The anatomy of a transfer

With Kieron Forbes making the move to Forest Green Rovers I thought in the best traditions of this blog that I would try and explain what is involved in such a move.

Like many of the young players we sign following their release by a football league club the ambition to have a future in the game remains and our challenge is to prove to the player that we can help develop them so they can get another chance in the pro game.

This was the situation for Kieron when he joined us from Watford as a 17 year old two and a half years ago. Since he has been with us Kieron impressed everybody with his talent, his application and his performances. Just as he seemed to be about to be a major player for us last season following the Rotherham game he got a nasty knee injury that ruined the rest of his season. For me this was an important factor in us not getting in the play-offs last year.

We exercised our option on Kieron’s contract to ensure he would stay with us for this season and back fit he has again performed well. improving steadily to be a major player for us. Certainly one we did not want to lose.

In November Kieron had the opportunity to train with Forest Green for a few days. After that we have been in lengthy discussions with Forest Green, with Kieron and his father and amongst ourselves to try and arrive at the best outcome for all parties.

From the Wealdstone perspective we wanted to keep Kieron for as long as possible. We were not prepared to let him go while we were still in the FA Trophy. Then we needed to make sure that if we were to agree a deal then we were suitably recompensed for releasing him from his contract so he could sign for the Blue Square Bet Premier Club.

We talked to Kieron and his father about our recent track record of moving players on, how we can create interest (citing the Jermaine experience) and how momentum can quickly get going. We even pointed out how we might even be in the same division as Forest Green next season (if results go well for us and badly for FGR for the rest of the season). But it is a risk to a player not enjoying life ‘working’ and playing part time football and seeing what might be possibly his only opportunity of progressing in front of him.

Trying to agree the value of a player is a very subjective matter and you have to take into account several factors. These include the values of past players, the club (and level) they are going to, the player’s contract situation and indeed the player’s own desire to leave. Typically there is then a negotiation and while we were prepared to try and to agree a deal we did have a bottom line and for a while we would not accept what Forest Green were offering us so no deal could take place until we reached a deal we could all agree. Once that was in place it was for Forest Green and the player to agree personal terms, and also go through a medical. Only then would we release him from his contract allowing him to sign for FGR in time for him to make his debut today coming on as a second half substitute in Forest Green’s win at Bath City.

I believe Kieron will have only good things to say about Wealdstone FC but ultimately with a Club two divisions above offering the opportunity back into full time he wanted to make the move.

Whatever we as fans and onlookers think about whether players could or should have “done better” or gone to a supposedly ‘better’ club it is easy to speculate but another thing to be faced with what is a life changing decision. None of us have the hindsight of knowing what might happen and the same is the case here.  Perhaps no one else would come in, perhaps he would get another season ending knee injury in the next game any number of things might happen.

Kieron’s situation is no different to the same quandary any of us are in when considering whether to take a new job opportunity. Although there was some passing interest from 1-2 other clubs, Forest Green were the only ones who came in with a tangible offer to give Kieron the chance to be a full time footballer again.

We also took into account that most likely, as a free agent at the end of the season, Kieron was likely to move on and we felt there was a real risk of seeing his performances nosedive if we insisted on keeping him against his (and his father’s) wishes for the rest of this season. It comes back to the fact again that Wealdstone are a Ryman Premier League part time club and I believe it is wrong to stop a young player fulfilling his dream of going back full time should the opportunity present itself.

So with a heavy heart, but an inevitability, Forest Green got their man. We received a small fee, a decent sell-on clause and a first team friendly and can now list another player that we have successfully moved back to full time football. For the likes of Jonathan North, James Hammond, Kurtney Brooks and others this is proof that coming to Wealdstone is a good move and they might be next.

For us we need to quickly plug the gap that losing this player will cause us, but as we have done in the past we will endeavour to do this again and we will follow Kieron’s career with interest as we do with Marvin McCoy, Carl Martin, Graeme Montgomery and of course Jermaine Beckford. Good luck Kieron and let’s all hope you achieve everything you want to in the game.



