Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox has said travelling time and not money were the reason why Mansfield Town beat League One Crewe Alexandra to the signature of Hereford United winger Sam Clucas.
The 22-year-old agreed to the deal while on holiday and was due in to ‘dot the i’s and cross the t’s’ on his contract this week.
Crewe assistant boss Neil Baker told their local press the Alex were ‘blown out of the water’ by the finances of the deal Clucas had agreed with the Stags.
Baker told the Crewe Chronicle that the former Lincoln trainee had been a big part of their plans for the coming season, but the Stags put an offer to him that they had no chance of competing with.
However, Cox said: “Some of the things that have been said in the media are painfully untrue and Sam wanted to come here because of our location.
“He did have League One clubs in for him, but the travelling would have been a bit too much. It was Sam who rang us and wanted to come here.
“I am learning about the skullduggery that goes on in the League. I think other clubs should concentrate on their own club and not comment about other club’s financial issues. We are going to have to learn quickly about the League and how people work. If we have to be like other people to survive and progress then so be it.
“It has been quite a learning curve so far, dealing with different people. Some do things differently and probably not the way I would like to do things.”
He added: “We have agreed everything with Sam and now it’s just the formalities. Initially we were told Sam wanted to play League One football. But he only lives 25 minutes from us and didn’t want long commutes. We are pleased to get him as he is a fabulous footballer. The deal is 100 per cent sealed, it’s just about the formalities.”
Cox revealed he had missed out on signing Burton striker Calvin Zola after the Zaire-born hitman chose to sign for Aberdeen in the Scottish Premier Division.
“He would have been massive for us,” said Cox. “I thought we were in with a chance. But we have got to understand that we are now bottom of the pile instead of being at the top of the non-League game.
“We are going to lose some players, not about finances, but about their ambition to play at as high a level as possible. I would never question a player’s morals or ethics as that is what drives us to be at the highest level possible.”
However, Cox still has a wealth of striker talent on his radar and added that Matt Green – his top scorer from the past two seasons – could yet return to the club.
“I had a really positive conversation with Matt again this week,” he said. “He is out at a fitness training camp in Tenerife. I know his heart is with us, but there are a number of clubs chasing his signature and he has to do what is best for Matt Green.”
Centre halves John Dempster and Ryan Tafazolli have both signed their Football League contracts this week.
Cox was delighted with the fitness levels of his players who came in for early ‘MOTs’ this week.
He also said he may add a couple more pre-season friendlies after two offers from League clubs this week.
The released Andy Owens, who spent much of last season on loan at Southport after failing to win a place, has joined AFC Telford United.