Stephen Cleeve: How and why we sold Morias to Dagenham & Redbridge

Junior Morias cuts a dejected figure at the full-time whistle Picture: Ian Burt

Junior Morias cuts a dejected figure at the full-time whistle Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Transfer dealings often can have a Machiavellian feel about them. 

Often the released details are sketchy which only adds to the mystique and allows fans licence to concoct all sorts of conspiracy theories. 

This week Junior Morias left us for Dagenham and Redbridge FC and whilst some of the facts must remain confidential the deal at least allows me to show how these deals are put together 

On the October 27, the day after our defeat at home to Boreham Wood, Steve Thompson the CEO of Dagenham and Redbridge FC called me to see if we would consider an offer for Junior.   

We talked football for a while and had a general chat about life and I promised that I would get back to him. 

I called Robert Back, our director of football (DOF), who had already spoken with Junior’s agent and said that the decision rested with me.   

We had a vital game against Weymouth coming up which I felt was a must win match (although sadly it was not to be our day in Dorset) so I felt that the deal was wrong for the club and the manager at the time.   

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In addition, the fee offered undervalued Junior and would make it hard for us to recruit another forward. 

I informed our DOF, our manager and Steve of my decision and the player’s agent was informed.   

After the Weymouth game I felt that maybe we needed a change, so I sent Steve a text on the way home, but Dagenham had decided at that point to move in a different direction. 

I was fine with that, after all it is often the way, many more deals fail than come off. It is just the nature of the beast. 

On the November 10 at 8.39am a new and improved offer came through from Dagenham. I promised Steve that I would discuss it with the DOF.   

Lynn's new signing, Junior Morias. Picture: Ian Burt

Lynn's new signing, Junior Morias. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

I chatted further with Massimo the players agent and asked him what the player wanted to do. His family is based in London so he intimated that he would like to move but would also be happy to stay. However, he wanted it sorted out quickly, so he knew where he was. Uncertainty is never good in the footballing world for anyone so that suited our club as well. 

The main issue was the valuation of the player. I felt that Junior was worth more than Dagenham were offering and whilst certain areas of the contract had been improved the guaranteed money had not been increased enough. I rejected the deal. 

At 14.51 a new and improved offer came through but on the condition that Junior was signed by Friday (yesterday).  

It was still not as much as I felt Junior was worth, but Steve Thompson is a skilled negotiator and I felt it was probably in everyone’s best interests. 

My next step was to inform the manager as I would never sell a player without his agreement.  

I emailed Ian Culverhouse and asked him what he wanted to do as he was the Kingmaker.   

Ian asked if Junior’s wages could be redeployed into a new player which I confirmed that they could and he sanctioned the transfer and felt it was the right course of action. 

I confirmed to Steve Thompson at 17.31 that I had spoken with Ian, and that we were fine to proceed.  

I then introduced Steve to Julie Briggs (our Club Secretary) and the contracts were prepared between the two clubs.  

The deal was subject to a medical which happened on Thursday. There were a few minor contractual alterations that had to be dealt with and compromises were made by both sides. At 15.00 the deal was signed and it just awaited Junior’s agent to submit his forms and the media teams to agree a joint release time for the news. 

On Thursday morning the local papers in Dagenham spotted Junior arriving at the club and passed the news onto a local Norfolk journalist (not from this paper) who leaked the news from his own Twitter account but thankfully by that point the deal was over the line and Dagenham knew that it was not our club that had released the story. 

The deal could have failed at any time and several days’ work would have been lost but in the end, I hope all sides are happy with the outcome.  

The manager is now looking for new targets, several have been spoken to as we clearly need to find someone that can convert the chances that we create. 

Today we welcome Wrexham FC to the Walks. 

They have a huge budget, are paying their top striker money that we can only dream about (although he is scoring the goals so am sure he is worth it).   

The attendances at The Racecourse this season have been huge and so are the sponsorship deals with companies like Tik Tok as it fuels the world’s obsession with celebrities. 

I did a brief calculation and if we had the same attendances and sponsorship deals our budget could be bigger than Wrexham’s so proportionally, we are doing as well as can be expected.  

Our own away support is excellent and as I write this on Friday morning Wrexham have only sold 292 tickets for today’s game so maybe the main attraction is the new owners for many of their new fans; indeed Southend United took four times as many fans to The Walks earlier this season 

It promises to be a great game and I do hope to see many of you at The Walks as, with or without Ryan Reynolds, the match promises to be a cracker. 

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