Anthony Stokes’ short and troubled Blackburn Rovers career has come to an end following the mutual decision to terminate his contract with immediate effect.
A signing that former manager Owen Coyle called ‘a major coup’, Stokes will be remembered more for his off field behaviour rather than starring on it.
Since joining Rovers last summer, the former Arsenal youth player failed to show his worth, despite scoring as a substitute on his debut against Norwich. He went on to score 3 goals in 12 appearances for the Blue and Whites, but very rarely was he seen in a match day squad towards the end of the season.
The 28 year old has had controversy follow him, and this came to public knowledge in February this year when he was given a 2 year suspended sentence and ordered to pay £200,000 to his victim, Anthony Bradley, an Elvis impersonator, after viciously attacking him in a Dublin nightclub in June 2013.
After his conviction, it is believed that he went AWOL at Rovers, and this resulted in a tedious relationship with manager Tony Mowbray.
Stokes was seen as a rising talent at Arsenal, impressing when on loan at Falkirk, scoring 9 goals in his first 4 games, and the first player in SPL history to score back to back hat-tricks. Never managing to break into the Arsenal team, he moved to Sunderland in 2007 for £2 million. His off the field antics distracted him and resulted in him falling out with manager Roy Keane.
His career revived when he first joined Hibernian, which gained him a move to Celtic, playing 135 games for the Hoops. It is no surprise that the Republic of Ireland international has been linked with a move north of the border, to play under Neil Lennon at Hibernian.
With Stokes being one of the highest earners in the squad, Mowbray will look to use the extra funds to strengthen in a department with only two recognised strikers left in Danny Graham and new signing Dominic Samuel.
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