Following on from yesterday’s classic game, I wanted to look again at Chris Fagan, the player who promised so much, but delivered so little.
When Chris Fagan was announced as a Lincoln player it felt a bit of a let-down. We’d been hanging on for a marquee signing, someone to bang in 20 goals a season, but instead we got a handful of magic beans and Peter Jackson’s charm. Upon signing, Fagan said: “It’s a great day all in all for me, it gives me something to look forward to. I can’t wait to get going once the season starts, meet the lads and get into the swing of things.” Jackson muttered something about a bean stalk in the back yard.
Although he had no proven track record he did have a bit of pedigree. He’d been snapped up as a youngster by Man Utd whilst playing for Home Farm in Ireland, and had three years with their youth set up. He wasn’t offered a contract at United and made his way over to Spain to play at the Glenn Hoddle academy.
Fagan never managed to break through at the Bank and he managed just three goals in 13 appearances. Although he had obvious talent the physicality and pace of League Two really didn’t suit the youngster and when Peter Jackson left the club, Fagan’s days were numbered. After all, Chris Sutton knew a striker or two of his own.
He went out on loan to a Spanish Third Division side Jerez Industrial where he made a slight impact scoring four times in 12 appearances. However it seemed inevitable that on his return he would be released, and along with Sam Clucas he was a casualty of Chris Sutton’s only pre season as Lincoln manager.
The story could have ended there for Fagan, released by a struggling fourth tier side after a series of false starts in his career. A trial at Gateshead didn’t work out either and he saw in Christmas of 2010 without a club. A trial with Irish side Shamrock Rovers didn’t bring a contract either, but undeterred he continued to search for a club and finally signed for Bohemians in Feb 2011.
He made only 23 appearances for the Irish side but began to find his scoring boots and netted 11 goals, including a Europa League goal against Olimpija Ljubljana. Still only in his early twenties he was finally letting his pedigree show. At the end of the 2011 season he was very much in demand and chose to sign for St Patricks Athletic going straight in as their number nine.
In five seasons playing for St Pat’s he has become the player he always threatened to with an impressive ratio of 72 goals in 157 games. He has become their all time leading European scorer with 6 goals including strike against Legia Warsaw and Dinamo Minsk. In 2013 they won the League of Ireland, and in 2014 the FAI cup, FAI presidents cup and the Leinster senior cup. In 2014 he won the Irish golden boot and was named in team o the year and won player of the year. It’s fair to say he found his feet in front of goal. The past two season he has hit 20 goals in 56 games despite again suffering injuries.
Could he still do a job over in our professional leagues? Probably not now as time has caught up with him, but his record suggests the potential was there. Other players who were successful in Ireland have come over and done very well like James McClean and Gareth McAuley. However with regular European football and prolific scoring form would he want to take the chance again at 29 years old? Whichever way you look at it he has found some degree of success despite being rated as not good enough by Chris Sutton, and although it may not be Premier League like Sam Clucas it is still success and trophies. Just goes to show what Chris Sutton knew.