Our sixth summer signing of 2020 was experienced French midfielder Romain Vincelot; a man with a solid reputation in the Football League. Of course, we still didn’t know if Boro’ were playing League or non-league football in the 2020-1 campaign. But few could doubt that Vincelot’s arrival was good news for us – whichever division we started the new term in. With plenty to offer the younger lads and an eye for goal too, it’s no surprise that boss Alex Revell was “absolutely delighted” to land his man.
For the midfielder himself, the move to the Lamex came in the latter stages of his career; the player three months out from his 35th birthday. But age is just a number. Chris Day is testament to that. And the hope is that a historic hip operation – the same that tennis guy Andy Murray had done – will keep the Frenchman motoring in the middle of the pitch for many more years to come. We also hope it helps him to rediscover the scoring form that runs through his English football career. Just a bundle of assists would do, to be fair.
Romain Vincelot: Before Boro’
After starting his career at home in France, Vincelot crossed La Manche in January 2010; ending a surprising six-month stretch without a club after being released FC Gueugnon at the end of the 2008-9 campaign. Dagenham & Redbridge were the club who picked him up on a free; a good bit of business over the 18 months he was with the Daggers. During the 2010-1 League Two season, he finished as their top scorer. But it was no consolation as the East London side were relegated back to the Conference.
His efforts didn’t go unnoticed, however. Brighton & Hove Albion – now just promoted to the Championship – spent around £100k to take him to the south coast. It’s probably too much of a stretch to describe it as a happy time, though. He racked up as many goals as he did red cards. The number was only one, but still. With limited first team opportunities there, he had a brief spell on loan at Gillingham in the first half of the 2012-3 campaign – before his contract ended early at Brighton in January 2013.
That took him back to east London, signing for Leyton Orient for the rest of that season. He went on to become a regular for the Os during the 2013-4 League One campaign; a season that ended with Wembley defeat. Ironically, it was two goals from his future boss – Alex Revell – that helped Rotherham United on their way to promotion. We say that, but penalties did decide the playoff final that season. Anyway, that’s not the point.
… and still Before Boro’
The 2014-5 season started well for Vincelot too. He scored the Os’ winner as they beat Premier League team Aston Villa away in the League Cup. But it’d be his last term with the club. In summer 2015, Coventry City signed him for one of those “undisclosed‘ fees. His only campaign for the Sky Blues was decent enough (four goals in 46 appearances), but the following summer saw him move on again – this time to Bradford City.
The Bantams made him skipper and he enjoyed two years with the West Yorkshire club; turning out just shy of 100 times for ’em. Not for the first time, however, the summer was time to move on and it would be back down south he’d head. Crawley Town signed him ahead of the 2018-9 season. Despite signing on a two-year deal, his time with them was only a few months in the end. A chance to reunite with former Coventry team-mate and Shrewsbury Town boss Sam Ricketts came his way. And he took it.
Vincelot found himself sidelined by injury at the start of the 2019-20 League One season. And that’s why he came to undergo surgery in October 2019. After his recovery went well, it seemed as if the French midfielder was primed for a return to first-team action in March 2020. But he was literally back in the frame for a few days before the coronavirus did for the rest of the League One season. So, with the Shrews choosing to release him, it looks like Boro’ got themselves a good-as-new midfielder who was chomping at the bit.