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Page last updated at 09:06 GMT, Friday, 6 November 2009

Stallard ends career in football

Mark Stallard (centre)
Stallard (centre) celebrates scoring for Notts County in their 4-2 Carling Cup defeat at Chelsea in October 2003

By Jon Wilkinson

Mark Stallard has every reason to be satisfied with a career spanning 18 years and more than 450 Football League appearances.

In October, the 35-year-old left his final club, Corby Town, citing an unwillingness to draw a wage from the Northamptonshire outfit if he could no longer produce his best football for the team.

And it was a gesture that drew praise from the Blue Square North side's manager Graham Drury.

"I wish I could work with more people as honest and professional as Mark Stallard," he said.

Stallard was born in Derby on 24 October 1974, and joined the Rams as a trainee at 16.

Stallard was a goalscorer. He could have probably played at an even higher level

Billy Dearden

"I've always been a striker, right from junior level. I had that knack for finding the back of the net, so I never played anywhere else," Stallard recalls.

Adie Moses, later a team-mate at Lincoln City and Mansfield Town, remembers him from junior football.

"We played for districts at that age. I was with Doncaster Boys, Stalls was with Derby Boys," says Moses. "He was a stocky lad, even at 11, so he was bigger and better than everyone at that age!"

Stallard made 27 league appearances in five years at Derby. He was also on the bench for a Wembley appearance in the 1993 Anglo-Italian Cup Final.

A loan spell at Fulham in 1994 included his first professional hat-trick.

"With loans, you have your professional pride and you want to do well," Stallard added.

"My mentality is to have high standards for yourself, to be the best player in training or on the pitch. Fulham was great experience, and I still have the match ball to this day."

Another loan move, to Bradford, resulted in a permanent deal for a fee of £110,000.

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Stallard scored the Bantams' second goal in the Division Two play-off final against Notts County at Wembley in 1996, and 12 goals in all for the club.

But it was at Wycombe and Notts County that he made his name in League football.

Signed by John Gregory for £100,000, Stallard hit 17 goals in his first season for the Chairboys and the large sums being paid for his services did not cause him anxiety.

"If they've paid money for you, a club will be expecting goals. But it didn't weigh on my mind, I had self-belief in my ability to do the job."

Notts County signed him in 1999 for £10,000. It would prove to be a bargain purchase by the club, with Stallard remaining for five years and scoring 67 goals.

His manager at Meadow Lane, Billy Dearden, said Stallard helped the club through some dark times.

"We went into administration for 18 months, and it was only because of people like Stallard that we kept going," he said.

"He was a top man to work with. He was a very good trainer, and most importantly, he was a goalscorer. He could have probably played at an even higher level."

Stallard was named the club's player of the year and players' player of the year in 2003 after scoring 24 goals as County battled against relegation.

Mark Stallard
Stallard ended his career with Conference North side Corby Town

Spells at Barnsley and Shrewsbury followed, before he was again alongside Adie Moses, at Lincoln City. He started well with the Imps, scoring seven goals and collecting the League Two player of the month award for September 2006.

Moses and Stallard then moved to Mansfield Town in 2008, the club at which they were asked to step in as caretaker managers after the sacking of Billy McEwan.

"I think the Mansfield board looked at us as seniors, knew we were liked in the dressing room, and so when they asked, we got on and did it," says Moses.

"Fortunately for us the results were good and we beat Kettering Town away 3-1, which was the result of the season. I think Stalls might have liked to have been given a shot until the end of the season."

David Holdsworth eventually replaced the pair, who also took their coaching badges together.

Stallard then moved to Corby Town, after being impressed by the club's ambition, but his commitments to a career in financial advising necessitated a choice between football and career for the future.



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see also
Stallard bows out from Steelmen
28 Oct 09 |  Non League
Stallard and Duffy join Steelmen
08 Jul 09 |  Non League
Stallard urges Stags to stay cool
18 Aug 08 |  Mansfield
Flying start delights Stallard
10 Oct 06 |  Lincoln
Stallard secures September honour
08 Oct 06 |  Lincoln
Stallard glad to get off the mark
06 Mar 05 |  Notts County
Trio released by Barnsley manager
16 May 05 |  Barnsley
Barnsley seal Stallard deal
20 Jan 04 |  Barnsley


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