By Chris Wright
Southampton’s top brass had around 20 million fairly good reasons to feel aggrieved when Gareth Bale completed his world record transfer to Real Madrid on Monday morning.
You see, there was a time when the Saints would’ve been contractually entitled to a quarter of the £85.4million (€100.9million) that Real Madrid slung Tottenham’s way in return for Bale thanks to a 25% sell-on clause which was inserted in the Welshman’s contract when he moved from St Mary’s to Spurs in 2007 for an eventual £7million.
Unfortunately for Southampton, they allowed Spurs to buy themselves out of certain elements of Bale’s contract (including the sell-on clause) for a lump sum of somewhere between £2-3million when the club found themselves short on cash just a year later.
And that, kiddiwinks, is how Southampton missed out on £21.3million yesterday!
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The Saints were allowed to cherry-pick Spurs’ youth team keeper Tommy Forecast as part of the Bale buy-out bargain. Five years later, he’s now playing for Chelmsford City in the Conference South. He made no first-team appearances for Southampton.
Hindsight can be a cruel, cruel mistress.