The Michael Wood Column

Wednesday 22 May, 2002

How Beni can walk away from Valley Parade a hero

Benito Carbone walked into Valley Parade a hero.

We saw him, us who attended his signing press conference, as he walked from the then half build main stand to the Kop. He looked little, very much not like the sword of Damocles at all.

I do not blame Benito Carbone for what has happened at Bradford City. Even on his wage of £40,000 I think he is proved his value considering the club value Ashley Ward at half Beni's take home.

Has Benito Carbone proved himself to be twice as good as Ashley Ward, four times as good as Ian Nolan? I think so.

Even at the bad bits Benito Carbone has done a good job at City. He walked out on us once, we paid him to sit on his backside for three months in the Premiership. Fault on both sides but most City fans will say that Beni Carbone, is one of the good guys.

He could be one of the greats.

All Benito Carbone has to do to make himself loved at Valley Parade is make a phone call. All he has to do is tell the administrators that they can rip up his contract and give him a free transfer.

The administrator would jump at the chance obviously. £40,000 to one guy looks bad on a balance sheet that potential chairmen are looking at and Benito Carbone would benefit. He could take himself to many clubs in the top divisions of Europe and abroad and get handsomely rewarded.

Why would he though?

Why not?

If Benito Carbone continues to take his wage from Valley Parade then the club is at risk. Yes staying would get him more money, but at £40,000 one has to assume that he has enough of that green stuff cluttering up his house. Ripping up his contract would give him freedom.

As it stands Beni is a Bradford City player and not free to discuss terms with other clubs without say so. A free transfer would give him that freedom. He could walk into Torino tomorrow and start training again.

Of course this is not going to happen. There is no real reason for Benito Carbone to kick £40,000 a week into touch other than "Cause we want him to" or because we really need not to pay him for a while. If he did, he would be the City hero that got applauded into Valley Parade at that press conference in August 2000. He isn't and what's more, no footballer is. We can pretend that they operate on a higher level, that they are our urban heroes fighting our cause but even the very young are wise to the truth about selling Grandmothers down the road for a few quid.

Perhaps though all football is going through a change. Our club's futures hang on the balance of a court hearing as to who promised what in a business deal. The top level is becoming more and more a walled garden. The romance is going quickly. One thing that changed with the summer of Carbone was that City stopped being a team of guys and started being a team of stars. The stars run their careers as a business while likes of Dean Windass, you felt, were ruled more by heart than head.

A romantic Benito Carbone would help City out and we would reward him with true hero status.

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