Hartlepool United blast Premier League Fulham over controversial Luca Murphy deal
Hartlepool United have launched an astonishing attack on Premier League club Fulham, after they completed the free transfer signing of former defender Luca Murphy.
The youngster was released by Pools last week, with manager Craig Hignett stating the young defender's lack of desire to remain at the Super 6 Stadium, despite a professional contract offer.
And following the confirmation of the 17-year-old signing a two and a half year deal at Craven Cottage, Pools have hit back with a statement criticising the Cottagers' conduct and stating their desire to recoup some cash for the player.
The statement reads: "The board of Hartlepool United wish to make it clear that, following the signing of Luca Murphy by Fulham FC, we will be vigorously pursuing the Premier League club for compensation in line with an amount agreed by the two clubs as a condition of the player visiting Fulham in January."
Chief executive Mark Maguire waded into the debate, criticising the player's behaviour after a failed trial with the West London outfit.
"We agreed a figure with Fulham in good faith in January and allowed Luca to travel to London to get to know the facilities with a view to signing," he said.
“We were then given a list of reasons why the player wasn’t good enough to sign for them and they ended their interest.
“Subsequently, Luca’s behaviour deteriorated to the extent that it was no longer appropriate to have him around our Youth Team, but when he left us both he and his agent were made aware that we reserved our right to pursue compensation.
“It is a sad irony that less than a year after Fulham fans were amongst those contributing to a fund to help save Hartlepool United from oblivion, their club is acting in such a way to secure the services of a player in whom Hartlepool United has invested since he was nine-years-old.
“The behaviour of the player, his agent and Fulham FC leaves a lot to be desired, and that is an understatement. We have written to Fulham to explain our position and will now pursue compensation through the appropriate channels.
“Hartlepool United will continue to invest in youth development, which is at the heart of what we do, but we need the support of the football authorities to protect us against this kind of underhand behaviour.”
Chairman, Raj Singh, added: “As I suggested in my programme notes on Saturday, we have been expecting something like this to happen and, frankly, it makes you strongly question the value of investment in youth if we are exposed to behaviour like this from clubs, players and agents.
“Hartlepool United nurtured this lad from nine, and it is pretty clear that he has been encouraged to behave in a manner which orchestrates this move.
“Whether that is to save a few thousand pounds for a club earning over £100 million, or to earn an agent a fee, we will probably never know.
“What I do know is that we will protect ourselves and, whilst we won’t give up on youth development, we will make sure we know who we are dealing with and who represents them.
“It will also unfortunately mean that we will never again trust a club with the courtesy we showed to Fulham and we hope that we will be protected by The FA in this regard.”