Norman Smurthwaite never claimed Doncaster Rovers are “after” Michael O’Connor. In fact he says that no other club has made an offer for the midfielder – words that prove Rovers manager Paul Dickov was wrong to tell the Vale chairman to keep his “mouth shut.”
OVF has produced a full transcript of the moments when Smurthwaite discusses midfielder Michael O’Connor during an interview with BBC Radio Stoke.
At no point does Smurthwaite say that Rovers “are after” O’Connor – he merely uses Doncaster as an example…
Doncaster manager Paul Dickov caused controversy by reacting to the interview and telling BBC Radio Sheffield that “I find it wrong that the Port Vale chairman’s come out and mentioned myself personally and Doncaster Rovers being after Michael when it’s simply not true” and that “some people should keep their mouth shut.”
However, at no point does Smurthwaite say that Rovers “are after” O’Connor – he merely uses Doncaster as an example when discussing O’Connor’s Vale future. Smurthwaite clearly says “if Doncaster [make a bid]” and that “no other club has made a formal offer for [Michael O’Connor]”
Perhaps Paul Dickov now owes Norman Smurthwaite an apology? Or perhaps he should merely “keep his mouth shut” in future?
Smurthwaite on BBC Radio Stoke – transcript
Here is the conversation between presenter Lee Blakeman (LB) and Norman Smurthwaite (NS)
LB: “Let’s change gears now, Michael O’Connor, is he going to stay do you think?”
NS: “Michael comes… going back a year ago, when… the reason we have Michael O’Connor is due to my wife. We had a pre-season at Newcastle Town and out of a bunch of eager-beaver potential players somebody spoke with a thick Irish accent. My wife’s from Dublin and she said ‘you’ve got to sign him!’ and I looked round and I didn’t know who he was and I said to Micky Adams is he? And he said ‘Well, he’s a lad who comes from…’ and anyway… for six weeks or five weeks, Micky was trying to tie his agent down and in the end I got hold of his number and phoned him directly and had a conversation with him, got rid of the agent, he signed and he’s a great lad, but it’s four and a half hours travel each way. As of today, I understand that no other club has made a formal offer for him and on that basis he’s happy with the package, it’s just the disruption of his life with the travelling. He won’t relocate because his kids are at a critical age for schooling and I wouldn’t expect him to. But hopefully he’ll be over the line. We lost Lofty last year which I thought we couldn’t replace him. We did and I’m hoping that we can keep him.
LB: “So, despite all the factors that you just mentioned there, you think Michael O’Connor will sign his contract?”
NS: “Well, there’s nothing guaranteed until the ink is dried as you know but I genuinely believe that the obvious is… unless Doncaster pop up with a… because Doncaster is his nearest club that he hasn’t played for in the vicinity where he lives. If Doncaster, Dickov, decides he wants him, I can’t stop that and in fairness it’s a much nearer journey for him. It isn’t about the money for Michael O’Connor.”
LB: “No, he’s said that himself hasn’t he, a number of times.”
NS: “He’s a great guy, a great pro…”
The interview is available here (approx 48 mins in) – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02r3t24