JERRY Yates’ prolific spell away from Rotherham United meant he was always destined to leave AESSEAL New York Stadium this summer, says assistant manager Richie Barker.
The striker, who never truly established himself in the Millers’ first-team squad, this week signed for League One Blackpool for a fee of around £200,000 plus potential add-ons.
Having bagged 14 goals in 35 appearances during Swindon Town’s League Two promotion push last term, the 23-year-old wasn’t prepared to settle for another season on the sidelines.
“Jerry wants to play,” Barker said. “That’s an issue you have once a young player goes away on loan and plays every week. He’s had a sustained taste of being a regular starter and now wants other first-team opportunities.
“In fairness to him, they have been difficult for him to come by here over the last three or four years and he’s been a bit-part player.
“His wish is to play football. Unfortunately, it’s the case that to play more regularly he had to leave. He worked hard for us and he goes to Blackpool with our best wishes.”
Rotherham, preparing for life in the Championship after being promoted from League One, had exercised their option to extend Yates’ contract by 12 months.
However, they did that only to put themselves in a strong bargaining position as they knew that a move was the right course of action for club and player.
An initial Blackpool offer was rejected but the Seasiders came back with an improved bid late last week. Swindon also put money on the table but by then Pool had sealed the deal.
Yates, who came through the New York youth ranks and also did well in a loan spell at League Two Carlisle United in 2018, scored five times in 52 senior Millers outings over five years.
“It shows how far our club has come in the three years Paul (manager Warne), myself and Hammy (coach Matt Hamshaw) have been in charge that we can get money for a player who the majority of the time isn’t even on the bench for us,” Barker added.
“It’s money for a player who hasn’t really played for us for two years. And we’ve had his wages contributed to for most of that time. It shows we have a club full of assets and also shows how highly our players are thought of in the outside world.
“We said when we took over that it was about results but also about putting the club in a better position when we leave.”
Yates has signed a three-year contract at Bloomfield Road with an option for a further 12 months.
He said: “I am buzzing to get this over the line. I have known about the interest for a while now, so to finally be here is a great feeling. This is an exciting club with a huge fanbase and a big vision for the future.”