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Undisclosed fees? Oh please!

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 23, 2014

By Tom Sloan

THE PRICE IS RIGHT... Billy Kee moved to Scunthorpe this week but reports of a £250,000 fee are way off the mark.

THE PRICE IS RIGHT... Billy Kee moved to Scunthorpe this week but reports of a £250,000 fee are way off the mark.

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LEAVING a transfer fee undisclosed is something we increasingly see in football – and it's something I'm not particularly keen on.

There used to be a time when virtually all fees were declared, sometimes along with a new player's wage packet.

I recall Stefano Eranio's £15,000 a week coming out in the Press when the outstanding Milan midfielder joined Derby County in the late 1990s.

It spoke volumes of the club's ambition as they looked to mix it with the Premier League elite. What a player he was, too.

Also, a few years earlier, when Lionel Pickering reached for his cheque book, Rams fans were thrilled as the fees built up on players like Marco Gabbiadini (£1 million) and Tommy Johnson (£1.3m).

Again, there was a statement of intent as the money flew about. While it didn't really work – the Rams were only promoted once wheeler-dealer Jim Smith arrived, coincidentally signing a young Gary Rowett – it generated a massive buzz.

Now, the fashion seems to be for leaving the fee undisclosed. Often, this fuels speculation, as we've witnessed with the recent transfer of Albion star Billy Kee to Scunthorpe.

Torquay, his former club, bought into the speculation and thought they were in for a massive cash windfall from their sell-on fee after a '£250,000' fee was paid by Scunthorpe.

The fee is unknown: but what is certain is that it isn't a quarter of a million quid!

No League One club in their right mind would pay that for a player with less than 12 months left on his contract and who isn't even guaranteed a first-team place in League Two, talented though he is.

So, leaving the fee undisclosed is a double-edged sword.

It maintains a club's privacy, and should they receive a whopping fee for a player, stops other clubs from automatically hiking the price of their players when the newly enriched club comes knocking.

Mind, in the era of player power, if someone really wants to move it tends to happen, so this argument could perhaps be redundant.

But what all this does is leave those that really matter – the fans – completely in the dark.

And in the case of Torquay, seemingly a club as well.

Football should be more open – and it would be a better, more interesting place if it were.

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