top of page

Jerry Yates Is On My Mind, And He’s Swansea’s Number Nine

It is horrible when a star player or a fan favourite leaves a football club, and that was certainly the case for Blackpool as Jerry Yates completed his transfer to Swansea.

The former Rotherham striker was a firm fan favourite at Bloomfield Road, guiding the club to promotion from League One, and helped them to safety in their first season back in The Championship.

Fans fully expected Yates to leave the club this summer after their relegation, but that did not lessen the pain. Even the arrival of Kyle Joseph, Yates’ replacement from Swansea, did not manage to soften the blow.

As soon as Joseph got announced as Blackpool’s new signing on Twitter, the excitement was not there. The fans knew what was coming next, and it did. Blackpool announcing the departure of the clubs best player in recent history.

From engaging with his adoring fans, to putting in tireless performances on the pitch, we take a look back at Jerry Yates’ Blackpool career, at what made him so loved by Blackpool fans, and what Swansea can expect from their new man.

The Beginning

Yates spent the 19-20 season on loan at Swindon where he managed 13 goals, helping Swindon to achieve promotion into League One.

Rotherham made it clear that Yates was no longer wanted, and Blackpool soon showed their interest in bringing him in.

On the 21st of July, Blackpool announced the signing of their new star striker, as Yates signed a 3 year deal with the option of an extra year being held by the club.

The announcement was met with excitement. Being one of the only players Blackpool spent money on all summer, Yates was expected to hit the ground running, and guide Blackpool up the table, back towards The Championship.

It was not entirely the best start for Yates, or for Blackpool. After 9 games, Yates was yet to find the back of the net, despite having a plethora of chances.

The missed chances were not helping Blackpool’s situation, as under new coach Critchley, they were struggling, as they had only won 2 games so far, resulting in them languishing in the bottom half of the table.

It was not all criticism for Yates though, as his tireless running and pressing caught the eye of the supporters. The passion from Yates shone through, and the fans could tell he was not going to be a passenger all season, and it was only a matter of time before the goals started flying in.

Finally Off The Mark

After 9 games with no goals, Yates and Blackpool travelled to play Burton Albion on the 31st of October. A crucial game for both sides, as they were in desperate need of some points.

Blackpool were playing well, and Yates finally made an impact. A smart ball played to him on the left side of the box got deftly placed in the bottom right corner of the net, and the relief in Yates’ face was clear to see, he had got his first goal.

A Blackpool own goal levelled the scoring, but Yates had the last word. His well placed penalty ensured that Blackpool returned home with a vital 3 points, and a first away win since September 2019.

That win, and Yates’ goals, kickstarted Blackpool‘s season. His next goal really showed what he was about. Away against Peterborough just two games later, the ball broke loose in the opposition box.

Yates calmly collected the ball, took a touch, then produced a wonderful bit of skill to leave his defender on the floor, before firing through a crowded box, and into the bottom left corner.

The confidence was starting to ooze out of Yates, and Blackpool were starting to pick up points, fast. After scoring one of the easiest goals in his career against Hull, Yates produced one of his best Blackpool goals against Northampton.

Chris Maxwell collected the ball from a deep cross, and quickly launched it down the pitch towards Yates. After finning his way into the box, he easily beat his man, and then for a second time, before turning through two players, rounding the keeper, and slotting into an empty net.

The goal really showed what Yates was all about. Complete calmness on the ball. There were no rash decisions, he had the ability to beat his defender, and he possessed the skill to easily take the goalkeeper out of the game.

His goal away against Portsmouth must be the pick of the bunch, however. After picking the ball up on the halfway line, Yates positioned his body to spin off his marker. He ran straight down the wing, before cutting into the box, chopping past the second defender, and lashing the ball across the keeper, in the bottom right corner.

A Perfect End To The Season

Yates quickly became many fans' favourite player, and most of them had not even seen him play in the flesh yet, due to COVID restrictions.

He continued to impress week after week, and picked up some extremely valuable points for Blackpool.

As the season came to a close, Blackpool were becoming a juggernaut. They had left it far too late to challenge for the league title, but they were storming into the playoffs.

After the final game of the season, Blackpool finished 3rd and would take part in the playoffs. Yates finished the season as the top scorer for Blackpool, with 20 goals to his name, becoming the joint highest scorer in a single season for Blackpool since the 93-94 season.

