Lee Crooks: Who are ya?

Last updated : 11 January 2006 By Rob Davies
Name: Lee Crooks
Date of Birth: 14th January 1978

Position: Midfielder
Previous Clubs: Manchester City, Northampton Town (loan), Barnsley, Bradford City.

It hasn't even been close to two weeks since the transfer window opened but, for Notts County fans, it has seemed like an awfully long wait for fresh blood.

Holding midfield player's are very rarely thrust into the limelight, but by becoming the first of Gudjon Thordarson's January recruits, that is exactly where Lee Crooks has been this week.

Lead story on the back-page of the Nottingham Evening Post, coupled with endless analysis on the NCM Messageboard, the loan capture of Crooks has easily drew more attention than any Meadow Lane signing since the return of popular striker Mark Stallard on a temporary basis last season.

Not that the attention is unlikely to faze Crooks though, especially as he has been brought-in largely for his experience.

Currently three days away from his 28th birthday, Crooks' Magpies debut will mean he will have played in each of the four professional divisions.

The midfielder began his career at Manchester City, featuring regularly for the Blues during their brief flirtation with life outside the Premiership.

Crooks was a key figure in City's successive promotions back from the then-titled Division Two up through to the country's top league. But, as is the way in the modern game, in order to survive in the Premiership manager Joe Royle was required to bring in a host of new signings in order to be sure his team were equipped for life in the big league.

Despite making two Premiership appearences, Crooks was eventually forced to leave the club where he'd spent seven years in order to gain first-team football.

A £190,000 move to Barnsley eventually saw the midfielder team-up with Thordarson.

For a manager who's undoubtedly a fan of the more physical footballer, it is unsurprising that Thor made Crooks - who gained the nickname 'the Beast of Barnsley during his spell at Oakwell - his captain.

Thordarson's departure ultimately led to Crooks' switch to Bradford City, but it is clear that mutual respect still exists between the two men.

"Lee is a player you won't mess with, you just have to look at him to know that he is a tough competitor," Thordarson told the Official website upon his signing.

"He has strength and very good passing ability, something I want to bring to the midfield. Another thing I wanted to add was a strong physical presence and he will also bring that.

"He is a player I am pleased to have in my camp."

Crooks has been handed the number 14 shirt, but he is no Thierry Henry.

A renowned lower-league 'ankle-biter', Notts fans will be hoping he is more Paul Harding and less Paul Bolland.

All at NCM welcome him to Meadow Lane.

For all the latest transfer news, be sure to check back to NCM.