08. Jonathan Stead
Feature by Blades-mad
Updated Wednesday, 7th February 2007
Blades-Mad follows the so far career of Jon Stead who has turned out for Huddersfield Town, Blackburn Rovers, Derby County and Sunderland before joining the Blades.
Born: 7 April 1983
Place: Huddersfield, England
Weight: 11st 7lbs
Blades Debut: 13 January 2007 v Portsmouth (drew 1-1)
|2002-04||Huddersfield Town||62 (14)||22|
|2004-05||Blackburn Rovers||33 (14)||8|
|2006-07||Derby County (loan)||15 (2)||3|
Jon Stead was a surprise capture by Neil Warnock after been recommended by former Sheffield United striker Paul Peschisolido who spent time with Stead whilst he was on loan to Derby County.
He first shot to fame whilst playing in the lower league for
Huddersfield Town, he came through the youth ranks at the League One side, making his debut on 18 September 2002 when they hosted Brentford, the Terriers lost 2-0 with Stead coming on a substitute to replace former Blade Martin Smith.
From then on he was virtually ever present; whilst netting his first goal (brace) against Nott's County in a 3-0 win.
The following season was a barn storming success which got interests from other clubs (including Sheffield United), but once the January transfer window opened he was off and was involved in a £1,250,000 move to Blackburn Rovers.
His Rovers debut was well received, netting the only goal of the game at Middlesbrough (7 February 2004) and in the following game against Newcastle in a 1-1 draw.
By the end of the 2003-04 season Stead had netted six goals for his new club and looked good to be a hot favourite in the following campaign.
However goals dried up and didn't net his first seasons goal until March at Everton (1-0), Rovers boss Mark Hughes became disappoint and due to the signing of Craig Bellamy from Newcastle was shipped of to Sunderland in the summer.
In February 2004 he had been rewarded with a call up to the England U-21 team (against Netherlands), and went to make 11 appearances whilst scoring just once.
The Black Cats had just celebrated their promotion to the Premier League and decided to buy Stead for £1,800,000 which at the time was considered too much for an unproven player.
He played at Bramall Lane in a pre-season friendly, he was unadventurous upfront as the Blades came out 1-0 winners with Steve Kabba scoring the winner.
And, like his new club was disappointing throughout the entire season. Stead netted just once at Everton (2-2) in April 2006 and Sunderland were relegated with just 15 points - a record in Premier League history for a team earn the least number of points.
Sheffield United of course skipped past them as they went up as runners up but Stead didn't last long at the Stadium of Light, playing just five Championship matches before leaving on loan.
Billy Davies was brave enough to take Stead to Derby County, all be it for a short spell, and although he scored just thrice (against Coventry, Luton and Leicester City) he did enough to impress the Pride Park faithful and saw media attention for outstanding displays.
It was, to his achievement that he was nominated for Powerade Player of the Month for November after his stunning displays for the Pride Park club.
He returned to North East and became, on 10 January 2007 a shocked rumour and within 24 hours he was snapped up for £750,000 after being recommended by a former player to Neil Warnock.
Stead made his debut straight away in a Premiership fixture at home to Portsmouth, he was impressive and won Man of the Match award; as voted by Blades fans.
Three fixtures later against Fulham he netted his first Blades goal after setting United on their way to a 2-0 win and quickly following slamming home a leveller at Blackburn (lost 2-1) in the following fixture.