THE DEVINE DEPARTURE SAGA
(December 2002/January 2003)
With the dust finally settled on Sean Devine's departure to Exeter City, we take a look back on the events surrounding the departure of Wanderers all-time top scorer in the Football League.
The deal was finally completed on New Years Day 2003 and it ended a near three week saga that enraged supporters and sparked yet more criticism of the Wanderers communication techniques and policies. The 30 year old goalscoring hero for The Wanderers packed his bags for the West Country literally a year to the day that he had returned to action for Wycombe following a knee injury that had kept him sidelined for over 18 months.
In the end it appeared that a fallout between Devine and Wycombe boss Lawrie Sanchez was the catalyst for the transfer although this was also backed up with football and financial reasons.
Sanchez revealed in his programme notes for the New Years Day game with Bristol City that Devine had requested a transfer following the game at Stockport on 30th November - a game where Devine had been substituted at half-time. The Wycombe Manager said "Having waited 18 months for Sean to return from injury I felt that in the year since his return he has been nowhere near the player that we saw 3 seasons ago, when he scored 23 goals. Some of my decisions whilst I have waiting for Sean to return with regard to forwards, e.g Forester, Parkin and Walker to name three, have been made on the basis that Sean would return as the player that we knew. Having waited 2 Ĺ years to see the old Sean Devine, I decided that rightly or wrongly he was finding it difficult to regain that type of form and the goals were harder to come by, despite his efforts and that it was perhaps time to move on." He went on to say "During the time of Seanís omission, we have brought in Andy Rammell and Craig Faulconbridge and it has left Sean as my third choice striker. Everyone who knows Sean knows that he doesnít like being a sub and he is not at his happiest when he is in that situation"
This was how the story unfolded......
DEVINE OFFER CONSIDERED|
(Monday 16th December 2002)
Wanderers fans have been dealt the shock news that the Board of Directors have accepted a reported £80,000 bid from Exeter City for striking legend Sean Devine. The 30 year old originally joined Wycombe from Barnet in 1999 for £200,000 and has since scored 46 goals in 101 appearances. Devine was due to meet Exeter officials on Monday evening to discuss terms.
Devine to join Exeter for £80,000 - Full story
DEVINE AGREES TERMS|
(Wednesday 18th December 2002)
Sean Devine has agreed terms with Exeter City according to Exeter newspaper The Express & Echo. City joint owners Mike Lewis and John Russell met Devine at a Reading hotel on Monday evening and the move will go through subject to the player passing a medical and finalising his contract.
DEVINE MOVE ON HOLD|
(Friday 20th December 2002)
Sean Devine's proposed transfer to Exeter is on hold after The Grecians only offered the striker an 18 month deal with a one year option. Devine will make a decision by Monday. Fans have been confused over the reason for the move following a series of conflicting statements from the Club. Chairman Ivor Beeks commented to the BFP "We didn't go looking to sell Sean but we have received a very good offer for him and if he hadn't scored those two goals on Saturday it wouldn't have created such a fuss. In my time at Wycombe I've always tried to act in the best interests of this club and this is no different. But the fans see me as some great ogre who is selling the club's silverware. It's all very well for people to get upset but you have to look at the position in the cold light of day. In the current climate it is a lot of money for someone who is out of contract in the summer"
DEVINE REVEALS FALLOUT|
(Friday 20th December 2002 - 2pm)
Sean Devine has revealed to the Exeter Express & Echo newspaper that he has fallen out with Manager Lawrie Sanchez. He was quoted as saying "From my perspective, I'm not going to be offered a new contract at Wycombe and the players that I know who've been at Exeter say what a good club it is to play for. My knee feels great now, I came back during the middle of last season and I've been playing this year. But I've not been getting on with the manager and I just want to get away" The move will hinge on City Board meeting on Saturday morning but the fee will nothing like the £80,000 figure quoted in the press earlier in the week.
CITY DELAY OVER DEVINE|
(Monday 23rd December 2002)
Sean Devine's proposed move to Exeter has hit another snag after the City Board of Directors were split on sanctioning funding of the deal. City joint owner Mike Lewis told the local Exeter press "We want to bring the lad here but we're not going to fall out with half the board to do it." Devine was expected to continue talks with City on Monday in an effort to iron out the deal. Grecian's Co-Chairman Uri Geller has been involved in the transfer talks and is also offering to partly fund the signing.
