Who would have thought that Ryan Clarke would team up again with his former Oxford United boss Chris Wilder? Who would have thought that this 33-year-old goalkeeper would end up with Northampton Town? At last, Clarke has decided to join the giant team of Wilder on a two-year deal.
When Clarke’s contract with Oxford United ended, he immediately made his move to Sixfields Stadium where he would be reunited with his ex-boss. Well, he seemed thrilled to be working with Wilder again.
You may not know it, but the UK national started his career with Bristol Rovers where he spent six years at the Memorial Stadium, but just made 23 appearances there. He also spent time away on loan at Southend United, Kidderminster Harriers, and Forest Green Rovers before his release in the summer of 2006.
From Memorial Stadium, he transferred to Salisbury City for which he made 41 appearances in a three-year spell, which included a season long loan at Northwich Victoria before his release at the end of the 2008-2009 season.
In May 2009, the 6-foot-3-Clarke signed a deal with Oxford United and later on hailed as number one by his then-manager Wilder. In in his first season at Kassam Stadium, he was named the club’s player of the year. He was the regular United goalkeeper for most of last season, and played in their 3-1 win at Sixfields in October. Actually, Clarke was the U’s longest-serving player; he made 264 appearances since joining from Northwitch Victoria in 2009.
However, he was not in Oxford manager Michael Appleton’s plans and was deemed surplus to requirements at the Kassam Stadium despite having 12 months remaining on his contract.
In this case, Cobblers boss Wilder has moved quickly to snap up the shot-stopper Clarke. The newly-signed goalkeeper will soon compete with ex-Leicester man Adam Smith for the first-choice goalkeeper spot at Sixfields.
With the acquisitions of both keepers, the Cobblers manager Wilder seems delighted and content. Surely, Clarke and Smith will be great assets to Northampton Town. Wilder won’t regret in signing the two unstoppable players that could make the team join the next playoffs.
Now that they’re reunited, Clarke and Wilder will definitely have time to catch up and work with each other again. The question is, Will Ryan be hailed as Northampton Town’s MVP of the year for 2015-2016? Well, he might be if he really strive harder and do better.