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Persistence pays off for Bond

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Paul Fletcher | 12:33 UK time, Monday, 13 September 2010

Any player in the world would have been delighted to have claimed the goal scored by Colchester's Andy Bond in the League One clash with Sheffield Wednesday on 14 August.

It was a beautiful, technically brilliant strike from the 24-year-old, who smashed the ball beyond Owls keeper Nicky Weaver from 25 yards with the outside of his right boot.

The goal had extra significance for Bond because it was the first of his Football League career and, in many ways, vindicated his decision not to give up on his dream after being released by Crewe in 2006.

"If you stick at it and work hard, then you don't know what will happen," Bond told me. "The hunger has always been there."

Andy Bond celebrates scoring against Walsall

Andy Bond celebrates scoring against Walsall

Bond had been at Crewe since the age of 12 and, in his final season, was a regular in the reserves without ever really threatening to break into the first team. He had enjoyed his time at Gresty Road. It was close to his home in Wigan and, if he wasn't driving, easy to reach by train, with the stadium just around the corner from the station.

I know of a few footballers who have failed to recover from a rejection similar to Bond's. Having failed to cut it as a professional, they have swiftly become disillusioned with the game and have stopped playing completely. Yet Bond remained positive, joining non-league Barrow and setting himself a target of returning to the pro ranks by the age of 25.

Barrow were a part-time club playing in the Conference North when Bond signed for them in the summer of 2006, so he supplemented his income with building work. Then, after his second season with the club ended with a 1-0 victory over Stalybridge Celtic and promotion to the Conference, they decided to ditch their part-time status, training on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings instead of only two evenings a week.

"When the club went full-time, I jumped at the chance," said Bond. "Training every day makes you a better player and I definitely think that has happened to me."

It wasn't until the back end of last year that things really started happening for Bond, with Barrow manager David Bayliss inviting him into his office shortly before Christmas.

But when Bayliss offered the player a new contract, Bond's suspicions were raised. "I thought it was strange, they never normally offered me a new deal until the back end of the season," he told me. "So I said 'no'.

"They improved the offer five times after that meeting so I knew that something was happening - that I had been watched or the club had received an enquiry. I was playing well at the time and, given my age, I could leave for free at the end of the season."

Bond's instincts proved correct. Several clubs had been monitoring his progress and, shortly after the turn of the year, he spent a week on trial at Leicester City. "I could not believe it, that I was training with a Championship club," he said. "I had to pinch myself but I thought I held my own."

A permanent move to Leicester did not materialise but he continued to enjoy success with Barrow, helping the team beat Stevenage to win the FA Trophy on 8 May. A few days later, Bond left for his summer holiday in relaxed mood. When he returned, his agent told him he had received offers from Macclesfield, Tranmere, Carlisle and Luton.

But then Bond received a call from Colchester boss John Ward, who impressed him with his enthusiasm, and he ended up penning a two-year deal with the U's at the end of June, becoming Ward's first signing since succeeding Aidy Boothroyd as manager. Ward described Bond as a marauding midfielder with a great work rate and concluded that his arrival was "something of a coup".

Helped in part by the presence of goalkeeper Ben Williams, an ex-team-mate at Crewe and his best mate in football, Bond, who had lived in Wigan all his life, settled quickly in Colchester and tore into pre-season training, determined to grab his opportunity.

He did not expect to make the starting line-up for Colchester's opening fixture of the League One season against Exeter on 7 August, though. But he did and has started every league game this season. So instrumental has he been for Colchester that Ward chose to rest him for the Carling Cup match at Sunderland on 24 August to keep him fresh for the league campaign.

So far, Bond has scored four goals from midfield and was on the scoresheet again on Saturday as his team drew with Plymouth.

"It is hard to explain but it is like I have been given a second chance," said Bond. "I was always confident in my ability to make the step up but needed the chance. Hopefully I will repay the manager."

It appears he is doing just that at the moment.

You can follow me throughout the season at twitter.com/Paul__Fletcher

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    As a non-league supporter myself, I would feel a bit miffed were I a Barrow fan, reading this article. Fair play to the lad for never giving up - and he is making a real success of it.

    But if he was that good - which I have no doubt he is - then he should have signed the deal with Barrow and helped earn the club some money later that Summer. If he had four offers already before Colchester, it goes without saying that someone would have been prepared to pay a ocnference-sized transfer fee for his services, earning Bond the dream move and also earning a bit of much-needed revenue for Barrow.

    I would be amazed if Bond was acting purely on the basis of "they don't usually offer contracts at this time of year" when he turned down the deal at Christmas. I think it much more likely his agent - already a fairly unusual thing to have at that level, given his limited success to date - had been approached and Bond will have known about it.

    I might have the wrong end of the stick, but this sounds like an all-too familiar case of a non-league club being done over by player power.

    See: Clayton Donaldson - York to Hibs 2007.

  • Comment number 2.

    Appeciate Alex's comments above but wow what a signing for the U's! He has proven immense in our midfield and is without question a player destined to play at an even higher level, be it with us or with A.N.Other football club. Without his goals from midfield, our club would be struggling towards the bottom of the league so hats off to John Ward.

