Swanny: Wilko And Out!

Swanny - Confessions of a Lower-League Legend
Swanny - Confessions of a Lower-League Legend
Wilkinson called me into his office, two days before the transfer deadline. He told me Hull wanted to sign me, adding that I'd know that already because they'd tapped me up. They had, but I wasn't going to tell him because then he could have landed Hull in the shit for making an illegal approach. He wouldn't let go of it, but I stuck to my guns.

I was on £350 a week with Leeds at the time and after my meeting with Wilko I decided to ask Hull for £500, a ten grand signing-on fee and a club car. I drove across to Hull and told them what I wanted. They were prepared to negotiate on the wage, but a £10,000 signing-on fee was out of the question. A car? No chance!

I rang Leeds and asked for Wilko. His secretary told me he wasn't in. I said, 'Right, can you give him a message. I'm not signing for Hull.' He was on the phone straightaway; he told me to get my arse back over to Leeds. So I hopped into the car, drove back to Elland Road and walked into the main reception area. And who should be sitting there waiting to see the manager? Gordon Strachan, then at Manchester United.

It all clicked straight into place. Leeds had no money, they wanted to sign Strachan and they were going to use the money they got for me to finance the deal. All of a sudden, I'd found a bit of bargaining power.

I went into Wilko's office, where he was sitting with Bill Fotherby, the Leeds chairman, and another director… Wilko asked why I hadn't signed. 'I've told them I'll settle for £400 a week, but there's no way they'll give me a ten grand signing-on fee or a car, so I told them to forget it.'

I was only a kid, but I'd heard the senior pros talking about their own moves. They always said that if your new club wouldn't pay a signing-on fee, the old club would find the money - because they were looking to move you out to sign a new player themselves. So I thought, 'Right, if Hull won't give me what I want, I'll see what Leeds can do.'

I said, 'You give me some money to go.'

I thought they'd tell me to bugger off, but instead they asked how much I wanted.

Win a copy of Swanny - Confessions of a Lower-League Legend by answering this question:

Who did Hull City sign in June 2001 to break the club record transfer fee of £200,000 spent on Peter Swan in March 1989?

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Text © Peter Swan & Andrew Collomosse 2008. Published by John Blake Publishing Ltd. RRP £17.99.