Is the Nahki Wells transfer a better deal than it looks?

Picture by Claire Epton

Picture by Claire Epton

By Jason McKeown

Undisclosed fee. If there’s one term guaranteed to rile football fans, it is the cloak of anonymity that a transfer can be buried underneath with the label of ‘undisclosed fee’. Why do clubs insist on doing this? What do they have to hide? Don’t we paying supporters deserve the right to this information?

Speaking on the local radio before Saturday’s home game against Bristol City, Mark Lawn revealed that Huddersfield Town had insisted that their purchase of Nahki Wells be reported as an undisclosed fee, something that Bradford City are forced to abide by. As the anger has raged over the transfer deal, you get the feeling that ‘undisclosed fee’ is not something particularly helpful to the Bantams. It allows speculation to rein rather than fact, with a widely held consensus that ‘undisclosed fee’ must mean the club has got a poor deal.

But is that actually the case? Is the transfer of Wells to Huddersfield really the badly-managed affair that many are portraying? If we actually look more closely at what we do know about the deal, I suspect it is much more profitable than what is widely assumed.

Firstly, let’s tackle the thorniest of issues – the club who has bought him. Wells was apparently insistent upon joining the Terriers rather than anyone else, and Lawn has even stated that the Board were unable to instigate a bidding war between the three clubs who had registered strong interest, due to Wells’ unwillingness to contemplate a move to the other two.

Understandably, this has hurt us supporters badly. Back in the 1990s, a fearsome rivalry was developed between the two neighbouring clubs, headlined by the Kevin Gray ‘tackle’ on Gordon Watson in 1997, which put the recent City record signing out of the game for 18 months.

The mutual loathing remains just as strong today – as evidenced during the League Cup tie earlier this season. Stuart McCall once famously observed that even a game of tiddlywinks between City and Town would be hugely important. It matters, and it is very, very painful to see Wells in that blue and white shirt, scoring on his debut.

Yet on Wells’ part, he has no knowledge or care for this rivalry. He is from Bermuda, not Brighouse.

Wells wanted to leave City this window, which is not in dispute. Phil Parkinson talked about how Nahki had lost some of his focus over the past few months, and attempts to persuade him to sign a new deal had been unsuccessful (WOAP heard from a well-placed source that he was offered £5k a week to stay). Wells is an ambitious striker, and at 23 and after two-and-half-years at Valley Parade, was ready to move on.

Huddersfield, to him, must have represented a logical choice. He doesn’t have to sell his house and move away from an area where he is presumably settled, and he gets to play in the Championship for a club who will provide him immediate game time. For all the talk of Premier League interest, it might have been too much too soon for Wells, who could have found he was swapping League One for reserve team football. Wilfred Zaha – a hugely talented footballer in my opinion – is a cautionary tale for all promising lower league players.

By moving to Huddersfield, Wells can look to establish himself at a higher level. He can play for a club who probably harbour long-term aims of promotion to the Premier League. He can play for a club who – if they don’t succeed in reaching the top flight – he would be able to move onwards and upwards from. The next stepping stone in a career that could easily have another 12 years to run.

We can continue to debate who is the bigger club between City and Town, but I seriously doubt whether Nahki cares who attracts the bigger attendances. He wants to play in the Championship, and from an employment perspective Huddersfield seems a logical move for a player with such aims.

What of the deal that City have secured? Well, what has been revealed is that the transfer is split into three different sections: an upfront fee, add ons and a sell on clause. The size of the upfront fee is unknown. The local media are reporting £1.5 million, while national reports are putting the fee at over £2 million. It’s not clear who is right, but it’s hardly the point – no one, outside the two clubs, knows what the fee is. Educated guesses are still just that: guesses.

The add ons have barely raised a mention in the conversation over the past couple of days, but these could be hugely important. Lawn confirmed that City will receive money for Wells’ Huddersfield appearances and goals, but there is likely to be more to it. We have seen the recent history of City selling youth players to big clubs with all manner of add ons included. There is no reason to believe it will be different with Wells.

It is rumoured that City receive £25k for every time Andre Wisdom plays for Liverpool. Clearly, Huddersfield won’t be paying the Bantams anything like that figure, but it could well prove to be a tidy sum of money when it is added up over time. It’s the same with the goals. If Nahki scores for Huddersfield – like he did yesterday – it appears that City will get paid. Other add ons could include a fee for Huddersfield avoiding relegation and/or getting promotion.

All of which is a double-edged sword for City fans. If Wells is finding the back of the net and Huddersfield are doing well, City benefit financially. It’s not exactly a compelling reason to start hoping for Town victories, but I guess there is some consolation to be had from any success Nahki and Town achieve.

Finally there is the sell on clause, which it has been suggested is a large one. The fact Wells has not made such a big step up now – and that his career can peak beyond Huddersfield – heightens the possibility of him one day moving on for a sizeable transfer fee, one that City will receive a cut of.

