The Eoin Doyle dilemma

Written by Jason McKeown (research and input by Alex Scott and Tim Penfold)

As Gary Bowyer’s men rested up over the weekend, Swindon Town leap-frogged the Bantams in the table thanks to a brace of goals from a Bradford City striker.

Eoin Doyle has been in stunning form for Swindon Town, netting 16 goals in 16 matches to take the Robins to the top of League Two. Since making the loan switch from Valley Parade, Doyle has become the leading goalscorer in the top four divisions. His deadly form saw him crowned League Two player of the month for October.

16 goals, when City’s own leading goalscorer, James Vaughan, only has five. Within Valley Parade, it must be a source of embarrassment just how well Doyle is performing for a direct promotion rival. And with the January transfer beginning to creep onto the horizon, a major dilemma lies ahead. One we discussed at length on our recent podcast.

Doyle’s exploits doesn’t exactly suggest the decision to loan out Doyle was a particularly clever one. But it’s worth revisiting the circumstances behind the Irishman’s August departure to the County Ground. Bradford City’s summer transfer activity had been going well, but stalled due to the fact the club was sailing close to the edge of exceeding the League Two salary cap.

It was made public, for example, that City were trying to sign Callum Cooke on loan from Peterborough. And that Posh were more than happy to sanction the move. But unless Bowyer could trim the wage bill, further incomings were in doubt. An unconvincing start to the season – draws against Cambridge and Grimsby, plus a League Cup hammering to Preston – only increased the urgency to strengthen.

The problems were all tied to the legacy of the summer before, where Edin Rahic embarked on an expensive recruitment drive with no one to resist his worst impulses. Doyle was bought as a direct replacement for Charlie Wyke, on a transfer fee rumoured to be around £200k. It is thought Doyle became one of the highest paid members of the squad.

At the end of a season that resulted in a needless relegation, City crashed into League Two with sizeable losses and a large number of under-performing players on high wages. In the circumstances, any offers from other clubs would be heavily considered. But it was telling that most of City’s underachievers attracted little interest. Doyle was one of the few to be linked with other clubs. And, as Bowyer’s rebuild included bringing in proven strikers Clayton Donaldson and Vaughan, it looked as though he was on borrowed time.

Doyle started in those first three games, but carried on where he left last season in struggling. Confidence was low. And the 4-3-1-2 formation deployed to accommodate him looked ineffective. This, coupled with a weak central midfield that needed strengthening, understandably made Swindon’s offer for Doyle attractive. If Bowyer had been flush with offers for last season’s squad – say clubs wanted to sign Hope Akpan or Anthony O’Connor – the manager might have opted to keep Doyle and sacrifice someone else. But he didn’t have that luxury, so had to make the call. It’s believed Swindon are paying most of Doyle’s wage. Not a bad deal, for what appeared to be damaged goods.

Yet Doyle has rediscovered his form and touch. Watching Swindon’s goals this season, the quality behind so many of Doyle’s strikes is obvious. He looks an accomplished forward. Utterly clinical in front of goal. Everything that he wasn’t during an unhappy year at Valley Parade.

Amongst City supporters over recent weeks there has been much soul searching. Is the club, in fact, a graveyard for strikers? Why can Doyle do it for Swindon but not for City? What did we do wrong? There’s no denying that Doyle was used badly at times. He is not a targetman, but last season was regularly asked to perform that role.

Whilst clearly some responsibility rests on the shoulders of Michael Collins, David Hopkin and even Bowyer for not getting the best out of Doyle, these things are never black and white. Doyle came for a big fee, and was paid well by the club. Watching him flourish now, when he struggled so much at City, does leave you feeling short-changed.

Like so many of last season’s team, Doyle let down the club by playing below his potential. At times, his body language was very poor. Three different managers can’t all have got it wrong with him – at least without Doyle sharing some accountability.

Doyle’s career has been far from flawless. Study his past history, and there are plenty of instances of him failing to succeed at other clubs. On three occasions – for Chesterfield in 2014/15 (25 goals in 33 games), Oldham in 2017 (13 in 21) and now Swindon – Doyle has enjoyed a stunning burst of form. But at other times, he has been goal shy. Just ask supporters of Cardiff (5 in 18), Preston (7 in 44) and Portsmouth (2 in 12). There’s a reason Doyle is playing in League Two – he lacks consistency.

