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Archived News from May 2002

15th May 2002 17:29

CHRIS Greenacre's anticipated move to Bradford City could be scuppered by Benito Carbone.

Sources close to the West Yorkshire club say all talk of incoming transfer activity at Valley Parade has been put on hold as the Bantams are on the brink of administration. Bradford may have to pay Carbone's reported £40,000-a-week wages for two years unless they can find another club to take him. A move to take him to Middlesbrough broke down last week. Greenacre will be free to leave Mansfield Town when his contract expires on June 30 and it has been rumoured a deal has already been done. However, shares in parent company Bradford City Holdings have been suspended in the face of their financial problems. With the collapse of ITV Digital, chairman Geoffrey Richmond believes the two factors could cost the club £10m.

Greenacre decided to stay at Field Mill for the duration of his contract after turning down the chance to join Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan. He scored 28 goals last season as Stags clinched their first promotion for ten years but, now he is 24, he is entitled to a free transfer under the Bosman ruling. Richmond said: "I believe that whatever our decisions are in the next few days as regards the way forward, Bradford City will emerge from its current difficulties in a stronger position. "We hope to be in a position, by the end of next week, to issue a full statement."

Ian WILKERSON believes that, rather than holding all the aces under the Bosman ruling, Chris Greenacre's future could be out of his hands...

Christopher Mark Greenacre was born in Halifax, Yorkshire, on December 23, 1977. It might seem to be an insignificant statistic for everyone but the Greenacre family, for whom that date will always mean more than just the birth of a Mansfield Town number ten. But it could just have a bearing on his future career path and whether he will have to take a job when he retires. Having passed his 24th birthday just before Christmas, it was widely known that the striker would be able to take advantage of the Bosman ruling at the end of the season and probably would.
It looked like Stags would cash in with their acceptance of a bid from Sheffield Wednesday, shortly after Billy Dearden's departure to Notts County. But Greenacre's announcement that he intended to see out his contract intensified the speculation. With the writing being on the wall for so long, there has been little hostility from fans. They rose to a standing ovation when he was replaced just before the end of the final game of the season and there were signs wishing him the best of fortunes. Everything looked rosy for him and, although it has not yet been confirmed by either party, it was commonly accepted that he would be starting next season at Bradford. Before Bosman, when clubs could still demand a fee for a player and virtually dictate where he was going at the end of his contract, it was simple for reporters to keep tabs on every hot property. But now it is a headache. Tracking down a player can be a challenge similar to that of keeping up-to-date with a polar explorer. If his mobile is off, you're up the creek. And that was just one of the minor things that changed when UEFA implemented the changes brought about by Jean-Marc Bosman's case in 1996. Then power swung from the club to the player but it might be now that the pendulum has switched direction once more. If Bradford have agreed a deal with Greenacre, how are they going to honour it? First, they still have to find £40,000 a week for Benito Carbone and second, as a result of their woes, they could be forced into administration.

After a year of telling everyone to wait and see, leaving Stags fans with ever-decreasing hopes of him staying, it seems it is now Greenacre's time to sit with his fingers crossed. It cannot be a scenario he could have envisaged as he pondered his future. Knowing Greenacre as I do, I can tell you he is no "big-time Charlie". But he wants to progress in his career and play at the highest level he can. Yes, the money is very nice but it is not for him, I feel, the primary concern. Had he been born a year earlier, he could have just got his first season in Division One under his belt, be sitting on a nice earner for the next couple of years and, especially if he had signed for a club like Bradford, he could be set up for life. Now the picture is a little less clear and, with the ITV Digital problem continuing to grind on, football could be up and running again before the full implications are realised. As the bubble looks to be bursting, Greenacre might just end up one of the people covered in soap.
Source: Evening Post


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