HUDDERSFIELD Town striker Jon Stead today signed for Premiership club Blackburn Rovers in a £1.25m deal.
The 20-year-old was completing personal terms and a medical at Ewood Park. It was the third highest transfer in Town history, behind those of fellow strikers Andy Booth and Marcus Stewart (both £2.75m).
His move will be seen by many fans as a big blow to Town's promotion chances from Division III this season. Stead scored 18 league and cup goals in 31 appearances as manager Peter Jackson guided Town to fifth in the table.
Club owner Ken Davy said: "We could not have tried any harder to keep Jonathan at the club.
"We had to balance the financial position of the club and our desire to keep him against the player's desire to move on at this stage.
"In the end, it would have been futile to try and keep him here. At the very least, the deal enables us to move forward from a much sounder financial base."
A third of the fee will, by agreement in Mr Davy's takeover of the club, go via the Professional Footballers' Association towards clearing the wages debt left when Town were in administration last year.
Town seem set to receive around £750,000 as a down payment, with £500,000 linked to appearances and Blackburn's success in staying up.
Town will receive a "significant" sell-on clause for Stead, who joined as a nine-year-old and is a prized Academy product.
Jackson has been given leeway to bring in a replacement, but insists he will not "rush an important signing".