Spring warming up for Charlton Athletic in 2009
|Full name||Matthew John Spring|
|Date of birth||17 November 1979|
|Place of birth||Harlow, England|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Hitchin Town (player-coach)|
|2008–2009||→ Sheffield United (loan)||11||(1)|
|2014–2015||St Neots Town||37||(0)|
|2015–2018||Hemel Hempstead Town||63||(5)|
|2017||Hitchin Town (dual registration)||2||(1)|
|2018||Hitchin Town (dual registration)||9||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league onlyand correct as of 21:02, 11 December 2018 (UTC)|
Matthew John Spring (born 17 November 1979) is an English semi-professional footballer and coach who plays as a midfielder for Southern League Premier Division Central club Hitchin Town. He has previously played for Luton Town, Leeds United, Watford, Sheffield United, Charlton Athletic, Leyton Orient, Wycombe Wanderers, St Neots Town and Hemel Hempstead Town.
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.
In sports, a coach is a person involved in the direction, instruction and training of the operations of a sports team or of individual sportspeople. A coach may also be a teacher.
A midfielder is an association football position. Midfielders are generally positioned on the field between their team's defenders and forwards. Some midfielders play a disciplined defensive role, breaking up attacks, and are otherwise known as defensive midfielders. Others blur the boundaries, being more mobile and efficient in passing: they are commonly referred to as deep-lying midfielders, play-makers, box-to-box, or holding midfielders. The number of midfielders on a team and their assigned roles depends on the team's formation; the collective group of these players on the field is sometimes referred to as the midfield.
Spring started his career at Luton Town, making his debut as a half-time substitute in a 3–0 defeat to Bristol City on 27 September 1997.He went on to make 12 further appearances in the 1997–98 season. Spring established himself as a first-team regular in the 1998–99 season, making 54 appearances, scoring three goals. In the 2000–01 season, he made 51 appearances, scoring four goals, as Luton were relegated to the Third Division for the first time in 33 years. Luton bounced straight back in the 2001–02 season, finishing runners-up and were promoted back to the Second Division, with Spring making 43 appearances, scoring six goals. Spring was beset by injuries during the latter half of the 2003–04 season, causing him to miss the last three months of the season, restricting him to 30 appearances, scoring one goal. Spring's contract was due to expire at the end of the season and he looked set to leave Luton, with Championship clubs Nottingham Forest and Leeds United both interested in securing his services. In total he made 289 appearances for Luton, scoring 30 goals.
Luton Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Luton, Bedfordshire, England, that competes in League One, the third tier of the English football league system. Founded in 1885, it is nicknamed "the Hatters" and affiliated to the Bedfordshire County Football Association. The team plays its home matches at Kenilworth Road, where it has been based since 1905. The club's history includes major trophy wins, several financial crises, numerous promotions and relegations, and some spells of sustained success. It was perhaps most prominent between 1982 and 1992, when it was a member of English football's top division, at that time the First Division; the team won its only major honour, the Football League Cup, in 1988.
In several team sports, matches are played in two halves. Half-time is the name given to the interval between the two halves of the match. Typically, after half-time teams swap ends of the field of play, in order to reduce any advantage that may be gained from wind or a slope to the playing surface, for example.
In association football, a substitute is a player who is brought on to the pitch during a match in exchange for an existing player. Substitutions are generally made to replace a player who has become tired or injured, or who is performing poorly, or for tactical reasons. Unlike some sports, a player who has been substituted during a match may take no further part in it.
After leaving Luton, Spring was on the verge of joining Nottingham Forest and linking back up with former Luton manager Joe Kinnear until Leeds made a late bid to sign him.He was signed by newly appointed Leeds manager Kevin Blackwell on a Bosman transfer, as he re-modelled his newly relegated team. Spring described the turn of events as "a bit of a shock because I was lined up to go to Forest and I was pleased with that. Then a couple of days later Leeds came in with an offer. I had a decision to make but as soon as I saw Elland Road and thought about the atmosphere of 35,000 fans at every home game my mind was made up." Spring's first season in the Championship was an unhappy one, with a combination of injuries and personal problems restricting him to just 15 appearances and one goal against Ipswich Town.
