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Sidwell, Steve (2007-2008)

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Steve Sidwell (2007-2008)

Written by Loz and last updated July 2008

sidwell%20at%20reading%202006%202.jpg The world, or more specifically, chromosomes, can be heartless swines. You want evidence of this statement? Well allow me to elucidate. There are levels of ginger, you have Chris Evans ginger, then you step up to Paul Scholes ginger, then there is a gap which may as well be a chasm into which the world could collapse, then you have...

Steve Sidwell, Chelsea’s latest in a long line of central midfielders has indeed been cursed, not only with ginger hair but also with an atrocious taste in tattoos.

sidwell%20real%20tatoo.jpg One of these is real - I know which one I would prefer to be the real one! [[fimg]=right]http://www.theshedend.com/fansite/images/Current_Squad/Steve_Sidwell/sidwell%20fake%20tatoo.jpg[/[fimg]]

However the lad is setting about putting his life back on track by signing for Chelsea! The signing of Sidwell, in a way, truly emphasises the phenomenal difference between the Chelsea we know today, and the Chelsea many of us have experienced over the years. It was not all that long ago that Chelsea fans would have been over the moon to sign an established top flight player, in his mid 20s, on a free transfer, now the signing of someone like Sidwell barely registers as a ripple on the surface

Steven James Sidwell, a London boy, born in Wandsworth (home of Britain’s second largest prison, the largest unsurprisingly being in Liverpool) on December 14th 1982. The earliest information about him seems to relate to time spent with Brentford and a loan Beveren but I can’t find much information about that period. What I do know is that he spent time as a Gooner and won consecutive youth cups with Arsenal in 2000 and 2001. However he struggled to make any impression on the Arsenal hierarchy and the first team seemed as far away as Steven Gerrard is from a Premiership title.

sidwell%20england%20u21.jpg In January 2003 he moved to Reading and he made an instant impact, to the extent that in 2004 he was voted as the best player outside the Premiership. The 2005/06 season saw Reading win the championship and, for the second consecutive season, Sidwell was named in the Championship Team of the Year.

However the rise to the Premiership didn’t persuade Sidwell to commit his future to Reading and the club decided to retain him and run the risk of losing him on a free transfer at the end of their first ever season in the Premiership.

sidwell%20and%20mourinho2.gif As it transpired that is exactly what happened. Almost straight after the season ended Reading manager Steve Coppell announced that Sidwell had left the club and that his next club was already determined however he did not reveal the identity of that club. We now know that club was Chelsea and it remains to be scene if Sidwell can make an impact in amongst a gaggle of far higher profile central midfielders.

Sidwell made his competitive debut when he replaced Glen Johnson in the 78th minute of the Community Shield penalty defeat to Manchester United. He then made his league debut with an eight minute cameo role in the 3-2 home win over Birmingham on the opening day of the season. His first competitive start came in the next game against old club Reading, it was a surprise selection by Jose, maybe fueled by the thought that Sidwell would be motivated to star against his former employers. It was a plan that backfired. Sidwell, along with many other players, had a poor first half and was hooked at the interval as Jose made a double substitution which helped Chelsea turn a 0-1 deficit into a 2-1 victory.

sidwell%20and%20essien%20celebrate%20sid Sidwell's first goal for Chelsea was a fine drive from 25 yards a which came in the Carling Cup when he scored the third of Chelsea's goals in a comfortable 4-0 win over Hull City. What followed for Sidwell after that was pretty much what most people expected to happen. Largely used as a substitute with many of his run outs being a token appearance in the dying minutes of games. He was given a few starts and managed the full ninety minutes against Bolton in the league and QPR in the FA Cup however although he looked industrious in those games he never really made a lasting impact.

Disappointingly for him he also had a few very poor performances when given a starting spot and was hooked before the ninety minutes were up. His showings against West Ham and Fulham are ones he will probably be keen to forget in a hurry. The African Cup of Nations robs Chelsea of both Essien and Mikel in January and February and with the ongoing injuries being suffered by Malouda and Lampard there is a possibility Sidwell will get more chances to show what he is capable of. However there are already rumours of clubs being interested in buying him and it could be that his dream move will be as short lived as a Rafa Benitez managed Premiership challenge.

As it transpired Sidwell's Chelsea career pretty much came to an end on 16th February 2008. He featured in Chelsea's 3-1 FA Cup win over Huddersfield at the Bridge that day and then never appeared for the first team again. On July 10th 2008 he signed a three year contract with Aston Villa for a fee reported to be in the region of £5m.

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