  • Comment number 3.

    Re: Alex's comment, I agree re: the agent, I found that odd that a Conf N player would have one. Maybe commission-only!?!

    But if Barrow were trying to pull a fast one, and get him to sign a contract that might put potential suitors off, without telling him that there had been any interest, then it serves them right. Had they been straight with him, maybe he would have signed that deal and helped them out. It's a 2-way street.

  • Comment number 4.

    Always nice to see a Football League blog and an interesting story in this one as well!

    Best of luck to him.

  • Comment number 5.

    That's a fair comment LostmekecksintheGmex, and of course we can only ever really hear one side in these stories. It's equally plausible that Barrow had been straight up but there's another agenda with the agent.

    It always seems murkier when there are agents sniffing around. And there are so many horror stories it's not unreasonable to be take the 'guilty until proven innocent' outlook.

    For what it's worth, it doesn't sound as though Colchester have done anything but play by the book and credit to them - and their excellent manager John Ward for that.

    But phrases in the article such as "when Bayliss offered the player a new contract, Bond's suspicions were raised" are pretty emotive ways of putting things and it doesn't make it sound brilliant.

    I'd be really interested to hear a Barrow fan's take on this - it might be completely kosher!

  • Comment number 6.

    It's not always the players that 'do over' the non league club. I know of a couple of examples of club acting questionably by coercing young players into signing contracts, as soon as a club further up the NL ladder or even league club showed a firm interest in a player.

  • Comment number 7.

    Andy has been terrific signing for us; his story gives hope to young footballers who find themselves in a similar position.

  • Comment number 8.

    Good stuff Fletch.
    Agree with all the agent innuendo.
    And: You must wonder where Ferguson was with this talent not much more than a few miles up the road.

  • Comment number 9.

    # 1. Alex:

    0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

    Sorry but I gotta disagree with you. If the player thought that a transfer into the league may not happen because clubs were not willing to take a monetary gamble, then he had to go with what he done i'm afraid.

    We're not talking about a millionaire here with the freedom to choose, this was a make or brake decision, if it didn't happen, it may never have. This man is probably earning the first decent wage of his life, and credit to him.

    If only more league clubs took a punt on lower league stars then our game would be so much better. Rather than splashing it about on foregin flops.

    Our league system is so elitist it's unbelievable, anything referred to as non league is almost like a lesser entity, when in fact the standard of players is quite similar between league 1 - Blue square.

  • Comment number 10.

    1. At 1:57pm on 13 Sep 2010, Alex wrote:
    As a non-league supporter myself, I would feel a bit miffed were I a Barrow fan, reading this article. Fair play to the lad for never giving up - and he is making a real success of it.

    But if he was that good - which I have no doubt he is - then he should have signed the deal with Barrow and helped earn the club some money later that Summer. If he had four offers already before Colchester, it goes without saying that someone would have been prepared to pay a ocnference-sized transfer fee for his services, earning Bond the dream move and also earning a bit of much-needed revenue for Barrow.

    I would be amazed if Bond was acting purely on the basis of "they don't usually offer contracts at this time of year" when he turned down the deal at Christmas. I think it much more likely his agent - already a fairly unusual thing to have at that level, given his limited success to date - had been approached and Bond will have known about it.

    I might have the wrong end of the stick, but this sounds like an all-too familiar case of a non-league club being done over by player power.

    See: Clayton Donaldson - York to Hibs 2007.
    ========================================================================
    Alex - You might be a non-league fan but you clearly don't understand the risks and pressures involved in trying to make it as a Professional fooballer.

    If he had signed a contract then when a bigger club offering better pay came in for him, the move might have been scuppered by Barrow's demands. The following season he may have had an injury / loss of form and bang: he's on a building site for the rest of his life.

    It could still end up this way.

    Since you're emailing at 2pm Alex, I presume you have a cushy office job like me. So a bit rich to judge others on their career choices.

    But tell me, if you had a chance of changing jobs for a pay rise / working for a bigger and better company, would you hinder that move out of loyalty to your current employer? Cos not many people would.

  • Comment number 11.

    To be fair he should have signed so that Barrow got some recompense for giving him an opportunity. If I was Barrow' manager I would be annoyed at that

  • Comment number 12.

    Aye, dedication's what you need.

    Another interesting read.

  • Comment number 13.

    At 2:48pm on 13 Sep 2010, Brandyrecovery wrote

    "Since you're emailing at 2pm Alex, I presume you have a cushy office job like me. So a bit rich to judge others on their career choices."

    Wow!

    Now I remember why it's worth ignoring these boards.

    I was putting a reasonable argument across - didn't expect that! As it is, you're wrong (sadly - I wish I did have that "cushy job"!). But very well done you for getting one, you must be chuffed...

    Still, to answer your question, of course I would take a job that was better for me. I'm not suggesting one should expect anything else of anyone. But I don't buy the idea that signing a contract at Barrow would hinder his prospects of moving on. The amount you'd be talking about for a fee from there is pocket change to all the clubs mentioned, so their demands wouldn't "scupper" such a thing.