Joseph Patrick Kinnear is an Irish former football manager and player. Kinnear played as a defender, spending the majority of his career—ten seasons—with Tottenham Hotspur. With Tottenham he won the FA Cup, the Football League Cup twice, the FA Community Shield and the UEFA Cup. Kinnear was born in Dublin, moving to Watford, England at the age of seven. He was capped 26 times for the Republic of Ireland national football team. Following the end of his playing career he has also been the manager of India, Nepal, Doncaster Rovers, Wimbledon, Luton Town, Nottingham Forest and Newcastle United.
Kevin Patrick Blackwell is an English former professional football goalkeeper who since retiring as a player has worked as a coach and a manager, and is currently assistant manager at Cardiff City.
Union Royale Belge des Sociétés de Football Association ASBL v Jean-Marc Bosman (1995) C-415/93 is a 1995 European Court of Justice decision concerning freedom of movement for workers, freedom of association, and direct effect of article 39 of the TEC. The case was an important decision on the free movement of labour and had a profound effect on the transfers of footballers within the European Union (EU).
As the 2005–06 season commenced Watford manager Adrian Boothroyd, who had worked with Spring when he was first team coach at Leeds, brought the midfielder to Vicarage Road to be part of his reshaped team for a transfer fee of £150,000.Spring scored on his debut, coming off the bench to put in a late third in a 3–1 victory over Burnley on 20 August 2005. As Boothroyd's team flew high in the Championship, Spring, a regular in the team, scored seven further goals from central midfield by the end of January. However, he did not score again until Watford reached the play-offs in May, when he scored the third goal in the 3–0 victory over Crystal Palace in the first leg of the semi-final. Spring played in the 3–0 Championship play-off final win over Leeds United at the Millennium Stadium, with Watford earning promotion to the Premier League.
During the 2005–06 English football season, Watford competed in the Football League Championship.
Watford Football Club is a professional football club based in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, that plays in the Premier League, the highest level in the English football league system. Founded in 1898 by the amalgamation of West Herts and Watford St. Mary's. After finishing the 1914–15 season as Southern League champions under the management of Harry Kent, Watford joined the Football League in 1920. The club played at several grounds in its early history, before moving to a permanent location at Vicarage Road in 1922, where it remains. Watford spent most of the following half century in the lower divisions of The Football League, changing colours and crest on multiple occasions.
Vicarage Road, a stadium in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, is the home of the football club Watford of the Premier League. An all-seater stadium, its current capacity is 23,700 following the completion of the new Sir Elton John Stand in 2014, and expansion work in 2015 and again throughout 2016 and 2017; this included expansion of the football pitch.
During Watford's Premiership campaign, Spring's first team opportunities were limited after falling down the pecking order behind new signing Damien Francis and Al Bangura at Vicarage Road. As a result, he made only nine appearances for the club during the first half of the 2006–07 season.
Damien Jerome Francis is a retired Jamaican international footballer who played as a defensive midfielder.
During the 2006–07 English football season, Watford competed in the FA Premier League, after being promoted from the Football League Championship last season.
On 18 January 2007, after struggling to establish himself in the first team at Watford, Spring rejoined Luton on a two-and-a-half-year contract for a transfer fee of £200,000 (rising to £300,000).His first game since returning to the club came on 30 January in the 1–0 away defeat to Coventry City. At the end of the season, Luton were relegated to League One after two seasons in the Championship, with Spring making 14 appearances, scoring one goal. During the 2007–08 season, Spring made 54 appearances, scoring 12 goals, as Luton were relegated again to League Two.
Coventry City Football Club is a professional football club based in Coventry, West Midlands, England. The club competes in League One, the third tier of the English football league system, following promotion via the playoffs from League Two in the 2017–18 season.
The English Football League One is the second-highest division of the English Football League and the third tier overall in the entire English football league system.
During the 2007–08 English football season, Luton Town competed in League One.
On 31 July 2008, Spring joined Championship club Sheffield United on a season-long loan deal, with a view to a permanent move.He made his debut for the club on 13 August in the first round of the League Cup, a 3–1 victory at home over Port Vale. Injuries initially hampered his time at Bramall Lane, but by October, he began to feature regularly for the first team, scoring his first goal for the club on 25 November, a 3–1 defeat at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
On 9 January 2009, Spring was released from his loan deal with Sheffield United to allow him to seek a permanent move elsewhere, as agreed before the loan commenced.
