Born in Wrexham in 1974, Robbie Savage is one of the most
controversial footballers of his generation. The floppy haired
midfield enforcer is, however, yet another example of a player
who, having been thrown on the footballing scrap heap as
a kid, bounced back with Crewe Alexandra Football Club to
enjoy a fine career at all levels, including International.
Robbie was actually a member of Crewe's Centre of Excellence
in his schoolboy days, but was pulled away from Gresty Road
when he was tempted with a YTS offer at Premiership giants
During his time at Old Trafford he played in the same youth
team as the likes of Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes,
David Beckham and the Neville brothers and helped the club
win the FA Youth Cup in 1992 with a 6-2 aggregate victory
over Crystal Palace.
A full time professional contract was soon on offer but
then, Savage's world fell apart when United boss Alex Ferguson
decided to release him after just a season on the senior
staff and without having made a single first team appearance.
In July 1994 the young Welshman returned to Gresty Road
as Dario Gradi gave him a chance to rebuild his career, and
Savage grasped the opportunity with both hands.
He made his Alex debut, ironically, against his home town
club Wrexham on 10 September 1994 as Crewe lost 1-0 at the
Racecourse Ground, and scored his first goal for the Railwaymen
just three days later in a defeat at Oxford United.
At the end of that first season the Alex finished third
in the old Second Divison, missing out on promotion in the
play-offs, and the following season Savage helped the Railwayaymen
to the Play Offs again, this time missing out in the Semi-Final
stage to Notts County.
The season proved to be a landmark one for Savage however.
Not only did he feature regular in the Alex midfield and
begin to build his reputation, but he was also handed his
first International Cap for Wales, when Bobby Gould used
him as a substitute in World Cup Qualifying draw with Albania
in November 1995.
The 1996/97 season proved to be his third and final year
at Gresty Road, and was once again a successful one. Having
finished sixth in Division 2, the Alex qualified for the
play-offs again and, although Savage wasn't involved in the
Semi Final games with Luton Town or in the final at Wembley
against Brentford, he had certainly played his part in one
of the Alex's most momentus achievements.
However that summer having made 95 appearances for the club,
scoring 11 times over the three years he spent in South Cheshire,
Savage decided to move on.
When his contract expired in July, the Welshman made his
way to Martin O'Neill's Leicester City for £400,000
and begin another fine chapter in his career.
Savage's versatility in midfield saw him become a key member
of O'Neill's successful Foxes side of the late 1990's as
he enjoyed a formidable midfield partnership with former
Crewe team-mate Neil Lennon and Turkish International Muzzy
He also become a regular Welsh International, scoring his
first International goal against European Champions Germany,
and becoming a talismatic figure for both club and country.
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