Football: Bilston's touching faith in human decency

That was the weekend that was
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The Independent Online
FOR YEARS, non-League sides have complained about professional clubs picking off their best talent and hoping to pay as little as they can get away with in compensation. Staffordshire club Bilston Town feared they could become another victim when the goalscoring exploits of Mike Turner began to attract attention. So they have challenged Barnsley to prove them wrong.

Turner, who scored eight goals in eight matches for Dr Martens League side Bilston after finishing his studies at Liverpool University, joined Barnsley in time to travel with John Hendrie's squad to Watford on Saturday, although the arrival of Deon Burton on loan from Derby denied him the chance to become an instant solution to Barnsley's striker crisis.

After scoring for the reserves against Wolves in midweek, however, the chances are he will not wait long for a first-team opportunity, particularly if Hendrie bows to the pressure to sell leading marksman Ashley Ward.

Because 22-year-old Turner had no contract with Bilston, Barnsley are not obliged to pay a penny in the way of a transfer fee. But Bilston are trusting that the Yorkshire club will be generous if their acquisition proves a success.

"Barnsley don't have to pay us anything but we hope they will act like gentlemen and look after us," manager Joe Jackson said. "Some sort of add-on deal based on appearances would suit us."

A deputation will arrive at Oakwell in the next few days.

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