According to the Liverpool Echo, if ex-Liverpool defensive midfielder Jay Spearing participates in one more match for Bolton Wanderers this season, the Championship side would owe Liverpool a fee of £100,000.
Over the weekend, Wanderers suffered a 2-1 defeat to Preston North End with an 86th-minute goal from substitute Marnick Vermijl provided the win for Preston, starting off Dean Holdsworth’s new era in charge of Bolton with a loss.
When the question was raised about why Jay Spearing didn’t feature in Bolton’s 2-1 defeat, reporters were informed that if the 27-year-old played one more match for Wanderers, they would have to pay a fee to Liverpool.
Bolton’s manager Neil Lennon commented on the situation:
We had to leave Jay out because we can’t afford to pay money to Liverpool. We did ask if they would defer it but they said no, and that’s fine, it’s their prerogative. If he plays another game we have to pay a certain amount of money to them but we can’t afford that right now. That leaves him in limbo, a difficult position. And that is hard to take as well because I think we missed him against Preston.
Lennon said that he had no idea about the situation until midweek. The Northern-Irish manager was prepared to pick Spearing for the starting 11 up until 24 hours before kick-off.
I found out around about Wednesday. It was then on and off, on and off, before finally I was told on Friday I wouldn’t be able to pick him. I spoke to Jay’s agent and made him aware of the situation. I then spoke to Jay before the game too. He was obviously very disappointed and we’ll have to see what we can do about it. He has been playing well and I didn’t want to leave him out. I thought we missed Jay’s passing at times and the way he breaks play up. But it isn’t an excuse to lose the game. We had enough out there to win it.
Spearing had been with Liverpool since his youth days. The midfielder eventually made his senior debut back in the 2008-09 season as a substitute against PSV in a 3-1 Champions League victory. Spearing went on to play a total of 55 times for Liverpool before he was sent to Bolton on loan for the 2012-13 season.
Having played so well and being named the club’s player of the season, Spearing made a permanent switch to Bolton on August 31, 2012, for a fee of £1.75m. The fee was reported to be staggered, meaning Liverpool would receive payments every so often until the original fee was met.
The report by Echo insists that new club chairman Ken Anderson was taken by surprise about Spearing’s payment. In addition, Anderson is planning to plead with Liverpool to delay their payment, however, Liverpool do not want to wait.
Spearing was loaned to fellow Championship club Blackburn Rovers last season, which suggests that Bolton may have looked to delay this payment before.
According to Squawka, Spearing has made a total of 22 appearances for the Wanderers, netting two goals and creating 12 chances. With Bolton sitting dead-last at the bottom of the Championship, Bolton could use anything they can get. However, the club will have to finish the year without Spearing if they intend not to pay the fee and Liverpool continue to reject their appeal to defer the payment.