Gary Madine and the road to redemption.

Rumours that Cardiff were chasing Bolton striker Gary Madine had surfaced prior to deadline day, so it was only a surprise to those outside the club when his three-and-a-half-year deal was announced.

However, to non-Bluebirds, it is a move that has raised a few eyebrows. Madine is perhaps more infamous than famous and his goalscoring record looks, on the face of it, very average. After all, Madine is far better known for the things he’s done off the pitch.

In 2013, whilst playing for Sheffield Wednesday, Madine was jailed for committing two assaults in Sheffield nightclubs. He seemed to have let a promising football ability go down the drain. His defence lawyer, Alison Dorrell, said at the time he was no longer an asset to his club and that he would “struggle to restart his career” after his prison sentence.

Since that time, Madine has served his time, reformed and proven Dorrell and many others wrong. He scored twice in a loan spell at Carlisle upon release, before returning to the Owls. Subsequent spells at Coventry and Blackpool saw him rebuilding his shattered reputation, something that wasn’t easy for a big, burly striker to do. He was expected to be robust on the field and had to manage his conduct carefully. He did it extremely well, he wasn’t booked for 27 games, before his time away he’d been booked twice in three matches.

In the summer of 2015, he signed for Bolton Wanderers and it is at the Reebok Stadium that his career has flourished. Madine has proven to be a changed character, a man who has put the past behind him. He scored six goals in 36 outings in his first season, 10 in 42 last campaign and a much-improved 10 from 29 matches this season. That form alerted Neil Warnock and, one week ahead of the deadline, Madine told Bolton he wanted to move.

Cardiff made four bids, each one bigger than the last. Bolton chairman Ken Anderson stated only an ‘exceptional’ offer would convince them to let Madine go. In the end, Madine became the third-most expensive export in their history after Nicolas Anelka and Gary Cahill. Anderson obviously felt £6m was an exceptional offer.

Nicolas Anelka – By Amarhgil (CC BY 2.0)

The Trotters are embroiled in a battle for Championship survival, Cardiff have one eye on the top flight. Indeed, Cardiff are 5/2 to be promoted in the latest Championship betting. Bolton Wanderers are 8/15 to be relegated. The move may seem a no-brainer for the player, but it has underwhelmed some sections of Cardiff support. They see the arrival of a £6m player who averages a goal every four and a half games through his career. That may be missing the point.

Striker Kenneth Zohore hasn’t been firing on all cylinders this season, despite scoring 12 in the second part of the last campaign. It is felt he isn’t the type of player happy to receive the ball into his head and hold it up, but that is exactly what Madine is good at. Could they form an unlikely partnership and, if so, are Bluebirds fans paying too much attention to the ‘goals for’ column of Madine’s stats? Madine also has five assists this season, meaning he’s had a direct hand in 15 Bolton goals. When you consider they’ve only scored 26, that is an impressive statistic.

Gary Madine’s late move may have fans divided in opinion, but nobody can deny he has walked a steady path to redemption since his early misdemeanours. Now, he’s hoping that path takes him and Cardiff City through to the promised land of the FA Premier League.

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9 Responses to Gary Madine and the road to redemption.

  1. Jeff Blight says:

    £6m does look like a lot for a journeyman but it was January and with both Zohore and Mendez Laing out of form it probably represents a last roll of the dice by the management to maintain a promotion push. Yes its a gamble and hopefully it will pay off, if not lets hope we stay within the FFP rules.

  2. Eddy Street says:

    One thing is clear from this signing; Warnock does not see Zohore as a starter.

  3. . says:

    Hi I’m a Bolton fan and I think our chairman has played a blinder ,6 mil for gaz is good business,but ,also, you have a cracking heart on the sleeve type of player, give him time (and a bit of love) and he never goes missing, hard as nails, and scores important goals your gonna love him

  4. . says:

    He’s not really a journey man,he’s been out on loan a couple of times, he’s still quite young! Bwfc are gonna miss him but football is what football is,we move on. Bwfc comes before any player manager or chairman, just like the bluebirds no doubt.

  5. Pedro1877 says:

    Thanks Cardiff for taking him off our hands for a ridiculous amount. You will find that he cannot head the ball properly (on target with any power or skill), finds it almost impossible to shoot with power except straight at the keeper and still finds ball control a little difficult to master. However, he has improved as a Phil Parkinson (only style of play) target man to receive all those “hoofs” and has become quite skilled in passing with his chest and flicking on headers from a starting point where no-one ever received these to probably over 50% when he left. Good luck to you Gazza. Thanks for the memories and stay off the booze lad.

  6. . says:

    PS Bolton won’t go down,put your lovely welsh pounds on it.

  7. Russell says:

    Thanks Paul I was a keen advocate of buying a striker like this just to give us some nasty in and around the box , a lot of sides using the big lad effect as it does allow you to create space ,time and opportunity for others , even if he doesn’t become a prolific striker , but perhaps compares with the mighty Thorny who managed 46 in 4 years over 126 games for us .

    What he provides for me is that presence, reputation, bravery in the box and forms part of that spine you need through the centre of the side .

    Will watch with interest tonight, test of charecter for him coming up v Bolton.

  8. Homer Davies says:

    I remember City signing another journeyman striker a few years ago. He came with the enviable reputation of being not prolific but the type of player central defenders hate to play against. Good at holding play up and bringing others into the game. Useful in the air, good work rate and movement. His name? Alex Revell, now plying his trade with Stevenage. That didn’t wo4k out well.

  9. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Lots of feedback to this guest post from names I’ve not seen on here before – welcome to all of you, especially the Bolton fans who contributed.
    Jeff, we have been a club that has seemed very aware of the FFP rules in recent years. My understanding is that the rules are calculated on a three year cycle whereby you cannot have a cumulative loss of £39 million over the period – we will be helped in this financial year by the big loss we had in 14/15 no longer counting for FFP purposes.
    Eddy, Neil Warnock said in his pre match press conference on Thursday that Ken Zohore still has a part to play in the rest of our season – I reckon we may well see him and Madine playing together soon and I wouldn’t rule out him being picked again as a lone striker over the coming months.
    NKRH, I admit I’ve not seen a great deal of Madine, but £6 million (if it really is that much) does seem like over paying for a player whose CV is not that impressive even if there seems to be general agreement that he improved a lot while he was at Bolton – looking at the table, I reckon you could be right about Bolton staying up, that was a very good win for you last week.
    Pedro, as mentioned above, I have a suspicion we have paid over the odds for Madine as well, but we needed competition for places up front and I’m hoping Madine’s arrival will coincide with Kenneth Zohore rediscovering his mojo.
    Based on the very little of him I’ve seen so far, Madine isn’t a Peter Thorne Russell in terms of all round ability and directing and/or cushioning of headers.
    Homer, while I doubt whether Madine is another Thorney, I also think he’s a bit better than Revell who was a willing worker who, for me, wasn’t as bad as some City fans thought he was – at least Madine has proved himself to be an effective performer at this level this season.

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