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Former Fulham keeper David Stockdale returns to York City

last updated Thursday 16th November 2023, 11:56 AM

Fulham Football Club

Fulham keeper David Stockdale
Former Fulham keeper
David Stockdale
David Stockdale
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Former Fulham keeper David Stockdale has turned the clock back 20 years and returned to York City - the league club who gave him his debut on May 3, 2003 at Oxford.

The 38-year-old is between the sticks at his old club again but is also part of manager Neal Ardley’s management team as head of recruitment.

In between his two stints at York, Stockdale has been on quite an adventure.

Part of his adventure included some six years at Fulham where he played between 2008 and 2014. He appeared 50 plus times for Fulham with all League appearences being in the Premiership. Stockdale was also with Fulham during their historic Europa League run to the Final.

His career has involved 18 clubs (11 on loan) and playing in each of the top seven tiers of English football.

He came within a whisker of playing for Fabio Capello’s England in 2011, made 441 league appearances in the top four tiers including 59 in the Premier League.

Stockdale’s move to Birmingham turned sour after he was frozen out by manager Garry Monk and told to train with the kids at Wast Hills.

He said: “I switched from Brighton to Birmingham where I was offered a three-year contact.

“It meant a lot to me because it gave me the stability for my children who were just about to start their key secondary school education.

“There are many who maybe thought my move from Brighton to Birmingham was money motivated.

“The truth is that it was all about my family. I was being offered a three-year contact at St Andrew’s rather than one year at Albion.

“In hindsight my move to Birmingham ended up being a nightmare, but my daughter, Molly, has absolutely blitzed her way through her ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels and now has got to be able to pick the university of her choice, so that has been a huge plus factor.

“It was very frustrating because I wanted to play, but the manager didn’t want me in the squad.

“I tried to switch clubs, but the finances always seemed to break down. I did get loan moves to Southend and then Wycombe.

“It was like a breath of fresh air working with Gareth Ainsworth at Wycombe. In the end it came to a head and I actually agreed to lose £1,600 a week to play at Wycombe.”

Humble Stockdale has a refreshing attitude when reflecting on the last two decades in the game.

“For me, it’s far more important that I am remembered at the clubs I have been with and the players and staff I have met and worked with that they have thought of me as being a decent lad rather than a decent player.

“Throughout my career I have dedicated myself to being as professional as possible.

“Football is wonderful for a mix of players enjoying the banter and camaraderie, but it’s knowing the line between the fun and joking and the serious side of playing.

“Over 20 years I have played for 18 clubs (11 on loan) and I have made so many life-long friends. It’s been a great journey.

“It may seem like I have played for a lot of teams, but I have made a lot of the loan moves because I’ve wanted to play football.

“I try to impress on so many youngsters the fact that a football career is short and in years to come you will want to look back and remember playing rather than sitting on the bench.”

He came within a fraction of playing for England - having been called up for several of Capello’s Three Lions squads.

“Manager Fabio Capello had promised that all the players would get minutes during England’s friendly against Sweden in 2011.

“During the second half, both myself and other sub keeper Scott Carson agreed to run up the touchline to remind Fabio and get in his eyeline!

“Scott went one way and I went the other. The next thing, Scott got the nod to go on. To this day I always think if I had gone where Scott did, I would have had an England cap!

“But putting aside the fact I didn’t get any game time, the fact I was in several England squads was something no one can ever take away.

“I was in awe of playing alongside some of this country’s greatest ever players - it was an absolute privilege.”

“Stocky” can be summed up by his reaction after he was part of Wycombe’s play-off final defeat against Sunderland in 2022.

He said: “As you can imagine, everyone was gutted - including my son Billy who was in tears.

“But I made sure we stayed to the end and watched Sunderland lift the trophy. I told him that in defeat you can watch and appreciate even more where they are lifting the trophy.

“It was lovely at Sheffield Wednesday last season and being part of the club winning the League One play-off final.

“The Wednesday players had known about my story with Billy at Wycombe, so it was lovely when Barry Bannan felt a wonderful extra emotion for my lad with tears of joy this time.”

Outside York City, Stockdale set up MDB13 Properties Ltd in 2017, running it with his wife Katie.

He also owns 50 per cent of local football club Droitwich Spa in the West Midlands.

And Stockdale has realised a big ambition to take the club back to an improved Droitwich home after years of having to play outside the area with poor facilities.

Source Russell Lanning at The Sun
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