He didn’t play today due to some sort of miscellaneous injury, and now the word is spreading quite rapidly that Leon Clarke wants out. At time of writing the latest news from a Sky Sports journo is that he has handed in a transfer request, while the Telegraph suggest that he may be off, but hasn’t handed anything in just yet. If there was a request, this presumably comes with a view to forcing through a move which we’ve shown signs of rejecting. The other interpretation is that he’s been told to do so by the powers that be in order to help them create some convenient mitigation or appeasement of any fans’ backlash.

Taking the first issue, I’ve never fully accepted how player power manifests itself. Indulge my wanton naivety for a moment, but is it really too much to expect a rejection of any offer even if he does want to go? We’re often told that “the player wanted to go, so there wasn’t much we could do”, but ignoring all the givens and clichés – can Coventry City not just say no?

The supposed risk is that the player becomes deeply unhappy and his performances drop. But again let’s imagine this isn’t Football Manager, will this level of resentment genuinely result in him playing uselessly? Either through a subconscious desire to do so, or heaven forbid in a despicable display of defiance?

Even with the widely accepted idea that Leon Clarke can be a bit of a bastard, is he really going to risk sabotaging a potential future move by playing like a moron for the rest of the season? Or will he realise that the club simply can’t afford to let him go and just get on with it?

Or is the issue more with the fans? Are boards and managers worried that a transfer request renders his relationship with us untenable?

Or, is it an ethical one. Can we really stand in his way of one final payday? You’d rarely get it in the real world, but let’s face it, contracts in Football are quite, quite different to somebody wishing to leave their job in admin at the council.

At Coventry we rarely get an opportunity to find out the answers in a situation like this as the club appears to always step aside and sell, regardless of what’s best for the playing squad. But I do wonder if he has handed in a request, for once, couldn’t we just say no?

And if we did, how forgiving would we be of his open desire to leave?

Just some questions.


  1. It’s a great point – just look at how Liverpool handled Suarez – refusal and now a long term deal. Trouble is, we aren’t Liverpool and we can’t offer Leon much more than League 1 football again next year, and we aren’t going to be in a position to say we’re about to spend £20 million getting us back to the Premier League anytime soon. So he is going to leave. At some point. So now it’s about money. Let us say we can get £750,000 for him today (that might be asking a lot, but let’s start there). Then we will only get £500,000 for him in the summer as his contract starts to wind down. Then £250,000 next January. Then nothing. So yes, we can say “no”, but I’m afraid we’d be the losers in that scenario, given we can’t raise the stakes and offer him anything remotely comparable. I don’t know why people seem surprised at him or the club to be honest. Players want to play as high as they can, we need the money, he’s on fire, other clubs have cash – it was always going to end this way.

    1. Far too correct for my liking Rich. You’re absolutely right, I just wish it didn’t always have to be this way. Oh to have the Ricoh and those 10 points now. You’d have to think that’d make him think twice.

      1. In 1983 (?) I was standing next to Gary Gillespie having a wee. I told him he was my favourite player. He told me not to bother as he was off to Liverpool in the morning. My illusion of players showing any loyalty to anything was shattered at the age of 13. There will always be someone bigger to tempt them. All we can do is focus on supporting the ones we have as much as we humanly can. But don’t expect anything in return. Ever.

  2. Two ways Pressley can go, fork out on wages for a proven scorer and also Dagnell to keep the playoff challenge alive (maybe go for Boyd who’s still scoring at killy or Lowe at Tranmere)

    Forget this season, plan for the future and use the money for five or so up and coming youngsters from our league and below.
    Leitch-Smith and Brett Inman from Crewe , those sort of players, young but with experience.

    As long as we keep Pressley we have hope, no player is bigger than the team and we still have Wilson, but gutted to lose Clarke.


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