Coleraine have responded with an official statement confirming “considerable disappointment” following quotes from Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter regarding the potential transfer of the Bannsiders’ Jamie McGonigle to Seaview.
“Coleraine FC, with considerable disappointment, have read the comments attributed to Crusaders FC manager in relation to the proposed transfer of our player Jamie McGonigle.
“Coleraine FC have at all times conducted any proposed transfer in a confidential and private manner and expected Crusaders FC to do likewise.
“At no point during this present process have Coleraine FC formally confirmed to Crusaders FC they have accepted an offer for our player.
“It was only right that with the recent appointment of Oran Kearney as our manager he was given the opportunity to consider the playing staff and any proposed transfers.
“We would prefer to address the proposals privately and not in the public media.”
Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter was asked about the McGonigle situation after Thursday’s Europa League win over B36 Torshavn.
“In football you look around a market and league and look for a player or players you feel will come in and strengthen,” said Baxter. “We have very, very, very good players at our football club, while we are always looking for another better player to add to your squad.
“When that window was opened that happened four weeks ago and Oran wasn’t in place.
“We put an offer to Coleraine and that was rejected, we put another offer - rejected.
“We asked them what they wanted and they said we want that amount and we said we’ll do it and they agreed.
“The player was sent here, his contract agreed and everything was done.
“And then we didn’t get an answer back from Coleraine, three days we waited for them to phone us back because Oran was on his way into the football club.
“Oran then rings me and says I’m late into this, what’s the situation.
“This is the situation, the deal’s done, they accepted the money, we’re good to go, the lad’s coming, he wants to come.
“Oran said I need to talk to our people, I said I appreciate that.
“Unfortunately, I’ve had two text messages from that and two were asking unless we get X amount of money plus Philip Lowry thrown into the deal, there is no deal.
“So, the goalposts were changed and I can’t unchange those but under no circumstances would Philip Lowry be leaving this club.
“That was shot down in flames within a second and that’s the last I’ve heard as Coleraine haven’t had the courtesy to reply to me.
“The ball’s firmly in their court, we made them a substantial offer for a player and they haven’t had the courtesy to reply to me.
“If that’s how they do business, that’s how they do business and I can’t change that.
“But if you don’t want to sell, just say but don’t avoid phone calls for a week then send two pathetic text messages.
“That’s the disappointment but that’s football.”
Coleraine chairman Colin McKendry voiced his displeasure.
“I was dealing with this as per normal protocol and will be expressing my displeasure privately to the Board of Crusaders FC,” he said on the official Coleraine website. “We will not be bounced into a decision by the use of the media and any player transfer in or out of this club will be agreed by the Board of Directors in conjunction with Oran and for the benefit of the club.”