By loaning Doyle to Swindon in August, coupled with Blackpool taking on Sean Scannell, Bowyer was able to significantly strengthen in areas that were needed. Doyle and Scannell funded the arrival of Harry Pritchard. Of Dylan Connolly. Of Cooke. And of Aramide Oteh. These players have all had a positive impact at Valley Parade. Pritchard and Cooke rival Ben Richards-Everton for player of the season so far. Connolly’s tricky wing play and Gary Jones-style tub-thumbing has made him a huge hit with fans. Oteh has scored three goals in his last six games.

City are unquestionably a stronger side for these four arrivals. And that’s why, even with the benefit of hindsight, it remains difficult to argue the Bantams were wrong to loan out Doyle. The style of play under Bowyer could still be more bold and attractive at times – it’s undoubtedly hurt Vaughan – but the results are very encouraging. And even though City now trail Swindon by three points in the league, they have two games in hand. Would they be in this position now, had they kept Doyle? Especially the Eoin Doyle of August.

The strange irony of the loan deal is that, without signing Doyle, Swindon would not be a top three side right now. And without loaning out Doyle, City would not be a top three side right now either.

But that doesn’t change the fact there’s a big decision to make in January.

With each goal that Doyle nets for Swindon, the calls for City to recall him grow louder. It’s not clear whether they have a clause to bring him back when the window opens, but the fact City wouldn’t allow Swindon to play Doyle in the FA Cup suggests an option exists. Doyle can only play for two clubs in the same season, so is either going to spend the second half of this campaign in Wiltshire or West Yorkshire. The Swindon manager, Richie Wellens, must be concerned that Bowyer didn’t allow Doyle to be cup tied. It shows Bowyer is not ruling out bringing Doyle back.

However, the situation is complicated by financial fair play – the same reason why Doyle moved to Swindon in the first place. The EFL rules state League Two clubs can spend no more than 55% of their turnover on player wages. So as it stands, bringing Doyle back would likely push them over the threshold and facing a punishment.

To recall Doyle, City would either have to send two or three out of Cooke, Connolly, Oteh and Matty Palmer back to their parent clubs, or find a way to increase their turnover. It’s unlikely Bowyer would be willing to sacrifice anyone beyond possibly Oteh, who probably isn’t on significant wages anyway. It therefore appears City must increase turnover so that Doyle can be incorporated into the 55%, or he will have to remain a Robin.

We’ve made a number of reasonable assumptions of how much money might be needed, based on what we roughly believe Doyle’s City wage to be, factoring in the pay cut he and others endured because of relegation from League One, and the proportion of wages we understand Swindon are currently paying. This has led to us estimating that bringing back Doyle onto his full wage would cost an additional £70,000-£80,000 over the remainder of the season. We might be wrong on this figure, but probably aren’t far off.

Whilst £70,000-£80,000 isn’t insignificant to find, it could be achieved within the next fortnight. If City can get past Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup first round replay, they’ll collect £36,000 prize money. Defeat Mansfield in round two, and that’s another £54,000 – making £90,000. And that’s before the possibility of achieving a lucrative FA Cup third round draw.

Bowyer must surely be taking the FA Cup seriously, as there’s a very realistic path to the third round that can now be achieved without leaving Bradford. If you’re a Swindon Town fan, you’ll be frantically supporting Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night. For how well their season is going, there’s a shadow emerging over the County Ground. On the basis of Swindon’s less-than-inspiring performance at Valley Parade in October, when Doyle couldn’t play, they’d struggle if they lose their top scorer in January.

If City don’t get through the next two rounds of the FA Cup – and assuming that commercial revenue from holding random events at Valley Parade like a Manchester United legends night next March doesn’t generate £80,000 – Stefan Rupp could face some pressure in January. EFL rules state cash injections are classed as turnover. So if Rupp was to put more money into the club – but not a loan that he can claim back – it can bulk up the 55% ratio.

Essentially for every £1 spent on wages above the 55% threshold, Rupp would need to inject £1.81. So this would mean gifting around £126,000-£135,000 directly from his own pocket. That’s a fair amount of money, but the potential rewards of promotion could justify the outlay. The consequences of leaving Doyle at Swindon, and City losing out on promotion to the Robins, could be felt for years to come.

