Conrad Logan

Former Player Remembers: Conrad Logan

Last month, goalkeeper Conrad Logan spoke to Club Historian John Hutchinson about his football career. During his 15 years at Leicester City, and for five years after that, he not only played for the Foxes but also for nine clubs on loan, accumulating a total of 293 first team appearances.
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Among many other things, Conrad spoke about leaving Ireland as a 15 year-old, winning Republic of Ireland youth caps, starring for Leicester City, his loan spells, his respect for Nigel Pearson and Kasper Schmeichel, appearing in a Wembley play-off final and winning the Scottish FA Cup with Hibernian. He also spoke about his current commitment to Anstey Nomads.  

Conrad, who was born in Letterkenny in County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland was steeped in football from an early age.

“I played for Swilly Rovers, a local grassroots team from the age of about eight before I came to Leicester,” Conrad began. “I was 15 in April (2001) and I came to Leicester for pre-season three months later. It was young to leave home, coming from a little village to a big city.  

“I came over with another Irish lad who was the same age and two Finnish lads. The four of us stayed in digs in Aylestone Road. We went to Lancaster Boys’ School, but we weren’t full-time. We went to school for a few hours, went training for a couple of hours and then went back to school to do Year 11 and our GCSEs. The next year, we went onto a scholarship at Leicester City.”

Although he was only 15, Conrad adjusted to life away from home: “I had a few other clubs interested in me, but I came to Leicester because it was very much a family club. I was very focussed on giving it my best. You only get one chance at it. If you leave, it’s seen as a failure. That thought drove me more than anything.”

Conrad’s two seasons at the Academy were difficult times for Leicester City, as he recalled.

“My first year (2001/02) was the last year at Filbert Street when the Club was relegated from the Premier League,” he explained. “Moving to the new stadium was fantastic at the time, but then the Club went into administration.”

Despite administration, Leicester City were promoted back to the Premier League at the end of the 2002/2003 season and in July 2003, soon after his 17th birthday, Conrad signed professional forms.

By this time, Micky Adams was manager, and the first team goalkeeper was England international Ian Walker. In December 2004, with City back in the Championship, Conrad was loaned to the League 2 side Boston United.  

Craig Levein was the new manager and he brought in Kevin Pressman and Stuart Taylor as goalkeepers and, if I hadn’t gone on loan, it might have been the end for me,” Conrad added.

“I made my Boston debut in a local match against Lincoln on Boxing Day 2004 in front of a full house. After playing 10 games, I was recalled to Leicester and then went back to Boston for three games at the end of the season. Julian Joachim was in the side. It was a very, very good experience.”

The following season (2005/06), Rab Douglas and Paul Henderson were the first team ’keepers. Levein was replaced as manager by Rob Kelly in February 2006 and he gave Conrad his first team debut in August 2006.

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Conrad Logan

The shot-stopper celebrates winning the Championship title alongside team-mate Kasper Schmeichel.

“With Rob in charge, I started that season on the bench,” Conrad continued. “Paul Henderson was first choice and Rab went to no.3 goalkeeper. I broke into the first team that season and played a lot of league and cup games. Then we had a bad run and Rob took me out of the team. Looking back, I was a young lad so it’s an easy one isn’t it? Before he got sacked (five games before the end of the season) he phoned me to say he was going to play me again on the Saturday. As it happened, I actually played for the rest of the season anyway and we avoided relegation.”

In the close season, Martin Allen became manager: “I’d finished the previous season as no.1 ’keeper but, when we started the season, Paul Henderson was selected, and by the Saturday I was at Stockport, on loan. That’s football!”

Conrad was a regular in the Stockport side and played for them in the League 2 play-off final at Wembley which secured his side’s promotion in May 2008. At the same time, Leicester dropped into League 1 for the only time in their long history after a turbulent season under three managers – Allen, Gary Megson and Ian Holloway.

“Stockport was a good experience,” Conrad continued. “I was still only 21. I didn’t feel disconnected from Leicester though. I kept in touch with Mike Stowell, who was keeping tabs on me at Stockport, and I used to come back to Leicester to train every now and then when I could, to keep my face about the place.

“That season, Martin Allen lasted for four games, I never even saw Gary Megson and then Ollie (Ian Holloway) came in after that. I dipped in and out of his training but, by the end of the season, he had gone. So during my loan spell at Stockport, I missed three managers.

“For the start of the next season, Stockport were interested in bringing me back, but I wanted to see how things were with Leicester’s new manager, Nigel Pearson, but quite early he brought in David Martin from Liverpool and told me that I wasn’t going to be involved so I went on loan to Luton.

