NOTE TO PLAYER: BUT­TON IT AND SIT TIGHT

The Football League Paper - - PROFILE ON -

THE ruth­less treat­ment of Saido Ber­ahino at the hands of Jeremy Peace and Tony Pulis proves that player power is no longer the ram­pant force of re­cent years.

The striker, 22, kicked up a mighty stink when West Brom re­jected a bid from Spurs last sum­mer, threat­en­ing not to play for the club while chair­man Peace re­mained at the helm.

If the out­burst was cal­cu­lated to force a trans­fer, it back­fired. Ber­ahino was in­stead dropped to the bench and left to rot by Pulis, who told him to ‘sort his head out’. He has since started just eight games.

Now Peace is pre­par­ing to take an­other hard­line stance by re­fus­ing to lis­ten to any of­fers in Jan­uary.

Say what you want about the evils of Premier League cash. It cer­tainly causes plenty of prob­lems in the Cham­pi­onship.

But, in this case, it has proved a huge pos­i­tive. Pre­vi­ously, no club could af­ford to let a £30,000-aweek, £25m-rated as­set kick his heels in the re­serves. Bet­ter to ditch a bad egg and free up a hunk of the bud­get.

Now, with TV money set to pro­vide a £5bn wind­fall from next sea­son, top-flight clubs are flush enough to do what­ever they want.

As agents drive harder bar­gains and wages climb in line with in­come, that will surely change. But, for now, it’s great to see clubs like the Bag­gies re­assert­ing a bit of au­thor­ity and prov­ing that lippy up­starts can’t sim­ply tram­ple all over their con­tracts.

STRANDED: Ber­ahino

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