Player Profile #3
Adam le Fondre
Born: 2nd December 1986 in Stockport
Being the new boy – well ‘boy’ may be pushing it a bit, but you get the general idea – I was a bit taken aback when the nice folks at There’s Always Next Year asked me to do a player profile. However, when they did, I had no doubt who I wanted to write about.
Adam ‘Alfie’ Le Fondre.
A goal every 2.6 games would be reason enough, as would two hat-tricks and two braces in Dale colours, or that like me – he is from Stockport, or even his cool head on the penalty spot – I might even throw in the ‘little bird’ goal celebrations and the most ‘individual’ set of boots in League Two.
But that isn’t why I chose him.
I chose him because of a casual coincidence.
In 1988 I worked for an insurance company in Stockport. Most of my job I didn’t understand – and most of the bits I did, I was rubbish at. But there was one bit I was OK at – checking the cheques. Basically this meant sitting with one of the ladies from the data input team for several hours and making sure our employers weren’t paying anyone they shouldn’t. It was pretty dreary stuff – but it was a good substitute for actual work.
One of my partners in this rather excellent skive was Mrs. Le Fondre. She was nice, funny and sometimes brought biscuits… and before you ask, yes, it was that Mrs. Le Fondre. Alfie’s mum.
Like so many chance encounters in life it didn’t really seem important at the time. Little did I know that Mrs. Le Fondre’s little boy would become one of my footballing heroes.
Alfie would go on to make 73 appearances for Stockport scoring 20 goals. However, in early 2007 things would change for young Mr. Le Fondre. Rochdale had a new manager who liked the cut of the young Stopfordian’s jib. A two month loan stay with Dale followed.
Alfie would make his first Dale debut on 27th January 2007 against MK Dons, scoring twice in a 5-0 rout of the monied ones. He would make six more appearances for Dale, scoring against Torquay & Accrington before returning to County. His timing could probably have been better. Three weeks later he would be a helpless bystander in Rochdale’s 7-2 demolition of the Hatters.
That said, he had clearly made an impression on Mr. Hill as he was made a permanent signing on 1st August 2007 for an undisclosed fee. He made his second Rochdale debut against Peterborough on 11th August in a 3-0 mauling at the hands of the Posh – but would go on to score against future champions, MK Dons, in a last gasp 3-2 win on 1st September. Alfie would score 17 goals in all competitions in the 2007/08 season and would be a key component in the drive to Wembley.
The 2008/09 term has already seen Alfie rack up 14 goals including numerous critical penalties. His finest hour this season was a single handed rescue mission against Barnet in the Football Association Challenge Trophy where he over-turned a two goal first-half deficit with a sublime second half hat-trick, Dale winning 3-2.
My favourite Alfie goal? That would be goal number five in Dale’s 6-1 annhilation of Chester City. In the best traditions of journalists the world over – I will recycle some of my own material:
‘Le Fondre – having replaced Dagnall on 64 – produced an exquisite piece of ariel ballet on 68, to control the ball, turn and deliver a finish – with both feet off the ground!. 5-1!’ *
Alfie’s one weakness? It goes all the way back to that first professional appearance against Bury. He is an excellent impact substitute. Unfortunately that means that he spends more time on the bench than a High Court Judge. For me, he needs to be starting more games. However, in a side which boasts Lee Thorpe, Chris Dagnall, Lee McEvilly, Joe Thompson and Will Buckley, I am disappointed to say that I doubt he will.
Alfie is one of those kind of players. Quick, skilful, creative and with just a whiff of arrogance about him – an out and out, unreconstructed, goal scorer. The kind of player you hate when he is in the opposition ranks – and the kind of player you love when he is amongst yours.
He may have bad taste in boots and hairstyles, he may walk like a penguin – but he is without doubt the genuine article in front of goal. No wonder the Dale cognoscenti chant his name with such fervour whenever he appears.
…Mrs. Le Fondre – I salute you… and thanks for the biscuits as well.
Alfie!, Alfie!, Alfie!…
* First published in the article ‘Genesis?’ on the Facebook group ‘Rochdale AFC – The 101 Project’.
Written by Richard Eden-Maughan on 22nd Feb 09