Where Are They Now? #4 – 2003 Championship Play-Off Final (Wolves)

Before Watford and Crystal Palace battle it out at Wembley, “Where Are They Now?” wonders what happened to the squads of the finalists of a decade ago. Here we learn about the victors, Wolves…


Matt Murray (Goalkeeper)


A product of the Wolves youth system, Murray was named man of the match in Cardiff after pulling off many important saves and saving a penalty from Michael Brown. Only played once in the Premiership due to multiple injuries and that became the story of his career. Seemed to be on his way back in the 2006/07 season but got injured just before the play-offs. Had loan spells at Tranmere and Hereford to get games and fitness but got injured at Hereford again. Forced to retire at the age of 29 in 2009 due to the injuries. Still works for Wolves in an ambassadorial role and occasionally does punditry for Sky Sports.

Dennis Irwin (Defender)


Signed from Manchester United in the summer of 2002, Irwin brought a wealth of experience to the Wolves side and was booked in Cardiff. Played the following season for Wolves in the Premiership before retiring in 2004. Currently does media work for many different outlets such as MUTV, RTE and the Sunday World newspaper.

Joleon Lescott (Defender)


Another product of the Wolves youth system, Lescott started in Cardiff. Like Murray, he missed the following season in the Premiership due to injury. He stayed with Wolves until 2006 when he joined Everton. His form at Everton led to international recognition with England (he has made 26 appearances to date, scoring once) and interest from Manchester City in 2009. His departure to City was a bitter one for Everton fans who booed Lescott on his return to Goodison Park. Still playing for City although has recently been linked with a move away.

Paul Butler (Defender)


Signed from Sunderland in 2001 following a loan spell, Butler gave away the penalty that Michael Brown missed. Stayed at Wolves for the campaign in the Premiership but after contract talks broke down, he joined fellow relegated side Leeds United in 2004. Made captain almost immediately and was part of the side that almost got promotion in 2006. Stripped of the captaincy by new boss Dennis Wise in October 2006, Butler left for MK Dons, first on loan and then permanently in January 2007. Joined Chester in the summer of 2007 and stayed until February 2009 before retiring. Became chief scout at Oldham Athletic under Paul Dickov, a position he still holds.

Lee Naylor (Defender)


Another product of the Wolves academy, Naylor was the only ever present in the Premiership campaign the following season. Stayed with Wolves until 2006 when he joined Celtic in Scotland. Won 2 SPL titles and a Scottish Cup at Celtic and was even nominated for the SPFA Player of the Season award in 2007. Joined Cardiff on a free in 2010 but his spell there was disappointing and he left at the end of his contract in 2012. Currently still looking for a club.

Shaun Newton (Midfielder)


Signed from Charlton Athletic in 2001, Newton was regular in the Premiership side the following season. He left Wolves in 2005 when his first team opportunities had diminished joining West Ham. Was part of the Hammers team that got promotion in 2005 and was mainly a substitute the following season. Banned for 7 months for failing a drugs test (tested positive for cocaine) before joining Leicester in March 2007. Left the Foxes in January 2008 and has most recently been noted for being involved in a scam to avoid paying parking tickets for which he was handed a suspended prison sentence, driving ban and community service.

Colin Cameron (Midfielder)


Signed from Scottish side Hearts in 2001, Cameron established himself as a fan favourite at Molineux due to his work rate. Didn’t score many but when he did Wolves never lost. Left the club in 2006 and had spells at Coventry, MK Dons and Dundee. Joined Cowdenbeath in 2010 as player/manager and still holds that role.

Paul Ince (Midfielder)


Signed on a free from Middlesbrough in 2002, Ince was captain in Cardiff. Stayed with Wolves until 2006 when he was released. He joined Swindon on a player/coach basis but left in October 2006 to become player/manager at Macclesfield. Retired from playing in May 2007. He became manager of MK Dons in June 2007 and led the team to the Football League Trophy and the League Two title. Appointed manager of Premiership side Blackburn in June 2008 but was sacked only 6 months later with Rovers struggling. He returned to manage MK Dons in June 2009 but his second spell was less successful and he left a year later. His next job was at Notts County but he only lasted 6 months there, being sacked in April 2011. Currently manager at Championship side Blackpool.

