Former Norwich and Celtic forward Gary Hooper has made a surprising move to non-league side Barnet. The 35-year-old English attacker left England in 2019 after a three-year spell with Sheffield Wednesday. Since then, he has played for Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand, Kerala Blasters in India, Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus, and Gulf United in the UAE. However, Hooper has now decided to return to the UK and join National League outfit Barnet.
The announcement of Hooper’s signing was made through a short statement from the club. Barnet FC expressed their delight in welcoming the former Celtic and Norwich City forward to their team. The deal is still subject to international clearance, but more details will be revealed in the coming days. This unexpected move has generated buzz among football fans and has sparked curiosity about Hooper’s decision to join a non-league side.
Hooper’s professional career began in the non-league with Grays after being released by Tottenham at the age of seven. He then moved to Championship side Southend in 2006, where he spent two seasons but struggled to find the back of the net, scoring only four goals in 44 games. Loan spells with Leyton Orient and Hereford followed before he secured a permanent move to League One club Scunthorpe.
It was at Scunthorpe where Hooper truly made a name for himself. He scored an impressive 50 goals in 95 matches for the third-tier side and played a crucial role in their promotion to the Championship by winning the play-offs in 2009. His goal-scoring prowess caught the attention of Scottish giants Celtic, who signed him in 2010.
During his time at Celtic, Hooper became a fan favorite and a prolific goal scorer. He found the back of the net 82 times in 138 appearances between 2010 and 2013, establishing himself as one of the top strikers in Scottish football. His performances for Celtic earned him a move back to England, this time with Premier League side Norwich City.
Hooper’s stint at Norwich was mixed, as he scored eight goals in his first season but couldn’t prevent the club from being relegated. However, he played a crucial role in helping the Canaries secure promotion back to the Premier League. Despite their return to the top tier, Hooper decided to join Sheffield Wednesday at the start of the 2015/16 campaign.
During his time at Sheffield Wednesday, Hooper continued to showcase his goal-scoring abilities, netting 31 goals in 89 games for The Owls. However, his contract with the club expired in 2019, leading to his departure and subsequent ventures abroad. Now, after four years away from English football, Hooper has made a surprising return and will be plying his trade with Barnet in the National League.
Hooper’s decision to join a non-league side has raised eyebrows, but it could be an opportunity for him to reignite his career and make an impact in a different setting. Barnet will be hoping that his experience and goal-scoring ability can help them achieve success in the National League and potentially earn promotion to higher divisions.
The signing of Hooper has generated excitement among Barnet fans and has also caught the attention of football enthusiasts who are curious to see how he performs in non-league football. It remains to be seen how Hooper will adapt to the challenges of playing in a lower division, but his talent and experience could prove invaluable for Barnet.
In conclusion, Gary Hooper’s unexpected move to non-league side Barnet has surprised many. After playing for various clubs abroad, Hooper has decided to return to England and join National League outfit Barnet. His signing has generated buzz and excitement among fans, who are eager to see how he performs in non-league football. Hooper’s goal-scoring prowess and experience could prove crucial for Barnet as they aim for success in the National League.