Gavin Ward (footballer) - Playing Career

Playing Career

Ward was born in Sutton Coldfield and began his career with Aston Villa before moving on to Shrewsbury Town. He failed to make an appearance for either club and left for West Bromwich Albion where he made his professional debut in a League Cup match against Bradford City. He then moved to Cardiff City where he finally found regular football becoming a regular in the 1991–92 season and helped the "Bluebirds" win the Division Three title in 1992–93.

He made over 60 league and cup appearances for Cardiff in four seasons before moving to Leicester City for a transfer fee of £175,000 in 1993 where he help them to win promotion to the Premier League in 1994. After leaving Leicester he had a short spell at Bradford City before Bolton Wanderers paid £300,000 for his services in 1996, allowing Ward to again taste top-flight action. He spent three seasons at the Reebok Stadium acting as back-up to Keith Branagan. He spent the first half of the 1998–99 season on loan at Burnley before joining Stoke City on a permanent basis in March 1998. He instantly established himself as first choice 'keeper at the Britannia Stadium and he played in all the club's 60 fixtures during a hectic 1999–2000 season which saw Stoke win the Football League Trophy and reach the play-offs as Stoke lost controversially to Gillingham.

In June 2006, after spells at several other clubs including Preston North End and Coventry City he signed a one year contract with Tranmere Rovers.

Ward made a bright start to the 2006-07, even managing to score a goal, which came from a free kick just outside his box in the 9th minute against Leyton Orient on 2 September 2006.

He was released by Tranmere in May 2007 (having been sent off in his final match against Crewe Alexandra) and made the short journey to Chester' where he was reserve and coach to John Danby. Ward's only competitive appearance for Chester was as a half-time substitute for the injured Danby against Crewe Alexandra in the Football League Trophy on 4 September 2007, with Chester going on to win a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw. On 8 January 2008, Ward moved to arch-rivals Wrexham on a free transfer. He played in over 50 matches for the club before being released at the end of the 2008–09 season. Ward went on to play for Hednesford Town during the 2008-2009 season.

As of 8 January 2008 Ward has played 384 first-class matches in all competitions, 323 of them being in the league. On the 20th of October 2012 Ward was named amongst the substitutes due to an injury to second choice Joe Anyon.

Read more about this topic:  Gavin Ward (footballer)

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