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Paul Ritchie (born August 21, 1975 in Kirkcaldymarker) is a Scottishmarker soccer player currently without a club.

Career

Club

Beginning his career with Heart of Midlothian in 1992, Ritchie quickly gained a reputation as a promising defender, gaining a regular first team place and winning Scotland under-21 caps. The highlight of his time at Hearts was undoubtedly the club's Scottish Cup win in 1998. Persistent speculation linked him with a move to Rangers, particularly with his Hearts contract due to expire in 2000. The Tynecastlemarker club, however, were unwilling to allow him to move to a rival cheaply, and he spent time with Bolton Wanderers on a short term contract and appeared in both the FA Cup and League Cup Semi Finals before finally joining Rangers on a Bosman free transfer in June 2000.

However, Rangers manager Dick Advocaat then elected to sell Ritchie to Manchester City for a fee of £500,000 just two months later, without him ever playing a first team match for the club. Ritchie would spend three years with City, but struggled throughout to earn a regular place in their team, spending time out on loan with Portsmouth and Derby County. In August 2003 he left on a free transfer and joined Walsall, where despite suffering relegation he was at least able to play regular first team football again, forcing himself back into the international reckoning with some inspirational performances. However, whilst at Walsall he was caught up in a contract dispute with owner Jeff Bonser, indirectly leading to the dismissal of Saddler's manager Colin Lee.

In the summer of 2004 he moved on again, signing a short term contract with Dundee United, which was later extended despite injury problems limiting his appearances at first. For a while he was regularly captaining the team, but in April 2006 United manager Craig Brewster announced Ritchie was free to leave the club at the end of the season, despite having a year of his contract left to run. His departure was finally confirmed in August 2006. He then moved to Omonia Nicosia but left at the end of the season. Ritchie moved to Dundee as youth coach in summer 2007 but left in November.

In 2009, Ritchie signed with Carolina RailHawks of the USL First Division in the United States. In June 2009 it was announced that Ritchie had left the club, having made just one first team appearance.

International

Ritchie represented Scotland seven times. He made his debut in a friendly win against Germany in April 1999. His next cap against the Czech Republic saw him score his only international goal. Within a year he had taken his cap total to six, but thereafter a lack of first team football at Manchester City saw him drop out of contention. He won only one more cap, against Wales in 2004 following some fine displays for Walsall.

Career statistics





Honours

Hearts



References

External links



1995-96 Heart of Midlothian Scottish Premier Division 28 1 5 2 - - 33 3
1996-97 28 3 1 0 4 0 2 0 35 3
1997-98 34 0 5 1 3 0 - 42 1
1998-99 Scottish Premier League 29 1 1 0 2 0 4 0 36 1
1999-00 14 1 - 2 0 - 16 1

1999-00 Bolton Wanderers (loan) Premier League 14 0 4 0 1 0 - 19 0
2000-01 Manchester City 12 0 1 0 3 0 - 16 0
2001-02 Football League First Division 8 0 2 0 1 0 - 11 0
2002-03 Portsmouth 12 0 - 1 0 - 13 0
Derby County 7 0 - - - 7 0
2003-04 Walsall Football League First Division 33 1 1 0 1 0 - 35 1

2004-05 Dundee United Scottish Premier League 24 0 5 0 2 0 - 31 0
2005-06 21 0 - 1 0 1 0 23 0

2006-07 AC Omonia Cypriot First Division 2 0 N/A N/A N/A 2 0


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