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Has Smith Gone For Peanuts Like Loach To Ipswich?

Just as David Holdsworth was coming to terms with Loach’s Ipswich Town move,  so young prospect Sam Smith’s transfer to Cambridge United – ‘for ‘non football reasons’  – looks like another give-away.  It is just as well that the transfer of Bristol Rovers Mustapha Carayol to Middlesbrough appears to have saved our Lincolnshire bacon after a pre-season shambles continues to rock our once proud club. Yes Impdom has well and truly come to terms with  our BSP status with decisions off the field dictating the most important bit – the football on it. It is this short term, small time thinking that sees us where we are and what we are.

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Watford had few bargaining tools given Zola did not see Loach as part of his plans and, with just a year left on his deal,  Ipswich were therefore very much in the driving seat. Even so a £150k-200k deal, albeit with a few add-ons, must have gutted the manager as much as the financial backdrop that has overshadowed pre-season.  Then add to this two further blows, namely, three undisclosed bids (they have to be for legal and contractual reasons, thus leaving the media just enough room to speculate) from Cambridge that will see a player he rates move for between £15k and 25k; as well as assistant Westwood disappearing to Portsmouth.  Gowling has also been put on the transfer list, although as to whether that was cause or effect, given Miller has returned, is anyone’s guess.  Let us hope a pay-up scenario is not required to help him move on.

Holdsworth had told BBC Lincolnshire that a Sam Smith move would not be for football reasons. Indeed the club’s valuation of the player ranged from £25,000 to a somewhat bullish £50,000.  Given Cambridge United’s size and financial position, last season at least,  we felt somewhat confident that he would stay. But manager Jez George is mindful that it is Centenary year at United, pushing the boat out by paying fees for 4-5 players including Smith. Two new directors, Eddie Clark and Robert Smith, may have something to do with an increase in budget, at a club that at least puts the first team budget first and where it should be from a fans perspective.  By comparison the money, from both Smith and the Carayol sell on, will apparently go to plug that ever nearing black hole at the Imps.  Forget going for a return of the faithful, to wash our financial woes away then?  But then the club perpetuates a culture of setting the bar far too low.

We know, despite what many Imps see as guilt trips to get more money from us, that the Imps are on their uppers, after Bob saved the club. But in so doing he and selected friends put the golden keys to our one and only and, undoubtedly most prized asset – worth millions during the future redevelopment of the Sincil street to Sincil bank area – under the control of a holding company for perhaps as little as £300,000 of new money and arguably up to £500,000 all told.  Yet our Trust ghosted away over a million shares (worth £500,000) for free and without a vote knowing that the club still faced a short-fall of £150k half-way through this season.  But wait a further own-goal as the memorandums and articles of the new company stated that shares are valued at 10p each and, the double whammy that they must be sold to the other parties in Lincoln City Holdings first.  Desperate times call for desperate measures one feels, but surely the business logic of this is more short term than a Bank computer doing High Frequency Trading, on autopilot.  They have kicked a can down the road only for it to land on a magnet along with every other  molten meteorite in our financial path.

Surely, even 15k-20K for Smith is useful, given the club has had to ask its friends at the Trust to pitch in again to give a little more credibility to the stadium renaming raffle.  Welcome to the smoke and mirrors approach to PR and fundraising announcements at Lincoln City folks. The Trust normally puts funds  the clubs way this time of year, thanks largely to membership renewals.  Thus the £1500 they handed over when the venture looked to be netting under twenty thousand with just a few days to go, has been used as window dressing when the club would be getting it anyway.  You find a lot of this sort of thing happens at Lincoln, small time thinking generates small time results.

Indeed Lincoln City Banter, which tries to keep club fan politics – a particularly distasteful carbuncle on the backside of our community club and is why this site limits it to the financial section  –  to a minimum, has led the way raising £1800 for shirts this season. Although the 12th Imp (a newer organisation that appears to have discarded the 12th man -this was actually the one formed in 2009 that had been doing the share save scheme) takes the credit for raising £1500 for the renaming raffle, the posters of Vital Lincoln are in fact the ones who provided the bulk of the funds for the tickets. Both therefore deserve credit and STMI wish them good luck in the future.  Yet the moral to this story you feel is that the Trust should be leading and co-ordinating fans initiatives such as the new Player Saving Scheme if it is to get the widespread support and credibility it deserves. This too was devised on Lincoln City Banter but it is the fledgeling 12th Imp who will now administer the scheme after the Trust curiously turned down the opportunity to run it.

