The reaction of some Town fans yesterday when it was announced that Jon Stead would be returning to his hometown club, was one that surprised me. There was negativity and an alarming sense of pessimism, especially as Stead is the only recognised first team striker on our books.
My questions to those is, why are you disappointed in the signature of a striker who has played in the top two divisions for the past nine and a half seasons?
Stead has had good spells in what could be perceived to be a bit of a journeyman career since leaving Town back at the start of 2004. However, he has been rather unfortunate to encounter changes of management frequently and Roy Keane twice.
What Town fans need to look at is how highly rated he was by Bristol City fans. Twice, he was named the Robins player of the season, added to that the comments and messages over social media and forums praising him despite leaving the relegated side.
Stead’s acknowledgement in his interview on the official website that he expected to be a squad player, alongside comments about further strikers coming in should put those who are fretting about the current state of the squad at ease. But those fans need to realise that to compete and avoid relegation in the Championship, you have to have the squad to compete.
Last season that was Town’s problem, when a couple of the starting eleven were unavailable the cracks began to open. Stead’s signing alongside the return of Adam Hammill are brilliant additions to the squad, with Hammill once again providing competition for Danny Ward and Sean Scannell and presumably Stead to provide competition to further additions.
But the additions have to continue and Robins certainly wants more. You would hope that he would reinforce an indifferent backline before the transfer window ends, along with a sometimes fragile looking midfield. Ultimately it’s the forward line that needs addressing as we lost all four strikers at the end of last season.
Many fans were disappointed we did not go in for Barnsley bound Dale Jennings unlike some sources suggested as well as Jonny Russell, but do big name signings really mean so much? I hope that instead we see Robins and the club taking a pragmatic approach to building a squad for this season, whilst also ensuring we keep in line with the future financial fair play regulations which are set to come in.
Hammill and more so Stead’s signatures mean that the squad as a whole is stronger and whilst the first eleven you would say is pretty weak at this moment in time it would still compete in this division with further players to come. We must be patient and let the club do the necessary work behind the scenes to ensure we get the best deals available and for the love of god please stop tweeting James Vaughan!