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Craig Russell

Craig Russell
Norwich Career: Trial (February 2000)
Current Club: South Shields FC(Arngrove Northern League)
Date of Birth:  04/02/1974
Nationality: English


Craig Russell, of Manchester City, and Jonathan Hunt (Sheffield United) joined Norwich City's reserves team squad that travelled to Colchester United for the Avon Insurance Combination League game on 1st February 2000. Both players would have been available on free transfers if Bruce Rioch decided to take things further on.

Russell, originally with Sunderland (150 apps, 31 goals), moved to Maine Road in 1997 in an exchange deal which saw Nicky Summerbee move the other way. The deal valued each player at 1,000,000 at the time. Although Craig had made 31 appearances for City scoring twice, he was then finding himself on the fringe of things. He has had loan spells with Tranmere Rovers (4 games), Port Vale (8 games, 1 goal) and Darlington - as well as a trial with Sheffield United. Russell followed the path beaten the previous week by Tony Vaughan, also surplus to Joe Royle's requirements.

Neither Russell or Hunt impressed in the 1-0 defeat at Colchester. Craig and Jonathan returned to their respective clubs and Craig played for Man City Reserves against Man Utd Reserves in the Manchester Senior Cup. He was later linked with a move to Carlisle. Russell was offered a three-month loan at Brunton Park, but turned it down, after which Cumbrians boss Martin Wilkinson inquired about a permanent transfer. City boss Joe Royle held talks with Russell, who was reluctant to move down from the First Division, and certainly from First Division wages. The transfer fee would also have been around 250,000, which was believed to be just out of Carlisle's reach.

On Thursday 10 February 2000, Craig joined Oxford United on a month's loan, teaming again with Denis Smith who was manager of Sunderland in the season that Russell made his league debut with the NorthEast club. Craig returned to Maine Road in mid March 2000 only to join Scottish side St Johnstone on loan on 28th March until the end of the season. He made an impressive debut scorings St Johnstone's only goal in a 2-1 defeat at Motherwell. Craig returned to Maine Road as injuries limited his opportunities for the remainder of the 1999/2000 season.

However St Johnstone were still interested and Craig signed for them on a free transfer on 11th July 2000. However by December 2000, Craig was linked with a return to England in a 75,000 transfer to Notts County whilst Sport First suggested on 17th December that Craig might join Swansea City on loan.

Out of contract with St Johnstone at the end of the 2001/02 season, Craig joined Grimsby on trial at the end of July 2002 and played in their pre-season friendly against Hull. He later had a trial with Darlington in the autumn of 2002. After trialling with Carlisle in January 2003, he signed for the Cumbrian side on a monthly contract in mid January 2003. A year later and Carlisle opted to let him go.

To keep fit, Craig trained with Darlington but was linked by the media to a January 2004 transfer to Boston United. This was denied by the Lincolnshire side. In the end, Craig signed for Darlington and opened his goalscoring account with them with the only goal of the game at Macclesfield on March 6th 2004.

At the beginning of May 2005, Craig was one of 10 players released by Darlington along with high-profile signing Bobby Petta. Craig then embarked on talks with ambitious non-leaguers Gateshead in mid-June 2005. He rejected Gateshead and signed the following month for Arngrove Northern League side Newcastle Blue Star. He has since moved to South Shields FC

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