Tuesday’s loss away at Huddersfield was sad to see but unfortunately with the state that we are in, it was expected. News that followed of the collapse of striker Bradley Wright-Phillip’s transfer to Reading was nothing short of unexpected.
When the January transfer window opened, Plymouth began losing players left, right and centre to ease the financial complications that the club had accrued. Prized players such as Craig Noone and Reda Johnson went for face value, whilst George Donnelly who had always been a fringe player also moved on.
This saw one winding up order cleared well in advance of the date it was meant to be sorted. But this hasn’t been the end as there is still the other £500,000 tax bill that they still owe to HM Revenue & Customs. There was another unpaid tax bill that was due to the Plymouth Argyle Football Company (Holdings) Limited, but this was dismissed by the High Court on Wednesday as the debt had been paid.
So it was only natural that the next best player which could be sold would be the Pilgrims' top scorer Wright-Phillips. The initial bids from Blackpool and Reading were turned down as they did not match Peter Reid’s valuation of the player but Reading came back with the required amount, believed to be £300,000,that was accepted.
During his absence to discuss personal terms and have a medical, Plymouth had gone on to lose their next two games against Bournemouth and Huddersfield. With the deal all but completed, it was cancelled at the last minute.
The club issued the following statement:
"We are disappointed as Bradley is a fantastic young man, but there are currently some medical issues that prevent us from completing the deal at this time. I would like to thank Plymouth Argyle for their very professional approach in these discussions.”
So it seems Wright-Phillips' knee problem that has had to be constantly looked after by the manager and the physio this season has been the stumbling block of the deal.
This has ended the Royals' interest in the former Manchester City and Southampton player which means he returns to Home Park. Now, from a footballing perspective this is fantastic news for Argyle as Wright-Phillips can return and keep up the form and the goals that have made him so wanted by other clubs.
But, if he is not sold in this window then the club faces the remaining tax bill without any hope of sorting it. Then the Green Army has no club.
So let’s hope either Blackpool renew their interest or another club comes in for him before the end of January because between not having him and not having a football club…I know which I would prefer.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.