Full Name: Ainsworth, Gareth
Date Of Birth :
Birthplace : Blackburn
LCFC career record :
Apps : 97 ;
Subs : 0 ;
Goals : 41
LCFC Football League record :
Apps : 83 ;
Subs : 0 ;
Goals : 37
LCFC Debut : 01/11/1995, Mansfield Town (a) 2-1, FL Division 3
Last Match : 10/09/1997, Rotherham United (a) 1-3, FL Division 3
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An attacking right-sided player, Gareth Ainsworth joined home town
team Blackburn Rovers straight from school and although he never got
as far as the first team, he gained plenty of experience and was one
of just two trainees from his year to be taken on as professionals,
the other being Peter Thorne who would go on score regularly for the
likes of Stoke and Cardiff.
After a brief spell on loan with non-League Northwich Victoria,
Gareth joined Preston North End in January 1992, making his Football
League debut on the right wing at Shrewsbury Town. A move to John
Becks Cambridge United followed before he played for Beck at
Preston for a three-year spell.
He made 82 League appearances and scored a dozen goals in that time
before the Imps - and Beck again - came calling.
Gareth joined City for a five-figure fee and made his debut at
Mansfield on November 1st 1995. The game at Field Mill was Becks
third in charge of the Imps and it resulted in City picking up their
first win since the opening game of the season. Gareths
whole-hearted showing in that game certainly gave Imps fans a
sign of things to come. He would go on to miss just one League for
City until his departure in September 1997.
He also showed City followers that he knew where the back of the net
was and followed up his 12 goals in his first season by finishing the
1996/97 season as top scorer with a more than impressive 22 from the right-wing.
Describing his two years at Lincoln as the best times of
his career, Gareth continued to impress and his never-say-die
attitude eventually earned him a big money move to Port Vale, who
shelled out the best part of £500,000 for his services. His last
goals for the Imps came in the form of his only hat-trick, this
coming in a 3-3 home draw with Scarborough.
Scoring on his Vale debut, Gareth spent a year at Vale Park before
Premiership side Wimbledon forked out £2m for his signature but
a number of injuries restricted his appearances with the Dons to just
36 in five seasons whilst he also had brief loan spells with Preston
(again) and Walsall.
A brief spell with Cardiff City followed before he was released at
the end of the 2002/03 season and in the summer of 2003 he moved back
to London and Queens Park Rangers. Injuries continued to restrict his
first team outings, although he was a regular in the Hoops
2005/06 season, whilst he was also starting to entertain off the
pitch, being the lead singer for a London-based rock band.
Both his football and music were put on a temporary halt, however, in
April 2007 with a broken fibula sustained in a game against Luton
Town put him back on the sidelines. He returned, though, and in May
2008 accepted a player coach role at QPR and following the dismissal
of Iain Dowie five months later Gareth was appointed caretaker
manager. He remained on the club's coaching staff after Paulo Sousa
was appointed as first-team coach the following month.