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Sam Wilson's dad hits back at Eastleigh boss Ian Baird
BARRY Wilson, father of Eastleigh’s teenage strike prospect Sam, has challenged manager Ian Baird’s announcement that his son has been transfer-listed.
Baird stirred up a hornet’s nest last weekend by telling The Daily Echo that he had regrettably put the former Portsmouth Academy forward and Fulham trialist on the list due to “circumstances beyond my control.”
But that triggered an angry response from Wilson’s dad Barry who said he had already reached an agreement with Spitfires owner Stewart Donald for his son to be released.
The club, he said, could no longer provide Sam with the full-time training agreed when the player signed a two-year contract last October.
Wilson Snr said: “Initially Ian Baird was supposed to deliver the full-time training programme but, after many sessions had been cancelled, the club brought in Darren Waterman just before Christmas to deliver the programme.
“When (Donald’s company) Bridle Insurance finally took over at the beginning of February, they released Darren and told Sam full-time training could no longer be provided.
“I had a meeting with Stewart and we agreed that Sam would fulfil the fixtures until the end of the season and, after that, he would be a free agent.
“Ian Baird was fully aware of the contents of this agreement. He continued to try and convince Sam to stay at the club but, given that he (Baird) had already announced that it would be very difficult for kids to get into the team next season, Sam decided he wanted to try and get into a professional club again.
“It was agreed with Stewart that we would keep things quiet and agree an announcement when the club felt it appropriate.
“Clearly Ian Baird had a different agenda when he made his unauthorised announcement last week.
“For the record, Sam could not be transfer-listed as he had already been released.”
Donald – described by Wilson Snr as being “very supportive of Sam’s situation” – confirmed: “Barry got an agreement that I wouldn’t hold Sam to his contract and we tried to help by paying him during the summer and circulating his name.
"Technically it’s right that Sam wasn’t transfer-listed, but the point Ian was trying to make was that he won’t be at this club next year.”
Donald acknowledged Wilson Snr’s role as a football agent had caused friction with Baird and that it had all got “very personal.”
Until recently Wilson Snr also represented ex-Saints keeper Jack Dovey – plus he was advising promising youngsters Ben Wilson and Matt Gray, who turned down two-year deals with the club.
“The reason it’s come to a head is because of a deterioriation between Barry and Ian with regards to negotiations around other players,” said Donald. “Barry represented Jack Dovey to the point where it looked like we would lose Jack.
But when Barry stopped representing Jack, a deal was done.
“From Ian’s perspective, one of the stumbling blocks was that he was unwilling to pay an agent’s fee to Barry for Jack’s signature.
“Ian hasn’t got his own agenda, he’s got a football club agenda.”
The only interest Eastleigh have received for Wilson is from Evo-Stik South & West club Poole Town.
The youngster has, however, had two offers of trials from professional clubs, starting in July, and has been told he will be invited to join the Northern Ireland under-19 squad when they next meet.