No one has the right to sell Francis so cheaply

Popular wisdom: Simon Francis had to be sold because City are in administration. Balderdash! Simon Francis should not have been allowed to leave Valley Parade.

No one at Bradford City at the moment has authority to sell Francis for what is a modest amount. If this club were not in administration then this is not an unturndownable offer for a player. £250,000 for one of our finest performers as we fight relegation? If we were not in administration then this would be called footballing suicide.

However we are in administration so we have to take whatever money is offered right? Wrong.

City are currently in a period of funded administration and have at least one confirmed offer on the table for the club. The Rhodes family have financially guaranteed this period of administration and, as is my understanding, have put in an offer to buy the club at the end of it.

Administration was called “a technicality”, something that could not be avoided but would not seriously effect the running of the club, and we were not to worry about the future which would be assured under the Rhodes family. For the record I still believe it will be but this is not about Julian and/or David Rhodes.

It is about the administrators who have received more than the single Rhodes bid to buy Bradford City as of Friday afternoon. When the club was made available for sale the playing squad was given a value of none although since then Andy Gray and Simon Francis have left for cash leading anyone who would be interesting in buying the club wondering how come the assets are marked down and why what is of value at their potential purchase is being sold.

Administrators are not asset strippers or liquidators. It is not their function raise money only to keep the club going until a deal that best suits the creditors is made and that administrative period had been guaranteed by the Rhodes family.

So if the administrators did sell Simon Francis then how could they be said to be acting in the best interests of the creditors? 19 year old footballers very rarely go down in value and Francis was, as I understand it, on very reasonable terms at Valley Parade.

Unlike seeing the back of Benito Carbone, Ashley Ward, Stan Collymore, Dan Petrescu, David Hopkin and just about every other face to leave VP in the past few years we did not need to get Simon Francis off the wage bill. His was the kind of wage club’s dreams are made of – good players on low money – and just as it is understood by all when a business goes into administration that it needs it’s staff to continue to run to allow the best deal for creditors a football club needs footballers.

We did not need to get Simon Francis’ modest wage off our wage bill to help us in administration – Hell it probably appears on the balance sheet as tiny next to the amounts being paid out to Ashley Ward to not play for us – and so administrators had no business selling him.

If it was not the administrators then perhaps it was on the order of the Rhodes family who, it is assumed, will be taking control of City after administration? I doubt that the Rhodes could have had much of a hand in this as a potential buyer of the club but if they had then they should not have been allowed to. They are one of a number of potential buyers and have no remit in changing what has been put up for sale after the event.

Like I say though it was probably not the Rhodes family and we all look forward to the day when they can complete the takeover of City and we can stop being subject to the financial melee we seem to find ourselves in and get some stability.

So if it was not the administrators, and one hopes it was not, and it was not the Rhodes family then who did sell Simon Francis? In my mind neither have enough of a remit to justify making this sale.

Perhaps it was someone at the club. One hopes it was not Shaun Harvey because he seems too canny a chap to allow the club to be raided like this and as chief executive he also does not have the remit to decide who stays and who goes. He enacts decisions made by the board or in this case administrators (and as said above they should not have been making them and by whoever is in control of the playing side which at the moment is Bryan Robson.

Robson has no remit to start selling players unless he puts pen to paper on a contract for next season.

It’s that simple. Until Bryan Robson commits to next season then he should not be getting rid of players who are contracted longer than he is. If Robson walks away in a few months time then the new manager will find a huge hole in the team where Simon Francis used to be and would justifiability ask how he is expected to bring in a player of similar quality for £250,000 should he get a transfer budget which one seriously doubts. A new manager might also look at Andy Gray and ask why no contract offer was made. He might wonder if this club had any concept of long term planning and he could be right if he concluded that we did not.

Robson can walk away and if he was the one who rubber-stamped Simon Francis leaving he can walk away leaving us much less of a squad than we had when he arrived. We accept that in the name of rebuilding but only if the one doing the releasing will be doing the signing in the summer. In my opinion Robson does not have the remit to start selling our players until he makes it clear that they are his players.

So who has sold Simon Francis? I’m sure that one of the parties I’ve talked about has a good reason why we have sold one of our brightest prospects for what most would say is a disappointing fee but frankly I am unable find a reason.

Despite the popular misconception we do not need the money short term for administration because that time is being funded by the Rhodes family. We do not need to get Simon off the wage bill to make the club work financially in the medium term because his wage is not an issue next to those going out to the likes of Ashley Ward on one hand and the host of not good enough players like Robert Wolleaston and Luke Cornwall on the other and in the longer term any profits we can get from selling him are only enhanced buy having him at the club as he develops which is saying nothing about the increased chance of avoiding relegation we have with him in the side.

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