In September 2011 the club’s then-Head of Football Development Archie Christie told me about wanting to change City’s approach to selling their brightest young players, to benefit greater from sell-ons, “We don’t want our best youth players to go to Liverpool, we want them to go somewhere where Liverpool will buy them (and City would benefit from a sell on clause). We’d rather they go to Glasgow Rangers or Southampton, play there for two or three years and get to 20 and then a big Premiership club comes in.”

The Nahki deal has strong potential to be along similar lines. Just remember Fabian Delph and the money that City received as part of Leeds’ sale of the midfielder to Aston Villa.

When you consider what the undisclosed upfront fee, add ons and sell on clause might add up to eventually, the deal that City have struck for Wells could in fact prove to be very lucrative overall. And what’s more, staggered income could prove better for the club’s long-term future than having a one-off, bigger payment now – which in a matter of months would have been spent.

In the more immediate term, however, the money that has been brought in upfront is clearly important to the club. As David Baldwin told me in December, City committed to a 2013/14 playing budget that is £1 million higher than break-even point; with a £500k loss forecast for this season. Should City lose the Mark Stewart court case (the decision is due by Friday), that loss would rise to £750k. Baldwin disclosed that the club would make a further £500k loss in 2014/15, if they committed to the same size playing budget.

The initial proceeds of the Wells transfer will cover this season’s projected loss and ensure that no one else has to be sold (and a replacement for Nahki brought in). What’s more, it should cover the shortfall next season; meaning there shouldn’t be summer cut backs or a reduced playing budget.

Finally, the Wells fee should enable the club to maintain its fantastic season ticket initiative. In recent weeks there has been plenty of debate about how prices might need to be raised next season to ensure we can afford to retain the playing budget. To me it would have been completely wrong to abandon this principle and potentially price out thousands of City fans – particularly with attendances on the increase and renewed interest in the club following the 2012/13 heroics.

There should no longer be any reason to have to contemplate a price rise for next season, due to the Wells money. It is a proven long-term strategy that we should remain hugely proud of, particularly as the rest of football gets more and more crazier in its pricing policies.

I am absolutely gutted that Wells is a Huddersfield Town player, it is the one club I didn’t want him to join. But our feelings towards Huddersfield, as City supporters, are our own – they are not his. And I’m not sure it is fair of us to expect him to inherit our prejudices at the expense of what he believes to be the right career path.

I’m not sure that City’s board deserve to be slaughtered for supposedly not getting the best deal on the market. Wells has done so much for City since he joined, and he is not a piece of meat. Once his heart was set on Huddersfield, the board had a responsibility to get the best deal possible from them for his services.

We can only trust and hope that this was the case, but as the transfer is ‘undisclosed’ we will never know for sure. Either way, only time will truly tell just how good a deal this proves to be for Bradford City. Nothing can be concluded right now.

Categories: Opinion

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59 replies

  1. Another great article… Good points well made..
    Don’t agree with using the Wells money to keep season ticket prices the same..
    Why not raise the price slightly? This will then add to the Wells money, rather than the Wells money being swallowed up by ridiculously low season ticket prices. I don’t for one minute suggest a massive increase. Maybe £50 for adult season tickets £10-£15 rise on under 16 tickets. Just seems silly to me to lose the Wells money unnecessarily

  2. Well said Jason. There’s been a lot of teeth gnashing over the last couple of days, with plenty of people eager to stick the boot in on Mark Lawn, but it’s all based on assumption.

  3. May I compliment you on an excellent article . Although I cannot comment on the details of a transfer deal it’s nice to see that you have highlighted in your article the immediate , mid term and long term benefits to the club .

    No club wants to lose an asset, however neither could the club run down the contract of a player who was never going to sign an extension and clearly wanted to move on . All we can do is get the best deal possible for the future benefit of the club . You rightly highlighted that the club could have sold the player to three clubs , however the player dictates which one he wants to go to .

    In what has been a difficult period your balanced assessment is refreshing to read .

    Kind regards

    David Baldwin

    • Dear Jason and David

      Brilliant article and brilliant to see a senior guy at the club respond to a fans forum, doubt many other of the 92 clubs’ boards would do the same. Likewise the interview with Mark Lawn on pulse the other day. Not sure what some City fans want. I was really down after seeing Nahki go, especially to Town. But we have had too many dark dark years in the bottom tier to even consider playing hard ball with a major asset. The players know that their side of contracts mean nothing, PP already said that Wells wasn’t as focused recently, imagine how damaging a marginalised NW would have affected the rest of the team. Not to mention his plummeting value the nearer it got to the end of his contract.

      T’club have done this exactly right. He could have left in the summer, he stayed and we got more for him. We are financially stable… I never thought I would be able to say those words five years ago.

      I think we are lucky to have David, Phil, Mark Lawn and definitely Julian Rhodes in charge of our club. Just compare these guys to Richmond (criminal), Tordoff (cost us promotion in 87) and David Simpson (nice guy but no money!). Compare these guys to the clowns in charge at Leeds, Birmingham and Cardiff. Compare PP to any in our division, even the Championship…Mark Robins?Brian mcDermot? No thanks.

