Alfie To Call It Quits

Last updated : 28 July 2003 By Kevin Markey

Alfie looking his best in White

Haaland has admitted defeat in his battle to overcome a serious knee injury after revealing that he has come to a cash agreement with current club Man City over the remaining two years of his contract.

He made his name with Nottm Forest after signing from his hometown club, Norwegian minnows Bryne (who have produced more than their fair share of talent over the years). His style was appreciated by George Graham who then took him to Leeds.

Alfie started with Leeds during the 1997-98 season mainly as a sub but became part of the starting eleven. Not the most creative force in the side, but he provided some solidity in front of the defence. Having then established himself in the first team, he suffered a serious injury to his foot in a challenge with Patrick Vieira at Arsenal that put him out of action at a crucial point in the season.

Back as a regular at the start of the 1998-99 season, he continued to deliver solid performances in a team where there was much competition for defensive midfield slots and he filled in as a makeshift centre back as injuries and suspensions left us light in those areas.

Was a regular in the team until David O'Leary took over and was forced out of the reckoning by the new boss' favouring of young guns like Jonathan Woodgate in defence and Stephen McPhail and Matthew Jones in midfield.

Played for Norway on many occasions, though he missed the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

In 1999-2000, he found himself very much on the sidelines, only making the occasional appearance and was well down the midfield pecking order. He said he wanted to fight his way back into the side, but his hopes for further first team - and international - appearances looked more likely to lie away from Elland Road.

In summer 2000, Joe Royle stepped in with an offer that took Alf over the Pennines to Maine Road for £2.8 million - not a bad profit, but he was a good versatile defender/midfielder and made useful contributions from the bench or covering for injuries and suspensions.

A vicious tackle from Roy Keane in the Manchester derby - revenge apparently for Haaland abusing Keane at Elland Road after a similarly bad lunge by the Man Utd skipper, damaged his ligaments and knocked him out for the season. Following the publication of Keane's autobiography, Haaland and City were set to sue Keane and Man U for the damage done.

The player was forced to undergo a knee operation right at the end of that season, which forced him to miss much of the 2001/02-championship challenge. He came back in December, but managed only four games from the substitutes bench.

It was clear not all was right and City sent Haaland to the USA to see a specialist in a bid to get him fit for the 2002/03 Premiership return. Sadly, it looks like Alfie has decided enough is enough.

Did you know........Rearranging the letters of 'The Norwegian Manchester City footballer Alf-Inge Haaland' gives:

Felled by an Irishman...carnage, now the threat of legal action!