“Luton was a big club only two seasons out of the Championship, then all of a sudden, they were deducted 30 points and were bottom of League 2. It wasn’t ideal. Mick Harford was a good manager and we had a lot of good pros there.

“That season Leicester had six ’keepers and I wasn’t called back, but I decided to return even though Nigel said I had no future at the Club. For a while, I didn’t even train with the first team. I was stuck in the gym, but Nigel saw how hard I was working. One Friday morning, we had a good chat. He said that he’d been impressed with me since I’d come back. Then my agent told me that Stockport wanted me back on loan. I went to tell Nigel. We were almost giggling. He said: ‘Go back there!’ He sorted it all out and I went back to Stockport for some more games, playing in the same league as Leicester. It was as good as gold between us. I had a great relationship with him at the end and I was there with him for several years after that. I wouldn’t have a bad word said against him. He was the best manager I had.

“The following season ( 2009/10), back in the Championship, we reached the play-offs under Nigel, and a year after he’d told me I wasn’t going to play, I was involved on the bench in every game as no.2 to Chris Weale. I played a couple of games and saved a penalty and kept a clean sheet in the last match of the season against Middlesbrough.

“Then Nigel went to Hull. Paulo Sousa took over with a different style of play which didn’t work out for him and then Sven-Göran Eriksson became manager. We met him on the bus to the airport just before we went on a trip to Thailand, which had been planned by the new owners. It was brilliant.

“The following season (2010/11), Sven signed the Portugal international goalkeeper Ricardo for a bit. I wasn’t playing so I went on loan to Bristol Rovers until the end of the season. I had a good spell there. The ex-Leicester City player Stuart Campbell was the manager. We nearly stayed up, but we were relegated.

“At the start of the next season, Kasper Schmeichel arrived at Leicester City. Chris Weale became no.2 so I went on loan to Rotherham. Nigel was reappointed in November and I came back to Leicester in January. He told me that he was thinking of offering me a new contract the following season, which is what happened.”

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Conrad Logan

Success would come Logan's way at Hibernian in Scotland.

Kasper didn’t miss a single league game in his first three seasons at Leicester.

“At any level you want to play,” Conrad continued. “But Kasper is an exceptional goalkeeper. We complemented each other. I always trained hard every day, gave everything, kept him on his toes and did anything that he needed to make sure he was good for the team. That’s what a good no.2 does.

“When Leicester were promoted to the Premier League, in 2014, Ben Hamer came and was obviously going to be the no.2.  I was in the last year of a two-year contract so I went on a season-long loan to Rochdale. I had a really good season there until I snapped my Achilles just before Christmas and I was out for 18 months. My contract at Leicester finished in July 2015, so I was a year without a club, but I was still able to come to Leicester for rehab.

“It was a tough time. While Leicester were on the way to winning the Premier League, I was out of contract and injured. I wasn’t earning, the rehab was taking too long, and I wanted to get back before pre-season. I signed myself off at Leicester when probably I shouldn’t have. It was a massive risk. I went to Rochdale and was with the goalie coach learning how to be a ’keeper again.

“Then I got a phone call saying that Hibernian wanted a 'keeper for the Scottish FA Cup Semi-Final as their no.1 was suspended. I flew up there. I was nowhere near fit after 18 months out. The goalie coach saw me in training and I was offered a contract until the end of the season. My debut was the Scottish Cup Semi-Final against Dundee United. It was 0-0 after extra time and I saved two penalties in the shoot out which we won 4-2. I was Man of the Match. A fairy-tale! Then I played in the Scottish Cup Final against Rangers. We were 2-1 down with three minutes to go and we won 3-2! Hibs hadn’t won the cup for 114 years! People stopped us in the street and told us we would be heroes forever!

“I also played for Hibs in the Scottish Championship play-off semi-finals but we were beaten by Falkirk. I’d been at Leicester for 15 years and I played eight games at Hibs and won the Scottish Cup! Crazy!”

The following season (2016/17), Conrad played for Rochdale again and then signed a three-year contract at Mansfield Town, featuring for his old Boston manager Steve Evans.

In January 2020, he joined Forest Green Rovers, but two months later, football stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“I wasn’t enjoying it at Forest Green, travelling two and half hours each way from Leicester,” he recalled. “I’d started my own goalkeeping academy and was offered a role locally at Anstey Nomads, who I’d helped coach while I was at Mansfield and who sent their goalkeepers to my academy. I still play for them. The chairman and manager there have a vision for Anstey Nomads with big plans for our ground and training facilities, so they bought me in to head up everything, like a director of football.

“We’ve now got over 40 teams. It’s a big old operation. I’ve also got maybe 150 kids a week at my academy so that takes a bit of running as well.”

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