Preston North End signed forward Stevie May for an undisclosed fee from Sheffield Wednesday on deadline day. This was only a year after he became the Owls marquee signing – what happened?
When May arrived at Hillsborough he had come off the back of a very impressive season at St Johnstone – scoring 20 goals in 38 league games. This earned him a move to Wednesday for around £700,000 after turning down local rivals Rotherham United.
Although he did have positive spells, his form was patchy and his goal scoring never got going. He only managed 7 goals in 39 Championship matches. He fell down the pecking order, did not feature for Sheffield Wednesday at all this term and moved to Preston North End. But here are three reasons it probably didn’t work out at Hillsborough for the Scotland international:
1) Did not get time to settle
It is a cliche in English football that you need ‘time to settle’ if you’ve never played in the league before. Sheffield Wednesday was May’s first club in England, but he did not get this time to settle. His first season at Hillsborough was his last season at Hillsborough. It’s hard to say what Stevie May would have gone on to do at Wednesday if he’d have been given another chance – but Wednesday are a different club to what they were when they signed him. Which brings me on to point #2.
2) Sheffield Wednesday’s Thai takeover
When Stevie May signed for Sheffield Wednesday they were still under the ownership of Milan Mandaric – and he was signed because of the money raised from selling Michail Antonio to Nottingham Forest. Wednesday were on a ‘if you want to buy somebody, you must sell somebody’ policy and relied heavily on free transfers and loan deals.
When businessman Dejphon Chansiri come in and took over the South Yorkshire club, things changed and the money started flowing – the ambitions changed. Stevie May, who was considered a decent Championship player was suddenly not up to standard. Although this could come back to bite Wednesday, as May could come good for Preston North End who have put their faith in him.
3) Stuart Gray departed the club
In relation to the previous point, Dejphon Chansiri also replaced head coach Stuart Gray with Carlos Carvalhal. When new managers come in, they have different ideas and different opinions on players. Gray, who brought May to Sheffield put his faith in him, playing him in 39 out of 46 Championship games in his first season – he clearly had trust in his signing.
Carvalhal brought in his own players and obviously deemed May surplus to requirements, and did not feature him in the first team at all this season – eventually letting him go to Preston.
Stevie May certainly divided opinion among the Wednesday fans – some liked his style and believed he would come good, some believed he simply wasn’t good enough. Some will go with one of the reasons I’ve stated, others will say it didn’t work out because he didn’t play well enough when he was given a chance.
I personally think it’s a mixture of all of the reasons and because he didn’t hit the ground running when he was expected to.