“The grabbing hands, grab all they can, all for themselves, after all it’s a competitive world” -Depeche Mode
Contract Law has not been a friend of Wrexham FC in recent years, and I’m quaking in my boots after several previous significant setbacks. I’m not made happier by news such as ‘Keates shakes hands on new deal’ or ‘player asks for more time to consider his options’.
When players renege on agreements made verbally or with handshakes the fans feel aggrieved and ask “what can be done to punish this behaviour, can’t we at least hit them with a stick?” The Law in theory should prevent breaches of contract, such as agreeing to play for Wrexham and then not doing so. In practice the player knows the club is in an extremely weak position, because the legal process is expensive, slow and compensation due from the player uncertain. The Law on compensation requires the wronged party to mitigate their losses, or in English; if a player lets you down, you are required to get another one and not just moan about how your season has been wrecked. (And you can’t hit them with a stick)
I am willing to suggest that if Paul Carden hadn’t gone back on his word to us then Brian Little might still be our manager. Anthony Barry let Dean Saunders down, and went on to be a linchpin of Fleetwood’s move up the divisions, prior to a bad injury, which ruined his judgment, causing a move to Forest Green.
We are perhaps our own worst enemy in some Contract negotiations. The impact of the protracted negotiations aimed at keeping Pogba were difficult to assess. He was an ambitious, young, big, skilled, goalscorer. It appeared wildly optimistic to expect him to stay, and reckless to keep negotiations going, until finding a replacement was difficult. Kevin Wilkin has touched my raw nerve by stating people are considering offers, but isn’t stating how long they’ve got to consider. They aren’t considering an offer; they’re looking for a better one, or hoping we offer a better one.
Wilkin has suggested that players need to look at the bigger picture, and perhaps players should look at the circumstances of Dave Artell. He held out for a better deal from Morrell, and it appeared he got one. At the end of this season he was released. Are these two facts connected? Perhaps if he’d looked like a cheaper option for next season it might have tipped the decision in his favour. Now he’s facing a close season with few full time opportunities, as did Chris Westwood last close-season.
I think the best we can hope for is a couple of new players willing to commit prior to pre-season training, but until they kick a ball in anger the Contract is not intact.