    And as for your injury point - I don't agree. If he signs a contract with Barrow he gets his wage there as an insurance against that, club insurance, and - if it's career-ending - PFA insurance. If he doesn't sign, gets injured during that current season or before his medical at Colchester, then he's without any insurance policy and without a job. Much worse.

  • Comment number 14.

    good article that, I have only seen him play once (due to not living in the UK) & that was the game v Sheff Wed, & yes, any player would have been proud of that goal. It seems as though he has settled in nicely in the sarf & is scoring freely from midfield, if only we could find a striker like that then we would be sitting pretty at the top.

  • Comment number 15.

    Another excellent piece.

    Come a long way since playing in the street with him in Wigan! He's a top lad and deserves and feel some of the comments aimed at him for not getting Barrow a payday are unfair. I don't remember many people slagging of Joe Cole for walking away from Chelsea on a free in the summer!

  • Comment number 16.

    How can people feel sorry for Barrow? Read carefully...

    They only offer 1 year contracts at the end of a season, thus there is no loyality on their behalf. They sign a player up only on a short term basis. What if he breaks a leg, tears his cruciate knee ligament? He gets a salary until the end of the season then thats it for him. Nothing to fall back on, whilst he tries to get rehabilitated.

    It serves Barrow right, as clearly they aren't looking after their players. They know the rules, so tough luck.

    Good luck to the guy, and if it was an agent that tipped him off about not signing the contract, then this is why players have agents! The agent has done a wonderful service in getting the guy from non-league into Division 1 and by all accounts, the shop window for an even better move. You can't knock the agent here, he's done what he's paid to do!

  • Comment number 17.

    At 3:16pm on 13 Sep 2010, Phil wrote:

    How can people feel sorry for Barrow? Read carefully...

    They only offer 1 year contracts at the end of a season, thus there is no loyality on their behalf.


    Interesting post Phil - I didn't know that was the case at Barrow. If it is, then you've a very valid point. I would add that I was simply questioning it - not saying I - or anyone else - felt sorry for Barrow.

    But, if you are correct regarding Barrow's policy, are we to assume that they went to the player with SIX contract offers and not one was longer than a year?! Surely not?

  • Comment number 18.

    Agree with Phil's comment at 3:16pm.

    The player (with or without a tip off from his agent) has done exactly the right thing in not signing a new deal with Barrow.

    For Alex to suggest that any fee demanded by Barrow would be "peanuts" to a buying club I would ask how many times since the economic crisis have you seen money change hands between the lower division clubs? Very few, because everyone is either skint or reluctant to part with the cash they do have. Virtually every manager working below the Championship has to make do with Bosman/free transfers to build their squads with.

    Had the player signed a deal with Barrow I think it could be 50/50 at best that he'd be a league footballer now.

  • Comment number 19.

    Really interesting debate on the morality of the player in turning down the new contract here. And I'm still not sure on which side of the fence I land. At this level, BrandyRecovery is right in that the player did what is right for him, and I can understand that. I would probably do the same. But I do feel that players owe a debt of some sort to the clubs that make/save their career. I just think player power is getting too much, especially in the higher echeleons of the game.

  • Comment number 20.

    Alex,

    I think Phil (no.16) sums up the argument "against" clubs and specifically your point about income protection for the player in case of injury.

    It's been about 10 years since I was playing in the Doc Martens league, but even allowing for inflation I doubt his contract with Barrow would be for much more than £300 a week.

    Now call me a soft leftie, but when I see a situation where an employer is trying to coerce an employee into signing a contract for the employers benefit (i.e. so they can receive compensation for breaking it) I tend to back the employee.

    And it's easy to say "these clubs can easily afford to pay a fee" but that is pure speculation. If colchester, as a business, want to recruit a midfielder they have a budget for this. Usually, any transfer fee reduces the size of the contract a player is awarded. So if this guy is able to get a "free transfer" he has a stronger position in which to negotiate his wages.

    Re: agents, it's actualy at this end of the market where they genuinely can help players, who ever since year dot have been exploited by clubs. We have this ridiculous situation where 10% - 20% of pro footballers are earning obscene salaries, but that should not prejudice feeling towards the remaining players, who generally live on normal incomes given the shortness of their careers...

  • Comment number 21.

    Hands up, im not a non-league follower. I just read the blog and your comments.

    But you cant be serious thinking that the player should have taken a contract knowing that other teams are interested.
    The player really has no choice but to turn down the contract, It just would not make sense.

    Barrow REPEATEDLY offering him a new contract really stinks. They very easily could have wrecked his chances of being where he is now. if it was about compensation, he only played for Barrow for 3 years when he was already in his 20's. how much compensation do they deserve? am sure in that 3 years they got their monies worth.







  • Comment number 22.

    19. At 3:28pm on 13 Sep 2010, jcb211 wrote:...But I do feel that players owe a debt of some sort to the clubs that make/save their career...

    JCB211: Just like in the world of work, do you owe a debt of honour to "the club" that made / saved you, or the individuals within that organisation??

