By Gareth Walker
Bradford City today made their first foray into the transfer market this summer by announcing that they had completed the free transfer signing of Rochdale midfielder Jason Kennedy on a two year deal.
Durham-born Kennedy was long assumed to be on Phil Parkinson’s wanted list this pre season after a deadline day move for the player fell through at the 11th hour at the end of January.
The reasons for the collapse of the move have never been confirmed but it has been speculated that Kennedy had a last minute change of heart at the time, going as far as to even come off the motorway and head back to Rochdale when he had been on his way to Valley Parade to finalise a contract.
Parkinson seemed to answer any concerns about the players commitment to play for us when he commented that “He had a lot of desire to join us”, and why wouldn’t he given that we are now a League One club? Along with the rest of the lower league players in this country, he will surely have watched our exploits last season with an element of envy.
The other concern that supporters raised at this potential signing was that Kennedy seems to be proven at League Two level after strong performances at Rochdale and Darlington previously, but not so much in a higher division. In fact, he was the central midfield partner to Gary Jones in the ‘Dale team who were relegated from League One just a couple of seasons ago.
In answer to this, it is worth noting the view of the Spotland Faithful who describe Jones and Kennedy as two of their better players during that season and their engine room partnership as being one of the few highlights of a miserable campaign. Kennedy, was also arguably the stand out performer last December when his former side team triumphed 4-2 at Valley Parade.
City’s new signing made over 150 league appearances for Rochdale during a four year spell, scoring 12 league goals. Although he may not be the attacking central midfield option that some supporters are craving, he will be well known to Steve Parkin and Gary Jones in particular, so City will be fully aware of what they are getting.
The role that Kennedy plays in the Bantams squad will be interesting to see. Back in January, he was clearly seen as the replacement for the now departed Ritchie Jones. With Ritchie’s place in the squad never having been filled, will that still be the case or is he now seen as a replacement for Nathan Doyle, who Width of a Post hears along with Will Atkinson was not present at training today or yesterday?
Much may depend on whether Doyle commits himself to the new contract that we are told is on offer to stay, or if he seeks pastures new and a fresh challenge elsewhere. Rumours are also rife this week that Kennedy might not be the only new signing over the coming days, so there could yet be another new face and further competition for a place in the middle of the park come kick off on August 3.
Well, personally I think it’s a great signing. Anyone who went to the Rochdale match last season will have witnessed Kennedy playing a pivitol role as Rochdale ripped city to pieces. He’s a box to box midfielder and – this is the important bit – of an age (26) where he has both experience and youth on his side. This leads me on to the following thought:
His style of play is similar to that of Gary Jones. Given Jones’ age, has Parky found his natural replacement when retirement eventually catches up with our star midfielder? Signing somebody like Kennedy now gives the lad time to adjust to City. It would appear to be a well thought out investment.
His signing certainly does not, for me at least, signal the departure of Doyle. Kennedy and Doyle are two completely different types of players. Doyle is a holding defensive midfielder. He breaks play up and has a calmness on the ball that allows him to dictate play and spray the ball about. In my opinion Doyle will also be a key signing for Parky and I just hope we can agree terms and get the lad signed up – I believe his signing to be the next important step.
As for some questioning Kennedy’s ability in League 1, let’s not forget he was a key player in Rochdale’s promotion season and their ninth placed finish in LEAGUE 1. Granted he played during their relegation the following year, but was their demise a result of a weak midfield? I leave that for you to think about and judge.
Welcome to the Bantams Kennedy :smiley-happy088: