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Neal Ardley

Personal information
Full nameNeal Christopher Ardley
Date of birth1 September 1972(age 44)
Place of birthEpsom, England
Height1.77 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing positionMidfielder
Club information
Current clubCardiff City (Youth Academy Manager)

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Neal Christopher Ardley (born 1 September 1972 in Epsom) is an English former professional footballer who played either as a right-back or right midfielder. He was capped at Under-21 level by England.

Ardley spent the majority of his career with Wimbledon, making his debut for them on 20 April 1991 at the age of 18 in a 2 1 away win over Aston Villa in the Football League First Division. He made eight league appearances in 1991 92, and became a regular player in 1992 93, playing 26 games and scoring four goals in the first season of the FA Premier League as the Dons finished 12th. They finished sixth (a joint club record) in 1993 94, but Ardley's contribution was more limited as he managed just 16 games (scoring once). He was in and out of the side for nearly a decade afterwards, remaining with the Dons after their relegation at the end of 1999 2000. Two more seasons followed as he unsuccessfully tried to help them regain their Premier League place, beforer signing for Division One rivals Watford on a free transfer on 9 August 2002.

He had played a total of 245 league games for the Dons, scoring 18 goals. He was their longest serving player by the time of his departure. His best campaign was arguably the 1996 97 season, where he missed just four league games, helped the Dons reach the semi-finals of both domestic cups, and oversaw an excellent season in the league where they were rarely out of the top five until having to settle for eighth place in the final table.

He played for the Hornets for three seasons, making appearances an FA Cup semi final in 2003 and a League Cup semi-final in 2005.

He joined Cardiff City in March 2005, a day before the sacking of Watford manager Ray Lewington. He scored his first and only goal for Cardiff against Leicester City on 19 April 2005. He joined Millwall for the 2006 07 season, his last professional season.

Ardley announced his retirement from professional football on 30 August 2007 after a series of injuries. The same day he was appointed as manager of the Cardiff City academy.

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