HARTLEPOOL United chairman Ken Hodcroft has spoken out after the deadline day transfer of Luke James to Peterborough United.
League One Posh had been courting the 19-year-old for almost the entire month of August before finally sealing the deal last Monday, deadline day.
The League Two club had earlier in the window rejected a £500,000 bid from Posh for James before they came back in with an improved offer.
The deal is short of the club’s record sale - the £750,000 secured for Tommy Miller back in 2001 - but there is a sell-on clause which could give Pools a financial boost if and when James moves on.
Mr Hodcroft described James’ departure as a “long drawn-out fiasco instigated by outside influences” which had unsettled last season’s 16-goal top scorer.
Writing in his programme notes, Mr Hodcroft said: “Luke was advised he could leave if the deal was a win-win situation.
“He was happy with his deal negotiated by his agent long before HUFC could finalise a deal with Peterborough.
“So I personally met him after the Bury game to advise him the club needed to be happy with its own financial terms and conditions and until that happened he remained a player at HUFC.”
But Mr Hodcroft said “within 48-hours, the club got not one but two transfer requests and then a no-show for training and the AFC Wimbledon game”.
He added: “So Luke, and his advisors (good advice or not) ensured HUFC’s negotiating position with Peterborough was weakened as well as causing major disruption to the team and restricting Colin’s choice of players.
“The best deal that HUFC could therefore get from Peterborough was finally agreed on transfer deadline day but funds are only going to be paid to HUFC over the next 18 months - so once again media reports regarding a lump sum of money that the club are getting are incorrect and, in reality, all of the funds cannot all be available at this time to be used accordingly.”
Mr Hodcroft went on to say that as a result of James and goalkeeper Andy Rafferty leaving the club and the delay until transfer deadline day in agreeing terms with Peterborough United for the striker, the club is now short of players and now only has the loan market to look to until January.
He added: “This is not ideal but it is the way football works.
“Rules do exist on how clubs (and agents) should go about approaching players and clubs but both the FL and FA fail to police them.
“We do, however, wish Luke every success in his future career.”