Bradford count cost of Carbone

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Geoffrey Richmond, the Bradford City chairman, admitted that "there is no such thing as a risk-free transfer" in August 2000 when asked whether the expensive signing of Benito Carbone would come back to haunt him.

Carbone joined the West Yorkshire side on a free transfer and signed a four-year contract which made him comfortably the highest-paid player in the club's history. Now the result of the gamble is clear after shares in the club's parent company, Bradford City Holdings Ltd, were suspended on Friday.

The First Division outfit admit that the combined effect of the ITV Digital collapse and their failure to rid themselves of the Italian could have a "negative financial impact of £10 million".

Carbone was described as "a superstar and a breath of fresh air" by Richmond upon his arrival. He added: "Only the future will tell, but I think he's an excellent transfer."

Yet within five weeks Carbone was being told by the then manager, Jim Jefferies, that he was no longer part of the club's plans. However, the player has been reluctant to leave the Bantams, with two prospective moves to Middlesbrough falling through because of problems over personal terms – the latest just last week.

The former Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa man also returned from a loan spell at Derby County because the Rams could not afford to sign him.

Yesterday Richmond said: "I wish to reassure everybody connected with the club that I, and all of the directors, remain committed to Bradford City. We are by no means the only football club experiencing difficulties. I am personally aware of a significant number of other Nationwide League clubs who are experiencing financial problems, which will undoubtedly be revealed in the coming weeks."

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