Stoke City were coming off their best season in the Premier League and highest finish in 30 years with Mark Hughes keen to improve ahead of the 2014/15 campaign.
Having been so successful since becoming Tony Pulis’ successor, it seemed as if the good times were set to stay at the then Britannia Stadium.
Hughes would have to find a way to improve on an impressive campaign, and that would start in earnest with his transfer decisions in the summer as to who he would add to strengthen an already solid side.
Having considered many players, on June 9, 2014, the club confirmed their second incoming of the summer.
— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) June 9, 2014
Steve Sidwell arrived from Fulham signing a two-year deal with the potters having left the London club at the end of the 2013/14 season.
And his capture was received well by the Potters’ faithful.
@stokecity good signing
— Richie Rich (@Mricho07) June 10, 2014
— Stokefc7 (@maddison67) June 9, 2014
@stokecity good signing
— pierre del la touche (@14tusk) June 9, 2014
Having chosen to move to Stoke because of their new, improved style of football, Sidwell would play 16 times for the Potters during his maiden season.
And having made his debut on August 24, 2014, he admitted that that competition for places was stronger than he had anticipated – this admission came after just one start in two months since his arrival.
And having torn a knee ligament six months after signing, it was turning out to be a nightmare move for the former Reading and Aston Villa man.
Ten of his 16 appearances were from the substitutes bench during his first season at Stoke, and Sidwell admitted he was left frustrated at the lack of game time he had received since his summer arrival.
The following season, Sidwell would feature just once in the Premier League for the Potters in the 1-0 defeat to Liverpool, before two League Cup ties.
That would be all the midfielder would manage from September until he made a rare appearance for the first team in January’s third round of the FA Cup.
Stoke would see off Doncaster 2-1 on that occasion, and that would be the final appearance for Sidwell, who would leave it late in the transfer window to secure a move away on a temporary basis.
On January 25, 2016, the club confirmed Sidwell had moved to Championship Brighton and Hove Albion on loan until the end of the season.
— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) January 25, 2016
Having hardly featured under Hughes, his departure on a short-term basis was one that received a mixed reaction from some of the club’s fans.
— James Biddle (@james_biddle) January 25, 2016
— Milky (@mick_mulcahy) January 25, 2016
— Harry Wilshaw-Rhead (@harryrhead) January 25, 2016
While on loan at Brighton, Sidwell scored once and made 18 appearances for the Seagulls as they won promotion to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs.
After his loan was completed, he headed back to his parent club before later being released when his contract expired.
Sidwell’s arrival sparked a positive reaction but having failed to find a first-team place on a regular basis; it was a move the didn’t turn out as well as expected for many of the club’s supporters.