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Friday, February 5, 2010

The Chris Smalling Rule??

With our purchase of Fulham's defender Chris Smalling, I've been left thinking about what kind of compensation is paid to the non-league club that nurtured Smalling's talent up until he moved to Fulham. This isn't confined to non-league clubs, but all clubs who nurture and develop young talent and are then, invariably left short changed when the player makes his mark and moves on to bigger and better things.

Although Smalling only made 12 appearances for Maidstone, he was considered the club's most promising talent, something for which to build their side on until a big pay day when he moved on. While it could be construed as pretentious for a supporter of a "big four" club, I'd have to say, it would appear, at least on the face of it, Maidstone have been left short changed.

While Fulham have complied with all FA, Premier League & Football League rules and compensated Maidstone to a degree, now the player's worth has sky rocketed, and seen Fulham benefit to the tune of 8-10million.

My question is, who is indebted to Maidstone FC for the development of this player? Manchester United who now own the rights to a decent young footballer with tremendous potential, Fulham wo have made a distinctly large profit for minimal outlay or is it maybe that Mr Smalling himself should feel obligated to give something back to the club that started him on the road to the many opportunities that may well lay ahead of him.

I'm inclined to side with the latter, given that the wages he receives now, will receive when he joins United and any future earnings could well be traced back to his humble beginnings with the "Stones". I am not, for even a second, being pious enough to stand on a high horse and decry that Smalling must drop to his knees and thank Maidstone Football Club for the rest of his career, but surely, dipping into the impressive wages he'll be receiving to fund a friendly match or fundraiser, or sponsoring a kit or player at the club, or even just making a monetary donation would go along to building back relations between the Premier League and its players with the Football League and Non-League football.


  1. i agree, top players who have come through the grades, should feel compelled to contribute to their lower league "stomping grounds". Whether it be by making a charitable donation, sponsoring a player/s, hooking them up with some new gear from their own boot sponsor, or teaching the kids at their old clubs academy, they should contribute to ensure the continued survival of lower, and non-league football.

  2. Thanks for the comment Vish...Although I'm a life long United fan, I've always had an affinity with the rough and tumble, blood and guts world of non-league football... sometimes it's nice to remember not all football is superstars, fast cars and pristine pitches...