View From The Town End: Billy Sharp

Laurence Griffiths

So the worst kept loan move in recent memory has finally been completed, with Billy Sharp joining us on loan from Southampton. We asked bloggers covering Sharp's three most recent clubs, Doncaster, Southampton and Nottingham Forest what we can expect from the forward.

Lewis Ward from Doncaster Exiles @LewisWard20

I would like to start off by congratulating Billy on his move to Reading. He is far too good a player to be left out at Southampton and deserved a move to a good club.

As a Doncaster Rovers fan, I love Billy Sharp. From the moment he joined us on loan from Sheffield United, he became a fans' favourite. In his first full season at Rovers he showed his natural goal scoring ability and played a big part in helping us sustain Championship status.

His final few months at the club were immensely tough, both on and off the field. On the opening day of the 2011/12 season, he picked up an injury that kept him out of action for a number of weeks. He showed his passion and determination to get back into action much quicker than thought. The awful event of the birth and death of his first son was not enough to stop him in the field, scoring against Middlesbrough a matter of days after the experience.


That day saw him become an even more well respected footballer, although his status could not get much higher at Doncaster Rovers. We were all devastated when Billy left for Southampton but he will always remain a legend at the club.

Chris Rann, ESPN Blogger and Editor of George Weah's Cousin @crstig

One of the worst things about being promoted to the Premier League is the harsh realisation that some of your favourite players may have come to the end of their time at the club. This was certainly the case for Billy Sharp and Saints. Sharp's entry into Southampton folklore was short, but incredibly sweet.

Though many fans, myself included thought he had done enough to warrant a chance in the Premier League, alas the powers that be disagreed and the arrival of Jay Rodriguez was enough to see Sharp out of the picture. In hindsight, it is difficult to argue with the decision. With Saints reverting to a 4-2-3-1 formation there was a distinct lack of requirement for the second striker role that Sharp is more suited to.

In Sharp you have a player that might be described as an honest pro, but that would not do justice to the man. Ultimately Sharp is a goalscorer, and a reliable one at that, and with his natural enthusiasm and down to earth interaction with fans he will soon be a terrace favourite. He will never be forgotten for his brief but emphatic contribution at St. Mary's. Promotion, topped off with 'shushing' the Pompey fans after his derby brace. You can't ask for more than that!

Winnits, former Forest Blogger. @winnits

I was really excited when we signed Billy Sharp on loan last season - he's a player I had long admired since his deadly partnership with Keogh at Scunthorpe and the opportunity always seemed to pass him by. He's undoubtedly a potentially top striker at this level - but that's not quite what we got at Forest, although there might be mitigating circumstances to explain that, it seemed that they weren't enough to lure his namesake Billy Davies into taking a chance on him.

When he first came into our side he looked the part, he scored some goals and was (and still is with many) a popular figure with the fans. However, I'd argue that post-Christmas he came back from an injury looking not particularly in shape, and not particularly up for it either. Given our lack of a natural 'poacher' type of player at the moment, part of me is a bit envious of your capture, but I can't help but reflect on how nomadic Sharp has been in his career so far - I must admit, I did harbour hopes that we'd be the club he settled at but he didn't really live up to my expectations.

Of course, the fairly well publicised campaign Billy and his wife set up in the wake of the tragic loss of their baby son Luey Sharp has to take its' toll and happily I know that they welcomed a new baby to their lives whilst with us, which was great. Forest fans really took to Billy on a personal level partly I think because of the great dignity and bravery he showed in the aftermath of these events shortly before joining us - and Reds fans including myself joined in fundraising with gusto for his Foundation.

He's always a player I'll wish well, and one that I do rate - but there were just too many question marks for me over his application towards the end of his time with Forest for me to join a significant number of Reds fans in being angry at us not seeking to re-loan him (or sign him permanently) from Southampton. A good man, and undoubtedly one with the calibre to perform at this level - Billy Davies and our squad didn't seem to have the alchemy to get the best out of him, maybe he will at the Royals, and I wish him all the best in this next step - except against us of course!

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