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The 'Loan' Ranger?

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 23/05/2001

One of the talking points of the last season was the number of loan players' manager Lennie Lawrence brought into the club. Players like David Nielsen who was hailed by fans as the new Messiah who scored 6 goals before his transfer negotiations broke down and the deal ending in bitterness.

In an interview with Mariners Net, Manager Lawrence talked about those loan players and the justification of bringing them in. Of the main players, Fostervold, Nielsen, Willems and Enhua, Lennie said he believed the exercise was a successful one saying "They scored 16 goals between them. I invested the money - the wages plus the loan fees involved came to maybe £500,000 - and the board did well to support that."

"That money was speculated in order to get us the pay day of First Division football next year. It's £2.5 million, which we wouldn't have got had we been relegated. So it was justified from a financial point of view, and it was justified from a football point of view, because as I mentioned, they got 16 goals between them. Where would those goals have come from?"

On Danish striker David Nielsen, who scored 6 of those goals before the relationship soured. Lawrence explained: "At one time we were close - November/December time - but once it turned sour it was never going to happen. He was very, very badly advised, which he has admitted to me since. The people who did his deal at Wimbledon were not the same people we were dealing with. He didn't handle himself brilliantly either."

"I should really have pushed and pushed to do it earlier, in November and December. But he made his contribution in fairness to him, and he has got his move to England at Wimbledon, and we've stayed up. So nobody has really suffered out of it."

Although Lennie did not mention Campbell or Cornwall, they too were part of the loan player deals and Leicester City have now fixed Campbell's price at 200,000 pounds and he looks like joining the Mariners at Blundell Park if the current negotiations are successful.

It is also understood that Lawrence would like to sign Luke Cornwall from Fulham and in that regard, things might be moving a little slower with Lennie concentrating on reorganising the current squad with many still to decide their future.

With Donovan and Handyside leaving the club at the end of June, Lennie Lawrence will have his work cut out to find suitable replacements and the signs are that he will once again be relying on loan players to fill the breach.


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