But back to Holdsworth, because the football comes first at our club  – Lincoln City Holdings please take note – as the reading stats prove on this site time and again. The clouds do have a silver lining, even if the Mustapha Carayol funds may not go to the first team, as appears the Cambridge way (incidentally they have just 3 part-time office staff at their club, suggesting they have a good cost base even if they may be throwing caution to the wind).   Holdsworth’s perceived return to a revolving door policy of late does appear to be worrying, yet it is because it is a needs must situation and, the goal posts are continually changing. The budget that many of us felt to be £400,000 ( DH confirmed this on the BSP site) including the renaming raffle, is around 50% higher than that figure, although that does also include the manager and the physiotherapist.  Smith can and will be replaced with a better player. He could already be here in the shape of Vadaine Oliver,  although the entrepreneurial Holdsworth has a few irons in fires and we should see 2 more in next week. Remember he already has a decent forward line in Rob Duffy, Jamie Taylor, Bradley Baraclough and the exciting new kid on the block Connor Robinson .

Middlesbrough & Mustapha’s 90k Tweet Treat

Bristol Rovers winger Mustapha Carayol has passed his Middlesbrough medical and Tweeted  HERE that he is aiming to tear up the Championship.  Impdom is rejoicing at the news and will no doubt be wishing him well.

STMI would like to thank all the fans who have followed this story with us – it nearly made the blog melt! Massive thanks to News Now and Twitter too.

Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs

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We Imps are ecstatic with a  20% sell on fee on the ‘undisclosed sum’.  However the STMI understanding is that the Imps upfront payment  is in the region of £50-60,000 plus instalments and add-ons that should see us pocket in excess of £100k on the deal.

Middlesbrough seal Friend and Carayol Deals – Medicals permitting

Doncaster Rovers defender George Friend and Bristol Rovers winger Mustapha Carayol are set for medicals at the Riverside on Monday despite bids from Nottingham Forest and Ipswich Town for the former and Derby County  for the latter.  We are talking done deals as the clubs have agreed the fee’s and the agents and players, gleefully accepted the golden keys.

Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs

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Doncaster Rovers are also set to get get seven figures for Friend after bids from Ipswich and Nottingham Forest upped the anti. Mowbray however has been given some serious funds this year to fuel his mission to the premiership. We wish him and the Boro the best as they have given Impdom just the shot in the arm we need.

Doncaster manager  Dean Saunders meanwhile is going on a 3-4 player shopping spree after breaking the news on  the Rovers  website , “I think George has more or less agreed to go to Middlesbrough, so that will probably be happening on Monday.”  He has had a frustrating time this summer to be honest, but now that Habibe Beye and Friend are sorted look out for raids on Leeds United for striker Billy Paynter and  Wednesday centre-half Rob Jones. Cardiff City defender Paul Quinn is also currently on trial.

We Imps are ecstatic with a  20% sell on fee on the ‘undisclosed sum’.  However the STMI understanding is that the Imps upfront payment  is in the region of £50-60,000 plus instalments and add-ons that should see us pocket in excess of £100k on the deal.

Boro Deal For Carayol Close Admits McGee As Imps Rejoice at £80k Cut

Middlesbrough and Bristol Rovers look set to make the Imps day after Mark McGee gave a big heads up to the Mustapha Carayol transfer saga. Mr McGee told BBC Radio Bristol: “We think we are very close to a deal, although it’s not done yet.” This after stating that he would be willing to part with the wing wizard if their valuation was met.

thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs

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With Middlesbrough in  Portugal,  manager Tony Mowbray has still been eager to add Mustapha Carayol to his squad.  In these days of modern communication, distance is nowhere near as much of an object as money; although  the deal is now close to meeting both sides valuations.

Rovers want £500k, in the knowledge that a big chunk of that will go the Imps way. The Imps have a 20% sell-on for Mustapha, so we will receive £80-90K. If that is an up-front fee we get our cut in one go, if it is over the duration of the contract, it could be divided into 3 or 4 payments on an annual basis.


Here was our full article from last week.

