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Raven In Talks

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 23/07/2000

Raven In Talks

News From 8th July 2000

Paul Raven

West Brom defender Paul Raven is in talks with Grimsby Town manager Alan Buckley over a move to Blundell Park. The 29-year old, who has spent 11 years at the Hawthorns during which he has clocked up over 300 appearances, was placed on the transfer list at the end of last season after being told he was surplus to requirements at West Brom.

The news comes on the day that Mark Lever has signed for Bristol City in a 3 year deal with the Robins.

Raven, who still has one year left on his contract with West Brom, will be a free transfer between the two clubs. West Brom are understood to have negotiated a deal with the player to pay off the remainder of his contract with the Baggies. The 29-year old is expected to sign a two year contract to play for Grimsby on Tuesday.

That Raven ended up on the transfer list at the end of last season was ironic as 1999-2000 was his testimonial season with the Baggies. Raven played a part in 30 of Albion's first 32 games last season under Brian Little, but a broken jaw in a training ground collision put him out of contention, and only a handful of appearances followed under new manager Gary Megson.

Speaking yesterday Salisbury-born Raven said:

"I've been offered a pay-off by Albion and I'm speaking to Grimsby. But nothing has been finalised
"I've got to wait and see what's on offer, but whatever is said I won't be signing for them today"

"I'm at an age where I need to be playing regular first-team football but that won't happen if I remain at Albion next season. I'm old enough to know when I'm not wanted."

"Although I'm not from this area my kids were born here and it's going to be very, very hard to leave. But the situation has been forced upon me. I'm not yet 30 and I feel I have a number of years left in the game."

If the move to Blundell Park comes to fruition then Raven will not need introducing to many of his new team mates. Lee Ashcroft, Stacy Coldicott, Kevin Donovan, Paul Groves and David Smith have all followed the well-worn path between the Hawthorns and Blundell Park since Alan Buckley returned to his second spell as manager of Grimsby after leaving the club in October 1994 to manage West Brom.

Speaking today Raven said:

"The deal has yet to be finalised, but it looks like I could be moving early next week. I know Alan and I know how he operates. It also helps that I know a lot of the players there because I used to play with them at Albion."
In the meantime Mark Lever has today signed a 3 year contract with Bristol City. Bosman player Lever met Robins manager Danny Wilson at Ashton Gate yesterday and agreed a deal to join the second division club, subject to a medical.

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