New Year’s Eve spectacular

I’ve been asked to mention the event taking place on Friday night at the Social Club.

The New Year’s Eve spectacular is a big evening for the Club. Last year approximately 350 people were there and I know enjoyed a great evening.

We are expecting a big crowd again. With a disco and hot food included in the price of a ticket please contact Leo Morris to get you ticket. Details can be found here.

Have a great night.

Who are the most important people in football?

The recent events at so called “big club” Newcastle United made me think the other day, who are the most important people in football?

Usually (and I’ve always taken this as lazy journalism to some extent) you read that it is the supporters who are the most important people. They come back week after week, year after year to support their club. Spending lots of money (tickets, food, travel, replica kits etc) usually going through far more bad times than good in the hope of the promised better days that are always just around the corner.

Sometimes it seems players must be the most important. Wage inflation doesn’t show any sign of slowing down and there is as much press interest and speculation about players now as at any time. As agents continue to manipulate, the likes of Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole or Joey Barton continue to have clubs queuing up and willing to offer them long contracts and untold riches in the hope that they will bring success and glory with them.

Or is it really the owners, the chairmen, the CEOs or MDs running the clubs? Certainly in Newcastle’s case Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias don’t appear to care about anyone else after their on the surface baffling decision to replace manager Chris Hughton with a guy who can hardly claim to have a golden past, Alan Pardew. As has been well documented, Hughton had appeared to do well taking Newcastle into a respectable mid-table position following the promotion of last season despite the purse strings appearing to be far more tightly controlled this season.

Yet rumours of his demise have been around for a while and I suspect his days were always numbered. So despite being popular with the fans and reportedly with the players (and the media) he was out.

Yet despite the fan’s protests and the media’s teeth gnashing, guess what, Alan Pardew starts with a win against Liverpool. So does that mean everything forgotten now? Presumably it will now be back to normal now, as is the way of the Premier League.

What was it a former Newcastle Chairman Freddie Shepherd said about his own fans?

Another reason why I hate the Premier League (number 473). It’s a bit different in Non League – at least in most places.

Newport reflections and looking forward

Having written this column for tomorrow night’s programme, I thought I’d post it here (with added extras)

Every season there are 1-2 games we tend to remember for a long time in the future.

Last year’s trip to Aylesbury and the following fortnight up to and including the Rotherham game are good examples of a time that will last long in my memory. This season the trip to Brackley was very exciting, with the last minute winner and Sean Cronin’s heroics in goal. And now the match against Newport County joins that list (video here and photos here) and who is to say that the replay won’t be there too.

Let’s consider what we were going into away at Newport. A team on the crest of a wave, two leagues above us and in the play-off positions of the Blue Square Bet Premier on the back of having just been awarded a Welsh team of the year award following a record season last year. On top of that we had the recurring Jonathan North FA Trophy migraine scare to deal with. My hopes were not high.

What we got was a performance to be proud of. Of course Newport had chances and pressure – that was to be expected. But Wealdstone had 14 disciplined, passionate, never say die heroes with a goalkeeper outstanding. I don’t know how many balls Jonathan was seeing but he saw the right one when it mattered, with one save in the first half simply world class.

Over the last 4-6 weeks the team have turned around the season and now there are many possibilities. Performances at Lowestoft, Carshalton, Sutton and now Newport show there is no one we should fear, at least at our level, if we continue to play to this standard. And it is not just the players who have upped their games but the supporters too who were outstanding at Newport winning many plaudits.

I want to say something about Newport County too. I was very impressed by their whole set-up. Remember they are a club who have come back from the brink in recent years but from Chris Blight the Chairman down, they conducted themselves in a thoroughly professional and welcoming manner throughout the afternoon. Chatting to Chris, I was reminded of the advantages of being a club representing a town and having a Board of Directors who are all company owners and able to support the Club where it matters financially. We will continue to strive to emulate this model.

Monday night will be another big game. By rights Newport will win and win comfortably but you never know. I always tend to believe the ‘little’ club has one chance and has to take it when it comes. But you never know and with a passionate home crowd getting behind the boys perhaps the upset can be delivered.