It’s not often a small club like ours has legends bestowed upon it, but when they come round, boy are they big. Nat Lofthouse. John McGinlay. David Lee. Kevin Davies. Ivan Campo. Nicolas Anelka. GARY MADINE.
Seriously though, as many of you will know, I’ve been a Madine campaigner for some time. The 26-year-old Gateshead born centre forward has been spearheading our attack for the best part of two years now after joining on a free transfer from tonight’s visitors, Sheffield Wednesday, in the summer of 2015.
With 26 goals in 101 appearances spanning a four year spell for the Owls, Madine was less than prolific. Loaned out to Carlisle, Coventry and Blackpool in his time at Hillsborough, he was signed by Neil Lennon for his tenacity and experience in the lower leagues of English football, prompting some Wanderers fans to assume we were preparing for relegation. Alas, off-the-field issues in the 2015/16 season meant our fate was sealed and Madine was back in League One.
As I said earlier, I’m a big Madine fan, particularly in a Phil Parkinson system. He knows his place and what he’s there to do, and with two league goals in three games already this season, it looks as though his "rough and tough" style of play could really do us some favours come May 2018.
Let’s be completely honest here; whether you like it or not, we’re fucked without Big Gaz. We have no one else that can do his job and with the news that SSBWFC was officially liquidated yesterday, it doesn’t look like we’ll have the opportunity to shop for replacements any time soon either.
Good luck for tonight Gaz - I hope you bag one against your old club.