Whether the timing was deliberate – as some suspect – or entirely coincidental, unfortunate and poorly thought-through, is up for some debate. However there’s little doubt that had this happened a month ago, or even a couple of weeks ago, there may have been some impact on sales. Equally, Brighton haven’t just accepted a delay to his signing of days or weeks just to suit us, so the chances are it may have all been tied up earlier today some time and the announcement was put back by a few hours.
This timing issue is a huge red herring however. Of more pertinence is whether the right decision has been made to accept a bid and allow Baldock to go.
I don’t blame him at all. I’ve had this argument too many times with too many people but still find it bewildering why fans think the player should owe the club something and miss out personally. He’s been offered the chance of playing at a higher level, probably for more money and at a club which appears to be ambitious, well-run and has a great fan-base. Who wouldn’t want to go?
This doesn’t prove we have no ambition. It proves we are a football club trying to run itself as a business and that we understand the impact of keeping a player – a captain – who may have become disillusioned had he felt he was being held back from furthering his career. The days of the likes of Cloughie clipping a young lad round the ear and telling him to get on with it are long gone. Some fans won’t like this, some will only see life through blinkered red glasses, but it’s real life and that’s just how these things work.