Bolton Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside: 'We got £400,000 from Manchester City for a player we never actually signed'

The Bolton News: Phil Gartside Phil Gartside

PHIL Gartside has revealed the truth behind Didi Hamann’s infamous short stay as a Bolton Wanderers player.

Speaking on Talksport, the Whites chairman admitted for the first time that paperwork on the German international’s move from Liverpool had not actually been completed before he was sold on less than 24 hours later to Manchester City for £400,000.

Hamann was in the studio as Gartside recalled a deal often jokingly referred to by Sam Allardyce as “the best he has ever done.”

“The full story never actually came out,” Gartside said.

“What happened was Didi signed for us on a free transfer from Liverpool, came in, signed the papers, and then, for whatever reason, decided it wasn’t for you and that you wanted to reconsider.

“We said to you ‘I’m sorry about that, but you’ve signed’ but what you never realised was that we never actually countersigned the papers and just put them in the drawer.

“The next thing we know, you came along and told us you’d got this opportunity to go to Manchester City – so we actually sold you without actually signing you, did you know that?

“We got £400,000 from Manchester City for a player we never actually signed. And that’s the truth.”

Gartside picked out relegation from the Premier League as the lowest point of his near 14-year reign as chairman, with qualifying for Europe under Sam Allardyce in 2005 the highlight.

And he also outlined some of the financial difficulties faced by the club since they dropped out of the top flight and failed to return at the first time of asking.

“Getting relegated from the Premier League, on day one you lose about £30million of revenue,” he explained. “That’s a fact of life and you lose the advantage of the TV money. The problem you have got is that having been in there for 11 years, you build up to a wage structure. You have got to compete, you can’t try not to, and so you build a structure that is Premier League and you can’t dismantle that on day one.

“You can build in some contingencies but we went from a £50m wage bill to a £25m wage bill in one hit when we got relegated. But £25m in today’s Financial Fair Play climate is not low enough.

“Our turnover, excluding TV money, is relatively modest compared to some of the bigger clubs. We haven’t got the massive fan base, so it’s very difficult.”

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