In profile: Darren Carter

Following the announcement that Darren Carter has been appointed Interim Head Coach of Blues Women, takes a deep dive into the distinguished career, as both player and coach, of a ‘true blue’.

1. Carter was born on Sunday 18 December 1983 in the West Midlands borough of Solihull, going on to attend Langley School.

2. Having signed Schoolboy forms with Blues in 1998, he completed his education by 2000 and was offered an Academy Scholarship.

3. Within two years, the boyhood Bluenose had broken into the First Team, making his senior debut away to West Bromwich Albion – who would be his next permanent club - in January 2002.

4. The midfielder opened his goalscoring account for the Club less than three months later, scoring in Birmingham City’s 3-1 home success over Crewe Alexandra at St. Andrew’s – a vital three points as Blues went onto secure a play-off place.

5. Carter then wrote himself into Club legend versus Norwich City in the play-off final. At Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, the 18-year-old scored the winning penalty in a shootout after the game had finished 1-1 following extra time to take Blues into the Premier League for the very first time.

6. The teenager subsequently ended the campaign as Young Player of the Year, going on to make a dozen appearances in his maiden top-flight season. By January 2004, he signed a lengthy contract extension before being loaned out to Sunderland in September where he scored on his debut against future employers Preston North End.

7. Recalled from his spell on Wearside in December, Carter recorded over 1,000 Premier League minutes back at Birmingham before the 2004/05 season was out and received a Championship winners’ medal for his contribution to the Black Cats’ title-winning effort under Mick McCarthy.

8. In July 2005, at the age of 21, he switched across the Midlands to join Bryan Robson’s project at the Hawthorns for £1.5 million and made his Baggies bow in a 2-3 defeat to – you have guessed it – Blues! Fortunes would turn, however, and Carter notched his first counter to secure three points against Arsenal, a goal that earned him their goal of the season gong.

9. Following relegation, he appeared 33 times in the Championship and played in the first second tier play-off final held at the newly rebuilt Wembley Stadium ahead of a summer move to Preston.

10. Carter recorded more than a century of appearances for the Lilywhites across four terms, winning another goal of the season crown for a matchwinning strike away at Leicester City in the first of these. His time at Deepdale also included an 11-game loan spell at Millwall during 2010/11 before the expiration of his contract and a period disrupted by injury.

11. By August 2012, Carter joined Cheltenham Town on an initial six-month deal, eventually remaining at Whaddon Road until the following May and scoring six times ahead of a switch to Northampton Town. In two years at Sixfields, he repeated his half-a-dozen goal tally and was named player of the year for the 2013/14 season.

12. A successful period with Forest Green Rovers came next, turning out 66-times for the Nailsworth based outfit in a fraction under two years. This coincided with the club’s promotion into the Football League for the very first time via the play-offs.

13. A return to his hometown followed as Carter joined Solihull Moors in June 2017, featuring 49 times in all competitions during the first of four seasons as he captained the Damson Park side. This count was brought to 126 by the time of his departure this summer, with his playing duties running alongside a role as a Youth Development Coach, 12-months being Moors’ Academy Manager and the role of First Team Coach between 2020 and 2021.

14. This September, Carter was named as a First Team Coach for West Bromwich Albion Women, forming part of Jenny Sugarman’s coaching unit at the FA Women’s National League North side.

15. On Sunday 21 November 2021, following Blues Women’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League game at Chelsea, it was announced that Darren Cater would be Interim Head Coach.