Hands tied over big money transfers - Corney
Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
Date online: 27 March 2014
ATHLETIC chairman Simon Corney has revealed that a major factor in both star departures this season was agents heavily encouraging moves to rival clubs.
James Tarkowski returns to Boundary Park for the first time on Saturday with Brentford, after a deal that took him to the Sky Bet League One high-fliers in exchange for an undisclosed fee two months ago.
It followed Jose Baxter joining League One rivals Sheffield United in August, again for an undisclosed fee. The destination clubs of both former Athletic stars are heavily bankrolled by rich directors.
Corney told the Chronicle a club with Athletic’s resources will always struggle to compete.
“When clubs come in and offer big money because they have a benefactor, then players and particularly their agents — and in both cases, this happened — have their heads turned,” said Corney.
“Agents make no money if a player stays at a club. They make plenty if a player goes and the player can double or treble their wages.
“It is not a case of Oldham don’t pay. Even if we doubled their salary we wouldn’t be able to keep them.
“When players get offered three or four times what they are on, they are going to leave.
“If Arsenal can’t afford to hang on to Robin van Persie at £150,000 a week, what can you expect?
“It is football and it’s not just at Oldham but at all the other clubs too. Your hands are tied sometimes.”
Corney said that in the event of Athletic being relegated this season, he is not sure he would “have the will” to continue as chairman.
He also said the money-making FA Cup runs in recent years only served to reduce losses: “Realistically we’re a League Two club playing in League One,” added Corney.
“If you look at our crowds, we have an amazing hard core there, but people have to wake up and realise that our support is at League Two level. We keep ourselves in League One artificially and it is a dangerous game to play.”
Corney hopes to have the new North Stand in use by the start of next season: steelwork arrived on site this week and is already being erected.
“Every day we are paying down bills and trying to get a bit more done,” he added. “There is a long way to go. It won’t be easy to finish it, but we will get there,” he said.
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