There was a time where Jason Gavin seemingly had the world at his feet (yes, really).
Born in the Republic of Ireland, the defender moved to England in 1996 as a teenager to join Middlesbrough. Although he only made sporadic appearances for the Smoggies, his experience of playing in the top-flight attracted the attention of Bradford City who signed him in 2003 in what proved to be a disastrous move.
The Bantams were in the First Division at the time and were hoping to avoid a relegation battle under the guidance of Nicky Law yet a terrible start to the campaign saw the former Chesterfield boss lose his job in November. Bryan Robson was brought in to try and steady the ship yet it proved to be an impossible task. In a season that saw the club concede 69 goals in the league, much of the blame was passed onto Gavin who had failed to demonstrate anywhere near the levels of performance that they had hoped he would have produced at Valley Parade. The 2003/04 campaign ended with Bradford being relegated to the third tier as they finished 15 points adrift of Gillingham yet the worse was still to come.
After the season had ended, the club announced that they had entered administration with debts of £13m revealed in an annual financial meeting (via the BBC). This forced the club to put many of their players up for sale in the following summer, including Gavin who unsurprisingly didn’t have many takers giving his escapades in the previous season. After being frozen out of new manager Colin Todd’s plans, the defender moved back to Ireland in 2005 where he had a brief spell at Shamrock Rovers before moving onto to Drogheda United where he made 65 league appearances for the club.
Having once graced the Premier League, the drop down in level for Gavin illustrated just how quickly things can fall apart if a player ends up making the wrong move during what is a critical stage for their development. The former Middlesbrough player eventually retired from football in Australia at the age of 32, calling time on a career which was ultimately ruined by his decision to join Bradford.
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