Let’s face facts, I think we’ve seen the last of Sean Raggett in a Lincoln shirt. I think we’ve been expecting it, I have. I expected it in January.
I’m sure you’ve all seen the news today saying he’s talking to Norwich, and if he’s talking to them that means they have passed ‘stage one’, that of having a bid accepted. Clearly there has been an accepted bid, or a release clause met by the language of the reports. Judging by twitter tonight the release clause is for around £350,000. I would suggest the authenticity of the tweets is genuine. His agent couldn’t talk about his release clause until it has been met, now it has I expect he wants the figure out there to try to get other offers flooding in for his piece of red hot merchandise.
That might not seem a lot of money to some, but I don’t think it necessarily represents bad business. If the agent is as savvy as he seems to be, I’d imagine a release clause had to be added as part of us getting the player. The harsh truth is we shouldn’t really have stood a chance of getting Raggs, I would imagine (within reason) that he could have asked for anything. Anything other than astronomical wages that is.
Danny would never pay over the odds for a player in terms of wages, that is for sure. Lee Angol and Terry Hawkridge are examples of us not spending unwisely, making sure we are getting value for money and most importantly, not upsetting the squad balance with disproportionate wages. However, if Raggs pushed for a release clause, surely that would be something we could use to barter properly for him? After all it is a guaranteed return for the player of a set amount, and as astute former teachers, used to squeezing every inch of value out of a pound coin, I imagine they saw it as a sensible move. After all, what has it cost the club in real terms? Nothing. Anyone who has played Football Manager games knows if you want to get the basic wages of a player down, you set a lower release clause. It works like that in the game for a reason, it’s close to real life.
I would imagine Dover are due a substantial portion of that money as well. I’d bet that figure is around the 30% mark, given the bias of the tribunal at the time. How on earth was a defender who had played all of his football at Dover worth £50k? £20k maybe, possibly £30k at a push, but I think £50k was a bit steep (I’ve even seen figures of £60k bandied about). We got stung, and a sell-on clause would have been set by the same tribunal that valued him so highly, not by us.
So if we do get £350,000 for Sean Raggett, you can bet £100k of that is going straight to Dover, leaving us with quarter of a million pounds That’s £200,000 in profit and a place in the Football League. Remember, without Sean Raggett we wouldn’t have beaten Forest Green and Eastleigh, and they’re just two games he got goals in. His goal earned us that money spinning FA Cup quarter final as well, how valuable was that?
When the deal eventually goes ahead I know there will be rumblings of discontent that he is worth half a million, a million or whatever. I’m sure there will be some who claim it is bad business, that the release clause was set too low, that the Dover percentage is too high. The fact is those things contributed to bringing him here, and I’d rather live with that than be travelling to Maidenhead and Ebbsfleet next season.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the news of his release clause being £350,000 doesn’t attract the attention of a couple of the other suitors. There’s no doubt if West Ham were interested they could afford the extra money, it is a drop in the ocean for them. Peterborough and Oxford might be willing to match it, but given the choice would you pick those two over Norwich or West Ham?
The sensible move for Raggs would be Norwich. They need a centre half, and having just released Ryan Bennett I think his first team chances would be high. He wouldn’t get that at West Ham, and the other two sides are in League One. The sensible move would be to a Championship club willing to give him the first team football he needs to continue to develop. The bar has been raised, and the argument he’d be best off staying here for another season doesn’t wash anymore. He could get injured early next season, he could lose form and see his value drop. This chance might not come around again, and he has to seize it whilst he can. this is his career, his value has never been higher and to keep it rising he has to move up quickly, while the going is good. His agent knows that.
The pertinent question is whether the release clause being met still allows us to stipulate a sell on clause to reap the rewards should he progress further and command a big fee. I’m concerned that won’t be the case, I think it’s too many angles within a deal. We would have to have been very tenacious to have considered that as a clause, and given we basically signed him inside a couple of hours I think it is a depth we probably didn’t get to. I might be wrong, but I think we have to look at where we are now, £200k better off, in the Football League and having had big FA Cup paydays due (in part) to Sean Raggett. You can get all caught up in ‘what ifs’ or ‘what might have been’, and you can miss the facts of the situation. Yes, Sean Raggett could be worth more, and yes without the clauses we could have reaped more from the deal. I just think without the clauses we might not have managed to secure Sean Raggett for a season, and frankly that is enough for me.
Photos by Graham Burrell