Forget the madness that went on surrounding Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City during this January’s past transfer window and focus your attention to Lancashire, Wigan to be exact. Wigan arguably, got a bargain (£600,000) for Kilmarnock’s goal machine Conor Sammon. The Irishman had been playing for the Killies in Scotland’s SPL and had been in superb form this season scoring 18 in 27 games. But it wasn’t always this rosy for the Dublin native.
Born and bred in Dublin, Sammon had developed an uncanny ability to play football from a very early age and was recruited by UCD’s LOI team (University College Of Dublin) at the age of 19, was employed by Pete Mahon as a central striker. Sammon wasn’t initially successful playing in the League Of Ireland – partly due to the lack of creativity on the team’s behalf, but earned a name for himself among the UCD faithful, humorously dubbing him the ‘Sammon Of College’. Sammon completed two seasons for UCD with a return of 13 goals in 69 appearances for ‘the College’ before Derry City came knocking in 2007.
The move to Derry was arguably the worst of the Irishman’s career to date, as he was unable to nail down a first team place at Brandywell. The Dubliner found life in Derry City uneasy and when Kilmarnock came for him out of the blue he grasped the opportunity with both hands. He signed for the Killies in 2008 after a torrid time for Derry and was immediately asserted into the Scottish outfits first team, leading the line for Kilmarnock.
In his first full season for the Killies, Sammon was told by manager Mixu Paatelainen that he was going to be playing wide on the right. Sammon disappointed for the Scottish side out on the wing and it resulted in him netting just 7 times in his first two seasons for the club. Paatelainean then tried employing Conor in the centre of attack and from that moment on he set the SPL on fire. The 2010/11 season was the year that Sammon began to become noticed on a national scale.
Partnering Manuel Pascali up front, Sammon began to tear it up in the SPL and scored 18 goals in 27 apps for the Killies, a return which saw Derby County, Scunthorpe and Wigan all take considerable interest in the Irishman. January 2011 proved to be a testing time for the club from East Ayrshire and bids came left right and centre for the Irish native.
First up was Scunthorpe who displayed an interest in Sammon but that rumor was squashed when the Killies striker ruled out any move to the Championship stating that he was happy and that he felt that there was more development to come at Kilmarnock for himself.
Derby County were next to test the patience of Killies and were heavily linked with the striker as deadline day loomed. The Rams’ proposed bid of £425,000 was subsequently turned down and that ended any hope of a stint in Derby for Sammon.
It seemed Sammon would be staying at Kilmarnock until the Summer transfer window arrived but out of nowhere, as deadline day was coming to a close, Wigan Athletic emerged as favourites to sign the Irishman, having had a bid of £600,000 accepted for Sammon Monday evening.
The paperwork was completed and Sammon became a Wigan Athletic player by the time the window had slammed shut at 11:00 GMT.
Sammon isn’t exactly the most gifted player but he makes up for it in determination, quite Tevez-esque, you could say. That’s what’s made him the player he is today. There are doubts, however, that Sammon may lack the intensity to revel in the Premier League. Sammon has now become Roberto Martinez’ 4th signing to come from Scotland, having previously signed Steven Caldwell, James McCarthy and James MacArthur.
It’s a move that could potentially land Conor Sammon in the Ireland squad soon enough, with Robbie Keane’s time surely coming to an end.