    I'm not being pedantic, I'm trying to explain that if (for example) you were signed by Ron Manager for Barrow at a time when no other teams wanted you, I would expect every decent guy to remember Ron for the rest of their career (actually rest of their life). The same might go for the Dave the kit man, who you had chats with, Rita the tea lady, etc. etc.

    And if this lad goes onto become a very wealthy man, I would love to think that he'd remember all the people that helped him on the way up. Be it by sending them Xmas presents, or whatever. He's from the NW, so he might possibly get involved with the club (managing, coaching) once his playing days are over. Who knows.

    My point is, this can all be done afterwards. At age 25, he should not be hindering his career progress out of some mis-guided sense of loyalty.

    And if it's the case (as appears fronm the article, but this might be mis-leading) that the chairman and / or manager tried to get him to sign a contract without telling him that they'd received offers from bigger clubs I'd be inclined to give them sweet FA!

    As my manager told us when we were all young apprentices:- "If you only learn one thing from me, remember this; there's no mates in this game". Wise words Mr Hockaday!

  • Comment number 23.

    The player has to do what is best for his chances of playing league football!!

    In Barrows defence they have to do what is giving them the best chance of playing league football which is keeping him.

    So good article and lots being made of nothing! Common sense!

  • Comment number 24.

    I see your point, fair enough.

    I just can't stand players treating a club like dirt when it suits them, but in this instance there is some doubt over the integrity of BArrow. At the top we keep seeing players causing their clubs massive problems and it just frustrates me. Be it Gallas to Chelsea, Cole to Arsenal, or Mascherano to Liverpool, the players seem to have the clubs over a barrel (recently Begovic was trying it too!)

  • Comment number 25.

    I am a Barrow AFC fan & would like to offer a defense for the Management regarding this situation. Dave Bayliss & Darren Sheridan have always stated (through local media) that if a League Club came in for one of our players, they would respect the fact it could possibly be too big an opportunity for the player to miss, and therefore would allow them to talk to the interested club(s).

    I can offer an example to this... arguably our best player, Jason Walker (our current top scorer this year - bagged a hat-trick at the weekend) had attracted the interest of Doncaster Rovers (last summer) and allowed Jason to go their on trial, despite being contracted to Barrow and an integral part of our team. Therefore, the management, when offering Andy Bond numerous contracts last Winter, were only doing so to try to ensure a fee for the club, as is their job to do so. They would never have stood in his way once confirmed interest & actual approaches were made for the player (not just scouts sniffing around & rumoured interest). I think Bayliss & Sheridan were only acting in the best interest of the club & Bondy was giving himself the best chance he could of becoming a Football League Professional once again. Both parties therefore acting in a way to best protect their interests, which is only natural given the circumstances.

    I would obviously have liked to have seen Andy sign a contract with Barrow & us receive a fee for him (for the good of the club), however, I hold nothing against Andy Bond what so ever and think he was a great servant to the club in his time here. Like other ex-Barrow players now playing in the Football League (Grant Holt - Norwich), most Barrow fans like to see them doing well and becoming successful & feel in some way that our club have contributed in them being the players they are.

    We still have a strong midfield area & it has given someone else a chance to hopefully follow in Andy's footsteps i.e. gaining a promotion with Barrow, before moving on to bigger and better things (hopefully earning us a fee in the process!!).

    Good luck to Colchester & Andy Bond.

    All Bluebirds are blue...

  • Comment number 26.

    Really good post, BarrowAfc. Answers a lot of it for me.

  • Comment number 27.

    Now then,

    Many thanks for all your comments, as always they are much appreciated.

    Lots of discussion about the role of the agent, and I can fully understand why. I think I might be able to shed a little bit of light on the matter.

    I don't think that Bond had an agent at the start of last season or, indeed, at the time Barrow first offered him a new deal. Bond had nothing but good things to say about Barrow and I got the impression that he thoroughly enjoyed his time at the club. Although I cannot say for sure, I do not think he thought the manager at Barrow was doing anything underhand, just looking after the interests of the club.

    I think Bond enlisted the help of an agent once it had become clear that Football League clubs were showing an interest. He wanted some professional advice to ensure he made the right decision.

    More than anything, though, I think his story is one that shows rejection at an early age does not always mean that the dream of being a pro is over.

  • Comment number 28.

    BarrowAfc:
    ...They would never have stood in his way once confirmed interest & actual approaches were made for the player (not just scouts sniffing around & rumoured interest)...

    You're correct that Bayliss & Sheridan were trying to look out for the best intrests of Barrow, as they should. I don't know these people, but will accept what you have written (above).

    But the reality is that whatever the transfer fee was, demanded by Barrow, would have been negotiated by the buying club. If they wanted £50k, they would have been offered £25k. If they wanted £100k, they would have been offered £50k. And so on.

    Maybe a deal would have been done, but not necessarily. And then thru the local media, you would have heard Bayliss & Sheridan saying "we did not want to stand in the way of the player but any deal has to be right for the club".

    No-one's having a go at Barrow, but I find it unbelievable that people make accusations at a player, for taking a risk in his career by turning down a contract with a non-league club in the hope of signing up with a league team.

