‘WHO ARE YA?’ is a new weekly feature on EPL Talk that profiles players who have been capped for England and fallen from grace and players who never really reached their full potential, with the help of some anecdotes. Feel free to give some feedback on the article and your memories of the player. If you’ve got any ideas for players for me to do in the future just mention them in the comments box.
This player has played for 3 different clubs in the Premier League alone and has played 11 times for England U21.
This week we have a look at Jon Stead.
Stead started his career at Huddersfield Town, his local team, who currently reside in League One. He was a steady performer in his first two seasons for the Terriers after making his debut for the Yorkshire side in August 2002. The 2003/2004 season was a real breakthrough season for this striker when he was signed by Blackburn Rovers in the January transfer window after scoring 18 goals for Huddersfield in just the first half of the 2003/2004 season. Rovers shelled out just over £1 million for the forward. In the remainder of that season he scored 6 times to help keep Blackburn up.
In February 2004 Stead earned an England under-21 call up for the game against the Netherland at the KC Stadium. Being at the game I remember vividly the big screen showed a shot of Stead’s shirt hanging up in the dressing room. At the time much was expected of this young player and you could sense the excitement in the crowd when he came on.
When he had signed for Blackburn their then manager Graeme Souness said “He has natural enthusiasm and ability. We believe he will prove to be a valuable asset,” and he did turn out to be valuable when he was sold to Sunderland in a deal worth £1.8 million in 2005 after failing to impress next Blackburn manager Mark Hughes, who eventually led the side to UEFA Cup football.
Where it all went wrong:
At Sunderland, Stead only scored 2 goals in 35 matches despite Mick McCarthy saying this when he signed “He has scored goals in the Premier League, so he’s a great signing for us,” and was sent on loan to Derby County for 17 games in the 2006/2007 season when he only scored an underwhelming 3 goals. In January 2007 he had another shot at the big time with Sheffield United buying the player for a fee of £750,000. Jon fired in 5 times in the remainder of that season but could not prevent the Blades slipping down into the Championship after West Ham’s win over Manchester United on the final day of the season. The next season wasn’t good for Stead as Billy Sharp and last week’s feature of ‘Who Are Ya?’ James Beattie began to lead the line but he did manage to score six goals that term.
Jon Stead left the Blades in 2008 to join Ipswich still in the Championship. Stead did slightly better for the Tractor Boys mustering 18 goals in 63 appearances with a loan spell at Coventry for 10 games in 2010 included. Stead though turned down a move to Blackpool despite Ipswich accepting a bid of just 1p from the Tangerines. He certainly won no fans by turning down the move, a chance in the top flight, as Blackpool couldn’t meet his then current wages of £12,000 a week.
Last season he did eventually move to Bristol City and he averages just under a goal every 4 games for the Robins. Unfortunately for him he has never lived up to his early potential that led to an England under-21 call up and numerous Premier League moves and now he is third in the pecking list of strikers at Bristol City behind the physical Albert Adomah and the ever impressive Nicky Maynard.