A number of former Leicester players never stopped playing long into ther middle ages as we track down names in that category. Not a surprise to find a few goalkeepers but also men up front lasted longer than you would expect. Kevin Phillips became the oldest goalscorer at Leicester in his early 40’s, Len Glover and Kevin Poole making first team appearances in their 50’s.
One recently being recognized is the good oldie goalscoring forward Barry Hayles still said to continue playing as he this summer signed on and returned to Windsor FC at the age of 50.
Hayles has kept himself fit and busy by playing on in the lower leagues and recently made a move to Windsor FC, said to join as a coach, but still not ruling out playing if the need is there. Hayles has kept it going in non-league action since 2010 when he left EFL after being a popular goalscorer for clubs such as Leicester, Plymouth, Fulham and Bristol Rovers among those.
He is now back with Windsor FC after a spell with Merstham. He has also turned out for Truro City in three different periods, St Albans, Arlesey Town and Chesham United. Born in 1972 and still eager to continue. His club Windsor FC is at present playing in the 9th tier as they compete in Combined Counties Football League.
Steve Claridge is much the same as he continued life in football all until the age of 51. He turned out for Salisbury back in 2017, but his comeback as a player lasted only 71 minutes before he had to withdraw with fractured bones and decided to retire from playing. He is in his 7th year as boss of Salisbury being there since 2015. Salisbury FC is currently competing in the 7th tier and part of Southern League Premier Division South.
Peter Shilton is another famous former fox not to forget, but still a few years since he made his last appearance in league football. He had a desire to reach 1000 league appearances and to reach that tally turned out for Leyton Orient signing on in November 1996. Shilton added up 9 league appearances and reaching a tally of 1005. He had reached the age of 47 before hanging up his boots after a career lasting more the 30 years in EFL. Shilton once held the World transfer record of a goalkeeper when he left Leicester and joined Stoke back in 1974. The Potters paid £325.000 to set the record.
To track down more players continuing their game well above 40 we do find Julian Joachim. Joachim has been playing continuously since his days at the highest level with Leicester, Aston Villa and Coventry. He first came on show in Leicester as a teenager and made an early move to Villa for a fee of £1.5million in 1996, actually a season before Peter Shilton played his last game at Leyton Orient. The journey later has continued up until this day as he is still registered as a player for Bourne Town in the 10th tier of English football. Joachim is a player-coach and can still impress at this level as he showed in his debut for his recent club making four assits in a game vs. Rounds Town.
Goalkeepers tends to last longer and they could carry on as they pass 40. Mark Wallington ended his league career with Lincoln City as a 39 year old, but made a return to action for non-league club Grantham Town at the age of 42 playing two games in the 1994-95 season. Rab Douglas, Kevin Poole and Kasey Keller are three other goalkeepers to mention as they continued for ages.
Douglas turned out in his last game for Arbroath in 2016. He had then played consistantly for Dundee and Forfar Athletic far beyond 40 and showed class until he stopped and continued work as a goalkeeper coach for Arbroath.
Kevin Poole is a special man in football. Serving Leicester from 1991 to 1997 adding up 163 league appearances and being seen a favorite among fans taking part in two promotions. He lost his place to Kasey Keller, later to become a US legend among their soccer heroes. Poole continued his journey as a goalkeeper with Birmingham, Bolton and Derby before his long lasting stay at Burton Albion. He had reached the age of 43 when he signed for The Brewers and kept on going making his last appearance as 50 year old seeing a total of 123 EFL games being played in a very special career of football. Poole is today working for up and coming club Solihull Moors in the National League, 5th tier.
Among foreign stars we do have to mention Kasey Keller. He was fondly remembered at Leicester playing for the club in Premier League action from 1996 to 1999. He had a glorious career especially in the US national team adding up 102 caps in total and being involved in the 1990, 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cup’s as well as playing in the 1996 Olympics. He was well into his 40’s when making his last appearances for Seattle Sounders in the MLS.
Going a number of years back another great was winger Len Glover. He did play on and made appearances as a 50 year old for Harlow Town. Being their manager he had to put on a shirt for a few games and had earlier played on in non-league action for Kettering Town, Shepshead Charterhouse and Earl Shilton Albion.
Frank Worthington also managed to keep his career going on for ages as he had a nomad life as a player lasting well into his 40’s. He had left EFL at that time but continued in non-league with his spell at Guiseley being the longest with a total of 20 appearances, scoring 7 goals.
Leicester did have their own good oldie in the Premier League winning season as Mark Schwarzer was still on the books at the age of 42, and to date the oldest debutant and goalkeeper. He is also the oldest player ever to have been on the books at the club and when released in the summer of 2016, 43 years and 32 days. He also holds the same record at Chelsea as he left for Leicester at the age of 41 years and 218 days.
Leicester did have their own grand old man up front during the 2013/14 season when Kevin Phillips joined from Crystal Palace and then in a later games vs. Bournemouth scored his first goal. His 2nd and last goal for the club was scored against Blackpool in March that same season. He was at the age of 40 years and 223 days and this record still stand as the oldest goalscorer ever at the club, and even with Jamie Vardy chasing we do believe it will be difficult for the clubs current number 9 to be stil playing and around at that age, but you will never now.
A number of foreign signings has since leaving Leicester continued their careers elsewhere and among them Yuki Abe. Abe did appear in his last game for Urawa Red Diamonds at the age of 40, he retired shortly after his last appearance vs. Gary Lineker’s previous club Nagoya Grampus Eight on the 4th of December 2021.
Lawrie Dudfield had his return to non-league action in 2014 when he turned out for Hull United at the age of 44, scoring 7 goals in 12 games. Not to forget Kevin Ellison. He appeared once for Leicester in Premier League action and this was his single game in the top flight, but instead moved down the ladder and played on until the age of 43. He had a grand career after leaving Leicester playing for Morecambe, Newport, Stockport, Lincoln, Chester, Bradford and Tranmere as he kept it going to become one of those special men lasting for three decades in EFL. When joining Leicester at the age of 22 he had never appeared in league football with a past at Altrincham, Conwy, Chorley and Southport.
Leicester do have a list of experienced men still on the books seeing Kasper Schmeichel and Jamie Vardy at 35. Jonny Evans is 34 and Marc Albrighton 32. They are still far from reaching those records of the oldest performer, goalscorer as do not believe they will go on at the club into their middle ages.
- Playing > 40 > * 50
- Peter Shilton
- Kevin Poole *
- Mark Schwarzer
- Rab Douglas
- Kasey Keller
- Mark Wallington
- Russell Hoult
- Chris Powell
- Yuki Abe
- Len Glover *
- Frank Worthington
- Lawrie Dudfield
- Kevin Phillips
- Barry Hayles
- Julian Joachim
- Steve Claridge *
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