Chairman ‘gutted’ at Richards loan move

Date published: 02 September 2014

SIMON Corney says he is “gutted” that Athletic has missed a payday from the transfer of Micah Richards - having turned down cash from Manchester City two and a half years ago.

The right-back has finalised terms on a season-long loan to Serie ‘A’ side Fiorentina. Richards (26) departs for a £3.5million loan fee. But Athletic will see nothing, despite a 20 per cent sell-on clause in the deal that took him to City at the age of 14.

The possibility of a permanent deal could bring Athletic compensation. Richards’ fee would rise to £4.7m, with Athletic due 20 per cent of the £1.2 million difference at the end of the current season.

But Richards - who will then be out of contract at City - would have to agree to stay at Fiorentina ahead of potentially more lucrative offers.

For now Corney is accepting Athletic won’t get a windfall, having chosen not to accept a £500,000 buy-out offer by City in 2012.

“I am gutted, but at the same time that’s football,” Athletic’s chairman said. “It was the same when we lost Chris Taylor for nothing and also Chris Porter.

“Bournemouth picked up £6million for Adam Lallana when he was sold to Liverpool, yet we end up with nothing for Micah Richards. That’s life; you can’t miss what you never had.”

On tonight’s home game with Bradford in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy (7.30pm kick-off), manager Lee Johnson could give first-team chances to Connor Brown, Timothee Dieng, James Dayton and Amari Morgan-Smith.

“Bradford are full of big, strong men who know the division,” Johnson said. “It will be a tough game, but we come into it on a bit of form and we have to continue that progression. I’m sure both teams will have three or four that they mix up a little bit.

“Ideally, we would keep the same team but again, we have a couple of little knocks.”