There aren’t many players in recent years, who will have enjoyed as memorable a debut season at Blackburn Rovers, as Benni McCarthy.
Joining from Portuguese giants Porto – with whom he won the Champions League in 2004 – in the summer of 2006, the South African made an instant impact at Ewood Park.
Scoring 24 goals in 50 appearances as Rovers finished tenth in the Premier League and reached the last 32 stage of the UEFA Cup, McCarthy became an instant icon at the club.
While McCarthy was unable to replicate those returns over the following couple of years, he did remain a reliable source of goals for the club, and had scored a total of 52 goals in 140 appearances in all competitions for the Lancashire club when he completed a move to West Ham on the final day of the 2010 winter transfer window.
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Having completed that move to the Hammers on a two-and-half-year deal, things did not go as well for McCarthy after his move to the capital.
The striker would make just 14 appearances, without scoring a single goal during his time at Upton Park – a run which saw him left out of South Africa’s squad for their home World Cup campaign in 2010 -before his contract with the club was terminated by mutual consent less then half-way through his contract, in April 2011, amid questions about his attitude and approach during his time at the club.
McCarthy then returned to his native South Africa the following August, and went on to score ten goals in 24 league appearances for Orlando Pirates, to help them claim the South African title, becoming the first player from his country to win national titles in three countries on more than one continent, having previously done so with Ajax and Porto in Holland and Portugal respectively.
Opportunities were more limited for McCarthy the following season, with the now veteran striker making just ten appearances in total, without finding the net, before announcing his retirement from playing at the age of 35, in the summer of 2013.
Following his retirement, McCarthy moved into coaching, for a time working with his former Premier League opponent Alan Stubbs at Hibernian, joining the club in April 2015.
Later that year, McCarthy headed to Belgium, where he linked up with Sint Truiden as assistant manager, although he left the club in April 2016, after his contract with the club was not renewed.
McCarthy’s most recent appointment came back in South Africa when he was appointed as manager of Cape Town City in June 2017, a role he was sacked from in November last year, following a run of poor results.