May 25 2013 Latest news:
Friday, July 6, 2012
Barnsley manager Keith Hill admitted there was little he could to fend off Norwich City’s pursuit of Jacob Butterfield – even though he felt their offer was “an insult”.
Tykes youth product Butterfield was out of contract after turning down a new deal at Oakwell – however, as he is under 24 Barnsley are entitled to compensation, if not a transfer fee.
And having valued his starlet at £3m in April, Hill was left not best pleased by the Canaries’ best offer – one he subsequently described as “derisory”.
A tribunal will now agree over the coming weeks the fee due from Carrow Road. But Hill’s frustrations at the current compensation system – one arguably set to become even less beneficial under new player performance plans to be introduced from next season – were clear.
“We won’t get what we deserve for Jacob,” said Hill. “I haven’t got any problems with Jacob, we’ve got a superb relationship. It’s the system which I don’t like. The only people who will benefit from this are Norwich.
“Jacob will be playing for them next season and we might not have had the tribunal to see how much money we’ll get for him.
“The offer we got from Norwich was an insult to myself, the club and a massive insult to Jacob Butterfield. I know why Norwich did it. That’s what Premier League sides can do.”
Despite being out injured for the second half of last season, speculation over Butterfield’s future has been a recurring theme – and Hill has acknowledged for some time his player was most likely to move to the Premier League. That came true on Tuesday, as Butterfield signed a four-year deal at Carrow Road.
“Jacob’s a great player and we’d love to have kept him, but he wanted to play in the Premier League and there was nothing more we could do to keep him,” admitted Hill. “I wish him every success. We gave him the platform to develop and I know he takes his football very seriously.”
Butterfield has not kicked a ball in anger this year, undergoing knee surgery following an anterior cruciate injury suffered in a 4-1 win over Leeds on the final day of 2011.
And while the break and rehab has been a new experience, it has only heightened the midfielder’s taste for a return to action – one now set to take place at English football’s top table.
“It’s been tough, a lot of time in the gym and a lot of time in the physio room and not playing football, something I’m not used to,” said Butterfield.
“I’ve never had an injury like that before. I’m still young, but it’s the first injury I’ve had so I couldn’t really enjoy not playing.
“I definitely am looking forward to getting my boots back on and kicking a ball around again and getting back on the pitch – and in the Premier League, which is a big step up. So it’s a really exciting time in my career.
“I’ve played at Carrow Road a couple of times for Barnsley and there was always a fantastic atmosphere.
“The pitch is lovely and we’ll be looking to play some good football here. I’m just delighted to have it sorted and looking forward to getting into it.”
In the second of a three-part series dissecting the Canaries’ successful battle to retain their Premier League status, Norwich City writer Paddy Davitt examines the relationship between the artists and the artisans in Norwich’s midfield.