Jose Baxter will be remembered at Sheffield United for all the wrong reasons after his disgraced exit in 2016.
Jose Baxter, Everton’s youngest ever player, disgraced by a drugs ban, sits heavy in the minds of Blades fans who will surely feel their confidence in the player has been ungraciously thrown back into their faces after all the years of staunch support.
Cast your minds back if you dare to the doldrums of League One football, a time before the arrival of the Messiah Chris Wilder; a point in history where Jose Baxter ruled the roost as Bramall Lane’s most gifted player; a very dark period, indeed.
Despite already landing himself in trouble, which he admitted getting a warning for “made me think that I could go and do it again” (as per BBC Sport), Sheffield United took him on board, made him one of their own – risked their great reputation as a club to give him a chance.
Baxter was by no means a terrible player. Quite the opposite, in fact – he was fairly gifted.
Indeed, in a very average Sheffield United side, at least by today’s standards, the forward bagged a reasonable 20 goals in 93 league appearances, and though he never lifted them to promotion, his efforts were appreciated.
But Baxter’s reputation was unfortunately muddied, and as he battled with the demons of his past, he received two suspensions in the space of nine months for cocaine and ecstasy use.
Seeing no other option than release him, the club terminated Baxter’s contract in 2016 – around the time they began their ascent up the footballing ladder.
It is not the drug use, or the unfulfilled potential United fans will be most aggrieved with, however. It is the blatant lack of appreciation and disregard Baxter has shown his former side since returning to professional football.
In an act of bitter petulance that would not look too out of place in a school playground, Baxter barely registers his former employers when discussing his turbulent past with The Times: “Everton is an unbelievable club, I can’t speak highly enough of the people there. And I had a special bond with the fans here [at Oldham] first time around. I think I played my best football here. It just works being back here again”.
The 27-year-old has played 31 times for Oldham Athletic this term only managing a paltry four goals, whilst Sheffield United are planning their future in the Premier League.
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