Crusaders issue furious statement as Linfield win Josh Robinson tug of war
Angry Crusaders are seeking legal advice after Josh Robinson's move to cross-city rivals Linfield from York City was ratified by the Irish FA.
Confusion reigned on Thursday night as both the Blues and Crues announced the signing of Robinson, but yesterday it was confirmed the defender will play his football at Windsor Park next season.
And now Crusaders have turned to their solicitors to determine what steps can be taken in the latest twist to one of the more bizarre transfer stories of the summer, across all football let alone in Northern Ireland.
The Irish FA confirmed, in a statement released on Friday evening, that Linfield had secured the services of the highly rated 24-year old for the next three years after much speculation over where the defender's future would be.
Linfield released pictures of the in-demand player signing on, in a Blue shirt with manager David Healy.
Crusaders, who believed they had re-signed their former player, were left furious and insisting they would seek legal advice with regard to a possible breach of contract claim.
A strongly-worded 10-point statement regarding Robinson's signing by Linfield was released by Crusaders on Friday night, saying the Seaview club were "highly offended by the actions of Mr Robinson" and claiming that the player signed a professional contract with them in early June.
The Crues stated that Robinson had been training with them, as recently as Tuesday, and that they are seeking legal advice in relation to potential loss or damages for alleged breach of contract.
Needless to say, the story has caused a massive stir on social media, with many other Northern Ireland clubs jokingly announcing their signing of the defender, while it even made headlines as far away as Spain.
Robinson is a former Crusaders player, having left them to move to York last June, and they were favourites to lure him back to the Danske Bank Premiership after a torrid time in England.
The young centre-back won the league twice at Seaview, however he could not resist the lure of English football and elected to make the switch across the water.
Robinson made just five appearances for his new club, of which only two were starts before going on loan to Boston United midway through the campaign.
He fared better there, making 17 appearances and adding three goals to the Boston cause that saw them finish in a meagre 15th place in the National League North.
However, that wasn’t enough to convince York to keep him on their books and Robinson was released to find another club in May.
It was believed an immediate return to Crusaders was inevitable, with the club’s statement saying that Robinson told them “he was only interested in coming home to sign for Crusaders Football Club”.
But instead the IFA have rubber-stamped the 24-year-old’s move to the Blues, with the defending Gibson Cup champions agreeing a three-year contract.
Elsewhere, defender Michael Smith has joined Kyle Lafferty at Hearts after signing from Peterborough United.
“As soon as I got here it was clear this is a massive club and it’s great to be here,” Smith told Hearts’ website.
Northern Ireland U-18 international striker Daniel Reynolds has agreed to join Larne on loan from Cliftonville for the season.
And Northern Ireland women’s international Simone Magill has agreed a two-year professional deal with Everton Ladies.
“It is what you always dream of when you are a kid,” she told evertontv. “It’s fantastic that it is now possible to do it in the women’s game. It’s a dream come true to turn professional.
“It is fantastic to be able to go full-time with a group of girls I know really well now. This is the best Everton has ever been since I have been at the club.”