Despair as David Syers leaves Bradford City

By Jason McKeown

David Syers has this afternoon joined League One Doncaster Rovers on a free transfer. That’s right, the out of contract player who we were apparently offering a low wage to stay, and who was apparently no longer desperately needed, has signed for a club in a league above.

Syers enjoyed a superb first season for the Bantams after being signed by Peter Taylor in the summer of 2010, but despite an outstanding start to last year – he was star player in the first two matches – a bad injury against Leeds ruled him out until Christmas, and he never got going again. Syers’ first start back ended in a controversial sending off against Shrewsbury on New Years Eve, and although he returned to action strongly, most notably from the bench against Hereford in February, he spent the majority of the final weeks of the season on the bench.

Phil Parkinson did have strong options in the centre, and the partnership of Ritchie Jones and Ricky Ravenhill has deservedly established themselves first choice, but there is something hugely despairing about us letting Syers leave without putting up much of a fight to keep him. He was such a promising player, adding energy, thrust and workrate in the centre which made a big impact. He had some weaknesses to his game for sure, but the opportunity to develop Syers into an all round midfielder, even in a Stuart McCall mode, was there to take. Instead, we’ve let him go.

It follows a familiar pattern. A player breaks onto the scene, starts well but then reaches a crossroads. The club has a track record of failing to get such players onto the next stage, and in the end they leave with time and coaching investment somewhat wasted. Syers should have been a mainstay at Valley Parade for a number of years and, if and when he moved on, it would be for better things – with City duly compensated.

Joining Doncaster in League One is clearly better things, but City receive no reward and now have a hole in the squad to fill. Syers might have been back up going into next season, but his goalscoring ability would have made him a strong contender to break into the side and make a positive difference.

As Luke Lockwood wrote on this site a month ago in an outstanding piece about Syers: “Should we lose Syers, then I believe it will be another indication of the short-term approach that the club appear to be taking at the moment. As a young player, with his best years ahead of him, even if Syers was to spend next season as a bit part player the investment in his development would be worthwhile.”

One would like to believe the club did all they could to keep Syers, but the evidence suggests anything but.

I, and no doubt many others, am absolutely gutted.

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15 replies

  1. Syers is twenty five not a young player

    • Not only is he not a young player but it was apparent by his dispirited and disinterested performances on the pitch when called upon after recovering from injury/suspension towards the back end of last season, that his heart was no longer ‘with City’. Forget, for one moment, what he’d been like the previous season, it’s what his most recent performance level is that matters when contracts are being offered. A curry house is only as good as it was the last time you ate there; a bout of botulism resulting from your last meal will stop you from making another visit, no matter how good the food was 6 months earlier. If we are to get out of this League anytime soon we need to have players totally and absolutely committed to the cause NOW! And David Syers wasn’t last season and quite clearly is even less so now. Gutted? Naah, slightly disappointed? Yes, but only just. Ask yourself this. If he’d been one of the players brought to the Club on loan last season, would you have wanted to keep him as a permanent signing based on his performances?

      • I must have completely missed these “dispirited and disinterested” performances, and I never heard anyone suggest Syers was performing that way at the time. I think there is a bit of rewriting history from some supporters at the moment, and I’m not sure why this is or where these motives are. Syers had an injury hit season and struggled to get the game time he needed to get his rythm and form back. I find it quite shocking that some people have written him off so quickly and forgotten what an excellent player he can be (and clearly still is). The suggestion he is not good enough is undermined when you hear Coventry and Doncaster were fighting over him.

        As for the curry analogy, well if we took that approach no player at this club would last for long.

      • Fair point about the curry analogy Jason. They wouldn’t last at the Club for long – in fact they’d pass through with great speed and be hotter when they left.

