Boro’ got their man just in time for the start of the 2019-20 League Two campaign; Tom Soares confirming his arrival the night before the opener. There’s no doubting his experience as a midfielder. Soares’ career up to the point he first walked through those doors at Bragbury End covered the pyramid right up to Premier League level. And, as it goes, beyond too; four England U21 caps to his name too.
The hopes we had that Soares could inspire us didn’t exactly burn bright. Well, actually, they faded out quite quickly. As we tumbled towards the foot of the League Two table, it didn’t seem as if the midfielder could do much to halt the slide. Maybe he just wasn’t the right fit for us; almost rushed into the squad at the start of the season. Either way, we let the dust settle on a truncated campaign and then announced his departure on a free.
Tom Soares: Before Boro’
For Soares, the tale starts at Crystal Palace; a member of their academy and taking the step up to the Eagles’ first team under Neil Warnock. Over a five-year spell as a senior player at Selhurst Park, Soares made his presence felt and clocked up the appearances. There were also a few goals to speak of. And it was that form that would earn him a crack at the Premier League in 2008 when Stoke City swooped in.
After a bright start at the Britannia that included winning two penalties for his new club on debut against Spurs, things seemed to tail off in the second half of the campaign. For the rest of the 2008-9 season, he went out on loan to Charlton. But he wasn’t able to help keep the Addicks in the Championship during his time there.
With no first team action looming the following season, it was out on loan again for the midfielder. Soares’ move to Sheffield Wednesday was initially for one month. In the end, he was at Hillsborough for the whole season. Again, however, he was unable to stop the Owls from tumbling out of the Championship.
For two more seasons, Soares was on the books at the Potters. But he didn’t see any more Premier League action in that time. Scottish Premier League side Hibs gave him a much-needed lifeline in January 2012 with another loan spell, before Stoke let him go.
To restart his career, Soares turned to Bury and soon made himself a regular fixture in the Shakers’ first team. Here’s a little piece of trivia: Soares scored the winning goal against Tranmere on the final day of the 2014-5 season that secured Bury’s promotion to League One. He’d stay with Bury for four-and-a-bit years in total, before moving to fellow League One side AFC Wimbledon in January 2017.