Mark Kennedy (Midfielder)


Joined from Manchester City in 2001, Kennedy opened the scoring after 6 minutes in Cardiff. Left Wolves in 2006 for Crystal Palace. Followed that up with spells at Cardiff and Ipswich in the Championship. Retired while at Ipswich in 2012 and immediately joined the coaching staff at Portman Road, a position he still holds.

Kenny Miller (Striker)


Signed from Scottish side Rangers in 2001 following a loan spell, Miller added the third and final goal in Cardiff on the stroke of half-time. Left on a free for Celtic in Scotland and in doing so became only the third player since World War II to cross the Old Firm divide. His time at Celtic was not hugely successful as he struggled for form. He joined newly promoted Derby in 2007 but again struggled to score goals as Derby crashed and burned in the Premiership. He returned to Rangers in 2008, becoming only the second player in history to cross the Old Firm divide twice. His time at Rangers was more prolific before he joined Turkish side Brusaspor in Januray 2011. He failed to settle in Turkey and returned to the UK with Cardiff in the summer of 2011. Only lasted a season in Wales before he moved to the MLS with Vancouver Whitecaps in July 2012, where he still plays.

Nathan Blake (Striker)


Joined from Blackburn Rovers in 2001, Blake added the second goal in the 22nd minute in Cardiff. Released by Wolves in 2004, he joined Leicester but didn’t score a league goal and was released in 2005. Tested positive for a recreational drug in August 2005 and was banned for 6 months. Finished his playing career at Newport County. Currently runs his own property management company in Wales.


Michael Oakes (Goalkeeper)


Signed from Aston Villa in 1999, Oakes replaced long-standing number 1 Mike Stowell between the sticks for Wolves. However, he lost his place to Matt Murray when he got injured and was an unused substitute in Cardiff. He was a regular in the Premiership due to Murray’s injury until January 2004 when he was replaced – controversially – by Paul Jones. He regained and lost his strating spot a couple of times afterwards before he left in May 2007. He signed for Cardiff that summer but only made 15 appearances and chose to retire at the season’s end. He is currently goalkeeping coach at Conference side Wrexham.

Marc Edworthy (Defender)


Signed from Coventry in August 2002, Edworthy only played 23 times for Wolves and was an unused substitute in Cardiff. Left after the promotion to join Norwich where he was a part of their promotion winning side. He played for Norwich in the Premiership before leaving for Derby in 2005. Left in 2008 for short spells at Leicester and Burton before retiring in 2009.

Alex Rae (Midfielder)

Alex Rae of Wolverhampton Wanderers

Joined Wolves from Sunderland in 2001 and was an unused substitute in Cardiff. He left for Rangers in Scotland following Wolves relegation from the Premiership in 2004. He managed to collect an SPL title with Rangers before being released in 2006. He was appointed player/manager at First Division Dundee and almost led them to promotion twice. He was sacked in October 2008 having now just become manager after retiring from playing in the summer of 2008. He joined MK Dons under former team mate Ince in 2009 and played a couple of games as cover as well as coaching. His last role was as assistant to Ince at Notts County.

Adam Proudlock (Striker)


Another product of the Wolves academy, Proudlock came on as a late substitute for Blake. Left Wolves after the final to join Sheffield Wednesday. He also has had spells at Ipswich, Darlington, Stockport, Grimsby, AFC Telford, Chester and Newport Town. Currently plays for Market Drayton Town of the Northern Premier League Division One South.

Dean Sturridge (Striker)


Signed from Leicester in 2001, Sturridge was a late substitute for Miller in Cardiff. Struggled with injuries for the rest of his Wolves career before joining QPR in 2005. His injury problems continued and he left Rangers in December 2005. He joined Kidderminster  in June 2006 but injuries struck again and he left and subsequently retired at the end of the season. He done some media work for BBC Radio Derby on the Derby County matches in the 07/08 season which he stopped at the end of the season to concentrate on coaching.


Dave Jones


Hired in 2001 with Wolves mid-table, Jones bought in the majority of the promotion winning side. He couldn’t keep them in the Premiership the following season and was then sacked in November 2004 for a poor start to the season. His next job was at Cardiff who he joined in 2005. He took Cardiff to an FA Cup final and play-off final before his sacking in May 2011 after not delivering promotion. He took his most recent job in March 2012 at Sheffield Wednesday where he immediately led them to promotion from League One and kept them in the Championship.

As always, don’t forget to suggest any squads you want to see down in the comments or on Twitter (@LongBallFoot).

Thanks for reading!


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