clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Blackburn Rovers: They Played for Both Clubs: Jay Spearing

A look back on the Liverpudlian heartthrob's temporary move last season.

"My precious"
"My precious"
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Balancing a career in professional football with playing Gollum in Lord of the Rings would be an impossible task for the majority of people, but that's what makes Jay Spearing so special.

Jokes aside, Jay Francis (yes, really) Spearing was born in Wallasey on 25th November 1988, making him a relatively young 26-years-old. He joined his boyhood club Liverpool at the age of seven and made his debut 13 years later at the age of 20, playing against PSV Eindhoven in a 3-1 Champions League win.

In 2009/10, Spearing spent the final two months of the season on loan at promotion-chasing Leicester City, however he could only help them to the Play-Off Semi-Final, making nine appearances and scoring one goal in the process.

It wasn't until 'King' Kenny Dalglish came in though in the 2010/11 season, that Spearing broke into the team. In Steven Gerrard's injury-forced absence and Christian Poulsen's being-a-bit-crap forced absence, Spearing and fellow supermodel Lucas Leiva formed an effective partnership in centre-midfield with Dalglish hilariously suggesting that Gerrard wouldn't be able to reclaim his place on his return to fitness.

The season after, the world class signings of Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing meant that Spearing struggled somewhat to get into the team consistently. Despite this he still made 25 appearances in all competitions with 16 of those coming in the Premier League.

After finding himself a little out of favour, Spearing was brought to Wanderers by Owen Coyle and his bulldog-like performances were greatly appreciated by the Bolton fans, especially compared to some of Coyle's other overpaid, under-performing ponces. Once Freedman came in, Speo (as he apparently likes to be known) played a pivotal part in Bolton's push up the Championship table. Unfortunately he picked up an injury against Bristol City in April and that probably played a crucial part in us eventually missing out on the playoffs. (That and Freedman playing Rob Hall against Blackpool, but I digress).

The next season's poor start brought an outcry from our fans to sign Spearing permanently after winning Player of the Season. This wish was granted as we splashed an incredible £2m(!) on the midfield enforcer and we granted Spearing first-team captaincy with Zat Knight constantly in and out of the team. However, he was a shadow of the player we'd had on loan with his passing poor and his main attribute being pointing and shouting à la Kevin Nolan, circa 2008. There are sad parallels to be made with Spearing and Freedman's Bolton careers in this sense.

Despite a disappointing second season, Spearing was given the captaincy full time after Zat Knight's release. However, once again we started the season poorly and Freedman was sacked. Neil Lennon came in and singled out Jay Spearing as a quality player we'd build the team around. This didn't come to fruition as in Lennon's fourth game in charge against Norwich City, the midfielder was hauled off at half-time and rarely seen again. His last appearance for us last season was against Liverpool in that game at Anfield, where he came on as a late substitute.

Spearing moved to Rovers on loan for the duration of the season on 30th January 2015, making fifteen appearances, scoring one goal and in general performing to a solid yet unspectacular level for a team pushing much further up the table than us.

It appears Spearing was given a second chance with Lennon in pre-season this year, with the Northern Irishman praising his attitude and desire to get in the first team. He was however, stripped of his captaincy so he could "focus on his overall game." Spearing's attitude was rewarded with a start in the first game of the season against Derby County and it seemed like we had the same tenacious player that we had on loan a few years ago. He unfortunately got sent off in the final minutes of the game but signs were encouraging.

After his ban, he returned to the team against Middlesbrough but once again, like the Norwich game last season, he was Lennon's fall-guy being brought off at half-time, despite an equally-if-not-worse performance by Neil Danns in the same first half. Since that game, he has been very much confined to the bench and it would be a huge surprise to me if he started against his former employers on Friday evening.