      We are doing just fine, more than fine, we have had a tremendous 12 months. Promotion to Championship this season would have been too soon in my opinion.

      They key now is to not waste this cash. We need more than a decent striker to improve the team so we can push next year. And how the board and PP deal with this next chapter is how we should judge them not on the emotion of selling our best player to our rivals.

  4. Good article. But the club need to disclose the transfer fee otherwise City fans will assume the fee was small.

    I would increase season tickets by about £20.

    • Hi Darran

      As stated, the club are not allowed to disclose the transfer fee so we will never know. Apparently this is Town’s insistence.

      • I listened to the interview with Dean Hoyle on Radio Leeds and he said Bradford wanted the fee undisclosed. I wonder which one is lying ?

  5. Great article and good to see that DB has acknowledged. I reckon Nahki will do well at Huddersfield and will be gone to a bigger club within 18 months. He’s too good for Championship and when he moved to the Premiership for several £ms it will prove it was the right decision by Nahki to use Huddersfield as a stepping stone and a good decision by City to out the right financial terms into the deal re sell on. Club and NW have done the right thing and we should never forget him for giving us our best season ever (instead of some fans calling him Judas and slagging him off). Bermuda not Brighouse – well said!

  6. Fantastic, balanced and thoughtful article. Again.

    Re season tickets. Reading the T&A Lawn said the sale should enable cheap tickets to contine.

    Whilst that has to be applauded, I think that as we are in higher league than when the offer began (and this seasons was bought before promotion), I strongly believe there should be a rise.

    Even if it’s “only” £25 for adults it’s a nod to that we are competing with bigger teams and we want have a competitive squad; without fear of selling sell-on clauses like Wells’ at a cut-price (which the buying club don’t have to sell – then where would we be financially?).

  7. Brilliant article Jason. As others have said, very balanced and insightful and I agree with all your sentiments.

    • Excellent assessment Jason. I think that getting the deal done on a timely basis was an additional factor that was essential to this – it was clear i think from comments made both by PP and from Mark Lawn that we were in danger of rifts developing between managament and Board, and within the dressing room, had the saga lingered on. I agree with many other posters too, that whilst we should be protective of our exceelent season ticket pricing policy, we can somewhat increase ticket prices next season to be put into the playing budget. I believe we are seeing a hugely improved product on the pitch in league one football over the khazi league years and that alone justifies the increase. I am gutted Nakhi has gone but will get over it. If DB and the Board are reading these posts, I would like to say I would find it harder to get over losing this excellent management and coaching team – PP and staff improved Wells immeasurably in 2 years IMHO – they can do equally well with some more promising recruits and the likes of McBurnie, and that is the way it has to be for us – please do not sign another 30 something injury prone has been with the Wells money..however much he is supposedly “proven at this level”..

  8. Your article makes some good points and is such a good piece of PR for the board that Mr Baldwin compliments you ….but it is all supposition. We dont know what the terms of the deal are.

    In a previous article you feel that Nahkis move to the Terriers tainted his time here and having heard Mr Lawns interview on the radio for me his time has been definitely tainted.
    Huddersfield Town are backed by a multi millionaire and Bradford City are not .We have to maximise our income from where ever we can get it .

    Nahki Wells and Huddersfield Town effectively hijacked Bradford City Football Club s attempt to capitalise on their prize asset .

    If Nahki was intent on going to Town and Town, as Dean Hoyle, in as much ,said in an interview that he was their number one target for many months why didnt we call their bluff?Why did the board allow a player to dictate the terms of his transfer ?Who is he to say he wont go anywhere else. He has 18 months of a contract left to run. Why didnt we tell him that we will sell him to the highest bidder and if he didnt want to go or play for us anymore he can train with the juniors . If Town wanted him so badly then they will pay our price undisclosed or wait 18 months by which time Nahki would not have started a competitive football game. I am sure that would have focussed the ambitious mind of Mr Wells and I am sure the deal would have been done with them on City s terms and disclosed.Or is it we are in such need of cash that any deal would do ?

    We will never know and yes Jason the deal hopefully is a good one and we can go on and strengthen only time will tell .For me it is not that he has gone to Town it is that he has dictated to the board where he went and on what terms … yes he has done some wonderful things for this club but his exit has tainted them all.

    The so called “tight calf ” which he supposedly got whilst playing Swindon effectively brought down the curtain on his time here ….he went off and never applauded the fans , he never said goodbye . It seems to me he knew where he was going long before the board did and before the transfer window opened and he couldnt wait to be gone …so much for his appreciation for Bradford City who gave him his opportunity and so much for his appreciation of the fans . Thats how it seems .

    • I’ve been thinking on similar lines. I get the impression that Huddersfield and Wells/his agent have colluded to get him on the cheap.

      Town say we want you but can’t afford the price you are likely to command. However, we will offer a low bid (say 1.3 million the price being speculated at their end), you refuse to listen to any other offers and refuse to play for City again (citing your head isn’t right and/or your calf hurts). They will have to sell and we (Town) will split the difference with you (Wells) as a signing on fee or enhanced salary. So, true value £2m.Town pay £1.3m and Wells makes himself £350k?

