Hartlepool United have lodged an official complaint with the Football League with regards to Fulham’s conduct in signing Luca Murphy.
The Mail understands Pools have lost out on a six-figure sum for the 17-year-old central defender, after he penned a three-year, free transfer deal with the Premier League outfit last week.
Pools are prepared to fight the Cottagers for a fee for the player they coached from the age of nine, despite rules suggesting they are due nothing.
The club’s complaint is in relation to the conduct of Fulham prior to signing Murphy.
Pools allowed the player to head for a trial with a deal agreed in advance, provided he was happy to move.
Murphy was subsequently sent back to Hartlepool with Fulham stating the player had failed medical examinations at the club’s training base.
Just six weeks later, after his release by Pools for knocking back a professional contract, Fulham signed the centre-back, presumably with said medical test being passed.
Manager Craig Hignett says he has no qualms with Murphy wanting to leave - he wants every young player to want to better themselves.
His problem comes with Fulham’s actions.
“Luca’s a good kid and he’s been here since he was nine. He’s worked really hard and he’s got ability and he’ll move on if he’s good enough,” said the manager.
“The bit I’m annoyed about is how Fulham have conducted themselves in all of this.
“We agreed a fee with Fulham and agreed for Luca to travel down on the understanding that if he liked it there, he was going to sign.
“I then get a phone call saying Luca had failed a medical and they wouldn’t be pursuing their interests. Five weeks later, the club took him on a three-year deal.”
Murphy was named on Pools’ National League bench twice this season - and that is likely to be a factor in any compensation bid.
“We want our young lads to go elsewhere and play higher. It’s kudos to the academy, but the way Fulham have conducted themselves leaves a lot to be desired,” continued Hignett.
“We have made Luca’s agent fully aware that we will be seeking compensation. If that’s the way they want to do business then we’ll have to do it the right way. We have reported them.”
Hignett says Pools are in no mood to roll over to bully boys from the four divisions above, no matter the size of the outfit.
“It’s disgraceful. If they think they can come to our academy, which our chairman pays a lot of money to run, and take our kids for nothing when we feel as though we’re due money for them - then we’ll fight to get a fee,” he said.
“We won’t be bullied anymore, we’ve been good with clubs and when they’ve expressed an interest and told us they’ll do it the right way and are entitled to our compensation, then we’ve let them go.
“But I don’t think that will happen anymore. Why should we take it?”