The story behind Adam Le Fondre: New Hibs striker's EPL record, admirers across game and love of HP sauce

Hibs completed the signing of veteran striker Adam Le Fondre on Friday as they reinforce their attacking options following the departure of Kevin Nisbet to Millwall.
Adam Le Fondre was a huge hit during his spell in Australia with Sydney FC.Adam Le Fondre was a huge hit during his spell in Australia with Sydney FC.
Adam Le Fondre was a huge hit during his spell in Australia with Sydney FC.

The 36-year-old has had a long and varied career and we take a look at the story behind the player nicknamed ALF.

Who is Adam Le Fondre?

Brought in to help fill the attacking void left by Scotand international Kevin Nisbet, who signed out with 12 goals in 20 appearances last term, the Englishman started his career with hometown team Stockport County, graduating from the club’s Centre of Excellence before amassing a lengthy list of clubs on loan and permanent deals. Those include Rochdale, Rotherham, Reading, Cardiff, Bolton, Wolves, Wigan, Sydney and Mumbai City, throughout his 19-year career. A man with a scoring pedigree, he has scored for every club he has been at, and with 12 goals in 34 goals in 2012/13 – his only season in the English top flight – he retains one of the best career minutes-per-goal ratios in EPL history, at 124.4. He has spent the past five years contracted to A-League side Sydney FC, where he won one Premiership title and two Grand Finals. Earlier in his career he built up a strong relationship with former Reading manager and Hibs’ current Director of Football Brian McDermott, leading the line for him as the Berkshire club won the 2011/12 Championship title and moved up among the big boys.

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Le Fondre made his name at Reading under Brian McDermott, who described him as 'selfless'.Le Fondre made his name at Reading under Brian McDermott, who described him as 'selfless'.
Le Fondre made his name at Reading under Brian McDermott, who described him as 'selfless'.

His name is familiar. Were Hibs interested before?

Hibs have been linked with the Englishman before, five years ago, when Neil Lennon was still manager. In the summer of 2018, the then 31-year-old was the subject of interest from several clubs. After a decent couple of loan spells with Bolton, in 2015 and 2017, he had joined The Wanderers a two-deal in June 2017 but by the following summer, having netted seven goals in 36 matches, the club and player mutually agreed to end his contract. With Grant Holt, Anthony Stokes and Brian Graham all heading for the Easter Road exit, Hibs were one of the clubs waiting in the wings but Le Fondre, known to team-mates as ALF or Alfie, due to his initials, opted to move to Australia with Sydney FC.

Goal getter?

He has scored goals at every single club he has been at banging in 273 in 694 career appearances and if last season is anything to judge by, he is showing no signs of slowing down. Last term, albeit in a different league, he matched Kevin Nisbet’s tally, putting away 12 chances in his 20 appearances for Sydney FC.

Le Fondre also had a spell at Bolton Wanderers.Le Fondre also had a spell at Bolton Wanderers.
Le Fondre also had a spell at Bolton Wanderers.

Auld acquaintances?

Although he describes his three years at Reading, under Brian McDermott and then Nigel Adkins, as the happiest he has had in football, Le Fondre also has positive memories of being managed by Neil Lennon at Bolton Wanderers. Having spent most of the past five years in Australia he has played alongside and against several familiar faces, including Hibs right-back Lewis Miller, who came up against him when Central Coast Mariners took on Sydney. Le Fondre has also tested himself against former Hibees such as Jason Cummings and Jamie Maclaren and crossed paths with players who are now his derby enemies. He was team-mates with Hearts midfielder Cammy Devlin for the first year of his spell down under, and came up against him when the younger player moved to Wellington. He also faced Kye Rowles and Nathaniel Atkinson and will, nod doubt, be looking forward to resuming rivalries.

What do others say?

In 2022, Le Fondre shared a message he had received from Brian McDermott on the tenth anniversary of Reading securing promotion. It illustrated the high regard Hibs’ Director of Football has for the striker. “Just been watching you play. What can I say, class is permanent. Brilliant to see you still looking and playing so well,” he wrote. “Ten years ago you were part of something which will never be forgotten by Reading fans. I never got the chance to say thank you for everything you did for me and for our team. Without doubt, you were the most selfless person, team player I have ever worked with. Not only a great player but a great guy. Hope all's well with the family too.”

McDermott is not the only former manager to speak highly of the 36-year-old. This summer Sydney FC head coach Steve Corica also paid tribute to the player who finished each season he was there as the club’s top scorer. “Adam has been an unbelievable signing for Sydney FC and will be remembered as one of the club’s greatest strikers. He was one of my first signings as Head Coach and he has never let me or this club down. His ability to score goals whatever the conditions is invaluable and he will continue to do that wherever he plays. On behalf of the club, we thank him immensely for everything he has done for Sydney FC both on and off the park.”


A selfless man, Le Fondre’s ability to use his vast experience to not only be an example to but also help develop the younger players around him will be invaluable as Hibs look ahead with a strategy of bringing in the right players but also promoting youngsters from within the age group and development squads. Just as the likes of Grant Holt did with Jason Cummings and other youngsters in the past, Le Fondre is considered more than just a goalscorer – he is a competitor and someone the manager and recruitment team believe will help bring out the best in others

What else?

He grew up a Manchester United fan but managed to score against them in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season as manager. He names Eric Cantona and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as football heroes. According to an interview in 2021 he is a big fan of HP Sauce. ‘I have it on everything!’ Eminem’s Slim Shady was one of the first albums he listened to as a teenager but he tends to fall back on Bon Jovi’s ‘Always’ or the Backstreet Boys classic ‘I Want it That Way’ when looking for initiation songs, describing them as ‘crowd pleasers’.