Damien Duff

Damien Duff

Duff in action for Fulham in 2009
Personal information
Full name Damien Anthony Duff
Date of birth (1979-03-02) 2 March 1979
Place of birth Ballyboden, Dublin, Ireland
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 9 12 in)
Playing position Winger
Youth career
Leicester Celtic
Lourdes Celtic
St. Kevin's Boys
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–2003 Blackburn Rovers 185 (27)
2003–2006 Chelsea 81 (19)
2006–2009 Newcastle United 69 (5)
2009–2014 Fulham 130 (15)
2014–2015 Melbourne City 15 (1)
2015 Shamrock Rovers 9 (0)
Total 489 (62)
National team
1998–2012 Republic of Ireland 100 (8)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Damien Anthony Duff (born 2 March 1979) is an Irish professional football coach and former player who played predominantly as a winger and is currently a first-team coach at Shamrock Rovers.

He began his professional playing career with Blackburn Rovers, with whom he won the Football League Cup, and in 2003 was signed for £17 million by Chelsea, where he won two Premier League titles and another League Cup. After four seasons at Stamford Bridge, he left for Newcastle United where he won the 2006 UEFA Intertoto Cup, and then moved on to Fulham, with whom he played in the 2010 UEFA Europa League Final. He ended his career with brief spells in the A-League with Melbourne City and the League of Ireland with Shamrock Rovers before retiring in December 2015. Since then he has moved into coaching, working with the Shamrock Rovers under-15s and first team, and the Republic of Ireland under-15s.

Duff played international football for the Republic of Ireland for 14 years, winning 100 caps between 1998 and 2012. He played at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and captained the country at UEFA Euro 2012.

Club career

Blackburn Rovers

Born in Ballyboden, County Dublin, Duff joined Blackburn Rovers as a trainee in 1996 after playing for Leicester Celtic, Lourdes Celtic and St. Kevin's Boys as a schoolboy in Dublin. He made his Blackburn debut at the age of 18 against Leicester City on the final day of the 1996–97 season for which he won the Man of the match award. In his first full season (1997–98) he scored four goals. Blackburn were relegated the following season.

Duff helped Blackburn achieve promotion back to the Premier League in 2001[1] and then win the League Cup in 2002, beating Tottenham Hotspur 2–1 at the Millennium Stadium.[2] Following the 2002 World Cup, Duff signed a new four-year contract with Rovers,[3] though press reports had suggested that he was to change clubs. Despite injury problems in the 2002–03 season, he finished as Rovers' top goalscorer with 11 goals, which helped his team finish 6th and qualify for the UEFA Cup.


In the run up to the 2003–04 season, Chelsea made a series of bids for Duff,[4] with a £17 million offer, eventually triggering a release clause in the player's contract. Duff chose to move to West London in July.[5] Signed by manager Claudio Ranieri as part of the development of Chelsea financed by new owner Roman Abramovich, Duff made his debut in August 2003 in the Champions League against Slovakian side MŠK Žilina. Chelsea won 2–0 and Duff was described as the "star of the show".[6] He scored his first Chelsea goal on 20 September 2003 in a 5–0 away win against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Duff scored the third Chelsea goal and was named as Man of the match.[7][8] Duff played 23 games in all competitions for Chelsea in the 2003–04 season scoring five goals. He missed the Champions League semi-finals as Chelsea lost to AS Monaco but was instrumental in securing for Chelsea second place in the Premiership, the club's highest league finish for 49 years as well as being part of the Champions League run, but the season ultimately ended trophyless and with the sacking of manager Claudio Ranieri.[9][10][11]

The arrival of Dutch winger Arjen Robben and new manager José Mourinho posed a threat to Duff's place in the starting line-up for the 2004–05 season, but an injury to Robben at the start of the season saw Duff as the only available winger. Mourinho, however, did not play Duff in the early part of the 2004–05 season, preferring a more narrow approach. Duff eventually got into the side after four games and, when Robben returned to the side, Duff's versatility saw him move to the right wing and form a wing partnership with Robben. The season proved to be successful for both Duff and Chelsea. He scored ten goals, including a crucial strike in a 4–2 win against Barcelona in the Champions League,[12] while the team won the Premiership title by 12 points from second placed Arsenal, and the League Cup, in which Duff scored the winning goal in the semi-final against Manchester United.[13][14][15] He scored three goals in 28 league appearances in the following season as the club retained their Premier League title.

