It has been reported by Huddersfield sources that Wigan Athletic have signed the 27 year old Huddersfield Town striker James Vaughan.
The departure of Billy Mckay left Latics short on strikers and Gary Caldwell appears to have taken a calculated risk on the talented Vaughan, whose potentially dazzling career has been blighted by injury. Vaughan still holds the record of being the youngest player ever to score a goal in the Premier League, having done so against Crystal Palace at the age of 16 years 271 days.
It is a bold move from Latics who already had another striker in Craig Davies who too has had his share of injuries in the past. Should Davies and Vaughan stay fit, then together with Will Grigg, they might well prove to be the strike force that gets the club out of League 1.
James Vaughan was born in Birmingham but joined Everton at nine years of age, being spotted playing in Preston. Vaughan is blessed with genuine pace – at 13 years of age he was the third fastest 100 meter sprinter in his age group in England. He was to impress in the Everton Academy being player of the season for the under 16s in 2003-04. Vaughan soon moved up to reserve team football, where he regularly scored goals, and went on to make that memorable debut as a substitute against Crystal Palace in April 2005, which also led to him being beating Joe Royle’s record of being the youngest player to play for the Everton first team. He went on to receive a full professional contract couple of months later.
Sadly Vaughan was to suffer a knee ligament injury playing for England’s under 18 side and he missed much of that 2005-06 season. Injuries were to sadly blight Vaughan’s career at Everton, including a dislocated shoulder and a severed artery in his foot. But he came off the bench for the 2009 FA Cup Final, after also playing in the semi final. In September 2009 Vaughan was sent on a three month loan to Derby County, but it was cut short by a knee injury. On his return he scored what proved to be a vital goal against Burnley. In March 2010 he joined Leicester City on loan where he made 8 appearances, scoring a goal.
In September 2010 he joined Crystal Palace on a three month loan, briefly returning to Everton before rejoining Palace in January until the end of the season. In an injury-free season Vaughan made 30 appearances for Palace, scoring 9 goals. In May 2011 he signed for Norwich for an undisclosed fee, but his first season was blighted by injury with him making just five appearances. In August 2012 Norwich sent him on a season-long loan to Huddersfield Town.
The Daily Mail quoted Vaughan on his difficult time at Norwich and his move to Huddersfield:
“It was really tough for me. I’d had an injury-free year at Crystal Palace and I went to Norwich under Paul Lambert and started well. I then got a small knee injury which turned from four weeks out to four months. The thing is, you don’t really have any days off when you’re injured. You’ll have the Sunday off. But I was living miles away from my family and friends down there and was never able to see them. When you’re not playing that is so difficult. Towards the end of the second season I was just getting fit again and then the manager changed. I wasn’t in Chris Hughton’s plans and had to move on. Huddersfield feels like a new lease of life.”
Vaughan went on to make 33 appearances, scoring 14 goals in that 2012-13 season. He went on to sign a three year deal with the Terriers in July 2013. Since then he made 50 appearances, scoring 17 goals.
In order to find out more about Vaughan’s time at Huddersfield we contacted a Terriers fan.
Marko (Twitter @marko2807) is a Huddersfield Town SC holder & ATT Town Fans Panel Member.
Here’s over to Marko:
August 2012 – Huddersfield pulled a shock loan move for Premier League striker James Vaughan, signed on a season long deal from Norwich City and made a winning debut at home to Burnley. That season, Vaughan quickly became a fans favourite for his 100% committed performances and scoring 14 goals in 33 league appearances for Town. All Town fans were crying out for Town to try and bring him to club on a permanent deal.
That close season, Town beat off a number of other clubs and signed Vaughan on a 3 year deal for an undisclosed fee, thought to be around the 600k mark. In terms of ability, make no bones about it, Vaughan is a premier league player however sadly his injury record is there for all to see and is the reason why he was playing for Town rather that higher up the chain.
That season, Vaughan only managed 23 appearances, scoring 10 goals. Still a healthy strike rate but a season cut short by a number of injuries. Last season, Vaughan made 26 appearances, but scored just 7 goals and again, appeared to suffer injury after injury.
Beinging the top earner and some at a smallish championship club with modest gates and minimal TV money, it seems that the chairman has had enough paying top dollar to a player who spends as much time in the treatment room as he does on the pitch.
Make no bones about it, Vaughan is quality and we are a different side with him upfront. However, keeping him out on the pitch seems to have been a step too far. There is no doubting his commitment when he plays however intelligence hasn’t been his strong point. Making wreckless challenges, picking up silly bookings, then injuring himself and incredibly frustrating on his return for a long injury last season, he scored a late winner and after being booked for a stupid challenge earlier on, pulled off his shirt and we all know what happens then! Celebrated scoring the winner and then promptly walked down the tunnel for another unscheduled break from playing. I didn’t know whether to chant his name or call him what I thought at the time!
If he signs for Wigan and gets and stays fit then I have no doubt that he will be the best player in League One. If he makes it back into the treatment room, then he is good as I am!
Good luck to him – If he plays, I’m sure Vaughan will tear them apart. Huddersfield Town are a lesser team without him, sadly we don’t have resources to burn and seemed to be the reason he is being allowed to leave.