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Lightbourne happy to see Wells break his record

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Bermuda's most expensive footballer can't wait to give his title to Nahki Wells.

Kyle Lightbourne, who twice transferred for £500,000 ($825,000 at the time) in 1997 and ‘98 when he left Walsall for Premier League side Coventry and then nine months later when he joined Stoke City, accepts that any transfer would make Wells Bermuda's first million pound footballer.

Shaun Goater moved from Bristol City to Manchester City for £400,000 in 1998.

Depending on what Wells has in his contract with Bradford, he stands to get a percentage of any fee that the club receives for him.

“There was a clause in my contract that if the club were to receive any money for me that I would get 10 percent,” explained Lightbourne who benefited financially from both transfers.

“I'm more than sure he will have some percentage in there. And the club he is going to offer him a signing on fee, so in a short space of time he could earn good money. I got money for moving from Walsall to Coventry and nine months later when I went from Coventry to Stoke.

“When I moved from Coventry I went for the same fee, but I had a clause in the contract that if a club was to bid anything over what Coventry bought me for that I would get 20 percent, but they paid the same amount.”

Lightbourne has been following the news of a possible Wells transfer with keen interest, knowing that a big club move could be on the way for Bermuda's top footballer.

Lightbourne was 28 when he joined Coventry, while Wells just turned 23 in June. Both were released by their first English clubs, Lightbourne by Scarborough soon after joining them in 1992 and Wells by Carlisle.

In just three years Wells has gone from winning the BFA's MVP award after finishing as Dandy Town's top scorer with 20 goals in the 2009-10 season to becoming a player whose value has reached seven figures.

“Nahki has done excellent, he's done his country proud and he's shown he's capable of making a step up,” said Lightbourne. “I look at him and have said before that he's similar to Jermain Defoe (Tottenham striker) and I'm more than sure Harry Redknapp will see those sort of qualities in him — right-foot, left-foot and dangerous when his back is to the goal, all the same qualities that Defoe has. And he has the pace to get away from defenders.”

If Wells does eventually end up at QPR it won't be a culture shock for him as Bradford's ground actually holds more than Loftus Road, which was the smallest ground in the Premier League last season. Bradford has a capacity of 25,136 while QPR's ground holds 18,682. Bradford had a crowd of 18,000 last weekend for the derby match against Sheffield United.

“I think he's done the right thing to stay at Bradford and not force a transfer, and he's in the best position possible right now because the demand for him has gone up even more,” said Lightbourne.

“Right now it's between the club and any other club interested in buying him. Ideally I think QPR could be a great club for him, they have great tradition and are one of the founders of the Premier League and with a manager like Harry Redknapp in charge, he spots players all the time. If the rumours are true about interest from QPR I think now's the time for him to move.

“Bradford made it to the Premiership about 10, 12 years ago and they have the potential to go back to the Premiership. The manager says they have now has a good understanding of the players and the club is on the up, so to speak. That's what happens with clubs that size, they can afford to keep their good players by offering them good contracts at the right time. I hope they get the opportunity to play at a higher level.

“Bradford had the benefit of a good cup run last year and made millions of pounds by making it to the Capital One final, so they have the money behind them to keep him.”

Bradford are insisting that Wells is not for sale, but Lightbourne subscribes to the long held belief that every player has a price.

“He's buzzing right now and scoring in every game,” said Lightbourne.

“At QPR he will be looking to get the opportunity to play, not just to be a squad member. When I went to Coventry I was going as a squad player and it probably wasn't the right club for me at that time.”

Coventry have fallen on hard times lately and are at the bottom of League One with minus three points after 10 points were deducted when they went into administration.

Lightbourne's fee from Walsall to Coventry had to be determined by a tribunal after the clubs failed to agree the price. Walsall's asking price was put at £750,000 and later rose to £1.2 million at the tribunal hearing, with Coventry offering »£400,000.

“They are probably playing in front of 2-3,000 crowds, it's been a sad story for Coventry City,” said Lightbourne. “Gordon Strachan (who signed Lightbourne) was a good manager for them but in the end the fans chased him away, and look where they are now.”

The value of proven goalscorers, being what they are now, means Wells will command a seven figure transfer one day. “It will happen, I'm excited for him,” said Lightbourne.

“There's always going to be somebody after you to come and do something better and achieve more, that's what it's about. Hopefully there are young Bermudians who want to strive to get that opportunity over there. Nahki and Reggie Lambe are keeping the dream alive for younger players in Bermuda.

“The youngsters (Under-15s) who just went down to the Cayman Islands need to be put into academies now in order to see the next Nahki Wells, Reggie Lambe, Freddie Hall or Antwan Russell who is in England now but playing at a lower level. It's all about opportunities but it should be a very good time for local football.”

Kyle Lightbourne seen while playing for Stoke City during a game against Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium.
Kyle Lightbourne seen while playing for Stoke City during a game against Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium.

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Published August 29, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated August 29, 2013 at 9:30 am)

Lightbourne happy to see Wells break his record

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