Vital Cardiff City reviews the season on a player by player basis. Today it’s the turn of striker Steven Maclean
Free Transfer, Sheff Wed
Steve MacLean arrived at Ninian Park as the proven Championship striker and on a free transfer. Sheff Wed fans were sorry to see him go and it looked like we`d picked up a decent player for little expense despite his high wages. However, it didn`t start well for the Scotsman when on his debut against Stoke City he won a last minute penalty to give us a point. However, having NEVER missed a penalty for the Owls, he blasted at Simonsen and saw the follow-up saved.
MacLean did get off the mark in a 2-0 win over QPR although some sources credited the goal to Paul Parry but MacLean was not looking a threat and we seemed incredibly toothless in attack. The next 15 appearances saw MacLean play lesser roles, often from the subs bench and he failed to find the net.
One such appearance, on New Years Day, saw MacLean replace Hasselbaink with half an hour to go and fans witnessed one of the most hapless performances in recent years. MacLean`s touch was poor, passes were wasted and chances went begging – he looked a player devoid of confidence and completely ineffective. He made one more appearance, in the FA Cup against Chasetown where he contributed a useful assist before leaving to join forces with previous manager Paul Sturrock – now at Plymouth Argyle. They must have seen something in that wretched performance and Sturrock paid £500k for his services.
For Cardiff City to lose another striker, with Fowler injured and Feeney on loan was suprising, but no fans complained about this decision after securing a hefty fee (the first he ever commanded!) for a free transfer flop – great business!
MacLean seems to have settled better on the South Coast and has scored 3 goals in 14 starts for the Pilgrims. He won`t be remembered long at Ninian Park, and neither will he want to look fondly on his short spell as a Cardiff City player.
Season rating: 3