Lancaster City boss Mark Fell has hit out at the use of agents in non-league football after losing star striker Rhys Turner

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Lancaster City boss Mark Fell has lamented the presence of agents in non-league football after losing attacking linchpin Rhys Turner.

The former Morecambe and Oldham striker has departed Giant Axe and looks set to be unveiled by Lancashire rivals Bamber Bridge.

Turner – who has played more than 50 games in the Football League – joined City in the summer of 2020 after a catalogue of injuries forced his retirement from the full-time game in 2019.

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While his time with the Dolly Blues has been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the niggly injuries which have blighted his career, the forward has lit up Giant Axe with some of his performances and goals.

Rhys Turner is heading for Bamber Bridge after leaving Lancaster City (photo: Tony North)Rhys Turner is heading for Bamber Bridge after leaving Lancaster City (photo: Tony North)
Rhys Turner is heading for Bamber Bridge after leaving Lancaster City (photo: Tony North)

As far as Fell is concerned, a fit and firing Turner is one of the best players in the NPL Premier Division – so it’s a bitter blow to lose the player to a rival, especially as his defection comes so soon after Paul Dawson’s decision to move to Brig at the end of November.

“They approached Rhys last week and he went on to tell me that he had no intention of leaving,” said Fell.

“But then after that, Rhys announced that he had a new agent and the agent then rang me and told me that he had done the deal.

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“Whilst it does not surprise me, there are ways and means of dealing with situations.

“My personal view is I don’t understand why agents would be involved at our level unless the player was heading back towards full-time football or the Football League, which is not in Rhys’ case because of his injuries.

“The unfortunate thing in our game at the moment is agents who believe that non-league footballers are the way forward.

“I believe it’s a scattergun approach with agents at this level in the hope that one player will make them some money. The whole thing has left us with a bit of a sour taste. We worked hard with that player like we did with Paul Dawson.

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“We worked hard to get him fit and I like to think he was enjoying his football.”

While the move has certainly caused an extra intensity between the two clubs, Fell has no qualms with Brig boss Jamie Milligan.

He added: “As a manager you use your upper hand in terms of their better league position to try and pick up players which will make you better.

“That’s good management. I would be doing the same. The issue here is that the player should not have told Lancaster that he wasn’t leaving only for an agent to tell us something else 24 hours later.”

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