By Nick Harris
8 December 2010
Charlie Adam, Blackpool’s best player, won his recent tribunal hearing against his own club over a £25,000 bonus row but won’t emerge from the episode with much, if any, financial benefit, sportingintelligence can reveal. His ‘winnings’ have mostly been spent on fees and expenses, including a costly QC.
The Scotland midfielder hauled his own club in front of Premier League tribunal because they didn’t pay him the bonus that should have been triggered at the point at which Blackpool mathematically secured their Championship status last season. The club’s argument was he was paid a bumper promotion bonus, and indeed he was.
But anyone thinking Adam was being greedy pursuing £25k when he also picked up a promotion bonus north of £300,000 might think again.
Blackpool’s owners effectively gained a £95m windfall at least by winning last season’s play-off, and there is a feeling around the club, shared by manager Ian Holloway, that the owners want to keep hold of as much of that as possible. Adam went to tribunal on principle and it can now be revealed that his ultimate (depleted) reward is testament to that.
He also tried to argue his contract had been breached because of the non-payment of the bonus, and lost that bit of his case. Because he won one part, and the club won the other, the Premier League ruled both parties should pay their own legal costs.
In Adam’s case, he hired a QC who cost more than £10,000 for a single day. Adding preparatory legal fees, travel and incidentals, he ended up spending most of his awarded bonus on costs.
He wanted to be a free agent to move in January to a better-paying club. Blackpool, under the co-ownership of Owen Oytson and Latvia’s Valeri Belokon, have a basic pay ceiling at £10,000 per week. Still, if Adam’s short of a bob or two, he could always take a loan with Blackpool’s main sponsors, loan sharks Wonga.com, typical APR, 2,689 per cent.