Thursday, 2 June 2011
432 Craig Dawson
Position : Centre half
Played : 2009-10 to 2010-11 ( latterly on loan from West Bromwich Albion )
Appearances : 87
Goals : 19
Craig was signed from Radcliffe Borough for £10,000 in March 2009. He'd been playing for them since he was 17 and attracting a lot of attention. He chose us from a plethora of other offers because we were his hometown club.
He was loaned back to Radcliffe for a month but Keith Hill planned to blood him before the end of the 2008-09 season until injury intervened. However injuries work both ways and Rory McArdle's strange injury at Radcliffe opened the door for Craig. He got teething errors out of the way in pre-season games scoring an own goal against Everton and was ready to start the season in the first team.
Craig's nickname of "Awesome" does him no more justice. Craig had the confidence to take on allcomers from day one and was easily the best all-round defender we'd had since Alan Reeves. In fact his distribution was superior to Reeves and his goalscoring feats from setpieces hadn't been seen since John Bramhall nearly a quarter of a century earlier. He was an absolute revelation and deserved all the wards that came his way.
Of course the scouts soon descended on us and after Craig put in a transfer request West Brom signed him for £600,000 in August 2010. However Craig became the first and only loan back player of this story and we had him for another season. Understandably Craig wasn't quite so dominating in League One and was guilty of poor marking on more than one occasion last season. In fact Marcus Holness was the more consistent centre half. Nevertheless he signed off with a goal in his last game at home to Peterborough.
He now has the challenge of making his mark in the Premiership and I wouldn't bet against him.