Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Monday July 31 2006
Stoke City have revealed that AWOL striker, Sam Bangoura has not been paid since he didn't turn up for pre-season training.
Bangoura, signed from Standard Liege last August for a club record fee of ï¿½900,000 has not contacted the club and other than his agent citing 'personal problems' they have no idea where he is.
Chief Executive, Tony Scholes told the Sentinel that fans should not be concerned that he is costing the club money. The club stopped his salary at the start of July but are concerned that he is playing a game to reduce any transfer fee the club may be prepared to accept: 'We have to at least be aware of the possibility that third parties are involved in this matter with the intention of reducing the value of the player. But we will not allow this club to be undermined or held to any kind of ransom in this way.'
Continuing: 'If this is their intention, let me assure them Sammy is going nowhere for less than what we believe his value is. We will not sell him on the cheap. This behaviour is a disgraceful snub to the club, his team-mates and our supporters. What we now want is for Sammy to come back, to explain himself, begin training again and try to earn back the respect he has lost.
'We have sought advice, and we can stop paying him, but still retain his registration so he cannot play for another club. I will listen to any justification he has, but I can't think of anything justifying his failure to even contact us. His behaviour is a disgrace and totally disrespectful.'
I believe that this is the correct course for the club to take. If we're not paying him, then the only problem is that we have an expensive asset on our books that we're not able to get any benefit from. But if we were to sell him cheap then we'll have to take a loss. If we're going to take a loss, let's make sure that it also hits Bangoura where it hurts as well - in the pocket. Several months (or even up to two years) without pay should concentrate the mind of even the most wayward of players.
Do you agree with the club's action? Have your say below or on our forum.
Date:Monday July 31 2006
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