THE words had barely made their way through the Twittersphere when Wednesday fans were rushing to judgment on a player that they can hardly have seen play this season.
The recruitment of Steve Howard on an emergency loan until the end of the season from Hartlepool polarised more opinion inside 30 seconds than Dave Jones’ previous two signings of Stuart Holden and Seyi Olofinjana did in 24 hours.
I may be missing something here but I can’t remember Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Robin van Persie being available for Jones to plunder for the last nine matches of the Championship season.
I’m not usually so cynical but when word broke that Bolton striker Kevin Davies was a target for Jones then it was fairly obvious that the sort of player wanted by the Wednesday boss was a big centre-forward who, in old school terms, would ‘put himself about a bit’.
Unless you’re a season-ticket holder at Victoria Park or a subscriber to the Pools Player then it’s a fair bet your opinion of Howard is taken from appearances over the years against the Owls or brief glimpses of him in the early hours of Sunday morning on the Football League show.
Let’s be honest, Jones isn’t building his Wednesday team of the next decade around the 36-year-old (same age as Davies) but if you were a Barnsley centre-half and you saw the fourth official signalling for a substitution you wouldn’t fancy spending the rest of the match being battered around the pitch by the 6 foot 3 inch, 14 and a half stone Howard.
That’s not to say that Howard can’t play as well. Anyone who has scored 188 league goals and has twice been bought for more than £1,000,000 is decent, by any stretch of the imagination.
I’m sure Howard wasn’t the first name on Jones’ list, but then again he may have been.
What we do know is that Howard’s arrival should focus the mind of Gary Madine at the very least.
Madine may start tomorrow against Barnsley and if he does he must take his chance. Jones must not rate Chris O’Grady too highly or he would have kept him at Hillsborough.
However, Howard’s arrival doesn’t necessarily mean he thinks the same about Madine. Michail Antonio is out for the season, Connor Wickham had returned to Sunderland and Wednesday needed cover for Leroy Lita.
Howard’s the man for now and I guarantee by the time 3pm comes around tomorrow he’ll get a good reception.
IF ever there was evidence of the reason why footballers need to look after themselves then the case of Kevin Davies needs to be posted in every dressing room across the country.
Taking away the fact that a lot of people will find it hard to have sympathy with a millionaire footballer who has made a very tidy living out of playing a sport, here’s a player who would have been five days away from earning a testimonial who was told that he was no longer wanted by his club - on his birthday.
Bolton’s chairman says Davies can have one if he asks for one.
And they say it’s the players with all the power.