Newcastle United

Damien Duff with Newcastle United

In July 2006, Duff agreed terms over a £5 million move to Newcastle United, signing a five-year contract.[16] Duff made his competitive debut in a UEFA Cup second round qualifying first leg match against Latvian side Ventspils on 10 August 2006.[17] He scored his first goal for Newcastle in September that year in a 2–0 victory over West Ham United away at the Boleyn Ground.[18] Duff suffered a knee injury in November that kept him out for four months, during which Newcastle had a bad run of defeats. He returned but was then ruled out for the rest of the season due to an ankle injury in a 2–1 loss to Portsmouth in April 2007.[19] Sam Allardyce later described Duff's injury as 'career threatening'.[20] Under the new appointment of Alan Shearer as manager, Duff was asked to play as left back.[21] In the final match of the 2008–09 Season, against Aston Villa in a crucial relegation decider, Duff unluckily scored the deciding own goal that sent his side down deflecting in a 20-yard shot by Villa's Gareth Barry.[22] Duff confirmed his intention to stay at the relegated club and help them back into the Premier League.[23] Duff scored Newcastle's first goal of the 2009–10 season in a 1–1 draw against West Bromwich Albion on 8 August 2009 equalizing a West Brom goal from Shelton Martis.[24]


After playing one game for Newcastle in 2009–10, Duff returned to the Premier League, signing for Fulham on a three-year contract for £4 million, and re-joining Roy Hodgson, his first manager at Blackburn Rovers.[25] He made his Fulham debut coming on as a substitute against Amkar Perm in the Cottagers' UEFA Europa League qualifier match, setting up the third goal in a 3–1 win.[26] Duff scored his first league goal for Fulham on 13 September 2009 in a 2–1 victory over Everton, scoring in the 79th minute.[27] On 19 December 2009, just six days before Christmas in a Premier League game vs. Manchester United at Craven Cottage Duff scored in the 75th minute in a 3–0 victory. On 17 January 2010, Duff started the game against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park and also completed the full 90 minutes in a 2–0 defeat.

Damien Duff taking a corner for Fulham in August 2010 against Manchester United

On 22 August 2010, he started and played the full 90 minutes against Manchester United at Craven Cottage in a 2–2 draw and also picked up a booking. On 18 September 2010, he started and played the entire match against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park in a 1–1 draw.[28] On 15 January 2011, Duff made his 500th career appearance in English football when he lined up against Wigan Athletic playing the full 90 minutes in a 1–1 draw at the DW Stadium. On 5 February 2011, he started the Premier League game against Aston Villa in a 2–2 draw at Villa Park, but was replaced on 67 minutes by Simon Davies. On 27 February 2011, he played the full 90 minutes and also scored a goal in the match with Manchester City at Eastlands in a 1–1 draw.[29]

On 5 March 2011, Duff scored a brace in a 3–2 win against former side Blackburn Rovers at Craven Cottage.[30] With the two goals, he continued a run of four goals in five matches.[31]

About Fulham and his time at the football club, Duff stated: "I like to think that I have found my feet again here at Fulham. It's a good environment and one that players feel very comfortable in. This is a club with so much character and I'm very happy to be helping move it forward." At the end of the 2010–11 season, Duff made 27 appearances and scored 4 goals in all competitions, including making 24 Premier League appearances. As of July 2011, he has made 81 appearances and has scored 15 goals for Fulham in all competitions.[32]

On 19 August 2011, Duff signed a one-year extension to his current deal.[33]

After nine goalless matches, Duff scored in Fulham's 2–1 win over Norwich City on 31 March 2012.[34] A week later, on 7 April 2012, he starred in Fulham's 0–3 away win over Bolton Wanderers, setting up Clint Dempsey for the second goal of the match. During the match, which marked his 350th league appearance, he was a constant threat on the right wing.[35] On 18 August 2012 Duff scored the opening goal in Fulham's 5–0 win over Norwich City on the opening day of the 2012–13 Premier League.[36] He scored again in the following game, a 3–2 defeat to Manchester United.[37]

On 22 February 2013, Duff signed a new contract with Fulham, keeping him at the club until summer 2014.[38] On 16 April 2014, Duff confirmed his intention to leave Fulham at the end of the 2013–14 season. Duff told The Irish Times, "I'll be leaving Fulham. The club haven't spoken to me and I haven't spoken to the club but we don't need to speak."[39] He was released from the club on 23 May.[40]

Melbourne City

In June 2014, Duff joined Australian A-League club Melbourne City as a free transfer in a one-year deal. Duff made his debut against Sydney FC on match day one, assisting David Villa for his first goal in the A League. Duff scored his first goal against the Newcastle Jets in a 5–2 win.[41] In March 2015, Duff confirmed that he would leave Melbourne City to return to his homeland, with the intention of finishing his career in the League of Ireland.[42][43][44]

Shamrock Rovers

On 14 July 2015, Duff signed for League of Ireland Premier Division club Shamrock Rovers,[45] and revealed he would be donating his wages to charity.[46] After nine games for the Dublin-based side, on 21 December 2015 he announced his retirement from football.[47]

International career

Duff taking a corner for Ireland during a game against Serbia in 2008

Duff played for the Republic of Ireland national under-19 football team in the 1997 UEFA European Under-18 Football Championship finals in Iceland, the 1997 and 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship. In Malaysia he scored the first ever Golden Goal in a World Cup match.[48]

He made his senior début for the Republic of Ireland in 1998 against the Czech Republic. He won 100 caps, making him the fifth most capped player in Irish history.[49] He has started a total of 82 times for the Ireland senior squad, scoring eight goals.

