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Darel Russell

Darel Russell
Norwich Career: 1997-2003, 2007-2010 (271 appearances, 19 goals),
Current Club: Nevada Heat (USA) (Coach)
Date of Birth: 22/10/1980 (Mile End)
Nationality: English


Youth team product Darel Russell made his debut for Norwich on the last day of the 1997/98 season against Reading. Although Darel made another 13 league appearances in 1998/99, he made a place in central midfield his own in 1999/2000. His impressive form had brought him attention from Premiership side Coventry. Gordon Strachan was rumoured to be making an offer even though Darel had played less than 40 first team games (Sport First 28th November 1999). On Sunday 16th April 2000, the Sunday People suggested that Newcastle manager Bobby Robson was interested in Darel and was hoping to swap him for Garry Brady. Unfortunately the People reported Darel as being Daryl Powell ! Darel was linked with a move to Ipswich on May 3rd 2001 along with Andy Marshall with both players allegedly watched by George Burley in the last Norwich home match of the season against Sheffield Wednesday on 28th April 2001. This reumour resurfaced in June 2001 with sources at Ipswich claiming that they had made an approach for an unnamed Division One midfielder - thought to be either David Prutton of Forest or Russell.

Russell followed Phil Mulryne in rejecting a new contract offer from the Canaries in February 2002, leaving him out of contract in the summer. Unlike Mulryne, Darel is under 24 and any transfer would go to a tribunal resulting in a payment to Carrow Road. Based upon his performance against Watford on 26th February 2002, Darel will be lucky to receive a contract offer from any decent sized or ambitious side as his performance was strictly second division ! Failure to come to agreement with the Canaries saw Darel officially transfer listed at the end of May 2002.

Darel then went on a weekly contract with the Canaries. He returned to first team action in September 2002 following injuries to Mark Rivers and Alex Notman. However he suffered a broken toe in the 2-0 victory ar Reading on 18th September 2002 and missed approximately 6-8weeks. He finished the season with just 24 appearances.

Darel rejected the club's offer of a new contract in June 2003 and was placed on a week-to-week contract. His age means that Norwich would be entitled to any compensation under the Bosman ruling if he was to find a new club. Under these circumstances, Norwich did well to sell him in a surprise move to Stoke on August 8th 2003 for £125,000. Norwich are also understood to have protected themselves further with a sell-on clause believed to be worth 30 per cent of any future transfer fee.
"We wish Darel all the very best of luck with his new club," said Canary boss Nigel Worthington. "Unfortunately, Darel turned down the offer of a good, long contract with us on two separate occasions. We were then forced to put him on a week-to-week deal in order to protect the club's interests - and to ensure he did not leave the club on a free transfer. He's been a pleasure to work with and we wish him all the best."

Ironically Russell was seen by Stoke as a replacement for James O'Connor for whom Norwich bid in July 2003 but lost out to WBA. Both Norwich and Stoke then set their targets on Damien Francis with whom the Canaries were successful. Russell was joined at the Britannia Stadium this morning by Wolves defender Keith Andrews, who agreed a three-month loan. "We are delighted to sign these two players," said Stoke boss Tony Pulis. "They are both young and strong with great potential."

Darel's fine form for Stoke ironically benefitted the Canaries as he scored the first goal in Stoke's 4-1 defeat of West Brom on 4th May 2004. This defeat for the Baggies gave the Division One title to the Canaries.

Darel returned to Carrow Road in August 2007 for a fee reported to be £410,000 and signed a three year contact with the Canaries. He had made 171 appearances for Stoke, scoring 16 times. He made his second debut for the Canaries in the 0-0 draw at Preston on the opening day of the 2007/8 season.

The News of the World speculated on 18th November 2007 that Russell was a target for Crystal Palace's new manager Neil Warnock

In July 2009, Russell was linked with a £400,000 move to Premiership newboys Burnley. His departure from Carrow Road was expected as he had been excluded from pre-season matches. Instead he established himself in the first team under Paul Lambert and made 39 appearances, scoring twice, as Norwich won the League One title.

Failure to agree a new contract with City saw Russell leave on 1st July 2010 when his contract expired. He was linked with a move to Leeds and Bolton (who were managed by former Burnley boss Owen Coyle). In July 2010, Darel entered into talks with Preston and signed a three year deal with them on 4th August 2010. "It was a no-brainer from a footballing point of view," said Russell. "This looks like a club that are trying to play in the right way. They have the right mentality of trying to bring the young lads through and progress that way. The plan for every team is to try and reach that promised land. My aims and ambitions are exactly the same and I am sure from speaking to Darren Ferguson that he is very enthusiastic about doing that and achieving that as soon as possible."

Darel and Preston were relegated to League One on 25th April 2011 following a 1-0 home defeat to Cardiff.

Russell joined Charlton on loan on 24th November 2011 until 5th January 2012. He had made just 4 appearances for Preston during the first part of the 2011/12 season. This was extended until the end of the season. Charlton won promotion to the Championship on 15th April 2012 with a 1-0 win at Carlisle but Russell did not play as he was suspended for receiving a red card at Huddersfield.

Placed on the transfer list by Preston manager Graham Westley, Russell offered in early July 2012 to cancel his contract by mutual consent so he could move on. This happened on 13th July 2012, and Russell left Preston having made just 27 league appearances.

Darel joined Portsmouth on 31st August 2012 on a one month contract along with Australian midfielder Johnny Ertl and former Celtic youngster Josh Thompson. Russell made his debut the following day in a 1-0 defeat at home to Oldham.

Russell left Portsmouth on 27th January 2013 and in February 2013, joined MLS side Toronto on trial. Darel had made 18 appearances for Pompey. The trial was successful and Russell signed for Toronto on 1st March 2013, Another Toronto signing was Robert Earnshaw. Russell scored his first goal for Toronto in a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas on 6th April 2013.

Released by Toronto in December 2013, Darel signed a two year contract with NASL side Tampa Bay Rowdies on 27th February 2014. A teammate will be Carl Cort. He retired at the end of the season.

He then studied for his coaching qualifications with the US Soccer Federation and became a coach with the Nevada Heat based in Las Vegas.

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