  2. as far as i am aware syers was offered a good deal which was more than enuf for a 3rd year pro at this level,i dont feel that losing david syers will effect the fortunes of the team for next season

    • Jason, I and I presume the majority of City supporters would have liked David Syers to stay – he would have provided an attacking prescence that we otherwise lack. However I recall comments made by David in a match day programme (September 2011), when he intimated that he couldnt believe he had secured a contract, and how pleased he was to have done so. He rewarded us with a good season, but owing to injury he was absent for almost 5 months. He probably needed an extended regular starting spot to regain previous form, but given our position and central midfield options I can understand PP,s selection decisions. So in effect one season has seen David change from being overjoyed by one contract to dissatisfied with the next. I dont think it is clear cut this issue – we obviously offered a contract (and I can appreciate the clubs view on its limitations), but David’s attitude had obviously changed and he was free to explore other options. He has found a better deal and I hope he is succesful. Dissapointed yes – but despair no.

  3. David Syers although a good player has only two seasons of professional league football under his belt, and no doubt at 25 years old wants to make up for lost time in playing at a higher level. I for one don’t think he can be excused for this and neither can the club be for offering a deal that they believed was in the best interests of the football club at the level it currently plays.

    He very much had a stop start season last season with injuries, suspension and form etc and so is hardly tried and tested in league football after one complete season.

    Whether he wanted to stay at league two level is then open to question and the club have been correct I believe in putting a sensible offer on the table. Gone are the days when we could take ‘financial chances’ on players, something which Doncaster with deeper resources in higher leagues can do.

    We as supporters cannot be short sighted in encouraging the taking of financial chances in knowing what has happened in the past, especially in not knowing the offer put to David Syers and the motivations of the player himself at this time in his career. I’m disappointed he has chosen to leave but let’s judge the club on the forthcoming seasons squad and in what it achieves.

  4. Its a shame that David has left. However and its a big however, we as supporters dont know what he was offered to stay. On that basis it is very difficult to determine if the club are guilty of short term thinking or anything else for that matter. I certainly dont think we should be breaking the bank to keep him.
    David got injured whilst on trial and was allowed to stay with the squad when many clubs would have released him. Considering he spent most of last season injured as well I would have liked him to have given us another year or two.
    However, it seems he wanted to move on and all the best to him.
    I dont blame him but without knowing the facts Im not sure how anybody can blame the club either.

  5. I am with Jason all the way on this one,

    Dave Syers provided a rare commodityin our division, a player who can get around the field and provide a genuine scoring threat from midfield, just look at his goals record, and how long have we waited for that kind of player.

    There are so many players whose speciality is sitting deep and breaking up other teams midfield play, whereas there are few of David Syers energy and ability.

    Time will indeed tell if this is a good move for him, but I feel it is not a good one for BCFC.

    Gutted indeed.

  6. If he had gone to a club in this division or a smallish team in the league above then I can understand being upset with the club a lot more. However Doncaster were paying out silly money last year, so its naive to think we could compete with any offer they made.Be upset and frustrated that he’s gone, but to start blaming the club in its financial position and league position at the time of the initial offer is a tad harsh

  7. What amazes me is how a player who I believed was widely considered to be a fans’ favourite is so easily disregarded by so many. The number of ‘good riddance’ or ‘hope he fails at Doncaster’ or better still ‘We’ll easily replace him with someone better!’ comments I have read elsewhere is appalling.

    Because the club made so little effort to hold on to him, he was always going to leave. Can you imagine asking someone to marry you and them replying ‘Well, I suppose so’. It’s not quite as good as a yes and floods of tears (of joy) is it?

    • Well maybe. Or to use your analogy – didn’t the club offer to “marry” Syers to a new contract only to be told – “well, maybe, but I’d rather wait and see if someone better comes along ” ??

  8. As far as I am aware he had always planned to leave at the end of the season. I met his dad at a local football do last season. I live in Collingham, his home town club and his dad told me that unless City were to get promoted then he would be looking to move on and hopefully up. He has I suppose done what he set out to do!!! A shame to say the least but lets keep our fingers crossed that we get hold of someone of a similar ilk who we can afford.

  9. Err…. Just looked at the PFA list of available players and I can’t see many that inspire me to replace Syers. Good luck to you David, Parkinson’s man management has me puzzled and concerned. I must also have missed the questionable displays mentioned in other posts on his return from injury, even though I am pretty sure I was at most of them!

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