Waddle set to make fifth signing ahead of season opener
Chris Waddle had been searching for a new striker but just days before the new season kicked off, it looked as though it was a new defender set to arrive with the potential capture of Lee Howey from Sunderland in a £200,000 deal.
The manager had been keen to bring in a striker, more so with Andy Cooke beginning the new season with a suspension, but a bid for John Mullin was turned down by Sunderland manager Peter Reid while Mixu Paatelainen, who had also been targeted by Adrian Heath prior to his departure, opted to move to Wolves.
Clubs were asking for big fees and Waddle said he felt a cap should be applied to transfer fees. Having seen Manchester City pay £3 million for Lee Bradbury, he said: “I think there should be a capping system, but the reality is that we still wouldn’t be able to afford the cap. Appearances and age should be taken into account, something like £10m maximum for a player in the Premier League, £3m for the First Division and £400,000 to £500,000 for the second. This would help clubs like ourselves. I haven’t consulted other managers about it yet but it might be something for people in the game to think about before it’s too late.”
Waddle was hoping to complete a deal for Howey prior to the Watford game. “I didn’t think at this stage that I’d be bringing in anybody else before the season kicked off,” he said. “But I got notice of Lee’s availability and have obviously moved in very quickly. If I can get the deal pushed through today, leaving Lee available for the season opener at Watford on Saturday, I’ll be very happy, but it’s not done and dusted yet.”
Sunderland had just completed the signing of Jody Craddock from Cambridge and that left Howey behind Craddock, Richard Ord, Andy Melville and Jan Eriksson for a place in their defence. “I played alongside him at Sunderland and was impressed by him,” Waddle said. “He’s a big, strong guy who is very good in the air. He can organise and he can be a leader in a vital position at the back for us.”
Meanwhile, Paul Smith had been hit with news that he’d suffered a broken foot in pre-season training which was likely to keep him out until Christmas. “Paul will be out of the picture for around four months,” Waddle confirmed. “That is a big disappointment because he had looked so sharp in training before his injury. Although I’ve never seen Paul Smith play, I’ve heard a lot about him. It will probably be December time before Paul is back in contention. When he is fit and ready it will be like having a new signing on the books.”
We had brought in experienced former Tottenham goalkeeper Tony Parks who would provide some cover because of injuries. Waddle explained: “We’ve a shortage of goalkeepers after young Craig Mawson broke his wrist so we need some extra cover. Tony is a very experienced goalkeeper who I know from my time at Spurs. He is without a club at present and he will probably play a few reserve games with us. There is a possibility that we might offer him a one-year contract.”
He played for the reserves in a pre-season game at Harrogate which we won 7-0 with Andy Cooke getting in some game time and scoring five times. Glen Little and Paul Weller scored the other goals. He was also in goal for a second friendly at Accrington where we came from behind to win 3-1. Cooke was again on the mark with the second with the other two goals scored by Ian Duerden. Nigerian trialist Ybooe played in the first of the games with ex-Everton defender Neil Moore given a run out at Accrington.
Waddle had made another change to his backroom team ahead of the new season but this didn’t see anyone new coming into the club. A year earlier, Clive Middlemass became chief scout following Brian Miller’s retirement. Middlemass had now been appointed as the club’s new youth development officer. Waddle confirmed: “There has been a great tradition at Burnley for producing their own youth players over the years and hopefully we can bring that back. We believe Clive Middlemass’ appointment will help nurture and develop the young players already at the club. We’ve seen the likes of Paul Weller, Chris Brass and Paul Smith break into the first team picture and we want to see others coming through.”
Finally, ahead of the new season, it was reported that goalkeeper Wayne Russell and midfielder Steve Thompson, both of whom had been released by Heath at the end of the previous season, had signed for Third Division Rotherham United.Follow UpTheClarets:
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