The Jason Shackell sale

I wouldn’t say the sale of Jason Shackell has divided opinion – I think almost everyone wanted him to stay. People have tried to rationalise it and some are reserving judgement until all our business is concluded; but there is no doubt it hurts to sell your captain for what appears to be a modest fee.

To me, there are several details of the whole saga that don’t quite add up, or at least have explanations that aren’t public knowledge.

The first simple question is: why did a host of Championship clubs decide to pitch in with low-ish bids for our captain. What prompted newly promoted Charlton to think “let’s try and sign Derby’s captain and Ramspace player of the year for more or less what they paid for him”.

Conspiracy theorists may point to last summer. Barnsley signed Shackell for £500k, he had a good season as captain; they sell him for a small profit; he pockets a signing-on fee and better contract. Familiar? I’m speculating here but this has whiff of agent activity/contract clauses/gentlemen’s agreements which may or may not include things like: “have a

The look of a man who has done this several times before.

good season and we’ll renegotiate your contract (or sell you)” or “if we get any bids above £x”. As I say, speculation on my part but something other than Shackell’s good form seemed to have invited enquiries.

There has been a lot criticism aimed at the board over this one. A line I have no time for is “selling our best players again”. When was the last time we sold anyone against our will or had anyone good enough to sell? Hulse is an example people give but we actually declined four times what we got for him. Commons? We might have held him to his contract but we hardly cashed-in. A group of Billionaires who have already spent millions aren’t interested in splitting a few hundred grand profit between them.

The decision to sell Shackell seems to be entirely Clough’s although the need to be self-sufficient in the transfer market is of course the Board’s instruction. But why Shackell, especially with Barker missing the whole season? Clough has said we have received bids for a variety of players so it’s not as if Shacks is our only asset. The sale seems more strategic than necessary.

This is where the “reserve judgement brigade” are firmly camped (including myself). Clough obviously has a replacement lined up as well as a couple more players he thinks will improve us. If he gets as much for his million as he did with Fielding, Ward and Robinson last summer, then we might look back on this as a good piece of business. Even so, deciding that Shackell is the man to trade is a massive call by Clough (as C Spaceram has said) and one he can expect to be judged by every time we concede a goal.

Finally the fee, widely reported to be £1.1m. Although Glick said we’d previously turned down at least that, the figure seems to be sticking, so it’s fair to assume it’s not far off. Given the costs of buying and selling a player (agent fee’s, loyalty bonus for not requesting transfer, signing-on fee’s etc.), we wouldn’t have made much profit. The interesting thing for me is that Leicester and Cardiff, who have serious money, didn’t want to pay the extra few £100k. Were they serious bids or just testing the water because they’d heard he was available? Either way, this doesn’t seem an arm-twisting bid, so we can only conclude that it was a conscious decision to trade rather than a “too good to turn down” scenario. We’re not averse to trading (see our piece “When is the right time to sell”) but even so, circa £1.1m is hard to swallow.

So, a sudden end to an impressive Rams career for Jason Shackell.Burnley will be happy; Shackell will be happy (a four year contract for a player soon to turn 29 – how Paul Green must look on with envy); and Clough doesn’t sound to devastated. As for the rest of us…well, I, for one, am reserving judgement for now (whilst feeling slightly gutted).

S Spaceram

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Posted on July 5, 2012, in General Rams Comment and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Did we really need to trade for this price, We could have kept Shackell who also covers for Roberts at LB, our centre midfield is set and we have options out wide with Hughes, B.Davies, Jacobs and Ward who I suspect may get a run up front alongside Robinson/Ball/Tyson/Bennett. So we could have had a strong defence with options elsewhere and the possible addition of a loanee. Bucko and OB as our main CB pairing scares me and if a new CB arrives he will probably be young with little experience and would have to establish himself very quickly. I’ve looked at this from all angles and can only see the “push” up the championship has been put on the back burner and I feel like I’ve had a surgical proceedure.

  2. The sale of Shackell is an absolute joke! If he’d gone to a Premier League team for 4m, then that would have been understandable (and not unrealistic in my opinion). DCFC should not be selling their best players to clubs in the same division. It makes your rivals stronger and shows a total lack of ambition.

    I take your point about reserving judgement until we see a replacement, but can you honestly see anyone better than Shackell coming in? I seriously doubt it. I’ve been a season ticket holder since 1996, and am sick and tired of constantly being kicked in the teeth after spending my hard-earnt money every year.

  3. paul kitchen

    The club had stated (Glick & clough) on more than one occasion that we didn’t have to sell players but, if we recieved an offer that was too good to turn down then it would have to be considered. I think most football fans understand that every player has a price. But, if our board consider £1.1m too good to turn down for a prized assett then, i genuinely fear for our future with these people running our club!!!!

    • I’ve got a very optimistic feeling that Clough decided to trade now because one of his targets has suddenly become available. We’ll see what happens this week.

  4. I wish I shared your optimism. Agree with Quinney & the others who have posted here.

    There is nothing in the article above about what Shackell brought to the team. OK, we still conceded goals, but we were rarely overrun. It can’t have been coincidence that other players played well around Shackell, Gareth Roberts improved (the two had played alongside each other at Doncaster) & youngsters like OB & Naylor were able to settle quicker in a back four that suffered disruptions.

    Added to that, JS was our best available defender after the loss of Barker & captain. In a young side, he brought experience. At nearly 29, he still offers a great deal. It is ironic that Burnley have bought him to bring leadership to a young side.

    Yes, there may be more than meets the eye regarding the sale. Perhaps Shackell’s agent asked about the possibility of extending his contract , like we did Barker’s, (& improving JS’s wages).

    Shackell mentioned on the BBC website about being sold for money reasons, so I am not sure the decision was purely sanctioned by Clough for ‘strategic reasons’.

    I think it’s wise to wait and withhold judgement but I think the board have misjudged the situation and created another problem instead of solving one.

    • Thanks for the comment. I didn’t set out to discuss Shackell’s qualities but agree with your comments and voted for him for player of the year for what its worth.
      I don’t think “strategic” and “for money” are necessarily different reasons, I just meant Clough had chosen to sell to boost his kitty – what he now does with it is another matter!

  5. Why would we pay 1.1 million for shackell and have a 30% sell on clause then only to sell him for 1.1 million and get only 70% of that. if eddie howe really wants him he would pay the 3-5 Million valuation.Im really annoyed that this rumour got this far.Many fans have told derbycounty they were annoyed and were promised by glick that shackell is staying and thats why he made a statement on the club site.Then nigel messed it up again by answering a question saying if a bid meets our valuation.Derby’s valuation would never be met burnley they didnt get 7 million cash for jay rod they got ad ons 4 million.They are highly unlikely to spend the straight 4 Million on shackell.So just drop it.

  1. Pingback: Keogh v Shackell the conclusion | RAMSPACE.CO.UK

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