      Maybe the figures aren’t accurate but such a scenario would explain the recent events.

    • Whilst I understand your point of letting him train with the juniors.. Unfortunately at our level this is not feasible.. It’s ok from a premiership team to do this as they can go spend millions on a replacement.. Once Wells made his mind up that he wanted to leave and refused to play, we had to get rid in order for us to find a suitable (proven goal scorer) replacement.

      • Plastic Bantam

        It would never have gotten to this …..Mark Lawn said on Saturday that another Championship club did make a competitive bid but Wells only wanted Huddersfield nowhere else . Read between the lines what you will but if hypotheticaly Town and Wells and his agent had already agreed terms there would be no other option and if Wells wanted Town then on our terms not Towns

    • You’ve accused the article of containing supposition, but you have done this yourself by suggesting Nahki may have not had a tight calf, by supposing he knew where he was going previous, by presuming Town would pay whatever price we would ask.

      I take your point about Nahki dictating his move to the board, but like Jason said he’s not a piece of meat. It’s no way to treat a 23 year old who’s your top scorer to threaten him with training with the juniors if he doesn’t sign for a club that’s 200 miles away which he has no desire to sign, for what could be very credible reasons.

      It happens all the time in footbal, top players dictate there own destiny. If a player doesn’t want to play for a club they will get a move. plus hopefully with the add ons, it could be more lucrative in the long run than a big up front fee we all talked about.

      • Alisdair

        Every comment on this board reference this transfer is based on supposition… my comments are based on what Mark Lawn said on Saturday and it would seem others on this site have come to the same conclusion .however the point about Nahki s tight calf is not supposition . In Lawns interview on Saturday he was asked if Wells would have played against Bristol if he had still been here Lawn replied that Wells had said definitely not as he still had a tight calf …that was on Friday yet that tight calf miraculously cleared for him to come off the bench and score on Saturday.
        As for not treating a 23 yr old like meat I agree …I just wish that the 23 yr old hadnt treated the club with such disdain in his apparent haste to go and play for his next club on his relatively massive salary…I just wish he had worked with the club so as to maximise the transfer fee instead of limiting us to only one club .After all we gave him his chance and yes he scored some great goals for us in return but we gave him his chance to play football when he could have just as easily ended up back in the Bahamas working behind a bar.

        Do you think Stuart Mc Call told the board he was only ever going to play for Everton ? Stuart had more class than that .
        This 23 yr old knew we needed cash , knew we needed to sell him quick so as to bring in replacements and so did Huddersfield Town all the cards were stacked in their favour.
        Everything about this transfer right now is a smack in the face for Bradford City ….we have our own web site posting a picture of him in a Town shirt and our local paper posts an article again of him in a Town shirt with Mark Robbins gleefully proclaiming we got him for a snip. Think of the countless City fans today who have to go to work and put up with all the banter from their Town supporting fellow workers !!!!
        Finally I beleive the board did the best they could with this transfer in the situation they found themselves in and if by the end of this month if we have a proven goal scorer and if we have a left back to rival Meredith and a pacy midfielder/playmaker to take us forward then this transfer will not matter a jot and like Steve Smith says the lad from Bermuda will not get cult status and will be consigned to history

  9. In his interview on Radio Leeds yesterday Dean Hoyle said that both clubs had wanted the fee to remain undisclosed. If this is the truth then I can understand the logic from a City perspective. Whilst it would be nice to know how much or little we got for our prize asset it won’t hurt for other clubs not to know precisely how much money we have to spend post Nahki’s sale.

    As for John W’s comments that Huddersfield Town ‘hijacked’ our prize asset, as painful as it is, that’s the market economy for you. Town are backed by a multi-millionaire but I’m guessing he didn’t become one by paying over the odds for the assets he wants.

    It’s a presumption but it looks like Town were the highest placed club to make a bid so it’s not entirely unreasonable for Nahki to try to force the move through. It would’ve been reckless to call Town’s bluff – in the absence of bid from a better placed club the board did the right thing to attempt to maximise the price they got.

    Fingers crossed PP will spend the money wisely & we can continue on an upward trajectory.

    • Nick
      Huddersfield Town hijacked the selling of our prize asset thanks to the prize asset wanting to go there thus destroying the market ….that is not market economics…there was no market …..and your right about Dean Hoyle he successfully negotiated the sale of his business to a VC for £375m …so for him the acquisition of Nahki Wells would have been like taking candy off a baby.

      All of what we say is pure speculation because both clubs want the terms undisclosed only time will tell whether it was a good deal for City.

      Also Jamie Lawrence didnt come from Brighouse

      • Hi John

        It’s been known by all in football that Nahki would be sold soon, thus meaning there’s been a market for him for some time. It just so happens that nobody else in The Championship bid for him. Had QPR, Leicester or somebody else with deeper pockets than Huddersfield made a bid then Nahki would soon have dropped his ‘it’s Town or nowhere’ policy. But they didn’t bid. So Town made the most of it.