He played every game for Ireland at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and was voted the team's player of the tournament. After scoring against Saudi Arabia en route to the second round of the FIFA World Cup, Duff marked his goal with an oriental bow, in retrospect often referred to as one of the most memorable moments of his international career, with Asian fans still travelling to his club's training ground ten years later to catch a glimpse of the player.[50]

After a poor campaign, failing to qualify and a change of managers during the qualifiers for UEFA Euro 2004, he still scored two goals during the qualifiers against Georgia and Russia .[51][52]

He was ever present for Ireland in their qualifying campaign for the 2006 FIFA World Cup but yet again Ireland failed to qualify.[53] Duff's former teammate Steve Staunton took over as manager but early defeats to Germany and a humiliating 5–2 loss to Cyprus saw Ireland fail to qualify again for a major tournament, followed by another change of manager.

Under the new manager Giovanni Trapattoni, Duff started the manager's first game in charge against Serbia on 24 May 2008, which ended in a 1–1 draw.[54] Duff became a key member of the squad proving assists for many of the goals. He started the matches in both legs against France as Ireland were controversially knocked out 2–1 on aggregate after extra-time.[55]

Duff was ever-present on the wings for Ireland in their UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying campaign and he was part of the team that secured qualification for UEFA Euro 2012 with an unprecedented 5–1 aggregate play-off win over Estonia.[56] He was named in Trapattoni's 23-man squad for the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine and was given the number 11 jersey.[57] He captained Ireland on his 100th cap against Italy in Ireland's final group game of the tournament, and Duff's own final match for Ireland, on 18 June 2012.[58][59]

He announced his retirement from international football on 24 August 2012, after Ireland were knocked out of the European Championships.[60]

Coaching career

During his last playing season at Shamrock Rovers, Duff coached the club's under-15 team.[61] On 16 April 2016, it was announced that he would take on a coaching role with the Republic of Ireland under-15s, in line with the recommendation from FAI High Performance Director, Ruud Dokter, that more ex-internationals get involved in coaching roles with the national team setup.[62] On 31 July 2016, Duff joined the Shamrock Rovers first-team coaching staff until the end of the season, with the intention that he would then take control of the under-15 group he previously managed, then competing in the League of Ireland U17 Division.[63]

Personal life

Duff married Elaine in June 2010 in Midsomer Norton in Somerset. The couple's first child, Woody, was born a year later in the county.[64][65] Duff is also a rugby fan, and is personally acquainted with some of Ireland's international rugby players.[66]

According to the February 2009 issue of FourFourTwo magazine Duff was worth £14 million, placing him 92nd in the magazine's 2009 Football Rich List.[67]

Duff was part of RTÉ Sport's coverage of UEFA Euro 2016.[68]

Career statistics


As of match played 17 December 2015[69][70][71]
Club    Season    League Cup League Cup Other Total
Blackburn Rovers1996–97Premier League 10000010
1997–98 2644130335
1998–99 28140301[lower-alpha 1]0361
1999–00First Division 3953121447
2000–01 3215022393
2001–02 Premier League3272051398
2002–03 26900213[lower-alpha 1]13111
Total 184271821754122335
Chelsea2003–04Premier League 235102011[lower-alpha 2]1376
2004–05 306206210[lower-alpha 2]24810
2005–06 28350007[lower-alpha 3]0403
Total 8114808228312519
Newcastle United2006–07Premier League 22100209[lower-alpha 1]0331
2007–08 1603100191
2008–09 3032010333
2009–10Championship 11000011
Total 695513090866
Fulham2009–10Premier League 326420014[lower-alpha 4]1509
2011–12282210014[lower-alpha 4]3446
Total 130151233028417322
Melbourne City2014–15A-League 15110161
Shamrock Rovers2015League of Ireland 900090
Career total 4886244631769863283
  1. 1 2 3 Appearances in UEFA Cup.
  2. 1 2 Appearances in UEFA Champions League.
  3. 1 appearance in FA Community Shield, 6 appearances in UEFA Champions League.
  4. 1 2 Appearances in UEFA Europa League.


Republic of Ireland national team[72]

Internationals goals

# Date[73] Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 15 August 2001 Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Republic of Ireland  Croatia
International Friendly
2. 11 June 2002 International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan  Saudi Arabia
2002 FIFA World Cup
3. 29 March 2003 Mikheil Meskhi Stadium, Tbilisi, Georgia  Georgia
UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying
4. 30 April 2003 Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Republic of Ireland  Norway
International Friendly
5. 6 September 2003 Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Republic of Ireland  Russia
UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying
6. 18 November 2003 Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Republic of Ireland  Canada
International Friendly
7. 1 March 2006 Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Republic of Ireland  Sweden
International Friendly
8. 8 February 2011 Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Republic of Ireland  Wales
2011 Nations Cup



Duff with the Republic of Ireland during UEFA Euro 2012.

Blackburn Rovers


Newcastle United



Republic of Ireland



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