ROYALS SNAP UP 'BADBOY' OSTER
August 03, 2005
The 26-year-old Wales international had a medical yesterday and signed a one-year deal before joining his team-mates in training tomorrow.
Royals boss Steve Coppell told Times Sport: "Not so long ago he was an expensive signing. He is now available for nothing and may feel he has something to prove.I think he is a really bright player. It's not like he is coming back from injury and I think he can be a good signing for us."The midfielder burst onto the scene as a teenager at Grimsby Town in 1997 and was rated among the brightest wingers in the country and clinched a £1.5m move to Everton despite
interest from high-profile clubs Manchester United and Newcastle United.But Oster scored just three goals in 50 appearances for the Toffees and suffered a loss of confidence as Everton battled to avoid relegation.He was also booed by large segments of a frustrated Goodison Park crowd, was
sent off twice in two successive international matches for Wales, and was transfer listed by then Everton boss Walter Smith.The 5ft 9ins player switched to Sunderland for a £1m fee in August 1999 but failed to break into the first team on a regular basis and was loaned out to Barnsley.When Sunderland were relegated in 2003, Mick McCarthy gave Oster the chance in Division One but he fell out of favour with the Irishman and was loaned out to Leeds United where he impressed during his first month spell.But a permanent deal at Elland Road failed to materialise as Oster was disciplined by the club for two separate incidents.Oster was arrested in Durham outside a nightclub at the end of last year.He was released without charge but fined by Leeds and warned about his future conduct.And Oster was in hot water with the club again and returned to Sunderland in disgrace after an incident with Jamie McMaster at Leeds United's Christmas party.Oster was then shipped to Burnley on loan and secured a trail at Milwall last month before Reading boss Coppell lured him to the Madejski Stadium where he is likely to battle it out with Glen Little for the right-wing berth.
Director of Football Nick Hammond said: "John is a very talented footballer who can play on either wing or in a more advanced central position. His signature adds further quality and depth to our midfield and gives John a great opportunity to become an important player for us. We are very pleased to bring him here."Oster joins summer signings Leroy Lita (£1m), Kevin Doyle (£78,000), Brynjar Gunnarsson (£175,000), Graham Stack
(initial six-month loan), Stephen Hunt (free), Chris Makin (free) and Shane Long (nominal).
Stack, who arrived from Arsenal last month, will miss the start of the season after cracking a thumb in training and Reading are waiting on x-rays to determine whether it is fractured. Nicky Shorey and Chris Makin were set to play in Reading's last pre-season match of the season at Dorchester last night.Shorey has shrugged off a knee injury and Makin, who also signed a one-year deal with the club yesterday, should have made his debut, having recovered from illness.
Meanwhile, Tottenham boss Martin Jol hailed Reading as a "good footballing side" after watching his Premiership outfit chalk up a 2-0 friendly win at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday with goals from Mido and Jermain Defoe."Reading have some fine players," he said.