Alan finally goes West but it’s to Luton
Having seen an offer from Manchester United turned down and a move to Sunderland collapse over a medical, Alan West finally left Burnley and signed for Second Division club Luton Town in a £100,000 deal.
Just two days before the season got underway, Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty tried to sign the midfielder who had become unsettled because of a lack of first team opportunities. It was below Burnley’s valuation with manager Jimmy Adamson reporting: “Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty made an offer for West but it fell short of what we think he is worth. It was not a realistic offer for a player of his calibre. We’re not giving away players.”
No figure was ever released but it was believed United had offered less than £35,000. One national newspaper suggested it would take a bid of around £65,000 to persuade Burnley to part with West to which Adamson said: “Guesswork”.
Adamson also said: “I have told Alan that if a club makes an offer for him that matches our valuation then I am prepared to let him go.” Less than two weeks later came news that we had accepted an offer of £70,000 from Sunderland and that deal went through only for him to return a few days later with Sunderland cancelling the transfer because of a slight back injury.
Everything went quiet with West not involved with the first team but Luton’s chief scout Paddy Sowden travelled to Burnley to open talks with Adamson following our League Cup win against Cardiff.
Terms were agreed and West travelled to Luton on the following day for final talks with their manager Harry Haslam and the deal then went through without any hitches with Haslam commenting after he’d undergone his medical: “There’s nothing wrong with the lad.” He added: “We’ve been interested in West for a long time, and we’re delighted to have got our man at last.”
West said on completing his move: “I’ve wanted first team football for some time. As I haven’t been able to get it with Burnley,. I was prepared to go anywhere to do so. Although I’ve never lived in the south of England before, I’m delighted to be joining such a progressive, ambitious club.”
Adamson again confirmed that we were particularly well off in midfield and he couldn’t offer West any guarantees of first team football and he said: “The whole deal has been completed amicably and we certainly wish Alan all the best in his career with his new club.”
Having turned down a derisory offer from Manchester United and then missed out on a £70,000 deal with Sunderland, we’d actually sold West for a fee of £100,000 to a club who, at the time, were in second place in the Second Division. He became the fifth player Burnley had sold for a fee of £100,000 or more, following on from Willie Morgan, Ralph Coates, Steve Kindon and Dave Thomas.
It was a good deal for Burnley and, as it turned out for Luton too with West going on to make 285 league appearances for them in eight years before ending his career with Millwall.
West, who was an FA Youth Cup winner with Burnley, also returned to Luton at the end of his playing career and was club chaplain until 2017.Follow UpTheClarets:
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