So, the transfer window has closed. Tommy Smith has gone to Portsmouth for a well deserved crack at the top flight, Jobi McAnuff has followed Rodgers to Reading, whilst John-Joe O’Toole (rejoining a certain A.Boothroyd Esq at Colchester) and Mike Williamson have also left stage right.
The Tommy Smith episode, whilst highly publicised was the definitive illustration of how a modern footballer can conduct themself during negotiations. Mike Williamson threw a bit of a hissy fit and eventually got his South coast move too, but I can’t help feeling that we did some good business there. Financially at least.
O’Toole and McAnuff I am sure we can do without, but we do now have a thin looking squad, no surprise to most, and survival is clearly the primary goal this term. However, with with the finances the sales have generated we can (hopefully) look forward to the future on something approaching a sound financial footing.
So, all in all a relatively quiet end to the transfer window for Watford, and it was the goings on a couple of hundred miles away from Vicarage Road that awoke me from my deadline day slumber.
At Eastlands, the home of Manchester City, Richard Dunne was negotiating his move to Aston Villa. The media reported this as a done deal at several times throughout the day, but it soon became clear there was a delay. Nothing out of the ordinary I thought, he is probably doing his exit interview and working out how many days leave he is owed. Not so…
Testimonial is a word not often used in football these days. In fact, I’d be interested to hear who the last top flight professional footballer to have one was. Anyway, for those of you unaware, a testimonial is an event organised to raise money for a player who has been at the same club for 10 years. It’s only fair – you are a loyal servant for a decade, you deserve a bit of a thank you. Even if you do earn twice the average annual salary of the working population every week.
Anyway, non Manchester City fans can be forgiven for not knowing that Richard Dunne has been playing for Manchester City for nine years. That’s right, next year would have been his tenth, qualifying him for a testimonial. Now it isn’t hard to see why a money spinning testimonial is attractive, Premiership players can expect to earn a reported million quid. Not a bad golden handshake. It sure beats a carriage clock.
So, you can see poor Richard’s dilemma. On one hand, one more year with City and he gets his testimonial and pocketful of lovely loot to say thanks for your loyalty. On the other hand he wants to join Aston Villa on a lucrative contract and trouser a pocketful of lovely loot to say thanks for joining us.
You can picture the scene. Richard Dunne sat alone in his front room, barely noticing Sky Sports News blaring out of his 100″ plasma as he mulls it over in his tortured mind – “Testimonial or new deal, testimonial or new deal…” His face is contorted in confusion until BINGO! – he has his lightbulb moment. “I know what I’ll do…” Richard smiles to himself. “I’ll demand the money from the testimonial that I would have next year, and then leave for Villa! Everyone’s a winner”
And that ladies and gentlemen was the delay. Richard Dunne was holding out for a payment of money he would have earned from his testimonial had he stayed at City for another year. Money he would have earned for his loyalty, for committing ten years to the club. Not nine. Ten. Now I’m all for making sure you get paid what you are due, but come on…
I have no idea whether or not City paid up, but the deal has now through, so I suspect a deal was done and hard up Dicky Dunne got his golden handshake whilst Villa got their man. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to hand in my resignation and ask for next years’ salary in advance.