Is it an Eck of a Victory for Burnley?
Burnley FC have been instructed to pay Manchester United a compensation fee of £500,000 plus add-ons for defender Richard Eckersley following a FA Tribunal last Monday.
Eckersley was a free agent after refusing to sign a new contract with Manchester United and was signed by Owen Coyle last Summer. However due to his age, United were entitled to compensation and the two clubs could not agree a fee.
Burnley had no option but to have the matter decided by an FA Tribunal.
United had been hoping to secure a sum of over £1 million plus add-ons for the 20-year-old. Their valuation seemed ridiculously high since the defender had made just two appearances for the Red Devils and further more had yet to start a Premier League game this season for the Clarets.
The club's valuation of Eckersley was somewhat lower therefore than United's with a figure of £300,000 being reported by the local media and now confirmed by Chief Executive,Paul Fletcher on the Official Site.
"The outcome is satisfactory," said Fletcher.
"When the smallest club in the league tries to take on the biggest club in the league you always wonder how it's going to end up.
"But we thank the tribunal for taking a common sense approach to this.
"We have always valued the player around the £300,000 mark until he starts establishing himself in the first-team."
Fletcher added: "When Manchester United were asking a million-plus we thought we had to stand up and be counted and that's what we did.
"The tribunal was represented by administrators of the Premier League who have hopefully seen the common sense of the way Burnley tries to run its business with sensible numbers, rather than allowing ourselves to get into financial difficulties further down the line."
Fletcher attended the hearing in Manchester, along with Brian Laws, who inherited Ecklersley as part of his first-team squad after replacing Owen Coyle as manager, while manager Alex Ferguson and chief executive David Gill, along with club lawyers, were part of the United team giving evidence.
So Paul Fletcher has described the decision as nothing more than satisfactory and no doubt some Clarets fans will be wondering whether a player that does not appear likely to make his Clarets debut this season in the Premier League is truly worth half-a-million pounds, especially when the club continues to plead poverty. Could this be yet another expensive signing that Owen Coyle has lumbered the club with? Another signing for the future when we need players of the right quality now to avoid relegation?
Eckersley joined the club because he wanted to play Premier League football and felt Burnley FC would offer him that chance on a more regular basis. Tyrone Mears has of course made the right back spot his own this season but if we fail to avoid the drop, would Mears and Eckersley be happy to be playing Championship football next season? If the answer is yes then fair enough but if Eckersley wants to move would we be able to obtain £500,000 or more for the player on the transfer market and recoup our losses on a player that has rarely made an appearance?