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Where are they now? Ian Craney

As part of a regular feature, we look at what former Swansea City players have been up to since retiring from playing.

This week we focus on former midfielder, who made 31 appearances for Swansea City between 2006 and 2008.

He now worked for a bread distribution company owned and run by his family.

 

During his 13-year career as a professional footballer, Liverpool-born midfielder Ian Craney signed for Accrington Stanley on no fewer than five occasions as well as turning out for Swansea City and Huddersfield Town.

Having started out as a youngster with Everton, Craney made over 100 appearances for Altrincham before joining Accrington for the first time in 2004.

He initially signed for the Swans on loan in November 2006 before making his move to the Liberty Stadium permanent in January 2007.

“It was a fantastic feeling making my Swansea debut against Bristol City (in a 0-0 draw at the Liberty),” says Craney.

“No disrespect to Accrington, but I left there to join a club I thought would be a Premier League club of the future and so it proved.

“I remember coming on as a substitute against Bristol City and it was great getting my first touches of ball, knowing I was playing at League One level.”

Craney played a total of 31 matches for the Swans during his time in Wales.

His final Swans appearance came against Millwall in September 2007 before he made a return to Accrington on loan, then on a permanent deal in 2008.

“I don’t like to look back on any part of my career with regret, but I suppose the one thing I think about Swansea is the players and the fans never got to really see what I was all about,” Craney says.

“My career there never quite panned out how I saw it going.

“Kenny Jackett signed me but then left about four or five weeks later.

“I was known as a goalscoring midfielder prior to joining Swansea, but I usually played in a holding role under (the club’s next manager) Roberto (Martinez).

“I learned a great deal from Roberto though, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time at Swansea.”

Craney played in four matches in all competitions for the Swans during the 2007-08 season – including one league appearance in a 3-1 win at Walsall in August 2007 – prior to his Accrington return.

Come the end of that campaign, the Swans were promoted to the Championship as League One champions.

“It was great to have played a very small part in their promotion-winning season,” smiles Craney.

“It was a shame for me to leave Swansea but the key thing for me throughout my career was to play matches.

“I wasn’t someone who was happy just to sit on the bench and pick up my wages.

“As soon as it became clear I wasn’t going to be playing regularly at Swansea, it was the right thing for me to leave.”

Having dropped down a division when he re-signed for Accrington, Craney got the opportunity to play League One football once again in August 2008 when he joined Huddersfield Town.

“Like when I signed for Swansea, I joined Huddersfield knowing they were a club moving in the right direction,” says Craney.

“I was really pleased with my time at Huddersfield, especially my first season.

“I’d scored six goals for them before Christmas in my first season and eight league goals over all if you include the two I got for Accrington at the start of the campaign.”

Craney netted six times in total in 35 appearances for Huddersfield and was also loaned to Morecambe during his time with the Terriers prior to his transfer to Fleetwood Town in 2010.

He later played for the likes of Rochdale, Telford United and Stockport County, as well having two more spells with Accrington Stanley, before retiring in 2014.

“These days I work for my family business with my uncles and my mum and dad. We distribute bread all around the north-west of England,” explains Craney.

“I’m up early with the job, at 4.30am, but I’m usually finished by 10.30am.

“It’s a change from football, but it’s a change I’m comfortable with.

“You’ll never be able to replicate the buzz of playing professionally in any career you go into after football.

“This job fits well around my family life as I’m able to pick up my six-year-old daughter from school every day.

“Since retiring from playing, I’ve had a season ticket at Liverpool. I have my coaching badges, but I don’t have any plans to get back into the game, so that’s my main link with football these days.”

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