Jordan Stewart: A reputation to succeed?

Steven Fyfe gives his view on new Swindon Town signing Jordan Stewart…

So who (or what) exactly have Swindon signed? A 20 year old attacker who can play wide or through the middle, Jordan Stewart played for Glentoran in Northern Ireland who he joined in July 2013. He was previously on the books of Linfield and Crusaders. He’s also played twice for the Northern Ireland U19’s and has been called-up to their under-21 squad.

Stewart recently hit the headlines after a superb long distance strike against Crusaders in their 2-2 draw and he scored 16 goals last season, predominantly from the wing. Clearly a player of potential, Stewart signed a new three-year contract at the Oval in March 2015 after being linked with a move away. In the Spring, Stewart had trials at Stoke and Middlesbrough; while a recent move to Barnsley collapsed after the Tykes made a “derisory bid” according to Glentoran boss Eddie Patterson.

When asked to give him a character reference, Glentoran fans replied saying “A young lad with plenty of promise”; “Very technical player, a serious strike on him, not the fastest but so confident and unreal balance/dribbling”; “Has the potential to be a real smasher”; and “Mainly plays on the wing, small and stocky but with full-time training will get fitter”.

jordan stewart 3

All sounds good so far, so what might be the problem?

Well, some would question why none of the sides who were linked with the Northern Irishman took the opportunity to sign him. Is it technical qualities, fitness, ability or his mentality? Stewart did claim to the Belfast Telegraph back in April that he was not “physically or mentally prepared” for his trials at Stoke and Middlesbrough – perhaps highlighting the gulf between the NIFL Premiership and top-level football in England.

Stewart also recently faced a two week ban. This was imposed by his own club for a breach of contract, as Jordan played for another side in a friendly as Glentoran were without a game that weekend. While one Glens fan responded that Stewart did it “because the kid loves to play football”, regardless he’s under contract and any new professional needs to be acutely aware of their responsibilities. Importantly, Stewart has admitted publicly that “It was a stupid decision to play for another side, even in a pre-season friendly game and I recognise that I should not have done that…”

Now, as seems to be the case with a lot of Town’s summer business, there has been drama as the Stewart deal concluded. Despite reports suggesting a fee had been agreed and he was on his way over for talks, Mark Cooper confirmed after the 2-2 with Port Vale that Stewart had failed to turn up. Chairman Lee Power cooled the negative vibes however, claiming it to potentially be a communication breakdown between the agent and Glentoran. Further issues arose on Thursday after claims he was all set to sign, his flight from Belfast was then delayed by three hours.

The good news for Town fans is the hot prospect has finally signed, and every time he pulls on the red and white he will have my full support. But you have to wonder if Swindon Town and Stewart himself are prepared for each other..?

Steven Fyfe (@Fyfie07)

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