The bottom line is that the deal to loan out Doyle in August was logical. Had he remained at Valley Parade, he would not have just scored 16 in 16. City probably wouldn’t be in the top three. And we’d have spent the last three months growing more and more frustrated about our weak midfield.

But with Doyle rejuvenated, it’s difficult to see why a place can’t now be found for the country’s leading scorer. Even if Doyle returns as a bit-part player behind Vaughan and a fit-again Donaldson, he might play enough of a role to get City over the line.

It promises to be a very interesting few weeks. And as we get closer to January, Swindon fans will be fretting about the situation as much as City supporters. By a strange quirk of the fixture list, City are scheduled to go to the County Ground just after the transfer window opens. Although if the Bantams can make the third round of the FA Cup, the game will be rescheduled.

Whenever City do travel to Swindon, home fans will be fearing Doyle will indeed be playing. Only this time, whilst wearing a Bantams’ shirt.

Categories: Opinion

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32 replies

  1. How interesting. Well said. I think so much depends on the results until the new year. We must also factor in what bowyer does in the transfer window. Very interesting and rather exciting times.

  2. Great article as always Jason. Hypothetical question; if it was your decision, what would you do?

  3. Great article, and insight with the FA Cup being mentioned and I never knew we didn’t want him to be cup tied.

    For me, let him go in January, we don’t need a fee. We’ll save on his wages and that will only put ourselves in a stronger position

    He’s not a Gary Bowyer player, he has no pace, height or power so doesn’t suit our style of play. Also, things change very quickly and I’d be amazed if he manages to keep up this scoring ratio for an entire season, surely it’s a purple patch ?

    If we brought him back apart from the financial disaster, we’d still have to try and accommodate him, we look good let the gaffa stick to his prinicples

    Also, being a striker for Bradford City is a lot harder than being a striker for Swindon, we have double their attendance on home games. How often does a striker sign for a big club, then struggle and is let go to a smaller club where they do better again? Look at Lukaku for Milan after leaving Man U he’s banging them in again like he did for Everton

    The same people who are crying out for Doyle to return are the same people who were slating him last year

    Let the player be happy, it’s a high risk scenario suggesting anything otherwise, form is temporary and injury is always just one game away

    Plus if Swindon rely on Doyle so much, that’s another game where they’ll be weaker against us again so I’d rather take the 3 points than worry about their form with us also

    Great article and insight as ever

    • Accidentally pressed the thumbs down on your comment..totally agree with it. Jason is right that it was a logical decision in the summer, and Bowyer’s subsequent signings he was able to make as a result, have played well. We are 3 points off the top, and have played 2 games less than Swindon. Surprised to see Jason climb onto the fence on the debate to bring him back. We should instead push for a transfer fee & sell him to them.

  4. I think Jason’s already put the case for bringing him back if finances allow! And it’s a case which is difficult to argue against in my view.

  5. Excellent article, I think we will insist that Swindon pay his full wages or else he will be brought back, although I appreciate the financial predicament.
    Progress in the cup is all the more vital.

  6. City’s finances via the FFP Rules already allows for the Club to increase their payroll this season by £660,000. This increased allowance is due to the £1.2 million Rupp put into the Club last season to cover monthly deficits and avoid breaking the FFP Rules. The £1.2 million is considered part of last season’s turnover and the increased payroll ceiling is 55% of that figure.

    In my opinion, there are no financial restrictions to City being able to bring Eoin Doyle back to Valley Parade. In stating this I’m also considering the fact that Rupp’s potential £3 million windfall will be applied to this season’s turnover. However, that windfall can be used to finance Doyle’s return. The assumed deficit for last season is £2 million which leaves a potential balance of one million for Rupp to pocket or reinvest in the Club.The decision is ultimately upto Rupp with regards to how much if any of the windfall will be reinvested in the Club.

    By my thinking the return of Doyle in January makes logical sense. Even if he sits on the bench it significantly handicaps Swindon’s chances of finishing ahead of City.

    • This is misleading Phil as Stefan loaned the money to cover the deficit and was paid back with the McBurnie money. Loaning money does not count as turnover under FFP rules. So your projections are wrong.

      • Jason, if what you say is accurate about Rupp’s financing was a loan and not a gift or the cost of increased ownership/investment in the Club you are 100% correct. However, in my opinion if Rupp structured the money to be a loan then City most likely would have broken the FFP Rules with the loan being considered additional debt.

