The Whirligig of Football
Compensating Small Clubs
The Derby Daily Telegraph
Saturday October 2nd, 1926
There is hardly a League club in the country that would not jump at the chance of signing up a young player who showed outstanding promise. It is notorious how clubs are scouting everywhere, and almost tumbling over themselves in their anxiety to discover young lads, and yet, if the whole story were to be told of what happens once the youngsters are discovered and signed, it would be equally notorious how unsympathetically the big clubs treat the small clubs, whose work has been to find, teach, and develop.
I am urged to a discussion of this topic because of some facts placed before me by the Secretary of the Barry Town club, an organisation which plays in the Western Section of the Southern League. Last season Barry had a most successful campaign, and, naturally, the scouts of the League clubs took an interest in their performances. These scouts found much to interest them, for of last season’s Barry team no less than six players have been persuaded to join the professional ranks amd try their luck in the League.
Here is the list of the players and the clubs to which they have gone;
Arthur Doncaster, inside left, to Bolton Wanderers
Walter Moyle, half back, to Cardiff City and later transferred to Manchester United
Dai Jones, goal, to Stockport County
Harry Hopkins, centre forward, to Crystal Palace.
Ivor Hinton, full back, to Newport County
Bernard Condon, outside right, to Swansea Town
There is a mistaken idea abroad that small clubs make a fortune whenever they sell a young player to a wealthy League organisation. This bubble is exploded in the case of Barry Town, for the six players named above have brought them in the sum of £400, made up of £300 paid by Bolton for Doncaster, and £100 paid by Cardiff City for Moyle.
The other four League clubs have not made Barry Town any monetary compensation in any way. It might well be said that these clubs took the players without as much as a “By your leave,” or having taken them, without a “Thank you.” Barry Town do not grumble; they simply set forth the claim that the League clubs might show a little more consideration.
I think the average follower of the League game will sympathise with Barry, and will also regard the niggardly policy of some of the big clubs as distinctly belonging to the penny wise and pound foolish school. These smaller clubs have their own worries in finding players, and once found they have all the trouble of developing them. It is most discouraging when, just as a club is reaping the reward of its enterprise and patience, a wealthier and more fashionable club should come along and march off with its best players.
Were the League clubs to compensate the smaller clubs like Barry Town then these small clubs could carry on, eager to find more players, and only too ready and willing to help the big clubs that have helped them. I do wish to emphasise that some of the League clubs are very, very sympathetic and considerate, and that this reference to this matter is not a general condemnation, but is merely to set forth hard facts in the hope that a more generous spirit will pervade the whole League circle.