2 2 1 1 0 38 3
2004–05[78] Premier League 22 0 2 0 2 0 26 0
2005–06[79] Premier League 15 0 4 0 2 0 21 0
2006–07[80] Championship 34 4 0 0 1 0 35 4
Total 121 8 8 1 6 0 135 9
Leicester City 2007–08[41] Championship 31 2 0 0 3 1 34 3
2008–09[81] League One 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2009–10[82] Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 31 2 0 0 3 1 0 0 34 3
Career total 241 12 16 2 17 1 3 0 277 15
  1. ^ Appearances in UEFA Cup

HonoursEdit

Tottenham Hotspur

Birmingham City

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Stephen Clemence". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  2. ^ Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2007). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2007–08. Edinburgh: Mainstream. p. 83. ISBN 9781845962463.
  3. ^ a b "Stephen Clemence profile". Leicester City F.C. Archived from the original on 12 June 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  4. ^ "First team coaching staff". Sheffield Wednesday F.C. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  5. ^ Moore, Glenn (5 January 1998). "Tottenham advance at expense of more injuries". The Independent. London. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
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  58. ^ Steve Bruce appointed Wednesday manager , swfc.co.uk, 2 January 2019
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  66. ^ Simons, Raoul (1 April 2005). "Clemence: Why I am there for dad". Evening Standard. London. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
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External linksEdit