        I seriously doubt that the additional financing would be structured in the form of a loan because of the potential penalties for breaking FFP Rules. Also, City’s financial year ends June 30th and by then he would have known about the potential McBurnie windfall. So why structure the additional financing being a loan rather than being a short term gift for instance?
        It doesn’t make sense to me that he would handicap his investment in the Club by considering the additional financing to be a loan. Surely he has more business sense than that???

      • Jason, if I may add a further point. I thought Rupp’s purpose of covering the monthly deficits was to avoid a financial crisis and avoid breaking the FFP rules. Surely if this additional financing was considered a loan the EFL would have taken corrective action by now because the loan would be compounding the Club’s debt load. Which would put the Club’s gross debt in excess of £5 million. Note City’s debt when Rupp purchased the Club was slightly over £2 million.

      • Phil, we are talking about two different things. Some of your comments are full of conjecture and are a separate discussion. So let’s clear this up.

        This article is talking about the League Two salary cap rules, which relate to turnover. Ie you can only spend 55% of turnover on wages. Debt and turnover are two different things. In the context of Doyle’s wages, debt isn’t the key focus.

        It is well publicised that we made a loss last season that Stefan covered. It is also well publicised that the McBurnie money was mainly used to pay back Rupp for covering those losses. It is an entirely seperate point to what we are discussing.

        We all know you have issues with Rupp after months of comments. That’s your perogative to feel that way. But it isn’t the debate we are having here. So can I kindly ask you to stick to the Doyle discussion rather than the debts that Rupp covered. This can be debated another day.

        We are talking about the rules on turnover.

      • Jason, I am responding to your article and the conjecture on how the Club could come up with the financing to bring Doyle back in January. I am saying there should be no financial issue unless the money (£1.2 million) to finance the monthly deficits last season was considered a loan. Ask yourself, why would the sole owner of a business lend himself money. In my opinion, this would definitely break the FFP Rules for added debt. If this is the case, why haven’t we heard from the EFL?

        In my opinion, it was not a loan and that is the reason for the EFL staying quiet. If I am right the £1.2 million emergency financing will be considered part of turnover and adds an additional £660,000 to the payroll ceiling for this season.

        On June 30th, surely Rupp was aware of the likely McBurnie windfall and the importance and negative consequences of adding his financial assistance to the debt load in the form of a loan??

        Makes you wonder if he is truly the sole owner of the Club? Maybe there are partners in the German Holding Company? I know this is speculation on my part but that is the only logical reason I can think of for him making the financial assistance a loan.

      • Again, your argument is completely full of conjecture, wild speculation and is irrelevant to the League Two salary cap rules that we are discussing. I don’t know how much longer I can stay polite about this. Could you please, kindly, stop this.

      • Jason, talking about conjecture and speculation, please tell me what factual evidence you have that the financing was a loan? At no time has Rhodes referred to the promised deficit “covering” being a loan. After all, Rupp was a party to the gross mismanagement of the Club.

        Jason, how do you know for a fact that the financing was a loan. I hope your not relying on unnamed sources, again?

        From a business point of view it makes no sense for a sole owner to lend his company a loan which will handicap the business for the following season. Especially, when he was looking at an imminent financial windfall.

      • “Bradford City set for £2.5 million plus windfall on McBurnie sale” Telegraph and Argus, 31 July 2019

        “The majority of the money City are set to receive will go directly to owner Stefan Rupp to pay back the amount he has had to splash out to cover the excesses of the Edin Rahic reign.

        “Rupp threw in an extra £1.2 million last season to cover debts but has still provided Gary Bowyer with a competitive £2.5 million wage budget for League Two.”

        This quote clearly shows that Rupp put money in to cover losses, and when the McBurnie windfall came in he was paid back.

        In other words: he loaned the money and was paid back.

        For the final time before I have to ban you again for irrelevant posts, please can we now draw a line under this. Thank you.

  7. The very best way for this to become irrelevant is to hit the top very soon..and then stay there. Considering winning yesterday would have seen us top already, and without Eoin Doyle, means our squad is already capable of winning the title. Vaughan and Oteh to be fair have both recently already been in in scoring form themselves..and i agree Doyle is unlikely to win the title single-handedly for Swindon. He’ll need others there to chip in, which is variable, and only needs a slight loss of form himself or an injury for their pace of points collection to slow. Indeed beating them in Jan could be long as we’re already top and then pull away a little further. I actually think Doyle could help us to win the title…by scoiring for Swindon against Forest Green, Crewe, Cheltenham, Exeter and Newport, etc.
    City top and Swindon second..both go up..well clear of all the rest !

