Simon Charles Francis (born 16 February 1985) is an English professional footballer who plays as a defender and captains Premier League club AFC Bournemouth. His previous clubs include Bradford City, Sheffield United, Southend United and Charlton Athletic, as well as loan spells with Grimsby Town and Tranmere Rovers. He has played for England at youth levels.
Born in Nottingham and whilst playing for local side West Bridgford Colts Francis was rejected as a youngster by both of the city clubs : Notts County and Nottingham Forest. Instead he joined Bradford City as a trainee in 2002 after being spotted playing for South Nottingham College. He made his debut for Bradford on 16 November 2002 against Nottingham Forest days after he came on as a substitute for England under 18s against France. He made more than 50 starts for the Bantams, scoring his first career goal in a game against Crystal Palace, before being sold for £200,000 by the administrators in 2004. Bradford received offers from Sunderland and Sheffield United, with Francis choosing the latter to be nearer his home in Nottingham and link up with manager Neil Warnock.
Competition for places meant that Francis was never quite able to hold down a regular place at Bramall Lane, restricting him to just 15 appearances for the Blades during his two-year sojourn. He spent most of the 2005–06 season on loan with Grimsby Town and then Tranmere Rovers (where he scored once against Swansea City). His final appearance for Sheffield United was as a late substitute at Luton in the penultimate game of the season.
In June 2008, he was initially transfer listed by Southend United after failing to agree a new contract, but two weeks later he signed for another two years with Southend.
In January 2010 Southend reluctantly accepted an offer for Francis from Peterborough United but he failed to agree personal terms. Following Southend's relegation in to League Two, Francis stated that he had no desire to leave the relegated club. Three weeks later, Southend accepted a £150,000 offer for Francis from Brentford.
On 7 November 2011, Francis signed on loan to AFC Bournemouth and the deal was made permanent in January 2012. Francis was instrumental in Bournemouth's promotion to The Football League Championship in 2012–2013 and won Players' Player of the Season. In Bournemouth's first season in the second tier of English football since 1990, Francis played all but 45-minutes of the season. In the summer of 2014, Francis signed a further contract for three-years at Bournemouth.