Kerala Blasters FC have made some excellent acquisitions in the recently concluded transfer window under their new head coach Kibu Vicuna and the 32-year-old English striker Garry Hooper is probably the best one among them.
Hooper comes into the Indian Super League with a big reputation. In fact, he has had quite an illustrious career, having represented clubs in reputed leagues like the English Premier League, Scottish Premier League and the A-League. In a total of 572 club games in his career, Hooper has netted 235 goals and that sums up how good he is.
Gary Hooper's previous stints
Hooper came out of the youth system at Tottenham Hotspur but was released by the club when he was 14. After that, he plied his trade for the lower tier clubs of English football like Grays Athletic, Southend United, Leyton Orient, Hereford United and Scunthorpe United. It was his stint with Scunthorpe between 2008 and 2010 that helped Hooper to grow massively as a player. He scored 50 goals from 95 outings for them and attracted the attention of scouts from all over the world.
His big break came soon at the age of 22 when the Scottish Premier League club Celtic signed him up for a fee of £2.4 million. Hooper went on to have his best years with them as he scored a total of 82 goals during his three-year stint with them. His exploits also helped Celtic to the Scottish Premier League title and Scottish Cup win in back to back seasons.
After such success, Hooper made a move to the English Premier League Club Norwich City in the 2013-14 season. He remained with them for three seasons as well scoring 20 times in 70 games. Norwich released him in 2015-16 after which he joined the Championship Club Sheffield Wednesday. After a decent four-year association with them, Hooper joined the A-League club Wellington Phoenix as one of the marquee players. He scored eight times in 21 appearances for the club in 2019-20 and thus helped them to their best season in A-League history.
Gary Hooper's claim to fame
Hooper has won many accolades in his playing career. He has been a proven scorer all throughout and his list of achievements has just kept on increasing over the years. He had won the Scottish Premier League Golden Boot in his maiden season in 2010-11 and had helped Celtic to the title as well. He continued his scoring prowess next year as well and that helped the club to their second consecutive title. On top of these, Celtic won the Scottish Cup consecutively during his stint as well.
In fact, Hooper went on to be Celtic's top scorer in the Scottish Premier League in each of his three seasons of stay at the club. Not only that, he was named as Scunthorpe United's player of the year in 2008-09 and was announced to be the greatest ever player in the club's history in 2012 as well.
What does he bring to the table for Kerala Blasters now?
The Blasters lost Bartholomew Ogbeche, their top scorer from last season, to Jamshedpur FC and that had created a big void for a quality striker in their squad. That was when Vicuna decided to go for Hooper as he needed someone who could match Ogbeche's scoring prowess. The English striker will be playing as the Blasters' main target man this season and Vicuna will be banking on him to bring stability and consistency to their offensive line.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / @KeralaBlasters