On 9 January 2009, Spring joined Championship club Charlton Athletic from Luton on an 18-month contract for an undisclosed fee.He scored his first goal for the club on 17 January, a 4–1 away defeat to Sheffield Wednesday. He scored his second goal just ten days later in a 1–0 win over rivals Crystal Palace in only his third game for his new employers. Spring finished the 2008–09 season making 13 appearances, scoring two goals, as Charlton were relegated to League One.
Spring failed to score in 15 appearances for Charlton during the 2009–10 season.Charlton chose not to offer Spring a new contract and so he left the club at the end of the season.
On 30 June 2010, Spring signed a two-year contract with League One club Leyton Orient.He made his debut for the club on 7 August, a 2–1 defeat away to Yeovil Town. Spring scored his first goal for Leyton Orient in a 3–2 defeat away to Notts County. He finished the 2010–11 season making 50 appearances, scoring two goals.
During the 2011–12 season, Spring scored his first goal on 12 November 2011, a 3–0 win over Bromley in the FA Cup.He scored his first league goal of the season on 31 December, a 1–0 win over his former employers and League One leaders Charlton. He finished the season making 45 appearances, scoring five goals. Spring was not offered a new contract by Leyton Orient and left the club at the end of the season.
On 2 July 2012, it was announced that Spring had signed a two-year contract with Wycombe Wanderers.He arrived as one of five new signings after a transfer embargo was lifted from the club. Spring made his debut for the club on 11 August, a 1–0 away defeat to former club Watford. His first and only goal for Wycombe during the 2012–13 season came on 3 November, a 4–1 away defeat to Crewe Alexandra in the FA Cup. Spring ended the season making 29 appearances for Wycombe.
Spring made only eight appearances for Wycombe during the 2013–14 season, failing to score in any of them.He was among a number of players released at the end of the season having fallen out of favour with Gareth Ainsworth.
Following his release by Wycombe Wanderers, Spring signed for Southern League Premier Division club St Neots Town in August 2014.
After a re-shuffle of the coaching staff early in the 2014–15 season, Spring was appointed player-assistant manager.
Despite playing an important role in the St Neots Town team that made the Southern Premier Division play-off final, Spring was one of several players released by the club at the end of the 2014–15 season.
After his release from St Neots Town, Spring moved up a division to sign with National League South club Hemel Hempstead Town in June 2015.
Spring signed a dual registration deal with Southern League Premier Division club Hitchin Town on 6 March 2017, scoring on his debut later that day in a 2–1 victory at home to Cirencester Town, having entered the match as a substitute.He re-signed for Hitchin on dual registration on 23 March 2018. Spring signed for Hitchin permanently as a player-coach on 24 May on a one-year contract.
Spring is one of the few players to have played for both Luton and their arch-rivals Watford. On 10 September 2002, he scored a 30-yard goal in a 2–1 victory over Watford in the League Cup, the first meeting of the two clubs for over three years.
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Luton Town||1997–98||Second Division||12||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||13||0|
|Sheffield United (loan)||2008–09||Championship||11||1||—||2||0||—||13||1|
|Leyton Orient||2010–11||League One||39||2||7||0||2||0||2||0||50||2|
|Wycombe Wanderers||2012–13||League Two||25||0||1||1||1||0||2||0||29||1|
|St Neots Town||2014–15||Southern League Premier Division||37||0||2||0||—||8||1||47||1|
|Hemel Hempstead Town||2015–16||National League South||31||5||2||0||—||3||0||36||5|
|2016–17||National League South||15||0||0||0||—||0||0||15||0|
|2017–18||National League South||17||0||3||0||—||4||1||24||1|
|Hitchin Town||2016–17||Southern League Premier Division||2||1||—||—||1||0||3||1|
|2017–18||Southern League Premier Division||9||0||—||—||1||0||10||0|
|2018–19||Southern League Premier Division Central||10||0||7||0||—||3||0||20||0|
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