    I can't see how anyone could read this as anything other than a good news story...

  • Comment number 29.

    #27 Paul wrote: "I think his story is one that shows rejection at an early age does not always mean that the dream of being a pro is over."

    Quite true, but I think this point warrants more discussion. With the way things are going, squad sizes being severley chopped..more reliance and emphasis being placed by the Premier League in particular of encouraging clubs to go down the 'youth' route...single year contracts being offered to over 30's etc - are the days of unearthing late developers like Ian Wright quickly coming to an end as it simply isn't worth the risk of older players taking the chance?

  • Comment number 30.

    Andy Bond great start banging in the goals, what a coup this has been for the club at this stage lets hope he keeps banging them in! Up the U's

  • Comment number 31.

    Re tomefccam

    "If only more league clubs took a punt on lower league stars then our game would be so much better. Rather than splashing it about on foregin flops.

    Our league system is so elitist it's unbelievable, anything referred to as non league is almost like a lesser entity, when in fact the standard of players is quite similar between league 1 - Blue square."

    Recently, Plymouth Argyle have done just that:

    Craig Noone moved to Argyle from non-league Southport. Now in our first team, age 22.

    Rory Patterson joined Argyle this summer from Droylsden / Coleraine in Northern Ireland - Now in our first team, age 26.

    George Donnelly joined Argyle from non-league Skelmersdale United - now on loan at Stockport, age 22.

    Ashley Barnes joined Argyle from non-league Paulton Rovers - now signed by Brighton, age 21.

    Source:
    http://www.greensonscreen.co.uk/gosdb.asp


  • Comment number 32.

    I'm not really sure why this has gotten into a debate about who has acted badly. Both were acting in their own interests but I wouldn't say either are in the wrong, that's just life.

    As for Andy Bond owing anything to Barrow, surely he has repaid any debt to the club on the pitch? He helped them to promotion to the blue square prem as well as an FA Vase victory and the third round of the FA Cup. This must be more important than the sort of transfer fee he would have commanded.

    As a U's fan I can say that he has been a great signing for us, but may well wish to move up a level in the future - and I wouldn't begrudge him that, particularly if he keeps up this sort of form all season. Well done Andy and good luck Barrow.

  • Comment number 33.

    "16. At 3:16pm on 13 Sep 2010, Phil wrote:

    How can people feel sorry for Barrow? Read carefully...

    They only offer 1 year contracts at the end of a season, thus there is no loyality on their behalf. They sign a player up only on a short term basis. What if he breaks a leg, tears his cruciate knee ligament? He gets a salary until the end of the season then thats it for him. Nothing to fall back on, whilst he tries to get rehabilitated.

    It serves Barrow right, as clearly they aren't looking after their players. They know the rules, so tough luck."

    Err, can I refer you to the case of Mike Pearson. Broke his leg vs. Middlesbrough for us, he was kept on contract and sent to rehabilitation, taking up a scouting role for the club. He has since recovered and is on contract with the club. So you've made a massive assumption, which was just false and pure wild conjecture.

    At Barrow we do look after our players.

    All the best to Bondy he's a top lad and you always got the impression he really put his all in for the club and really enjoyed the success he had here. Hope he can continue his form.

  • Comment number 34.

    #33 Well of course he was sent to rehabilitation, Barrow will have their players insured for something like a leg break. And he was contracted, so they couldn't just get rid of him.

    Im guessing this happened in January? And the player was contracted until July 1st. So they had to keep paying him for that 6 months anyway!

    By July he was probably coming back to full fitness? So they get him another contract as they expect he will be playing again come the start of the next season?

    Its kind of funny they found another job for him to do, whilst he was injured. Making the most out of him as he couldnt play, and they were stuck paying his wages!

  • Comment number 35.

    Yeah my suspicions are possibly right. I checked wikipedia to see what it said (it may be wrong, but i have no other knowledge of Mike Pearson)

    "In a 2008–09 FA Cup clash with Premier League side Middlesbrough, Pearson received an injury in the 52nd minute after a challenge with Marvin Emnes,[9] a collision which left Pearson with a double leg-break.[10] He was ruled out for the remainder of the season, but Barrow manager Dave Bayliss assured Pearson would remain with the club.[10] The Bluebirds lost to Middlesbrough 2–1.[11] In March, Pearson reported that he hoped to recover in time for the 2009–10 season.[2]"

    So how did Barrow do anything exceptional? He was contracted for the rest of the season and said he would be fit for the following season! So of course they kept him contracted.

    What i want to know, is what if he did his cruciate knee ligament in May, the last game of the season, and would have been out for a year? Sure they would have given him a year contract then! Yeah, right.

    Managers who say they wont stand in a players way are also pushing the truth. What they are saying is that the player can go if a league club offers enough money. If they don't get a high enough bid, then i'm sure the manager won't just let the player go, out of the goodness of his heart!

    Clearly in this instance the manager was looking out for his/Barrow's best interests and not that of the player. i.e. He wasn't helping the player move onwards and upwards, as he was trying to tie him to Barrow.

