Date:Monday March 27 2006
Leon Clarke's career has so far mirrored the roller coaster ride that is life as a Wolves fan.
The local lad and product of the club's Youth Academy first broke into the first team with a bang under Dave Jones.
An instant hit with the fans, eager to see one of their own come good, Leon continued to flourish under Glenn Hoddle, but a loss of form, and a falling out with those that once lauded him left him in no doubt the honeymoon period was over.
Amidst rumours of off field indescretions, and in an attempt to lift the lads confidence, the Molineux crowd took to boo-ing his name when announced on the But teamsheet, and whenever in danger of touching the ball.
In a bid to help regain his now, quite clearly lacking confidence, and to see a return to the form that led Glenn Hoddle to extend his contract, a loan deal was struck with QPR on the last day of the January transfer window.
But following the removal of manager Ian Holloway, Rangers deferred the loan, sending Leon back to Molineux, and into limbo.
Then last week, thanks to emergency loan regulations, that seem to confuse a wish list with a critical situation, Leon joined Plymouth Argyle until the end of the season.
'I'm pleased to be with Plymouth. The manager (Tony Pulis) spoke to me about a few things and it reassured me.
'It could have happened about three weeks ago but (Wolves boss) Glenn Hoddle wasn't too sure because we had games coming up.' Leon said of the move.
"It has been a frustrating few weeks for me. I went to QPR and, obviously, the manager got sacked and there was nothing I could do about that.
"I got sent back and because of the loan I wasn't allowed to play for Wolves for three weeks.
"I have played two reserve team games since then but it's not the most enjoyable."
What has surprised Leon's critics, is not so much that the loan has happened, but that The Pilgrims were not the only side interested in acquiring his services.
Cheltenham's John Ward was also keen on securing the young striker.
'It's a shame,' said Ward 'He's a striker of some reputation and I thought at one stage we had got him. We've been particular in terms of where we wanted to go and what we wanted to bring in.I said some experience and some standing if we could, and Leon fitted that bill because although he's not very old, he's got experience of Championship football and some standing of scoring at that level.'
High praise for a player some would gladly see leave Molineu on a permanent basis.
But possibly a bigger surprise to Wolves fans will be the news that it might not have been Leon leaving on loan, but another terrace favourite. Vio Ganea.
'It was either me going on loan or Vio Ganea and in the end he (Hoddle)let me go.' said Leon, perhaps bringing a curtain down on the Romanians Wolverhampton Wanderers career.
For now, Leon's mind is at Plymouth, and regaining his confidence, form, and reputation.
'I'm more than happy to go on loan and, hopefully, I can help Plymouth out and help them get a few results.' he said
And if that help bring back the Leon of old, it can only benefit Wolverhampton Wanderers.
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