DEVINE DEAL OFF?|
(Tuesday 24th December 2002 - 5pm)
Sean Devine's transfer to Exeter City looks to be off after The Grecian's Club Doctor recommended against a permanent transfer following results from a scan on the knee that kept the player out for 18 months. City are now suggesting a loan move as this messy saga now enters its second week. Devine told the press "It seemed as if Exeter were trying to find something wrong and and I doubted whether they really wanted to go through with it. There is nothing wrong with my knee, it's 100 per cent fine. I can understand that it was a big gamble for the club, but every signing is a gamble and my knee could still be going strong in five years."
DEVINE DOESN'T WANT LOAN|
(Friday 27th December 2002)
Sean Devine says he doesn't want to go loan at Exeter following the breakdown of a permanent move. He told the Exeter press "There is nothing wrong with my knee, it's 100 per cent fine. He went on to add "I might as well stay where I am in a higher league where I'm scoring goals and in the shop window. I am still interested in coming to Exeter, but I am not doing the chasing anymore."
(Tuesday 31st December 2002)
Wanderers have given Exeter City seven days to agree a 'Pay as you play' deal for Sean Devine. However, Devine still believes he has something to offer at Wycombe and expects to stay. He told the local press "Whether I get the chance with Wycombe is down to the gaffer. I've told him I'll give him 100% while I'm here and see what happens at the end of the season"
SANCHEZ ON DEVINE|
(Tuesday 31st December 2002)
Lawrie Sanchez says he is willing to give Sean Devine a chance if the move with Exeter falls through. Sanchez, who ranks Devine as his third choice striker, told the BFP Midweek "I've got no problem with Sean. If he comes back he'll be part of our plans. But there are no guarantees beyond the end of this season that we'd be able to offer the him the same deal he's on at the moment"
DEVINE DEAL AGREED|
(Tuesday 31st December 2002)
The Club say a 'Pay as you play' deal with Exeter City has been agreed for Sean Devine although the paperwork has yet to be completed. Devine is leaving Wycombe after a fallout with the Wycombe Manager Lawrie Manager. The Club are also citing footballing and financial reasons behind the move.
DEVINE MOVE COMPLETE|
(Thursday 2nd January 2003)
The paperwork on Sean Devine's cut price move to Exeter City has been completed. Wanderers will get up to a maximum total of £75,000 depending on appearances and if Exeter retain their place in Division Three. There is also a wage get-out clause for Exeter should Devine's knee injury re-occur. Devine said "Things were flying for me before I got injured and maybe I could have gone a level higher. I feel gutted in a way that I got this bad knee injury and things have got to end like this but hopefully I can go down there, get my career going again. I'm excited about this new challenge. Exeter are an ambitious club. They've bought me to score goals and who knows, I may be back up in the following couple of seasons."
DEVINE TRANSFER UPDATE|
(Friday 3rd January 2003)
Press reports saying Wycombe would get no initial fee for Sean Devine have been discounted by the Club. The details are that Wycombe will get an immediate payment of £10,000 with an additional £10,000 on each of 10 and 20 appearances. There will then be £5,000 payments on 30,40,50 and 60 apps plus a £25,000 bonus if Exeter retain their place in Division Three.
Continuing on Devine's departure Sanchez concluded "I can understand fans feeling towards Sean - we canít forget his goals helping to avoid relegation and his great scoring exploits in the 1999-2000 season. We wish him all the best at Exeter and I am sure he will score goals at that level as he showed in the LDV match against Torquay, but the world has moved on, we all need to move on, as one person leaves the club, there are always opportunities for other people."
Devine leaves Wycombe with an incredible record of scoring 46 goals in just 101 appearances since his move from Barnet in 1999. It was Devine's goals that kept Wycombe from Division Three at the end of the 1998/99 season and the following season he broke the Club's Football League goalscoring record by notching 23 goals. His final day at the Club saw him being awarded the Supporters Player of the Month award for December - this despite only making a few brief appearances. It was a final tribute from the fans who recognised his services to the Club. On leaving Devine added "I'm sorry to be leaving the club and especially sorry to be saying goodbye to the fans because the supporters have been brilliant to me. I'm sad to go. I've got a lot of friends here and I've enjoyed my time here."
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