15th October 2015

During the 2008/09 season, Yeovil Town were struggling at the wrong end of League One and struggling to find the back of the net.

Midway through the season, Paul Warne wasn’t quite firing and Gavin Tomlin had barely found the back of the net so Yeovil Town negotiated a deal to spend money on a striker it was hoped would get them scoring.

With the budget tight, spending money was a rare commodity and the man who warranted such extravagance was Luke Rodgers.

Initially on the books of Shrewsbury Town, he would go on to play for the Shrews over 150 times across the first five seasons of his career.

This included a prolific season during the 2001/02 campaign, he wielded 22 goals from 41 starts – it would have been more if it hadn’t been for a couple of suspensions thanks to red cards against Scunthorpe and Southend.

The following season was bitter sweet, Rodgers was part of the Shrewsbury side that beat Everton in the FA Cup but it did see his side relegated.

Now in non-league, Shrewbury’s hot shot front man was attracting interest, rumoured bids from Hull City, Southampton and Crewe were all knocked back – all of them in excess of £250,000.

It proved to be a worthwhile decision, Shrewsbury bounced back via the Conference Play Offs the following year.

The fan’s favourite did eventually move on in 2005 to Crewe Alexandra.

However, despite a six figure fee being paid, he found first team chances hard to come by and he requested a move to a team able to use him on a regular basis.

This is where Port Vale came in, they paid a small fee to acquire his services and yet, after just three games he suffered a bad injury.

On his return, his career with Vale didn’t start off on the best footing, he played in the FA Cup defeat to Southern League side Chasetown. To make it worse, he missed not one, but two penalties.

However, he did go on to score 16 times in 45 league starts before the Glovers came in for him.

Initially on a loan deal, Rodgers moved to Somerset and quickly established himself as a breath of a fresh air with his energetic and effort filled performances.

He scored a couple of times during his loan spell including the opening goal of the famous 2-2 draw with Hereford United.

The scorer of the second – and vital equaliser – was of course, Chris Weale.

Manager Terry Skiverton decided at the end of the 2009 season that Rodgers time was up and he released him.

It was now that Notts County swooped in, despite interest from a number of other League One and Two clubs.

Eighteen months with County would see him promoted out of League Two but his next move would project him and his careers in ways few people could have seen coming.

He was scouted by former Notts County Hans Backe for the New York Red Bulls in the summer of 2010, but a work permit problem kept him grounded, but as the calendar ticked around to 2011 the move was back on.

He headed to the States where he would partner a certain Theirry Henry up front for the Red Bulls.

His partnership with the Arsenal and Barcelona legend was blossoming and while Henry was getting the headlines, he was being suitably aided by Rodgers.

He only played in 23 games in the MLS season, scoring nine goals in the process, but that would have been a lot more had his visa not expired.

Instead of returning to England, he headed to Norway with FC Lillestrom, scoring on his debut.

But, that spell wouldn’t last long either, he returned to the Football League with Portsmouth shortly after.

In November 2012, once his one month deals at Portsmouth had run their course, he returned to Shrewsbury Town – things were different this time and he found himself missing out more often than not.

One final jaunt abroad came up, this time in Sweden with Hammarby – no sooner had that deal gone through he was back in England with Forest Green Rovers.

That deal wasn’t a long one either, leaving them in December 2014, just 9 months after signing for them.

This was the last time he was contracted to a club, we’ve found a trial game for Mansfield but after that, no evidence that he is currently with a club.

Rodgers was an all action striker who knew how to put a shift in for the cause, there’s lots of those currently at YTFC and they need your support when the Glovers travel to Notts County this coming Saturday and beyond.

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