The Rhodes to HampdenWednesday, 20th Jul 2011
Scotland U21 team Manager Bily Stark was at East End Park on Tuesday night but it was a Pars supporting Huddersfield Town player that he was there to see
Jordan Rhodes has been a goal machine since he joined Huddersfield Town from Ipswich Town two years ago so it was no surprise that the 21 year old managed to notch another two when he turned out against Dunfermline in a pre season friendly on Tuesday night.
It was mixed feelings for him since he grew up a Pars fan while living in Cairneyhill. Jordan said:-
"It was nice to score a couple of goals especially when coming back here to East End Park. I was here many times to watch my dad play and as soon as he rings me to find out how I have done, he will be chuffed to bits. Not many people have scored two goals at East End Park, certainly not in his time. I am delighted with the goals and it was nice to see them going in."
Dad, of course, is Andy Rhodes who came north to play for Dunfermline when a transfer fee of £80,000 was paid for him to leave Oldham Athletic That was in August 1990 and Rhodes senior was at East End Park until May 1992. Goalkeeper Andy Rhodes played for Barnsley, and Oldham Athletic before coming north to Dunfermline where he made 89 appearances including the Skol Cup Final against Hibs. He went on to play for St Johnstone and Airdrie and now aged 46, he is the current Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeping coach.
Jordan explained further:-
"I was at Cairneyhill Primary School until P5 when I made the move down to England. There I picked up the accent unfortunately but I spent many good times up here and still keep in touch with a few friends from Cairneyhill."
Jordan had only just turned 15 when he was bought by Ipswich Town from Barnsley for £5,000 in March 2005 as his father joined the Suffolk club. He scored over 40 goals for Ipswich Town under-16s, under-18s and reserve teams in his first full season at the club. He was also called up to the England under-17s team, but pulled out through injury.
Jordan made his debut for Ipswich Town in season 2007-08 but after short loan periods at Oxford United, Rochdale and Brentford was sold to Huddersfield for an undisclosed fee. He has continued to be successful there, attracting the eye of Billy Stark and earning a call up to the Scotland U21 team. Eligible because of his schooling in Fife, Jordan pulled out of the first squad but eventually made his debut for Scotland in the 1-0 defeat to Belgium in Deinze near Gent on 24th March this year.
His best memory of being a Dunfermline fan is the end of season match against Airdrie when he was one of the 13,183 in the ground. Strangely his dad had joined Airdrie by then and was playing only one of just seven appearances he made for the Diamonds.
"It was when Dunfermline won the First Division title and the helicopter was taking to and from Dunfermline. My dad conceded a penalty that day and I have been here a couple of times and witnessed good highs for Dunfermline, it is good to be back"
It was one of the Pars finest days. Needing a win to secure promotion only Dundee United stood any chance of overtaking them. Andy Smith put the Pars ahead in the first half but when Peter Hetherston scored an equaliser and news came through that United were ahead at Cappielow there was concerns for Bert Paton's team.
Rhodes brought down Allan Moore and Marc Millar scored from the spot to make it 2-1. When news came through that Morton had pulled it back to end 2-2, the Pars were untouchable and had to stifle their celebrations until the final whistle was blown.
Jordan was aware that he was being watched by Billy Stark during this friendly:-
"I am happy that I have played well in pre season while I am up here and he can watch. Two goals were nice to go in but I am more than focussed and nothing is taken for granted that I will be in the next 21 squad. I need to push hard and keep working hard to make sure I keep my place in the 21s.
"I loved every bit of being with them. Everybody made me feel very welcome, right from the very moment I met up with Liam Palmer from Sheffield Wednesday coming up on the plane to meeting everybody at Glasgow. Billy and Jim made me really welcome so I'd like to thank them for everything they did for me. I am looking forward and hopefully if I can keep working hard and pushing myself, then I can keep in the Scotland under 21 squad for the forthcoming games."
Possibly bad luck for Scotland though is that it is now also possible to play for one country at youth level and another at senior level (providing the player is eligible).