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Prudent Management or Plain Lunacy?

By: Graham Howes
Date: 24/01/2002

EVERY year we have same problem around this period. A number of players have contracts that run out at the end of the current campaign. The board have indicated they cannot negotiate due to the fact we do not know what division we will be playing in.

Home > Features > Prudent Management or Plain Lunacy?


However is this prudent management or plain lunacy? I will explain. I believe one player who is due is Alan Pouton - if not let's use him as an example. [Ed - he has actually signed a new contract]. On today's current market he is worth £750K. If he does not start negotiations he is free to approach other clubs. Come near transfer deadline there may be every indication that he may sign for someone else on a Bosman. The club then will have to start listening to offers around £200K. You may think this is pie in the sky yet this very thing happened with Jack Lester a few seasons ago. We also lost Peter Handyside to a Bosman last season. We must have lost financially a combined £500-600K in revenue from the Lester and Handyside fiasco. We also could lose another £500K on Pouton, effectively 1 million pounds loss to a club like Grimsby is suicide.

Let's assume he is on £3K a week, he costs the club £156K a year in wages. What you can do is get the player to sign for two more years. If the worst happens he can then be made available. You have a safety net so that any prospective buyers want him they pay full market value. It may take a month or so for him to be sold, but you still will make a profit return compared to the other solution of Bosmans or a cheap sale. Admittedly you do not do this with every squad member due. It is no good doing this with a player whose value is less than £150K.

So I pose the question again is it prudent management or plain lunacy to play the waiting game when contracts are up in the summer? In my opinion if the player is an asset in value to the club it is plain lunacy. We currently losing money, so any decision that costs the club much needed finances is a wrong move. You may save £50K in wages in the short term and get a £200K sale. Yet holding on a little while could net £600-700K. Even if you consider a £100K signing-on sweetener you still are better off trying to get the player tied up.


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