  8. To be honest I think bringing him back expecting he will do the same here is such a huge gamble and one that I feel the words are stacked against. Style of play, past history with club and also potential negative reaction by player if recalled are all factors why he may not continue the scoring if he came back.

    More importantly we are creating chances now with our loan players in midfield. We can not afford to mess up what is working well just because Swindon are playing well, would be cutting our nose off to spite our face.

    If we can win our games our destiny is our hands, we can’t play the second guessing game when there are so many variables.

  9. A good read. Scannell hasn’t figured much for the ‘pool; when he does it is usually in the ‘blows hot and cold’ category, which I am sure is of no surprise to anyone at Valley Parade. Pritchard is though probably in his natural habitat in League 2 but getting promoted is the immediate name of the game for you, isn’t it, and not if the likes of Pritchard can cut it in League 1 or above.

  10. Leave Doyle where he is. I couldn’t give two hoots what he’s doing at Swindon. All I know is that the guy was an overpaid failure during his time at City, barely looking interested at times, no power, no pace and even struggling to control the ball, and there is no guarantee he wouldn’t return to type, if Bowyer recalled him. I’d far rather have Cooke and Connolly than bring Doyle back.

  11. Jason, please do us all a favour and ban woody canuck, in his new guise of Phil W.

    The T & A banned him for his obsessive posts and he’s turned up there again with a new name.

    We appreciate that “Width of a Post” takes up a lot of your family time, without having to spend time having to reply to his fantasy comments.

  12. Doyle’s body language never seemed positive when at Valley Parade, and if rumours are true that he was the bad egg in the changing room, even bringing him back to sit on the bench could have a very negative effect on what is currently a TEAM and not a bunch of mediocre individuals like last season, let’s give these players the credit they deserve and hope the heart and pride for playing for the club continues to get us the results we need and let Swindon worry about themselves.

  13. Jason, if you could bear with me for one last comment on this subject. The T&A article you refer to mentions nothing about a loan being repaid. My interpretation is that Rupp made a short term investment in the Club and he is now being reimbursed. Not a word in that article or previous comments from Rhodes refers to the emergency financing being a loan.

    In conclusion, Rupp made a promise of emergency funding/further investment and he has now been repaid. Why would a business owner replace one form of debt with another form of debt when the net result would not change the indebtedness of the business?

    • In legal terms that won’t stand up in court. Everything has to be written in to the books by an accountant and if on the books the money is to be repaid it becomes a loan. If it is not declared as a loan then it cannot be repaid.

      Failure to do this would be tax evasion too

  14. great article Jason shows what complications there are in signing a player, But why is Doyle playing so well is it because he has burnt his bridges with us and has to look for another club i hear Swindon will not be able to pay his full salary so by the next transfer window he will want to be moved on, Guess he is running out of time

  15. I’d offload him in the January window. If we can get a few quid for him then so much the better. I’m sure there’s a few clubs sniffing around him given his current form, so Swindon could lose out even if we didn’t recall him but another club made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.

    I understand that Swindon have effectively built their team around him? We never did this and this may explain why he struggled with us. Unless we did make changes to accommodate him, then I don’t see him hitting the same numbers with us as he has at The Robins.

    The other risk is that if he gets injured or picks up a suspension, he’ll be a massive miss for Swindon, as he seems to be their main goal machine. Whilst our front two haven’t banged them in in the same numbers, we have goals across the team and this mitigates the risk associated with one player being key to the team’s success.

    I think bringing him back would be a massive risk both in terms of any uplift in team performance and also running close to the FFP limit

    • Nice idea, but FIFA Transfer Regulations currently state that a football player is only allowed to be registered with a maximum of three clubs in one season. This also applies regardless of what country that player has plied his trade in, whether that is in Europe, Africa or South America. During this period, the player is only eligible to play official matches for two clubs.

      So as Doyle has played for us and Swindon, he could not play for another club this season. His contract expires at the end of the season, so he has virtually no resale value. He may as well sit it out and become a free agent and get a bigger signing on fee!

