A look back at the career of Matty Fryatt
There was a lot of sadness and sympathy amogst English football fans after the news that Matty Fryatt has had to retire from professional football at the age of just 31. He has had a lot of injury problems and had not played for two years. His contract at Nottingham Forest was terminated after the end of last season and he has been trying to earn a contract after trails with Burton Albion and Walsall. However, these were unsuccessful and Fryatt has called time on his playing career. He can now look forward to whatever the future holds for him. Here is a look back at his playing career.
Fryatt was born in Nuneaton in Warwickshire and came up through the academy at Walsall. He is seen as one of the best strikers to have come up through the Saddlers academy in the past decade or so. He made his debut for them in September 2003 and went on loan to Carlisle United for a month in December 2003 to gain some first-team experience. Then in the following campaign, the 2004/05 season, Fryatt became a regular starter for Walsall and scored 15 league goals. He then followed this up by bagging 11 goals in the first half of the following season which put him firmly on the radar on many Championship clubs in January 2006. Fryatt had established himself as one of the best strikers in the third tier and looked destined for better things. It was Leicester City who won the race for him, signing him for an undisclosed fee.
Fryatt adapted well to life in the Championship with Leicester and carried on his form from Walsall for the rest of the 2005/06 season by scoring 6 goals. However, in the next two seasons, Fryatt's goals dried up and he only managed 5 goals in two seasons after being affected by a foot injury. The Foxes were relegated to League One and despite interest from Nottingham Forest and Leeds United, Fryatt remained with them in the third tier and scored a huge 32 goals in all competitions (27 in the league) to fire them to an immediate return to the Championship.
He went onto have another two seasons with Leicester in the second tier, scoring a combined 13 league goals, but left them to sign for fellow Championship side Hull City in January 2010 for £1.2 million. He was an immediate hit at the KC Stadium and scored 9 goals in his first season, followed by 16 in the next campaign. However, he sustained a serious Achilles injury which ruled him out for the whole of the 2015/16 season, in which the Tigers were promoted to the Premier League under Steve Bruce. After Hull's promotion, Fryatt was loaned out to Sheffield Wednesday for a month in September 2013 to regain his fitness.
He returned to Hull after his loan at Hillsborough and his goals were crucial in the Tigers getting to the FA Cup final in 2014. He scored goals against Southend United, Sunderland and in the semi-final against Sheffield United. He was rewarded with a starting place at Wembley but could not prevent Hull from losing to Arsenal. Fryatt went on to leave Hull that summer and joined Nottingham Forest on a free transfer. However, injuries struck again and his three years at the City Ground only saw him play 25 times. When fit, Fryatt proved he was one of the most prolific strikers in the Football League. He did achieve a lot in his career, but it is a real shame for it to have come to a premature end.