Record-breaking former Bluebird hangs up his boots...Robert Earnshaw has today announced his retirement from football at the age of thirty-four, to take up a coaching role with the Vancouver Whitecaps academy.
THE EARLY DAYS
Scroll down to watch Earnie's goal (and somersault) in the Severnside Derby upon his return to Cardiff City in 2011!
Having first joined the Bluebirds as a trainee, Earnie turned professional a year later and, after a handful of substitute appearances, marked his first start for the Bluebirds with a superb equalising strike away to Hartlepool on the opening day of the 1998/99 season.
That would soon become a familiar sight, as the striker went on to star for City over a seven year spell, during which time the Bluebirds rose from the basement division up to Division One for the first time in eighteen years.
THE RECORD BREAKER
Earnie set plenty of City records along the way, most notably in Cardiff City’s promotion year of 2002/03. During that campaign, he netted thirty-five League and Cup strikes - the most in City history. He also equalled Len Davies’ record of scoring three separate hat-tricks in one season.
Hat-tricks became somewhat of trademark for Earnie, who remains the only player to score a three goal haul in in the FA Cup, League Cup, Divisions One, Two and Three (all whilst with Cardiff City), as well as in the Premier League and at international level.
With Wales, Earnie scored on his international début in a 1-0 victory over Germany, his first of sixteen goals from fifty-nine Welsh caps.
Having scored a total of 105 goals in 205 City appearances in his first spell at the Club, Earnshaw went on to play for West Bromwich Albion, Norwich City, Derby County and Nottingham Forest between 2004 and 2011.
He would then return to City, now at Cardiff City Stadium, to add a further twenty-two appearances and four goals to his tally – his last strike being his two-hundredth in British football. Earnie's 109 goals for City, nearly all celebrated with his trademark somersault, put him second only to Len Davies in Cardiff City’s all time scorers list.
Spells at Maccabi Tel Aviv, Toronto FC, Blackpool, Chicago Fire and Vancouver Whitecaps would complete Earnie's list of clubs, before he today called an end to a goal-scoring career which spanned almost twenty years.
Everyone at Cardiff City would like to wish Earnie the very best in his retirement, and his new role with the Vancouver Whitecaps academy.