Bolton Wanderers' row over backdating of transfer agreement

Frank McParland, left, and Phil Gartside, second from right, among a group of men arriving at court

Frank McParland, left, and Phil Gartside, second from right, among a group of men arriving at court

First published in News
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This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

BOLTON Wanderers and the sports agency at the centre of a £390,000 lawsuit have each claimed the other backdated a transfer agreement nearly seven years ago, a court has heard.

Agent Tony McGill is accusing Wanderers, their chairman, Phil Gartside, former manager Sammy Lee, club secretary Simon Marland and Whites director of football at the time, Frank McParland, of colluding with The Sport Entertainment and Media group (SEM) to complete the £1 million transfer of Gavin McCann from Aston Villa on June 11, 2007, behind his back.

But SEM and Rosemary Gregson, who worked at Wanderers at the time, have accused Mr Marland of ordering papers relating to the signing of Gavin McCann in 2007 to be dated June 1, rather than June 8 when they were actually signed, the court heard.

Ms Gregson told the court that she would never simply put the current date on transfer documents without first consulting Mr Marland.

A court at Manchester Civil Justice Centre was also told by Mr McGill's lawyer, Martin Budworth, that Wanderers have laid the blame at the door of SEM for backdating the transfer — and specifically its representative who signed the papers, Jeffrey Weston.

SEM, Mr Weston, the agency's CEO Jerome Anderson and David Sheron are accused of hijacking Mr McCann's transfer by Mr McGill — although the agency insists its involvement in the deal was on behalf of Wanderers, not the player.

Ms Gregson said she had no idea why Mr Marland wanted the McCann transfer papers dated June 8 rather than June 1.

She told the court: "I would never just assume to put a date on any contract for any player because it was up to Simon Marland to tell me what date would go on the contracts."

Wanderers' chief scout at the time, Dave Worthington, told the court he had spoken to Mr McGill on the phone several times before Wanderers played Aston Villa on May 13 about Mr McCann’s availability.

He then said he was introduced to Mr McCann for the first time on the day of that match at the Reebok Stadium by Mr McGill.

Another footballer, Chris Lumsden, a mutual friend of Mr McGill and Mr McCann, said he was at a stag party with both men on May 19, and Mr McCann had introduced Mr McGill to someone as "his agent".

SEM's lawyer, Lisa Walmisley, pressed him on whether he had fabricated that conversation to help Mr McGill but Mr Lumsden denied this.

He told the court: "I've just come here to tell the truth.

"I wished I hadn't been part of the conversation to be honest so I wouldn't have to be here."

Mr Budworth said the volume of calls between Mr McCann and Mr McGill in the spring of 2007 proved their association was more than social..

Mr McGill and former Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill are expected to give evidence today.

The case continues.

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