Middlesbrough Bid Vital After Ipswich Bag Bargain

With the Middlesbrough squad flying out to Portugal on Tuesday, manager Tony Mowbray is eager to add Bristol Rovers winger Mustapha Carayol, Doncaster defender George Friend and either Nottingham Forest forward Ishmael Miller or WBA striker Simon Cox, to his squad on Monday. If the Carayol deal does not go through, even in these days of modern communication, the Imps summer rebuilding plans may have to wait a while.

thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs

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David Holdsworth has worked miracles in the close season at Lincoln City and few can realise what such a cash injection could mean for the once proud Imps.  David, or Reg, as he was not our cup of tea originally, has kept his chin up despite a scandalously low budget of £400,000  and three recent body blows.  Firstly,  unable to afford an assistant , he saw Ashley Westwood go to Portsmouth, robbing him of both an experienced centre-back and an assistant who knows the managerial and tactical ropes. Then came the two Cambridge bids for young Smith, who he feels will inevitably leave for ‘non football reasons’. The third blow was the long awaited deal that saw Loach move to home town club Ipswich for between £150K and £200k. Watford’s last chance to cash in and that slice of a once in a lifetime  million, or few, was gone.

Over four years we will receive perhaps £20k, or £5k per year, giving David nothing for this season’s pro-budget, so the 20% sell-on for Mustapha will be vital. Rovers want £500k, in the knowledge that a big chunk of that will go the Imps way.  But Boro look set to come in with a deal just shy of the full valuation, with add-ons probably playing a part. This is good news and bad for us. The norm is for clubs to spread the payment in yearly or six-monthly instalments over the duration of the new contract, however a large up-front payment is a huge bargaining tool too.  This would give the Imps more money now, at a time when we need it most.  The bird in the hand after all is worth two in the bush.

After years of underinvestment by the board, relegation and a holding company bagging a bargain on the scale of Loach;  the Imps fans are on the verge of a Player Saving scheme.  But with the funds not going to the first team budget immediately, it will not make up for the short-fall of the renaming raffle that had raised just £15k according to the last Boardroom blog, with just 7 days to go.  A sense of urgency is needed you feel given the manager has little cash to back up an undoubtedly opportunist and  charismatic style of negotiation.  Then again the board could take the lead for once, as opposed to relying on the act of god from Bob and windfalls that have seen, Jack Hobbs, Jeff Hughes, Graham Hutchinson, DNG and Frecklington’s money wasted on Championship facilities, a failed training facility and; last but not least reinvestment in the team.

£16- £18 is spent in pursuit of pride and pleasure through those turnstiles every other  week,  it is the contents that interest the faithful not the propaganda on the box.  A Boro / Rovers deal for Carayol will  help our promising manager compete and hopefully that and his signings will get the fans to return and perhaps even take a chance on the CityFLEXIPack (click here  for details)


Middlesbrough Carayol Bid Could Net Imps £90k

Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray looks set to beat Sheffield Wednesday, Derby County, Leicester City and  Barnsley to the signature of Mustapha Carayol.

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The deal between Bristol Rovers and Middlesbrough that STMI broke on July 9th looks set to reach a lucrative conclusion with the Imps netting 20% of any profit over the £35,000 we received from Rovers in August 2010. Rovers valuation stands at £500,000 and, although Mowbray will not be held to ransom, Mustapha is a long term target that he covets.  He certainly has the money and plans to add three or four more players as Boro aim to return to the  Premiership this term.  Mowbray has signed Grant Leadbitter, Stuart Parnaby, Jonathan Woodgate, Emmanuel Ledesma and Christian Burgess since the window opened 18 days ago.


We always sensed that he was destined to play higher, like Danny N’Guessan, he was one that will shine in a Championship side with quality players doing the dirty work to feed them.  Although Rovers fans will miss him if and when he does go, at least they too may benefit from a clause that tracks his future progress and success. Because this lad gets people out of their seats and that kind of passion will always be in fashion in the people’s game.


FULL NAME Mustapha Soon Carayol
DATE OF BIRTH 10 June 1989 (age 22)
PLACE OF BIRTH Banjul, Gambia
HEIGHT 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
CURRENT CLUB Bristol Rovers
Swindon Town
Macclesfield Town
YEARS Team Apps (Gls)
2007–2008 Milton Keynes Dons 1 (0)
2007–2008 Crawley Town (loan) 26 (2)
2008–2010 Torquay United 54 (6)
2009 Kettering Town (loan) 5 (0)
2010–2011 Lincoln City 37 (4)
2011– Bristol Rovers 34 (6)