Whatever happened to #8… Randall, Harper, Clohessy, Murphy, Nicolau

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MARK RANDALL 

Signed scholarship: 2006. Arsenal apps: 10. Subsequent career: Chesterfield.

A former England youth international midfielder who impressed during his early years in the Arsenal Academy with his exquisite passing and ability to shoot from long distances, Randall’s career trajectory has gone rather downhill since he left the club in 2011. The 23 year old was released by League Two side Chesterfield this week despite being a regular during his two years at the club. It is all a far cry from his time at Arsenal, where he featured twice in both the Premier League and Champions League, whilst also garnering considerable experience on loan at Burnley, MK Dons and Rotherham. He will be hoping that a fresh challenge, and with it a move back up the footballing pyramid, will follow shortly.

JAMES HARPER

Signed scholarship: 1997. Arsenal apps: 0. Subsequent career: Reading, Sheffield United (loan), Sheffield United, Hull City, Wycombe Wanderers (loan), Doncaster Rovers.

Despite not making a senior appearance for the club, Harper was one of the most successful early graduates of the Arsenal Academy following its reformation. The midfielder amassed over 300 appearances for Reading during a nine-year spell in Berkshire, including many Premier League outings, but has led a rather chequered career since then, spending time with Sheffield United and Hull City before joining Doncaster Rovers last year, for whom he was a regular in his first season. Following Doncaster’s promotion, Harper will find himself back in the Championship next season.

SEAN CLOHESSY

Signed scholarship: 2003. Arsenal apps: 0. Subsequent career: Gillingham, Salisbury City (loan), Salisbury City, Bath City, Southend United.

Despite not being the most technically gifted of footballers, the right-back has carved out a commendable career for himself since leaving Arsenal. After struggling to make the breakthrough at Highbury, Clohessy gained his first taste of professional football with Gillingham, spending four years at the Priestfield Stadium before dropping down to non-league football with Salisbury City after a successful loan spell. He eventually worked his way back into the Football League with Southend United, however, and, after three years with the Shrimpers, is currently in talks with several League One clubs regarding a possible move.

RHYS MURPHY

Signed scholarship: 2007. Arsenal apps: 0. Subsequent career: Telstar.

A prolific goalscorer for Arsenal at U18 level whilst still a schoolboy, Murphy endured horrendous luck with injuries during his time at the club, which severely hampered any chance he had of making a first-team breakthrough. A key part of the side which won the FA Youth Cup and Premier Academy League double in 2008/09, he endured injury-plagued loan spells with Brentford and Preston before being released last year. He has since rediscovered something approaching his best form after taking the unusual step of joining Dutch second-division side Telstar, for whom he recently completed a campaign without suffering any serious injuries.

NICKY NICOLAU

Signed scholarship: 2000. Arsenal apps: 0. Subsequent career: Southend United, Swindon Town, Hereford United (loan), Barnet, Woking, Dover Athletic, Boreham Wood, Lincoln City, Chelmsford City.

Now 29, the Cyprus-affiliated midfielder, who can also play at left-back, recently joined Chelmsford City, his ninth different club since leaving the Gunners in 2004. Nicolau spent a decade at Arsenal, winning the FA Youth Cup in 2001, and, after leaving the club, impressed during spells with Southend United and Barnet. Since then, he has had to be content with a career in the lower echelons of English football, and will compete in the Conference South next season.

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5 thoughts on “Whatever happened to #8… Randall, Harper, Clohessy, Murphy, Nicolau

    LSOE said:
    July 7, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Great to read things are looking up for Rhys Murphy. He was top notch as a school boy before the injuries took over.

    Jom said:
    July 7, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Can’t believe Randall went downhill so fast. He should have gone to the dutch league instead like Murphy.

      Ralph Robertson said:
      September 13, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      Mark has just signed for Serie C team and is currently the only English pro footballer now playing in Italy (I think!).

    D'Jeezus Mackaroni said:
    July 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Hasn’t Rhys Murphy been released by Telstar?

    tony said:
    July 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Philip Roberts on trial at Colchester could he be the third player to go there this summer

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