The Alex Woodyard story reached a conclusion this weekend, but not the one many thought it might.
Social media has been alight with talk of a Luton move since well before the transfer market and a £120,000 bid was rejected in the week. This morning the club revealed his buyout clause has been met, a figure which would have been one of the highest the Imps had recieved for a player. Despite this and despite scurrilous social media posts, last season’s Player of the Year is going nowhere.
More on all that in a moment, but first a few words from the player himself, courtesy of the club website.
“I signed a new contract in the summer to stay with the club. I have been overwhelmed with the level of support I have had since I joined. It is a privilege to play in front of the best supporters in lower league football. We’ve done well so far in League Two and everyone can see what the club is trying to do. I’ve worked with the manager and Nicky for quite some time now and we are good for each other. They know how to get the best out of me. I’m ambitious and want to play at the highest level, but I believe I can do that here at Lincoln City. We all want to build something that will live on long in the memory and we can all be proud of. I don’t want to just be remembered for what we did last season. That has just created a platform to continue to progress even further in the Football League. I remain firmly committed to this cause and I am going to do all I can to continue to drive this club forward.”
So, Alex Woodyard is staying which is great news, also I’ve highlighted a passage for special attention. His industry and endeavour has been vital to everything we’ve done as a club since Danny arrived and, as Danny said last week, would it really be one of his teams without Alex in midfield? I think not.
Now to the conjecture. One assumes it is Luton Town who came in with the second bid. Talk of £120,000 is all well and good, but surely that is not the bid that is being talked about as (and I quote the clubs statement here) ‘if successful would have been amongst the highest ever fee received for a player by Lincoln City’. If memory serves me right, we got £750k for Jack Hobbs, around £500k for Gareth Ainsworth and around £250k for Matt Dickens. One assumes that the bid was somewhere in the region of that, representing profit if not entirely great business. How much is Alex Woodyard worth in real terms? Not financially, but as a component of our promotion bid?
The news does give fans another positive in the transfer window. Many ne’er sayers have had him down for a move for a long while, there’s an element of our fans that I believe want things to go wrong so they can moan again, but once again that hasn’t happened. Alex Woodyard has remained loyal to Lincoln City despite talk of having his head turned, talk of cash-hungry agents and a desire to move closer to home. Given that I still expect a departure this window, I’m delighted Alex isn’t part of a mass exodus.
Like Alex said though, why would he be? Why would a player want to leave Lincoln, certainly if he’s getting regular football? Yes, Alex has a good career ahead of him, but Danny and Nicky have proved they know how to handle him. His star has risen incessantly since he’s been with them and I think he’d be mad to jump ship now. It’s nice to know the player feels the same.
We’ll never be sure of the amount we were offered but I’d probably put it around the 200k mark at a guess. It isn’t them money that is important though, it is the message it sends out. We’re promotion candidates and although Luton (assuming it was them) are a bigger club, were on a journey to the same place as them. Once upon a time Alex would have gone, or rather players such as Alex would have gone. Every player has a price, every club bar perhaps two in the world is a selling club, but we’ve moved higher up the food chain. Sean Raggett is proof we don’t hold players back, Alex Woodyard is proof the move has to be right.
Every Lincoln City fan should afford themselves a wry smile this morning, this is good news indeed to wake up to. Cheers Alex, you’ve made my Sunday.
All pictures by Graham Burrell
LINCOLN CITY’S RECORD TRANSFER FEE’S RECIEVED
Jack Hobbs – Liverpool – £750k
Gareth Ainsworth -Port Vale – £500k
Darren Huckerby – Newcastle – £400k
Matt Carbon – Derby – £385k
Matt Dickens – Blackburn Rovers – £250k