      • I totally agree with what John W and Mick say. I also feel that this has put Mark Lawn and the board in a very awkward position who in essence have done the right thing out of gratitude to the player. I very much doubt Town will look after him as much when the time comes to offload him but we shall wait out on that one. In response to season tickets I am more than happy to add another £25 – £50 into the budget next year providing the results and quality on the pitch improve. We need players on the up who have the desire to prove their worth rather than players on their way down. The team from last year should be testament to that !

    • Nick

      Suggest you listen to Mark Lawns interview …a bid was received from another Championship side as well as Towns but Nahki knocked it back he only wanted Town . When Lawn was asked what if a Premier side came in he said it would not have mattered Wells only wanted Town.

      • John

        I heard the Lawn interview yesterday – as I understood it he said their was ‘interest’ but the only other bid was from a League One club (presumably Wolves). When Lawn was asked ‘what if a PL side came in?’ his first response (and the salient point) was ‘they didn’t’.

        Deep down we all know that had a PL club come in (who would almost certainly have paid a higher salary than Town) then Nahki would’ve gone there.

        In the absence of any other bids from the Championship (something we may have to agree to disagree on but it’s all speculation anyway) ultimately the player is entitled to go wherever he likes. You can understand his logic – he’ll play regularly at Town and it will offer him a platform for another big move in a year or two.

        We might not like it but it’s tough!

      • Nick

        Yes your right Lawn did not say the other club was from the Championship but I dont think he was refering yo the Wolves bid but i still get the impression that a deal between Wells and Town was done long before the window was opened because it was done so quickly (Why didnt Wells want to wait and see who else might come in?) I I dont think there was ever going to be a bidding war
        So the board was presented with a fait acompli. I just hope they got as good a deal as possible

      • So if Nahki’s beloved Manchester United had come in for him he would have turned them down for Town ? Ridiculous !

  10. Nice article, well balanced and structured.

    Strongly disagree with the season tickets though. The pricing when you take into account free u11’s is ridiculous and an unsustainable model for any form of progression. We don’t have rich men at the helm unlike Huddersfield and Saturday’s opponents Bristol City. These teams posted financial losses of £4M and £12M respectively which disappear at a stroke of the owners pen.

    Fans are a fickle lot, we lost 1,000 off Saturdays gate after the news in Friday.

    By subsidising cheap season tickets the Wells money will go in 2 years or less, what then? I believe that even if we were in the top 3 right now we would be maxing out at 15,500 to 16,000 fans.

    The pricing at £200 basically means you pay for 10 games and get 13 free, that’s crazy. In my opinion people come to see good football and a successful team. By not having the ability to underwrite huge losses will restrict our ability to recruit the quality that will be needed to build a team capable of challenging over a season. Bradford is not a rich City and corporate income is hard to generate.

    It is £12 a game to watch conference north football at Guiseley. A season ticket priced at say £275 with all the usual concessions works out excellent value at the same £12 a game for League One football. That way you are paying for say 14 games and getting 9 free. Still fantastic value.

    If you are worried about a price rise making people not renew the counter argument will be that once the excitement goes from last season, which I think more or less has gone now, the ones you are scared of losing will not be renewing anyway once we cannot compete annually to get in play offs Etc.

    I think that the board need to be open with the fans about exactly the implications of the financial fair play rules and put it to the fans about what budget we would like to have for players.

    For sure running at a deficit each year will only lead to a general weakening of the side. I for one do not want to see the devastation a return to league two would cause the club.

  11. don’t think that there would have been such an outcry if it had been any other club that Wells joined, but, facts are facts, no one other than the clubs and wells plus agent know the true details, players talk to other players and it would be impossible for Wells not to know of towns interest, it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth but thats pro sport. What i find annoying is the criticism that many internet posters are aiming at the club, it’s done , the money is vital to the future of the club with some going on team strenthening, let’s move on.

    • Tony

      I agree with you ..the board were in a difficult situation before the transfer window opened .Mark Lawn said that Wells knocked back other offers one being a Championship side saying he only wanted Town even if a Premier side came in . It would seem there was only ever going to be one result ….the board were never going to have the bidding war that we wanted …so my earlier description of the sale being hi jacked is more like the board being ambushed from both sides.

      In the same interview Lawn was asked if Nahki would have played on Saturday against Bristol if he was still here …he said not as Nahki had said his calf was still tight he couldnt possibly play….yet he was on the bench and came off to score.!!!!!

      I Like I said if the money helps improve the side then we have a result and the board have done well in a very difficult situation .

  12. Well done Jason on bringing some sanity to the debate on Nahki going to Huddersfield. As to which is the ‘biggest’ Club, what does it matter? If a player wants to test himself in a higher league then he should sign for a Team that plays in a higher league I would have thought,

    Supporting our team is, of course, massively centred around emotion and there can be few supporters who have experienced such extreme ups and downs along the emotional spectrum as Bradford City supporters in the last 30 years or so. The loss of Nahki has to be kept in context and the Club has to be run with sensible financial risks being balanced with ambitions of achieving as higher league position as possible. Every man and his dog (Terrier?) knew we were not going to be able to keep Nahki if HE wanted to play at a higher level. Apparently, the offer of an improved contract was not considered worth discussing from Nahki’s view point, fair enough. I am confident the City Chairmen got the best deal they could under the circumstances. What is more important to me than any individual player is stability of Manager and his support staff and what a fantastic experience we have had since Mr Parkinson has been in charge.

