Position: Midfield, running sideways
From: Spurs - on loan - November 1995
Record: Played: 6 Scored: 1
To: Spurs after loan expired
Career stats: Soccerbase
He was: Ramage in disguise
Not exactly the kind of player you want in a crisis.
Caskey was (and is) a class player, capable of providing quality passes from the midfield to the strikers. He's also a lazy poser, who couldn't be arsed most of the time he was playing for us and conspired with Ramage to make our midfield about as incisive as a not-very-incisive, erm, knife. As Portsmouth found out, if you kick him up in the air in the first minute, he won't trouble you again - which kind of rules him out of the First Division, I would have thought.
What I'm trying to say is that he's a bloody good player, but he didn't do much for us. Having swung corners down the goalkeeper's throat during his loan spell, he returned to Spurs and immediately started whipping in balls to the near post so he could do it if he wanted to. Reading later paid a record fee for him and are probably regretting it as we speak.
I thought I would write a little piece that has nothing to do with what is currently happening at 'The Vic' (living 3,500 miles away on the east coast of the USA makes this a little easier to do).
I went along to watch my local soccer team, the Virginia Beach Mariners, play Rochester Rhinos on Saturday. They play in the USL 1st Division (United Soccer Leagues), one step below the MLS, and are a professional outfit.
On entering the stadium - well, actually, the stand - the announcer was reading out the team, as they ran one-by-one onto the pitch, American style. I heard "Darren Caskey from Nottingham, England". It had to be the Darren Caskey. I had to dredge the back of my mind to try to remember his impact with the Horns, and on later reading his 'Gone but not Forgotten' bio I could see why! He has lost his long locks, and seemed to run more than I remember. He was obviously one of the more talented players on show and at times seemed a little lost in the game - I wasn't sure if this was because he was too good for everyone and became frustrated (he shouted a lot at teammates), or if that is his natural style and the reason he is playing at this level.
Anyway, he set up the first goal by excellently holding up the ball in the penalty area and laying off a short pass to his striker to put away. He also was involved in the second (and winning goal), making a run from midfield before being fouled. The ref played on, letting a teammate run and cross for an easy headed goal.
I remember back in the nineties that he was considered by some to be a fantastic talent, and had a big money move. I didn't hear of him for years until now. But looking at his stats he is only thirty-one! Now in the prime of his career!