Football

Stephen Bradley Feels LOI Clubs Need Major Change To Extract Value From Players

Stephen Bradley Feels LOI Clubs Need Major Change To Extract Value From Players

The last few weeks has seen a number of League of Ireland players move across the Irish Sea to British teams. The likes of Ross Tierney and Johnny Kenny have moved to Motherwell and Celtic respectively, with Bohemians and Sligo Rovers receiving transfer fees for their squad members on those occasions.

However, not all clubs have managed to do so.

Each year, the League of Ireland offseason is met with quite a few footballers leaving these shores on free transfers. These are often among the biggest talents in the division, meaning clubs often lose their most consistent performers without receiving any form of compensation.

This has long been seen as somewhat of an occupational hazard for football clubs in this country, with the short-term nature of contracts handed out to players leaving them with little leverage when it comes to negotiating transfer deals. This is something that Stephen Bradley feels needs to change.

Speaking after winning the Soccer Writers' Dan McCaffrey Personality of the Year award, the Shamrock Rovers manager said League of Ireland clubs need to produce longer term deals if they are to receive full value for their players moving forward.

You can't demand certain fees if you're giving part-time contracts, one-year deals, 38 weeks, and then you expect to get half a million for a player.

It's not going to happen. If you want the respect of teams outside of this country then you have to respect your contracts and what you're giving the players. It's quite simple.

If half the players that leave here were in Scandinavia, would they be worth half a million? Of course they would, but that is because of the way they run their clubs and the length of contract. Teams respect that and you have to build it up over a period of time.

We have been trying to do that for a number of years and we've done quite well in that regard. I think we have to be very careful. Do we feel that certain players are worth a lot more money? Of course we do.

Ross Tierney goes away and he's obviously a very, very good player but we have to understand that the deals we're giving them, what's happening will keep happening and that's the bottom line.

You can't have it both ways. You can't say to players at the end of the year 'go sign on the dole' but if someone comes in we want half a million or a million - it's not going to happen.

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Some clubs have become shrewder when it comes to negotiating these deals. Not only have many become less willing to accept knockdown fees, but inserting sell-on clauses into transfers can also produce an even larger windfall down the line. Bohemians are rumoured to have netted around €1.5million via this method after Matt Doherty's move to Spurs back in 2020.

Longer contracts will no doubt be a part of that moving forward, finances permitting.

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Gary Connaughton
Article written by
Beleaguered Westmeath man, constantly trying to recreate the buzz of the 2004 Leinster final replay.

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