    By the way how do we define ‘bigger’ in the context of comparing football Clubs?

  13. ‘Yet on Wells’ part, he has no knowledge or care for this rivalry. He is from Bermuda, not Brighouse.’

    I would suggest that Wells’ has been in British football and at Bradford City long enough to know that rivalries run deep and to demand a move to HTFC would seriously upset BCFC supporters. He would have gone with my blessing if they had offered the best financial deal, but to demand a transfer to them and only them is poor form. Money aside, his name will forever be tainted in my mind now.

  14. Fantastic article, which echoes my thoughts almost entirely, except for the fact that I hadn’t realised Wells had had the choice and chosen Huddersfield. Now I’ve realised this, it does seem a bit odd/sideways, but Nahki is a human being like the rest of us and has to choose what he believes (or his agent persuades him to believe) is right for him. I wish him good luck for the future, but I can’t bring myself to watch THAT goal.

  15. The reason most fans are becoming unsettled is not entirely down to the sale of wells.

    Last season saw the club earn millions and this season home attendances have grown to a number which should financially cover the wage bill add the money from sky and we should be in profit again..

    Add the money from the wells sale the club are doing fine.

    Fans who go week in week out can see we need a new attacking central midfielder, another left back and now a new goal scoring front man.

    These fans also understand the need to use the loan market to save money on purchases, however I feel a little hard done by with the lack of ambition by not spending money to push for promotion again.

  16. Well balanced as ever Jason. I hope we have the better end of the deal, but refuse to believe that this wasn’t a deal done behind the club’s back long before January. Facing facts our former number 21 has had one good game in three months, and surprise surprise it was on sky. As far as I am concerned he knows all about rivalry and knew exactly what he was doing. Good riddance to him, let’s move on. The little shut never smiled anyway.

  17. A good article Jason. The sick feeling I have inside like so many others I’m sure is that I spent a lot of my hard-earned money over Xmas to take my kids to watch Nahki Wells and City and his now apparent feigning of injury cheated us and all those people who helped to pay his wages.

    • The Nahki injury element certainly doesn’t reflect well on the striker, but I’m not sure that he actually faked an injury against Swindon that day. To me he looked to be in a lot of pain as he went off. Whether he could have played against Notts County, I don’t know, but I (and no doubt everyone else) was under the impression he would definitely play against Bristol City prior to his departure. If he said he wasn’t fit to play against Bristol City, only to then play for Huddersfield, that is hugely, hugely disappointing. But that doesn’t mean he did anything wrong against Swindon.

      • Nahki was absolutely cooked at the end of Towns game against Millwall. He was sat on his @rse for a couple of minutes and had to be lifted up. I’d suggest he wasn’t fully fit and you should cut him some slack.

      • I hope you’re right. It would taint a glorious couple of years for him.

    • Absolutely bob on Rob,

      Nahki was a hero to my kids, and now I’m hearing talk of him feigning injury. I expected more quite frankly.

      lets just hope it was a good deal for the club and we move on.

  18. As previously noted on this excellent website I just hope the club has learn’t from the 2007/2008 campaign!? Losing Windass really derailed us and late loan signings could not steady the ship in time. We need a goalscorer, and a sprinkling of quality elsewhere, and then we can see out our maiden season In League One. On a separate, not entirely unrelated, note Oli looked very tidy on Saturday. The future looks bright.

  19. Excellent article, very refreshing to read a balanced view after reading a lot of the rubbish posted on other websites and forums.

    One point with regards to the deal that doesn’t seem to have been picked up is the impact of the salary cap. I am not clued up on all of the intricacies, however I understand that it is 60% of the clubs turnover and we are currently right up against this limit. If we had taken (for arguments sake) £2.5m for Nahki then that turnover is accounted for this year and increases our allowable salary this year. Any excess of this amount cannot be used next year (as we found out with the Capital One cup monies) so we would be in the same situation next season whereby we would need a windfall to increase our playing budget. If the deal has been struck at say £1.5m up front and the remainder based on appearance/goal/promotion/sell-on this should (although nothing is guaranteed) give the club a steady stream of income over the next few years which increases turnover and therefore allows us to have a larger playing budget under the salary cap. If the deal is structured this way, I believe it is a good deal for the club.

    As for Nahki’s choice of club, I don’t buy into all of the “lack of ambition”, “sideways move”, “they are a smaller club” nonsense. The fact of the matter is that Huddersfield Town are a Championship club and we are not and are unlikely to be for the next 18 months at the earliest. In that time at Huddersfield he will have 18 months Championship experience and if he progresses as he expects he will then he will be looking at a move to the Premiership at that time. If that doesn’t pan out then worse case he has a four and a half year deal on a much better wage than he was earning here. As much as we as Bradford City fans don’t like to admit it, Huddersfield Town are a very well run club whose policy of developing talent could see them competing at the top end of the Championship within a year or two.

