THERE’S an awful lot of footballers out there with misplaced arrogance and the wrong outlook. Luke James is not one of them.
That’s why events of the last few weeks, which led to his transfer to Peterborough on Monday evening, are so confusing.
The fresh-faced, polite and somewhat embarrassed kid who flashed onto the Football League stage in 2011 soon become a bit of a hero at Hartlepool United.
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His honest attitude and willingness to learn endeared him to all, to the extent of being named the Football League Apprentice of the Year in 2013. It’s rare for the home crowd to stand and applaud an opposition player off the pitch to the extent James was at Tranmere in 2012.
So why has the Northumberland teenager forced a move to the first club to have shown a genuine interest in him?
Handing in two transfer requests, skipping training for three days and not being keen on being part of the squad for what proved his final game for Pools last weekend hints of peer pressure from those around him.
Granted, James has moved to a club with a solid reputation for signing and developing young talent and Posh should be in the promotion frame this season.
But why jump and be so unsettled at the first offer that comes along?
The timing of Monday’s move was no shock. It was announced by Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony live on BT Sport during their transfer deadline show.
Their capture of Jack Baldwin from Pools in the closing minutes of January’s window tellingly wasn’t to be made public until MacAnthony had used Twitter to announce the news. Same story this time around.
With James wanting out, and his head turned towards the A1, Pools had little choice to sell and accept the deal.
As for the fee? Their first offer of around £500,000 was rejected. It was announced as undisclosed, with rumours of up to £1m doing the rounds, a record sale for Pools.
Pools’ announcement was more of a potted career history than a news story.
Perhaps the chairman will – like he did with the Baldwin sale – use his column in the next matchday programme to explain more.
There’s a lot of questions needing answers. Pools, under IOR, have long been a club that keeps their business in house. However, the club has stagnated after the highs and progress of a decade ago and details of financial fair play rules isn’t what anyone needs this time
Colin Cooper won’t have a whacking increase in his budget to spent on players, but he must be allowed to add to his squad and get some numbers in and fast.