Blues change mind on Finidi deal

FINIDI George is still an Ipswich player after the hard-up club changed their mind about a pay-off.The former Nigerian international recently agreed a deal to terminate his lucrative Portman Road contract, which is not due to expire until June 2005.

By Mel Henderson

FINIDI George is still an Ipswich player after the hard-up club changed their mind about a pay-off.

The former Nigerian international recently agreed a deal to terminate his lucrative Portman Road contract, which is not due to expire until June 2005.

His agent, Winny Haatrecht, said today: "Finidi wanted to help the club and was prepared to accept a lot less than he is due."

Town were in discussion with the player and his agent after the club, crippled by debts totalling £50 million, called in the administrators last month.

They paid Spanish club Real Mallorca £3.1million for George in August 2001 and he signed a four-year deal rumoured to be worth more than £20,000 a week.

Most Read

He has started 30 games, appeared as a substitute 16 times and scored eight goals.

But he has disappeared from the first team scene in recent months, his last outing coming in the away leg of the UEFA Cup second round clash with Slovan Liberec in November.

He came on with ten minutes of normal time remaining and successfully converted from the spot as Town lost out on penalties.

Last night, as Ipswich earned a draw at Wolves to keep alive their slim play-off hopes, George was in Majorca celebrating the birth of his first child.

His girlfriend, Marea Jose, gave birth to a son, Kavin, and both mother and baby are doing fine.

Amsterdam-based Haatrecht, like George a former Ajax player, explained the recent sequence of events as talks between the parties ended in deadlock.

He said: "We had a deal with Ipswich, but it depended on him finding a new club in January before the transfer window closed.

"That didn't happen, so we made a proposal to the club and they came back to say they couldn't come up with that sort of money.

"I said 'Okay, give me a figure that you can pay' and they talked with the administrator before coming back to me with an offer.

"I spoke for a long time with Finidi and he said 'Let's do it'. He wanted to help the club. He understood the position they were in.

"We went back to them and said their offer was acceptable, but then they said they couldn't come up with that figure any more."

The stalemate means that George will stay with Ipswich and, after scans only revealed a slight hip problem, he is expected to be fit within a fortnight.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter