Cult Heroes: The Chocolate Fireguard - Carsten Fredgaard

Hmmmmm.

Coming off the back of achieving what Sunderland were unable to manage on Tuesday evening at Villa Park, Bolton Wanderers will be buoyed from their victory over Aston Villa and carry that confidence into Saturday's fixture at the Stadium of Light where back-to-back victories would certainly do their survival bid the world of good.

As per the norm for a Thursday we here at Roker Report are beginning the build up to Saturday's game with another installment of Cult Heroes where we profile a player that represented both sides and hopefully did something a little special at one of the sides. Well today's candidate didn't quite manage that, but did make a name for himself on
Wearside, but maybe not one that he would have wished, it's the curious tale of Carsten Fredgaard!

Carsten began his footballing career with Blovstrod IF as a youth before signing professional papers with Lyngby BK in the Danish Superliga. The left-sided midfielder made an impressive start to his career, none more so than his form throughout the 1998/99 season which saw the wideman manage a notable sixteen goals in thirty-one
appearances.

Talk of Fredgaard reached Wearside, possibly via goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen who roomed with the midfielder for the Danish U21's, and Peter Reid was suitable impressed to broker a deal with Lyngby worth £1.7m in March of 1999. At the time Carsten was widely regarded as one of Denmark's hottest young properties who had options to move to a number of countries across Europe - Spain, France, Italy or Germany - but was suitably impressed with the facilities on Wearside to join his compatriot Sorensen at Sunderland.

Due to the Danish season not finishing until mid-June, Sunderland had to wait to put their new face through his paces for pre-season training. The SAFC fans had reason to be hopeful for their new recruit who was the recipient of all kinds of superlatives around the time of his transfer including the following gems:

• Lightning quick
• Bags of skill
• Eye for goal
• The natural successor to Laudrup for Denmark

With such an impressive checklist you can see why Reid was tempted by the Dane who was seemingly bought with the sole purpose of filling Alan Johnston's magic boots as the popular winger in the midst of that infamous contract dispute and way, way, way out of favour with the gaffer. The SAFC fans were given their first glimpse of "The next Laudrup" during Kevin Ball's testimonial at The Stadium of Light where the Dane flattered to deceive during a thirty minute run out.

Fredgaard found first team football hard to come by come the start of the season and was called upon for a few appearances in the cup competitions, most notably impressing in a 0-5 win over Walsall in the Worthington Cup where he supplied crosses for both Danny Dichio and Eric Roy, the Frenchman's header coming from a Carsten corner, to score before also bagging himself a brace. I'm beginning to wonder if this game was actually just a dream as this was also the fixture where the Brazilian trialist Marcos Di Giuseppe, remember him, was given his
debut.

Despite all the initial promise and some scant glimpses of his potential in the Cup, Carsten never made the grade and his anonymity simply helped push the poor Dane into the realms of a figure of fun on Wearside for the Black Cats faithful who dubbed the winger "Chocolate Fireguard" because he was about as much use... well, you know what I mean.

A number of loan moves were on the horizon for our hapless midfielder, first with West Bromwich Albion in February of 2000 before a stint with Saturday's opponents Bolton Wanderers in November of the same year, where he was brought in to replace the injured Dean Holdsworth. Believe it or not Fredgaard was unable to suitably impress during either loan spells to earn a move elsewhere in England and was understandably relieved to return to his native Denmark as a £500,000 deal as agreed with FC Copenhagen in July of 2001.

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