    If Barrow could demand a fee for him, then i bet he wouldn't have got his dream move, as clubs are reluctant to pay fees for players in lower leagues, but to get a free transfer like this is not too risky.

  • Comment number 36.

    A rare miss from Dario Gradi not picking up this guy!! I wonder if they stayed in touch though?

  • Comment number 37.

    jeremy_fitch, could it be that Bond was released in the "gap" when Gradi had let go of the reins at Crewe a little? without Gradi the club seems totally disjointed and I can't help but worry for the club if he should fall ill or be otherwise put out of operation.

  • Comment number 38.

    nope, had to check it out. Gradi stepped down in 2007 and Bond was released 2006. As jeremy said then, a rare miss by the starmaker

  • Comment number 39.

    Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised at the hostility to a small club trying to protect their interests, but I find it very unsavoury.

    Small clubs are essential for the vitality of the entire league system. If it wasn't for the Barrow's (and Colchester/Crewe's) of the football league structure, all sorts of players would never have a professional career at all!

    Just as Colchester have 'taken a punt' on an apparently promising non-league player, so Barrow did the same with a young lad who didn't make the grade/get a contract after coming through the youth ranks of a league side.

    For every success, a lower/non-league club will spends hundreds they can ill afford (sometimes thousands if they really get suckered in) on a kid who's injury-prone/infuriatingly inconsistent/heart isn't in it anymore and proves a complete waste of time and money.

    Barrow have given the lad a chance. Without them, he might not have a got a break anywhere! Surely they deserve a bit of credit for that? Why the hostility to them getting a fee and trying to secure their assets? Why did they do it in the winter? Err....probably because he was playing very well and they wanted to try and secure him for longer?

    Seems to be a whole lot of insinuation about their behaviour which is, quite plausibly entirely unwarranted, purely because they wanted one of their best players to sign a new contract!!

    Yes they were trying to protect their squad/investment (they might even have hoped - shock horror - to keep him!). There was certainly no guarantee he would gain a contract elsewhere in December last year. They might have hoped to persuade him to continue playing first team football - continue learning his trade if you like - in the hope that he'd be a better prospect afterwards.

    Let's be honest, with no disrespect intended, Macclesfield (lowly League 2) and Luton (Conference) would not have been massive steps upwards. Tranmere and Carlisle might also have failed to work out for him (and he didn't get the contract at Leicester).

    Most league sides below the Championship stick to one-two year contracts, so I don't believe Barrow (a previously part-time non-league outfit with gates around or below 2,000) should be expected to give two, three or four year contracts they could not afford. Oh....and another thing? Ever thought that short contracts might be preferable to both parties in lower leagues?

    Just because Barrow didn't spend 7mil with huge wages on an unknown Portuguese streetkid , it doesn't make them a bad club!

    One final comment. Good luck to Bond. Clearly he's got a chance of making it, through hard work and commitment. He should know that he owes his opportunity to Barrow and Colchester and maybe if he goes higher he'll remember that (perhaps by recommending the club(s) to other players who are struggling for a break in their own careers).

    I like watching players who've worked hard and earned their chance from the lower league structure. It's good for the game...and so are the clubs which give them that chance.

  • Comment number 40.

    But if he was that good - which I have no doubt he is - then he should have signed the deal with Barrow and helped earn the club some money later that Summer.
    -----------

    What a ridiculous comment! Very few players owe clubs any favours, and the fact they tabled contract offers without informing him about any enquiries from other clubs proves this.

    Barrow were only looking out for themselves, so why on earth shouldn't Bond? Fair play to him!

  • Comment number 41.

    Alex

    It is ok having a go at the boy for not signing the contract, if the club had been honest with him and explained there had been interest in him, and who from, he may have signed a deal if the club had not over priced him and by that denied him the move.
    Agents get a bad press, but players and clubs are equally to blame about not being truly honest at times.
    Good luck to the lad, hope it works for him.

  • Comment number 42.

    Its the natural food chain of footy. Barrow can't complain as they got to use his services for a couple of seasons and benefitted that way. I am a Fulham fan and love being in the premier league but I fully understand that for any ambitious players or managers it is a shop window. Any player offered champions league footy would go in a heartbeat as would managers. I don't begrudge them that choice. The only time it is frustrating is when players move on because they thing they are bigger than the club and it backfires and they go backwards, Sean Davies, Papa Boupa Diop, Jimmy Bullard. If it is a player who should be at the top I just consider myself lucky to have had them, Edwin Van Der Saar etc. Good luck to the lad, he has a drive many who have been rejected by the game lack and he'll do well to keep that drive up and try to make the jump to the premier league!

  • Comment number 43.

    There is no way Bond could have risked being in contract at the end of the season. You can't blame him for thinking of himself at that point in his career. Heskey was in a similar position for Leicester a few years back and signed a contract so that Leicester would get a transfer fee. The difference is that Heskey was almost guaranteed to go to a bigger club and so this was not a personal gamble. Bond was no way in that position. Barrow did the right thing also as they are a small club and need to look after themselves also. It's hard in the lower leagues where opportunity and money are hard to come by, you can't blame either the club or the player for their actions.