    I respect Nahki for what he has helped the club achieve in his time here and don’t hold any resentment towards him. I think the deal will be much better for the club than the speculated fee suggests and hope that it can give us the budget to compete at the top end of League One next season.

  20. Interesting comments Jason but again presumptive. We really cannot be supportive (or otherwise) of a deal for which we do not know any details. We as supporters can only assess the impact of that deal although I accept this is down to opinion. The result of our remarkable goal scorer joining a club almost within walking distance was always going to raise hackles amongst City supporters, whatever the fee/add-ons. If Lawn announces sometime in the future of the additional fees earned, it may at that time (when the dust has settled) ease feelings but without details I shall be very suspicious that the Wells “preference” resulted in a deal that could have been bettered by the club.
    Further, the story that Wells only wanted to join Huddersfield raises speculation of potential tapping up prior to him being given permission to talk to the club on Friday afternoon (as reported). That and his supposed injury raise whole questions of his advisers role and for me (and probably thousands) leaves a nasty taste.
    I have some sympathy with the opinion of John W that the club should have reminded Wells he was contracted to us and unreasonable behaviour by the player could be met with internal discipline, but that may have been counter productive – and that would depend on Well’s character and we can probably guess where that might lead.
    Our club has also added fuel to this situation. I have no idea who authorised a Huddersfield’s publicity photo of Wells sporting a blue and white shirt being uploaded to our official web site – just not needed and inflammatory especially on match day.
    We have lost “heroes” over the years in transfers and I haven’t heard of players manipulating which club they went to. I respect players right to have a say in where they play but this situation is not Wells having a choice of clubs but apparently has dictated which club he was transferred to and thereby dictating the transfer fee we received whatever the structure of the deal. Hence John W’s opinion has some strength in establishing who does the deal.
    I am not convinced that a fee in June/July would be substantially less than market value in January other than some clubs desperate means to sign a “way out of trouble” or “the final piece in the jigsaw”. But the Wells preference has removed all that special purchase value and probably devalued the transfer fee anyway.
    That means we have to look at how desperate we were to raise money in January and brings into focus the overspend and whether that is the way to run the club. Yes a bargain season ticket base has been hailed as innovative and bringing the club back to the community. But that has to have knock on effects on the budget. I have no idea how the directors can regularly plan to over spend and sell on prised assets to exist if we don’t get promotion. (Last season can never be seen as a norm to follow).
    So Wells goes without a cult status for me. His goals were crucial at times and enjoyed but they are confined to the history books now – just as the BBC have omitted him from our records! I suppose any success he has will be rammed down our throats by Ogden on Look North. But surely we should be cutting our cloth whether a cheaper wage bill or a larger season ticket cost so we don’t find ourselves a selling club by necessity.

    • A good post Steve and your points are well made however, there is one particular point (your last sentence) that I think is suggesting we HAD to sell Wells to balance the books? My understanding is we offered Wells an improved contract to stay but he wanted away. All Clubs are ‘selling Clubs’. If a player is determined to leave there is very little a Club can do to stop it and that also applies to Clubs like Man U (Ronaldo to Madrid, Tevez to Man C) and Arsenal (Van Persie to Man U). I think if we had ‘cut our cloth’, was under budget, paying £100 more per season ticket but still a league 1 Club, Wells’ ambition to play in a higher league would still have remained.

      • Hi John
        My meaning is that we need to balance the books without relying on selling prized assets through necessity (good house-keeping). We have been through administration twice and whilst I believe the Rhodes/Lawn approach is to balance the books as far as possible, doing it through weakening our playing strengths now seems a bitter pill to swallow; its own-goalish and as I believe, puts the club in a poor negotiating position for any sale.
        I feel the directors lost control when they budgeted on the basis of his sale

  21. Looking over the years, Huddersfield have a history of selling their prize assets. Club on the up, plenty of money etc, why then do they sell their best players? I don’t like the fact he has gone to Huddersfield but if you can manage to ignore that little fact, in terms of potential future revenues from a sell on clause there can’t be many better clubs for him to have gone too. (I’m trying to give the cloud a silver lining).

  22. Good article Jason,

    Just a couple of points, David Baldwin might be able to answer if he is still reading this page, how much of the fee do we get up front, 20% 30%, etc ?

    Secondly, if we are due payment for every goal scored/appearance made is this paid as it happens, or all totted up and paid at the end of the season ?

    Couldn’t bring myself to watch his goal on Saturday, but rather enjoyed the Sheffield Wednesday highlights, and there were a few!

    • Hi Kevin

      I’m not sure if David will answer, but as the fee in undisclosed I don’t believe the club would be allowed to answer these questions.

      • Hi Jason,

        Not talking about the actual fee particularly, just how any transfer fee is paid to the selling club, presumably a % age now, more after 6 months etc………..

      • Would be interesting to know, I agree. When I next speak to David I shall ask him.

