He Played For The Mackems - But Always A Geordie!

Last updated : 02 January 2012 By Footy Mad - Editor


Sadly it is Newcastle Jets in Australia, and not his hometown club.

The former Leeds United, Sunderland, Toon and Carlisle United striker retired at the end of the season last April.

However, a miraculous recovery from a terrible knee injury has seen him return to the pitch for Newcastle Jets during this season.

Bridges is only 33 years of age.

A whirlwind career that promised so much, but was plagued by injuries, is back on track.

Like Peter Beardsley, Michael Carrick, Steve Bruce and Alan Shearer, he started his career at Wallsend Boys Club.

He made eleven England Under 21 appearances (scoring three goals), many tipped Bridges to be an England international.

In the 1999-2000 season he scored 19 goals including a stunning hat-trick against Southampton for Peter Risdale and David O’Leary’s big spenders Leeds United, following a summer move that yielded a five million pounds transfer fee from Sunderland, helping Leeds to a third place finish and Champions League football.

Unfortunately this is where his injury woes and his career slide began.

In a Champions League tie against Turkish outfit Besiktas, he suffered a serious Achilles injury just as his career was beginning to blossom.

In the next four injury-plagued seasons he managed only ten more appearances for the Yorkshiremen and nine appearances on loan at Newcastle United.

Short, unsuccessful stints at Bolton Wanderers, Sunderland and Bristol City followed.

Carlisle United were his next destination. Here, he spearheaded their promotion-winning forward line with fifteen goals.

Following his success at Carlisle United, he took the bold gamble in joining Hull City for £350,000 on transfer deadline day in 2006 after handing in a transfer request.

It turned out to be yet another unsuccessful move for Bridges in which his injury nightmare struck again with back and ankle problems.

Whilst at Hull, in 2007 he made his first foray outside the UK with a six month loan spell at A-League team Sydney FC.

He was subsequently loaned back to former club Carlisle United where he was still held in high regard on a season long deal in 2008-2009.

Following his release from Hull City, after a very brief spell at Milton Keynes Dons in early 2009 he made the decision to return to Australia to join Sydney’s neighbours Newcastle United Jets after a successful trial.

My lasting memory of Bridges ... a night in the Bigg Market when he got on a table (in Vaults) with Lee Clark singing anti-Mackem songs.