Signed on a free transfer in May 2009 from Scottish First Division outfit Queen of the South, centre forward/attacking midfielder Stephen Dobbie made 55 appearances for the Swans during his 3 years at the club.
He scored 9 goals during his Swans career, the first two coming in an emphatic 3 nil win against Brighton & Hove Albion at the Liberty Stadium in the first round of the 2009–10 League Cup.
An injury caused Dobbie to lose his team place and he never fully regained it, playing only 2 more games in 2009 before falling out of favour with then manager Paulo Sousa and being shipped off to Championship rivals Blackpool.
Ironically, Dobbie went on to play for Blackpool in their 3-2 Championship Play-Off win over our bitter rivals Cardiff City, thus seeing him branded “Secret Agent Dobbie” by many of the Jack Army.
A change of managers in the summer of 2010 – with Brendan Rodgers taking over the reins from new Leicester City manager Sousa – meant an opportunity for Dobbie to prove himself once again at the Liberty.
The early part of the season saw Dobbie score 4 times for the Swans but as the Winter months came he assumed the role of substitute due to loan signing Marvin Emnes and the return from injury of Craig Beattie. Despite this, he chipped in with some important goals from the bench as the Swans earned a Championship Play-Off Final place against Reading.
Who can forget his sublime and eerily timed 40th minute strike in the Play-Off Final – the minute when Swans fans paid tribute to former Swan Besian Idrizaj.
Sadly for the likeable Scot, despite making 8 appearances for the Swans in their inaugural Premier League season, he didn’t find the net and is still (to this day) without a Premier League goal to his name. An ankle injury – sufferred somewhat ironically from a challenge by then Spurs man Kyle Naughton – meant Dobbie fell way down the pecking order behind Danny Graham, Leroy Lita and Luke Moore, before being allowed to leave on loan once again to Blackpool.
Whilst at Blackpool, he once again played in the 2012 Play-Off Final – for the 3rd successive year – only this time he was on the losing side as West Ham United ran out 2-1 winners. During the summer transfer window and with Blackpool being unable to raise the funds required to purchase Dobbie, he eventually signed for Brighton in August 2012 on a 3 year deal for an undisclosed fee.
Since leaving the Swans, the injury-prone Scot hasn’t had much success at Brighton, Crystal Palace (loan then a permanent deal), Blackpool (loan again!) and Fleetwood Town (loan).
Dobbie is currenly on a two week trial at Bolton Wanderers, with news reports suggesting that Neil Lennon is still undecided on whether to sign the 32 year old Scot.
Personally, I never felt Dobbie made the most of his time at the Swans and I think he was a much better player than many fans and managers at the time gave him credit for. Whether this was becuase of ill-timed injuries or the switching of playing roles between striker and attacking midfielder, we’ll never know.
Whatever the reason, I’ll always remember him for the 11 goals in Swansea’s promotion-winning campaign and of course THAT goal at Wembley.