Before the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Nathan Delfouneso rose through the ranks at Aston Villa and made their mark in the first team, there was another academy product who starred in Villa’s Youth Cup-winning team of 2002. This was a player that was ranked alongside someone called Wayne Rooney as one of the hottest young strikers in the country. A striker who broke into the Villa first team at 18 but is now plying his trade in the Southern Premier league with Halesowen Town, despite only being 26 years old. What happened to Stefan Moore?
The brother of former Villa player Luke Moore, who is now at West Brom, Stefan made his debut for Villa in the 2002-03 season, scoring on his Premiership debut against Charlton. Tall, quick and good on the ball, Moore played in 14 games for Villa that season under then-manager Graham Taylor and was rewarded with a new three and a half year deal at the club.
But a serious ankle injury halted Moore’s progress and the striker found it difficult to get back into the first team, stuck behind the likes of Darius Vassell, Juan Pablo Angel and Marcus Allback at Villa Park. After managing two goals for Villa in 22 games, Moore was sent out on loan to Millwall in 2004.
After unsuccessful spells throughout the Football League with Millwall, Leicester, QPR and Port Vale, Moore was signed by Walsall in 2008. After bringing the former Villa player to Walsall, then-manager Richard Money said:
“Stefan is a very intelligent frontman. I have known him for a long time and know what he’s capable of. His movement is excellent and he will get into the right positions to score goals.”
Moore was one of nine players released by Walsall at the end of the 2008 season, so the striker dropped down the leagues to experience the pleasures of non-league football with Kidderminster Harriers last season, signing a rolling month-to-month contract with the club and scoring 2 goals. Moore now plays for Halesowen Town in the Southern Premier Division, which is the seventh tier of English football (two tiers below the Conference), where he has scored 22 goals in 25 games for the Midlands club so far this season.
At just 26 years old, Moore has seen his career freefall through the divisions in recent years. Injuries have taken their toll on the striker, but it’s a shame that a player with so much promise is now plying his trade in a league where no one can truly appreciate his talent.
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