Aberdeen announce Jonny Hayes agreement, only for winger to deny story
IT ISN’T the most auspicious of starts to Jonny Hayes’ new career with Aberdeen, if that is indeed where the in-demand winger ends up.
While the Pittodrie club were busy trumpeting his imminent arrival, the Irishman was lying on a beach in Thailand telling all and sundry, via his Twitter account, that he hadn’t yet decided where he would play his football next season.
The 24 year-old first expressed surprise with a tweet yesterday morning, which saw him muse: “I must have a doppelganger because I’ve managed to sign for teams even tho I’m halfway across the world!.... Leave it out.”
This contention jarred with the statement posted on Aberdeen website yesterday confirming that he had “agreed” a two-year deal with the Pittodrie club.
Queried further by some of his followers, Hayes replied: “No I have not signed for Aberdeen! My agent was speaking to them before I went on holiday 10 days ago, il kno what’s happening when I’m Back.”
Hayes then attempted to draw a line under the matter by claiming that he didn’t have his sim card with him on holiday – “and I wont be making a decision Til I get back! Have a good day”.
It was beginning to look like a bad day at the office for Aberdeen, whose statement, posted yesterday morning, was designed to be a pick-me-up for fans following news earlier this week that work on a proposed new stadium in the Loirston area of the city had been delayed by a year. Supporters are also still deflated after an underwhelming season which saw Aberdeen finish ninth in the Scottish Premier League, having won only nine games. A promotion for 2012/13 season tickets is prominently displayed on the club website’s home page, while in the “Red News” section news of manager Craig Brown having “landed a key signing” is relayed.
“Aberdeen FC can confirm that agreement has been reached with Jonny Hayes on a two-year deal that will commence at the end of his present contract with Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC,” reads the statement.
Chief executive Duncan Fraser is then quoted as saying: “We met with Jonny’s agent Des Byrne prior to the last game of the season and both Jonny and his agent felt that this was the right move for him. Negotiations were carried out in an extremely professional way and I am pleased to say he has chosen Aberdeen ahead of a number of potential clubs. Jonny was a key target for Craig and we are delighted with the outcome”.
However, Aberdeen acknowledged that the player had not yet actually signed on the dotted line. The statement ended with the club informing supporters that “Jonny will sign the deal after undergoing a medical on his return from holiday”. However, Hayes did not sound as though he considered this scenario to be set in concrete.
Alert to the fact that not much in the way of good news had been emanating from the club of late, Aberdeen, it seems, had decided to get a little ahead of themselves. To be fair, the Pittodrie side do still insist that the two-year deal has been agreed with the player’s agent and Hayes himself, and they see no reason to revise this view. The wording of the statement, Aberdeen claim, had been approved by the agent before being released on the club’s website yesterday morning. It remained there last night despite a clearly irritated Hayes issuing bulletins of information of his own from his mobile phone while attempting to relax in South east Asia after a season in which he had scored nine times for Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who finished a place below Aberdeen.
Hayes had been given a deadline of today to inform Terry Butcher, his manager at Inverness, whether or not he would accept the club’s offer of a new contract, although the expectation has always been that he would move on. Hibernian are among clubs credited with an interest in the player, as are Hartlepool United and Colchester United.
Craig Brown, the Aberdeen manager, remained circumspect last night, even if he struggled to convey the impression that he was entirely comfortable with a statement having already been released by the club. A manager from the old school, he would probably have preferred any announcement to wait to until the player was hunched over a rickety table positioned in the centre circle at Pittodrie clutching a biro in one hand.
“I would be delighted if he signs,” said Brown to The Scotsman yesterday. “He really is what we have been missing, a creative, goal-scoring player. He would make a very big difference to a team which is very solid at the back. Only three teams conceded fewer goals than we did last season. What is required is something at the other end, where we have been poor offensively. Hopefully Jonny will be the one to address that.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
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Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
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