    Good luck to Bond. May this be the inspiration to all those players that will be released this year by their clubs to keep on trying. It goes to show what you can achieve if you have the ambition and passion.

  • Comment number 44.

    Surely Barrow fans can't blame the lad for making the move, after all the club were the ones that raised his suspicions by trying to get him to extend his contract very much out of the blue. I am afraid it's the way modern football works, we may not like it when we're on the receiving end (and Us fans have been over the years I can tell you), but you can see it in Andy's play and effort he really is keen to be playing and impressing at this level and very pleased to be at Colcheter.

    Andy Bond was the first song the supporters sang when the teams came out against Pyymounth on Saturday, and if keeps playing like he has been, he must be a first team regular.

    Well done Andy and keep it up son.

  • Comment number 45.

    As has been said, poor attitude towards the club that gave you the chance to train full time and revive your career by turning down a contract so they get no money from the transfer.

    You can't blame him for wanting to move, but its selfish and a big kick in the teeth to Barrow not letting them get a fee for all they did for him.

    Game could do without players like Bond and Chris Porter.

  • Comment number 46.

    42. At 7:56pm on 14 Sep 2010, Pantsonfire wrote:
    Its the natural food chain of footy. Barrow can't complain as they got to use his services for a couple of seasons and benefitted that way. I am a Fulham fan and love being in the premier league but I fully understand that for any ambitious players or managers it is a shop window. Any player offered champions league footy would go in a heartbeat as would managers. I don't begrudge them that choice. The only time it is frustrating is when players move on because they thing they are bigger than the club and it backfires and they go backwards, Sean Davies, Papa Boupa Diop, Jimmy Bullard. If it is a player who should be at the top I just consider myself lucky to have had them, Edwin Van Der Saar etc. Good luck to the lad, he has a drive many who have been rejected by the game lack and he'll do well to keep that drive up and try to make the jump to the premier league!
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Good points dear fellow.

    How did you feel about Louis Saha back in 2004, as it was terribly received by Fulham fans at the time? But surely he was always destined for a bigger move?

    What about Smalling...not too much fuss it seems, but why? Because you lads don't rate him. I don't think he will be any better than average myself.

    How about Morris 15,000 Voltz? He always looked good to me, but his ambions were elsewhere?

    Sean Davis came through the ranks, my team everton wanted him which would have been a good move for him. Instead he went to Plymouth. He isn't

    Flham

  • Comment number 47.

    30. At 5:36pm on 13 Sep 2010, MrColuFan wrote:
    Andy Bond great start banging in the goals, what a coup this has been for the club at this stage lets hope he keeps banging them in! Up the U's

    Complain about this comment

    31. At 7:21pm on 13 Sep 2010, PutneyPete wrote:
    Re tomefccam

    "If only more league clubs took a punt on lower league stars then our game would be so much better. Rather than splashing it about on foregin flops.

    Our league system is so elitist it's unbelievable, anything referred to as non league is almost like a lesser entity, when in fact the standard of players is quite similar between league 1 - Blue square."

    Recently, Plymouth Argyle have done just that:

    Craig Noone moved to Argyle from non-league Southport. Now in our first team, age 22.

    Rory Patterson joined Argyle this summer from Droylsden / Coleraine in Northern Ireland - Now in our first team, age 26.

    George Donnelly joined Argyle from non-league Skelmersdale United - now on loan at Stockport, age 22.

    Ashley Barnes joined Argyle from non-league Paulton Rovers - now signed by Brighton, age 21.

    Source:
    http://www.greensonscreen.co.uk/gosdb.asp

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well I hope they do well then chief.

    Reidy will bring them on.

    Mariner will only ruin your club the longer he stays the bad fish smell

  • Comment number 48.

    @@ Alex:

    Totally disagree with you. If he were to sign his contract with Barrow that means that another club would have had to pay a transfer fee to sign him. By not having a transer fee means it is a lot more likely that the player will recieve a higher wage at his new club and being a player down in the lower leagues all it can take is an off form season and all of a sudden you find yourself without a club and therefore jobless, as clubs won't think twice about releasing you if you are not performing!!!

    He owes barrow nothing, and Barrow were (and fair play to them) acting from a selfish point of view when offering him a new contract. Clubs will look after themselves and so should the players.

  • Comment number 49.

    phill
    you obviously have never watched a barrow game in your life, you do not know anything about the system
    maybe you should read about what happened to a little player called mike pearson and it may change your mind. do you think teams of that level can afford to pay big contracts like chelsea and united ?
    bond was a great player who was given his chance to make it in a higher league.

  • Comment number 50.

    As a Colchester supporter can I say how nice it is to see such a vigorous debate over one of our recent signings - and CUFC getting plaudits for their conduct in the matter.

    Given our experiences last year at the hands of one particular 'bigger club', it's very refreshing.

    Re Bond - the lad has started well but hasn't made it yet. The season is barely a month old. CUFC did a good bit of business to sign him, and if Barrow didn't do enough to protect their asset - well that's really only down to them.