  23. “Western Stars Sports Club stand to profit handsomely from the sale of Nahki Wells in the January transfer window.

    As part of an agreement between Wells and Bradford City, Western Stars, under whose auspices Wells’s former local football team Dandy Town fall, will pocket £50,000 (about $80.000) in Fifa training compensation.” Bermuda Gazette

    Do Huddersfield pay or is this out of our receipts?

  24. Just out of interest is this the most commented article on WOAP?!

  25. Firstly, Jason well done on getting a balanced article published. Not easy when emotions have been taken to the limit and when there aren’t many facts to go on.

    I do have an answer to your title “Is the Nahki Wells transfer deal better than it looks”

    The answer is NO.

    I say this because we the fans have been given very few facts to go on.

    Fact – Nahki Wells has transferred to Huddersfield for an undisclosed fee and undisclosed add on payments.

    Errrr and that is it as far as I can see, that is it.

    I would welcome someone from the board (David Baldwin perhaps) to state when more facts will be divulged (if ever?). I would imagine there would be some sort of moritorium on keeping the fee and add ons a secret, but perhaps once the total fee hase been received and when the club owe nothing to Huddersfield to keep it’s silence, then it would be good if the board could committ to saying that when this point arrives, then the fans will be told.

    I’m currently putting the next issue of The City Gent together and we will of course be commenting on the Wells’s transfer in greater depth. CG191 is due out at the Port Vale home game, but if they win their FA Cup replay tomorrow night, CG191 will not come out till the Crewe game on Feb 8th.

  26. Not got the time to read all the points on here but John W. seems to the main protagonist that we were robbed and we should have been stronger.

    I am just as annoyed about player power and agent meddling but to say he should rot in the reserves is madness. We have to take the best money we can get. Overall this was by selling him town. Not necessarily cos they offered the most but because HTFC, Nahki and his agent knew they had all the cards.

    I would love some clubs to show some players that they can’t act like this, but BCFC in 2014 isn’t in that position. Even Man City had to swallow pride over Tevez!


    • Just to change the subject slightly – I don’t think we should hold our breathe for the big sell-on fee.

      Nakhi was great for City, he and speed that most defenders in Division 4 and 3 couldn’t cope with – but I never saw him as a premiership player. For one thin g he’d be up against defenders just as fast but also more skilful than him, and well able to muscle him off every ball. City’s opposition in the last few years have not been able to do that because he could use his pace to get away from them.

      This isn’t knocking him at all, he was a joy to watch and I loved him in our team. But I it does worry me all the outpouring over him going – get over it. He’s one player – the rest of the squad who got promotion and took us to Wembley must be a bit fed up hearing fans going on about it.

      So we don’t know how much money City got from the transfer. One question: what good would it do us as fans if we did know? Allow us to play fantasy football as to who we’ll sign as a replacement?

      Football at any professional level is business. Get on with supporting the Club. It and we will be here when Nakhi is a happy memory and no more.

      • If he scores 15-20 goals next season a premiership club will take a chance.. Look at the Gayle deal.. He did very little in the championship but got a move. Also Matt Jarvis, £12mil to West ham.. That basically paid for Gillingham to get promoted. Not saying it would work out. And don’t care. As long as it means we get that’s all that matters

  27. Is this the highest number of responses to a woap post ever?

    I’d just like to say it saddens me that the only way of progressing up the football pyramid is for huge sums of money to be pumped into your club rather than prudent financial management. I do wish those at the FA would try to address this matter rather than play along with the current status quo. City find it hard to compete financially even in league 1.

  28. Good to read a sensible article about this given the complete speculative nonsense on the T&A message board. The way I see it is that Nakhi was a brilliant player for City, we almost certainly wouldn’t have had the season we did last year without him. We can’t expect players to ignore the fact that they have comparatively brief careers and are entitled to make as much money as they can. With regards to him joining Huddersfield, at least it wasn’t Leeds United, think what opprobrium would have been heaped on him if he had.
    Keep up the excellent work

  29. I bet it was City more than Town stipulating no disclosure. It will all come out in time.

    In terms of payment for goals – we won’t be getting weekly cheques in the post!! More likely an extra payment at 30, 50, 75 and100 goals.

    We are going to have to pay much more in wages for anywhere close to a replacement, let’s hope we find someone who plays well with Hanson and for the team and is capable of putting the ball in the net. Consistent goal scorers are hard to find at most levels and cost quite a bit to bring in.

    I guess £1.5 million upwards is not bad for a 3rd division player, but not the unless we receive “silly money” the club led us to believe. I just think another week or so of negotiations would have been the prudent thing to do, there may have been bids from better Championship clubs to weigh up.

    All this talk of who is bigger, i am sure if you worked it out over history Huddersfield tend to finish higher in the league positions than City.

    It just feels like it could have been handled more professionally.

  30. Good article, balanced and accurate, in stark contrast to some of the histrionics seen on twitter recently! in essence, people have no idea what the price was. If wells is successful we are in the money, if he’s not then at least we have had some money to plan and sustain city’s current progress!

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