  16. This is clearly simple, no scentiment, no arguing, no messing, if you require to strenthen your squad for Promotion to get out of a league we should not be in due to a Crank who messed up our City and with that in mind, you can have the Highest Scoring Striker in the whole Country at your disposal.

    Now let’s look at this from a Premiership point of view, if this was Klopp and Mo Salah was out on loan and scored 16 from 16 and wanted to win the Premiership, what do you think Klopp would do?

    Yes, it’s a No Brainer…..

    Bring Him home to the place where He belongs, to the Valley to see the CITY…..

  17. Caddis now at Swindon. A free agent who seems to have struggled to find a club since he left VP.
    It gives one an insight into Swindons finances though.
    I doubt they have the money to offer us a fee for January. Few clubs at L2 level pay transfer fees.
    So like the fans who thought we should hold out for millions for Wyke, the reality is that we wont be offered much for Doyle.

  18. Great Article Jason. It is an interesting decision for Gary Bowyer. Just a couple of points. Swindon currently have the top two highest scorers in L2 so whilst they may have under performed or been out played when we beat them and Doyle may suite their style of play, we shouldnt write the of as a one man team.

    Secondly, their is no doubt that Doyle didn’t score as many goals or perform to the standard we wanted, but to be honest that could be said about all the team last term. However if you look on BBC sports Web site for league 2 scorers it gives the ratio of shots on target. Doyle is 65% which if your were able to look at his shots on target for last season around this time you would see he was also the highest in L1 at 62 % my view is that the whole team were too inconstistant. If the team who played Rochdale, last December had given the same performance each week we would be in the Championship now….but that’s football.

  19. Great article but find it hard to believe we paid the amount stated for Doyle 200k noticed a reference to Rahic again in this and could not help but think back to the awful video when he and Abbott where discussing to sign Wyke for £250k and how difficult and painful it was to watch, a younger player who was scoring plenty of goals in league 2 also and who is now struggling both at his current club and league 1.
    The bottom line for me is Doyle is no longer a league 1 striker and Wyke is struggling at that level we have signed Vaughan & Donaldson who are also ok at this level it’s a case of you get what you pay for.
    If we get promoted Vaughan & Donaldson would struggle at a higher level and Doyle also I can see Wkye being loaned out from Sunderland or transferred at a loss of money for them.
    Without Doyle we are making progress again with what we have why upset and change the formula with something that did not mix he might be in a purple patch like a previous reply said might not score again after January who knows let’s please move on wish him well if we get some money for him take it if they take on his contract take it he’s clearly happy there.

  20. Jason

    That’s an interesting article on the possible future of Eoin Doyle. But unfortunately there are a couple of connected errors in it relating to how FFP or more accurately the Salary Cost Management Protocol (SCMP) operates in League 1.

    Firstly quoting ‘55%’ of turnover as the limit imposed by SCMP is wrong. I suspect what you really meant to write is that the playing budget under SCMP is limited to 50% of turnover. That looks to be a minor mistake but leads on to the second and more fundamental mistake.

    SCMP has two distinct components. The first component restricts player based expenditure to 50% of what is termed the club’s ‘Relevant Turnover’. This is the season’s normal turnover from ticket sales, catering profit, merchandising profit, advertising, sponsorship and the club’s distribution from the PL’s solidarity fund and the EFL’s TV rights contract.

    The second component is what some might call windfalls and the EFL terms ‘Fortune Income’. This includes money received from cup runs (beyond Round 1) and importantly net transfer fees and sell-ons. Any equity injected by the owner injects into the club is also included but as you say that does not extend to loans provided directly or indirectly by the owner. 100% of Fortune Income is allowed in the setting of the SCMP. In a season when we are receiving a significant amount from the McBurnie fee and in previous years when we have received substantial amounts linked to the Wells and Wisdom sell-ons, this is particularly significant. Every pound we receive from the McBurnie deal can be put into the playing budget if the owner chooses to do so.

    Puting those two components together and doing the sums results in our clubs SCMP limit being significantly higher than the oft-quoted player budget of circa £3million. What that means in practice so far as Doyle’s possible return is concerned is that it isn’t the SCMP limit which is acting as a constraint; rather it’s the playing budget which Messrs Rupp and Rhodes have set for the manager which is the constraint.

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