Everyone laughed when Manchester United signed the deal that made Yanmar the official Tractor supplier of the Red Devils. The football purists dismissed it as the way “the modern game” was moving and opposition team fans just tutted and shook their heads at yet another sign that money was taking over the game that we love.
But, It turns out that, once again, the Old Trafford club were just way ahead of the game.
Maybe if Juventus had the foresight to sign their very own official tractor partnership then they wouldn’t be dealing with the issues they currently face.
The Old Lady of football is facing losing one of its hottest prospects on the after a row broke out with the player’s father who alleges the club regaled on a promise to gift him some “agricultural machinery”.
Moise Kean’s dad admits that the new £700,000 deal on the table from the Italian giants to secure his son’s services is “Ok”. Yet he also says he may prevent his lad from signing it because the club went back on their pledge to send him a load of tractors to help him grow corn and rice back home in the Ivory Coast.
Firstly, clearly, someone needs to explain to him that perhaps he could use some of his son’s gargantuan pay packet to buy a tractor or two and secondly, if Juve had indeed promised dear old Pop’s a little red tractor to sweeten the deal it STILL wouldn’t be the craziest contract clause in football.
In fact, it would have to go a LONG way to beat this little lot….
Spencer Prior: Manchester City to Cardiff City
Sam Hamman was undoubtedly one of the biggest characters in football. When he wasn’t sporting his trademark Wellington boots and courting controversy he was busy adding his own twist to contract negotiations. When Spencer Prior wanted to swap the Blue half of Manchester for South Wales, Sam wanted a show of commitment. Whereas most chairmen might demand a loyalty bonus or even performance related pay the Lebanese businessman had other ideas insisting that the defender had “a physical liaison with a sheep” and “eat a sheep’s testicles”. It’s unclear if the liaison ever happened and if it did Spencer is still in touch with his woolly friend but he did eat the testicle, a delicacy from Hamman’s homeland (he refused to eat it raw and instead it was served with a little lemon, salt and parsley). Thus sealing his move to Ninian Park.
Mario Balotelli: Liverpool to AC Milan
Mad-Mario has certainly caused his fair share of controversy over his career. From throwing darts at youth team players to impromptu fire-work displays in his luxury flat’s bathroom, he’s often grabbed the headlines for the wrong reasons. This maverick behaviour clearly made AC Milan cautious when looking to sign the Italian from Liverpool. Instead of the usual “Goal Bonus” the Italian giants added a “don’t be a dick” bonus into Mario’s contract promising the former City player a cool £1million if he could go a whole season without “Receiving three or more red cards for violent behaviour, spitting on someone, insulting or abusive language/gestures, or any dissent by word or action”. Reports also suggested that he would have to curtail his extravagant haircuts and clothing. Clearly, these were the source of his superpowers as his spell at AC Milan was underwhelming at best. He later moved to French Ligue 1 team Nice where he immediately promised to “Fly a Helicopter” over the City should he help them win the league… clearly, his latest contract DID NOT include a similar clause.
Stefan Schwarz: Valencia to Sunderland
Nowadays Sunderland may well be plummeting down the league but there was once a time when they were reaching for the stars. When Stefan Schwarz joined the Black Cats he also expressed a long-standing desire to travel into space. The Swedish striker had planned to be a passenger on one of the first commercial flights into the stratosphere which caused Sunderland Chief Exec John Fickling to “Act in the best interests of the club” and add a ‘Space Clause’ into the contract. That meant that any future intergalactic travel would invalidate Stefan’s deal and he’d be sent packing.
Stefan did consider a return to the North East throwing his hat into the ring as a potential successor to David Moyes – clearly seeing getting Sunderland back into the Premier League as an easier challenge than achieving space travel…. I’m not so sure it is.
Luis Suarez: Liverpool to Barcelona
During his time in professional football Luis Suarez has gained a reputation for two things. Firstly being a predatory striker with a deadly eye for goal and secondly for being a bit “bitey”. When Barcelona signed the Uruguayan for £65million he was in the process of serving a four-month ban for chomping down on the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. Rumours were that the Catalan giants inserted a “no biting” rule into the Suarez deal but this was later denied by the club president.
Giuseppe Reina: SG Wattenscheid to Arminia Bielfeld
Having spent 9 years in the Bundesliga without really setting the league on fire you could argue that Giuseppe Reina’s most telling contribution to the beautiful game was a sound lesson to other players in the art of contract negotiation. When the German Striker moved to Arminia Bielfeld, he demanded that the club builds him a new house for every year of his new 3-year-deal. The club accepted, but with the kind of loop-hole-finding expertise usually associated with Gary Barlow’s accountant, found a way around their promise. Arminia could find no stipulations concerning the size of the abode and proceeded to supply Reina with a house made of LEGO for his spell with the club. Presumably, this is what Ed Sheeran is bleating on about in that song of his.
Neil Ruddock: West Ham to Crystal Palace
Razor Ruddock was the man who put the BIG in footballing big-man. A no-nonsense centre back with a reputation for hitting the buffet with the same ferocity with which he hit opponents. When Neil joined Crystal Palace back at the tail end of his career he was already struggling with his weight but Palace, seeing the potential in a free-transfer, still wanted to take the plunge. As an incentive for Ruddock to keep the pounds off they added a clause that he would lose 10% of his salary whenever he exceeded the recommended weight of 99.8kg (just under 16 stone). It didn’t work and Ruddock received eight fines in his six-month spell at the club including missing his debut because the club couldn’t find a pair of shorts big enough to accommodate his generous waistline.
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