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Gary Madine: The Hero We Deserve?

Chris did the Batman reference, whilst Matt gone and done the words like

Tony Marshall/Getty Images

I've lost count how many times in the past few years how many players have been signed to be greeted with a chorus of: ‘Shows how far we've fallen' in what becomes a veritable orgasm of anti-climactic Tweets.

Gary Madine certainly wasn't as poorly received as some have been, but many pointed out it was a difficult signing to get excited about.

A strong target man who will always give defenders a game, but after media hype early on in his career and a big money move, has found himself unsettled and scoring bang average amounts, with his off the field conduct called in to question.

Curious why I put that last description of Gary Madine in a separate paragraph?

That's because I wasn't describing Madine at all. I was describing the icon that is Kevin Davies at the time of his arrival to Bolton Wanderers.  The back stories of the two are strikingly similar and although that'll have no bearing on Madine's eventual legacy here, it goes to prove that great signings are not always so obvious.

We had exactly the same reaction when Jutkiewicz was brought on loan many moons ago. ‘Oh we're getting other Championship team's rejects'. ‘His scoring record is appalling.' ‘Dougie Freedman is a massive twat.'

That last one isn't really relevant but I thought I'd just shoe horn that in there. Juke went on to have one of the most commanding half seasons seen in a Bolton shirt in some years. Super Kevin Davies himself would have been proud to put in such shifts. He finished the season with 7 goals in 20 games which is a decent if unspectacular haul.

Aside from the goals he assisted (sorry Manning) many and caused opposition defences headache after headache. Had we signed him, he'd have no doubt become the Davies-esq fan favourite that our team currently lacks...Or does it?

The preliminary reports of Madine's pre-season so far have been unanimously good. He's scored a couple of nice goals and has given the commanding centre forward performance that we Bolton fans crave. Sure he is unlikely to be that 20 goal a season striker that we all want. (Given what Middlesbrough are about to spend on Jordan Rhodes, we're not getting one of those any time soon), but he is going to create.

He is going to always give us an option to punt it long. He will be a great foil for Clough and Pratldinho. He adds another tall frame at set plays. Perhaps most importantly, he adds bite to an attack that has looked toothless since SKD left.

Even last year when we had one of the best strikers in the league, Adam Le Fondre up front, we didn't have the quality to always play it the way he needs. We would resort to a long punt to a player with no real chance of winning the contest and inevitable be back under the cosh.

I will admit I wasn't overly happy when we signed him, but during the writing of this piece I really do feel like we could have the next figure head in the ranks. I can scarcely think of a time in my years of supporting where we haven't had a big man up front to cause havoc. We are Bolton Wanderers after all.

The team synonymous throughout our entire Premier League stay of always roughing up defences. You ask the like of Patrice Evra who he most feared facing and no doubt the name of Kevin Davies would be on his lips.

Well it would, were it not for him crying in the foetal position at the memory. This is why this signing is more important than meets the eye. It isn't just about getting a new striker. It's a team clawing back some of its lost identity.

Emile Heskey has done a perfectly cromulent job at plugging the gap but he's lacked the aggression and the work rate that endears a player to the fans. The right kind of team can embiggen the most unlikely of players. It's in our DNA to get behind these players.

We know what we like and we like this sort.

Madine certainly fits the mould and all he needs is our backing to rise to the challenge.