Yates did not manage to get a goal in the playoff final against Lincoln, but he did help guide them to a 2-1 victory, achieving promotion to The Championship. His celebrations at full time showed just how connected to the club and the fans he was.

After his brilliant first season, Yates earned himself a new 3 year contract, with an option of an extra year held by the club, on the 23rd of July.

The rewards did not stop there either, as he won the PFA Fan’s Player of the Year Award for the 20-21 season.

Making The Step Up

With Blackpool moving up into The Championship, all eyes were on whether Jerry Yates would make the step up, and perform at a higher level.

There was obviously some doubt, but after how Yates finished the last season, and the fact he hit 20 goals for the season in the league, very few at the club doubted him.

In Yates’ first season in The Championship with Blackpool, he recorded 8 goals, with his first coming away against Bournemouth, this time having to just wait 4 games for his first goal.

For his first season in The Championship, in a side that have just gone up, Yates did well. His game is not based around goals, but around dragging defenders out of key positions, either opening the space for himself, or for other players to run into.

So, whilst Yates may not have been the most prolific, he made it easier for other players on the team to find space and get shots off.

Yates had a habit of scoring big goals too. Scoring against the likes of Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest, whilst also scoring a derby day goal against Blackburn, and netting against relegation rivals like his brace against Reading, Peterborough, Huddersfield and Birmingham.

His Final Season

Yates attracted interested in the transfer window, as clubs were keen to sign Blackpool’s key player, but it was Josh Bowler who got the big move, transferring to Nottingham Forest, leaving Yates at Blackpool for another season.

It proved to be a more fruitful season this time around, in a season that was full of pain and disappointment for Blackpool fans.

His first goal of the season came in a thrilling 3-3 draw against local rivals Burnley, before netting against Bristol City in the following game.

In October, Yates showed the rest of the league what he was about, as he became the league’s joint top scorer for a while.

After scoring a brace against Watford, the game after he scored another brace, against Sheffield United this time. On the 22nd of October, Yates recorded yet another brace, against fierce rivals Preston North End, helping his side to a derby day victory.

Yates rounded off an explosive October with a winning away goal against Coventry City. His performances over the course of the month earned Yates the Player of the Month Award, after registering 7 goals and 1 assist.

Yates continued to pop up with some important goals, but as results, and the atmosphere, at the club started to turn sour, the goals dried up.

In the end, Yates was unable to stop Blackpool from being relegated to League One, despite scoring 14 goals in the league. A very good return for a striker in a struggling side.

With relegation confirmed, fans were convinced Yates would leave, and that they would not see his presence grace League One again, and that has now become a reality.

He leaves the club after making 124 appearances, with 42 goals to his name, and a set of fans who would love to see him back at the club again.

What Can Swansea Expect?

So what can Swansea expect from their new signing? A player full of passion, for starters. Never in my history of watching Blackpool have I seen someone so committed to the cause, so connected to the fans. It has been a joy to watch.

They will also be gaining a player with an eye for goal, and the ability to easily beat a defender, or even a goalkeeper. Some of his goals stand testament to this. If Swansea can get the ball to Yates in the right positions, he will work his magic.

If Swansea fans can get on board with Yates as much as Blackpool fans did, they will generate an extremely close bond between the players and the fans, which can work wonders on the pitch.

Had Yates not been so connect and passionate towards Blackpool fans, I do believe the team would have gone down in their first season back in The Championship. Yates made those players play for the fans, he made them put in 100% every game.

They can also expect a player who largely stays injury free. In a day and age where injuries are becoming more common, Jerry Yates barely spent any time on the sideline injured when at Blackpool.

Even when he does have a knock, he still wants to play. He played injured during the back end of the 22-23 season, just to try and keep Blackpool up. For the kind of player he is, it is surprising to see how injury free he is.

Swansea can also expect a player who opens up spaces, whether he is doing it for himself, or doing it for another teammate, and with how Swansea play, this could work wonders for them.

This is a chance for Yates to push on now. He will be in a team that will create chance after chance. If he puts in half the effort he did at Blackpool, he will be a massive success for them.

It has been one incredible ride watching Jerry Yates play for Blackpool, and one that I will not forget for a long time. We have seen him grow into the player he is now. We have seen the passion, the good times and the bad.

I can only wish Jerry the best of luck at Swansea, and hopefully in the next few seasons, we will see him hit the heights we know he is capable of, and we hope to see him back at Bloomfield Road soon.

Good luck for the future, and thank you, Jerry Yates.

5 views0 comments


bottom of page