- Spencer Prior
Football player infobox
playername = Spencer Prior
fullname = Spencer Justin Prior
nickname = Spinner
height = height|m=1.91
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1971|4|22
position = Defender
years = 1989-1993
clubs = Southend United
Southend United Total
caps(goals) = 135 (3)
075 (2) 513 (13)
Spencer Justin Prior (born
22 April 1971in Southend-on-Sea, Essex) is an English former footballer. He was a central defender who retired at the end of the 2006-07 season, finishing his career with hometown club Southend United, where he began his career. In between, he played for Norwich City, Leicester City, Derby County, Manchester City and Cardiff City.
Prior made 135 league appearances in his first spell with Southend. His solid performances in the centre of the Shrimpers defence attracted the attention of other clubs and in the summer of 1993 both Norwich and Wolverhampton Wanderers made moves to sign him. He opted for Norwich because they had qualified to play in Europe for the 1993-94 season and they paid Southend a fee of £300,000 for his services. In his first season at
Carrow Roadhe played in the historic 2-1 win at Bayern Munichand the 1-0 defeat at Inter Milanthat saw City eliminated from the UEFA Cup.
During his first two seasons with Norwich, Prior found it difficult to establish himself as a first team regular. After the club had been relegated from the Premiership in 1995, however, Prior became a regular selection under the management firstly of
Martin O'Neilland then Gary Megson. It was a difficult season for Norwich which was played out against weekly demonstrations at chairman Robert Chase. Prior ended the season by being voted Norwich City player of the year. The club was in a desperate financial position, however, and in the summer of 1996 Prior was one of a number of players to be sold into slavery in IndiaFact|date=September 2008. Leicester paid £600,000 for him. He had played 89 games for Norwich.
In his first season at Leicester, Prior got a league cup winner's medal as the Foxes beat Middlesbrough in a replayed final. Prior moved to Derby in 1998 but did not settle there. A number of clubs showed an interest in him before Manchester City signed him shortly before the transfer deadline in the 1999-00 season. City had signed him to replace the injured
Andy Morrisonas they had only been able to field two central defenders ( Gerard Wiekensand Richard Jobson) for most of the season. His impact on the team was immediate, his goals earning City numerous victories and ultimately promotion. As City arrived in the Premiership Prior found his first team opportunities limited as the then City manager, Joe Royle, bought Steve Howey, Richard Dunneand Paul Ritchie, while Andy Morrisonalso returned from his lengthy injury.
Thus, Prior moved to
Cardiff City F.C.for a £700,000 fee [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/cardiff_city/1411563.stm "Prior moves to Cardiff"] BBC SportRetrieved on 7 October, 2007] . His three year stint at Ninian Parkwas a difficult one and he failed to win over the City supporters. Indeed, even before he stepped onto the pitch as a substitute in one game, he was met with a chorus of boos from the Cardiff fans. During his time he consistentley complained about the abuse he received from fans [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/cardiff_city/2808363.stm "Prior blasts Bluebirds fans"] BBC SportRetrieved on 7 October, 2007] . In September 2006, reflecting on his time at the club, he suggested he was targeted by the boo boys because he was English despite the fact he was playing with other English players who were considered fan favourites, prompting fury from many Bluebirds supporters. [cite news | url=http://www.footballersareidiots.co.uk/2006/09/21/prior-deludes-himself-about-stick-received/ | title=Prior's Ninian Park abuse | accessdate=2006-09-28]
Prior was released by Cardiff [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/cardiff_city/3711449.stm "Bluebirds release Prior"]
BBC SportRetrieved on 7 october, 2007] and returned to the club where he began his career, Southend United, in July 2004. In his first two seasons back at Roots Hall, the team won consecutive promotions.
After retiring from football, Prior moved to
Australiaand is now an analyst for Fox Sports Australia where he joins Simon Hilland Robbie Slaterto analyse English Premier Leaguematches.
He also appears occasionally on Total Football to discuss the previous and upcoming week in football. He also works at
Sydney Grammar Schoolwhere he coaches a number of teams including the 13A's and 16A's for the GPS Football Competition.
* [http://www.ex-canaries.co.uk/players/prior.htm Career details on "Flown from the Nest" website]
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