JAKE SPEIGHT JAILED / UPDATE SPEIGHT RELEASED
Taylor fumes at being kept in dark over Speight court case
Tuesday 13th July 2010
Jake Speight will miss the start of City's season – because he is in prison.
The new striker, signed only a fortnight ago from Mansfield for £25,000, has been jailed for assault.
Speight was handed a 12-week sentence, although he is likely to be released in half that. But he will not be freed in time for the opening game at Shrewsbury.
Shocked boss Peter Taylor was completely unaware of the situation until the player's agent called on Friday morning to say that Speight was appearing in court.
He had been pencilled in to feature against Eccleshill that night in the Bantams' first pre-season friendly.
City will not be paying Speight until he comes out of prison and his wages then could be capped until he is considered ready for first-team selection.
Taylor said: “This incident happened in February and Jake and his agent never told anyone that it would go any further. That's why I didn't know and Mansfield Town didn't know.
“I'm very disappointed, obviously, because we were totally unaware this was happening.
“They should have warned me but, to be fair to Jake, his desire to play for Bradford was so strong that he felt he might mess his chances up. He thought he would get a warning and the outcome has been a nightmare for him.
“I should have been told but I do understand a little bit why I wasn't.”
The 24-year-old striker netted 17 goals in the Blue Square Premier last season. Taylor beat off other League Two interest to sign him as competition up front for James Hanson and Gareth Evans.
Speight had an unsuccessful spell in the league with Bury earlier in his career and sees the move to City as the perfect chance to put him back on the map in the professional game.
Now, after just a week of training, he will face the task of rebuilding trust with his employers and manager.
“I don't think it means that all of a sudden Bradford City are a bad club or I'm a bad person,” said Taylor.
“It's a situation that has just cropped up and we're prepared to deal with it. When Jake does return to the club, I will welcome him back.
“But he obviously won't get paid at all until he comes out – and then we will definitely take things into account until we get him fit enough to play.”
Taylor is currently running the rule over two free-agent forwards – Matt Tipton and Lee Morris – and he has not ruled out the possibility of adding another trialist this week
Bradford City striker Jake Speight jailed for 12 weeks
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
The incident involving Speight took place in February
New Bradford City striker Jake Speight has been jailed for 12 weeks after being found guilty of assault.
The 25-year-old pleaded guilty to all charges against him but could be released after six weeks.
Bradford and Speight's previous club, Mansfield, say they were unaware of the incident when his transfer to Valley Parade was completed two weeks ago.
The term means Speight will definitely be unavailable for the opening game of the League Two season at Shrewsbury.
Speight was brought to Bradford at the end of June on the back of his goal-scoring record of 17 goals in 33 matches for Mansfield Town last season.
Speight can rejoin Bradford City for pre-season after winning appeal over sentence
Saturday 17th July 2010
Exclusive By Simon Parker »
Jake Speight has been released from prison after successfully appealing against his sentence.
The City striker will be back in training on Monday after a judge at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday changed the original ruling.
His 12-week sentence for assault has been suspended for 18 months and he must do 100 hours of community work.
It means Speight is free to resume his new career at Valley Parade - and rebuild bridges with the club and the fans.
Speaking exclusively to the Telegraph & Argus, his solicitor Mark Croft stressed how grateful Speight has been that the club stuck by him.
He said: "I regret that this whole situation developed and I know Jake bitterly regrets putting the club in this position.
"We are very grateful for the way this has been handled by Peter Taylor and everybody at Bradford City. We massively appreciate the support that he has been given.
"Jake is determined to repay the faith the manager has shown in him and determined to regain the trust and respect of the supporters. I'm sure he will do that."
Croft admitted that they had decided not to tell City or his previous side Mansfield about the court case because they did not expect the 24-year-old to be jailed.
"Once I became aware of the incident, we discussed it at length and made a decision not to tell anybody," he added. "Mansfield Town 100 per cent didn't know.
"As well as doing football agency, I'm an experienced criminal lawyer and if we had thought for a minute that he was going to receive an immediate custodial sentence then we would have told both clubs. But I was absolutely convinced he wouldn't, and my faith in that was vindicated by the appeal.
"This incident was extremely out of character for Jake. He has no previous convictions."
Speight was jailed just over a week after completing his "dream" £25,000 switch to City. He can now join his new team-mates for next week's Essex tour.
Croft said: "Before the move to Bradford, there were a number of clubs interested in signing Jake. But this was his dream move.
"He wanted to play for Peter Taylor and he wanted to play for Bradford City.
"We agonised over this but Jake's desire to play for Bradford was so strong and we generally didn't believe he would be sent to prison.
"In fairness to Jake, he was aware that I had this same scenario with another player of mine. In that situation we felt there was a very real risk of the player going to prison and we told the prospective buying club.
"They didn't sign him and the irony then was that the player did not receive a custodial sentence."
Latest | July 2010