    Much is often said about loyalty in football, but in the end it's only her fans who are loyal. Everyone else is just trying to get the most out of the system. Bond will doubtless move up the football ladder. I hope that that's with Colchester, but am realistic enough to realise that if he continues in his current vein another club will approach us for his signature.

    When or if that happens then I'm confident that our Chairman will continue to deal honestly and fairly with the player, making them aware of the interest even if the approach is turned down. That's just how we do things. We did the same thing when we were in the Conference ourselves - beating Barrow home and away!

    Since then, by sticking to tight budgets and salary caps but making astute loan and free signings we've suffered only one relegation, in 18 years. In that time we've also enjoyed three promtions (including two years in the 2nd flight of English footy).

    Barrow, and most other clubs, would be very happy for that kind of sustained performance on the modest resources we have available.

  • Comment number 51.

    First of all Paul I would like to say this is another interesting blog, i always read but never normally comment on this type of thing but being a Barrow thing I feel I have to clear a few things up.

    Phil- your negative comments towards Barrow are made without relevant insight and I would like to make a few things clear. First of all Barrow do offer 2 year deals, I actually believe Andy Bond was on one. Unfortunately that has come back to bite us by way of an ex-Swindon player Andy Nicholas, who since signing the dotted line has appeared to be a bit of a donkey. Although he's only played a handful of games, I think we're already looking at shipping him out on loan to save some of his wages.

    Longwayfromtooting- Now the thing with Andy Bond is, he wasnt always that good for us. Dont get me wrong he always gave 110%, he's that sort of man, but sometimes his performances were extremely frustrating. Particularly in his early Barrow career he was poor. As he was on a contract and the wage structure was already in place sometimes we had no choice but to play him- we had no one else. However since the bluebirds signed Robin Hulbert to partner him in midfield and that coupled with going to a more full time basis ensured Bond developed, improved and more importantly matured into the player he is now. So don't be naive it's only really been last season he became anything more than average.

    As a Barrow fan I would also like to make it clear that we dont resent Andy Bond for leaving us, good luck to him, we appreciate the role he played for us- excellent at Wembley, MOM V Sunderland and MOM in our playoff final as well, but me personally just wishes there could have been some sort of happy medium.

    For example I think the management and Bond could have come up with a contract perhaps containing a minimum release fee, say £15,000. Not big potatoes to a League One club like Tranmere, Carlisle or certainly Colchester. That 15k is probably profit for 4 home games for us, and would have made a huge difference. Being realistic though, If i were Bond I wouldnt have signed, I agree that still is probably too risky.
    However, surely Colchester Utd could still have offered something in return? What about first refusal on players they're wanting to loan out? What about the use of their training facilities when we're playing down south? Those things would not have cost CUFC a dime, yet would save Barrow thousands.

    Can we take this discussion away from Bond and Barrow, its been exhausted now and perhaps look at what bigger clubs- when in this situation could do for non-league clubs? I know that our board would snap CUFC hands off for use of their facilities 3,4 times a year.

    P.s. If you're reading this Andy, well done for your start and keep it going. Your energy is your main strength, coupled with your strong right peg, keep working and keep the confidence to keep shooting!

  • Comment number 52.

    Barrow fan here.............three comments to this excellent blog

    Andy Bond did exactly what he should have done, held out and probably got the signing on fee Barrow were likely to get as a consequence,(if he had signed)who can blame the lad?.

    Bondy played brilliant for Barrow, was a loyal servant for three years and he was a credit to the club - his ambition to move into the league ranks being helped along the way by this - so it worked both ways IMO.

    Barrow missed the boat on him signing up for a new contract - but we were establishing ourselves after promotion , the BoD wanted to remain in the black, crowds levels were increasing but not massively, and giving new two year contracts on better terms against an already low playing budget probably wasn't the right thing to do at the time , and also not the right message to send out to other key players (i.e. wanting better terms etc). So what appeared a desperate measure to make a buck on a player was all that could have been done at that time IMO.


    In conclusion - circumstances forced the inevitable conclusion. As a Barrow fan I believe it worked out well for both parties, 3 great seasons from Bondy and a new career in the football league and to be honest, you will find no one in Barrow begrudging Andy Bond his success , he owes us nothing and we are proud and thrilled about his success at Colchester ....'Andy, Andy Bond, Andy, Andy Bond........'

  • Comment number 53.

    Great blog and great comments, i am an official at CUFC and am extremely pleased to see Andy at the club....Barrow supporters u r a credit to your club...having played at conference level myself and only retired 3 years ago i think that Andy made the correct decision,as did Barrow it seems that although it is hard work u have a every chance in climbing the non league pyramid via moving through to higher placed clubs as you progress as a player, the toughest "promotion" of all is going full time pro into the football league and chances are few and far between therefore i do not beleive that either Andy or Barrow made any mistakes at all and in fact Andy Bond will go on to better things further down the line and nobody will forget the input and opportunity that Barrow portrayed in Andy's progression....good luck for the season Barrow and i wish u every success in your quest for league football status and after reading these blogs u have become my "second" team....

 

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