(Picture: Phill Heywood)
By Sam Elliott
DAVE TARPEY finally fulfilled his lifetime ambition of becoming a Football League player – but thanks to his chairman’s five-a-side match, a dodgy fax machine and a painfully slow e-mail connect it almost never happened!
The Maidenhead United striker, 28, is a full-time professional for the first time as he secured a very, very, very last minute switch to League Two Barnet on transfer deadline day.
He went for a “substantial” record fee but had the move happened two months earlier, they wouldn’t have earned a penny.
It looked like he had given up hope after turning down a summer switch to Coventry City because it didn’t make financial sense to leave his job as a security system fitter and relocate to the Midlands.
So he signed a new contract at York Road and perhaps thought his chance had gone.
But Barnet picked up the phone late on Thursday and the forward, who has scored seven goals so far this season after 46 last year, raced down to The Hive after an offer was accepted.
Magpies chairman Peter Griffin said: “It was a strange old evening and at one point it was all getting a bit hairy.Nation
“Barnet called very late in the day. I was actually playing five-aside with my friends and my phone was on silent. We’ve got a pitch right next to our main pitch actually, but when eventually we got off I saw the missed calls.
“If that wasn’t a big enough problem, we then had to decide about the offer and get things in order our end which isn’t easy.
“So I had to sacrifice going to the pub like I always do after I play football and get the deal done! But my fax machine wasn’t working and the secretary’s email was totally down. The minutes were ticking by, it was panic stations.
“It was literally minutes to the 11pm deadline we got the paperwork to where it needed to be.”
But all the chaos was worth it. Yes, in an ideal world the National League newcomers would have loved to have kept him – but all things considered, the big sum they received they would not have got just a few weeks ago.
“We weren’t entitled to a thing in the summer but he didn’t get his move and stayed with us,” Griffin said. “I thought ‘that’s that, they’ve have had their chance’ but his scoring exploits this season, a level up, has clearly answered a few questions.
“I think he’ll do fantastically well. He’ll play too at Barnet which is important. He’s a late bloomer who will get better with full-time coaching.”