Butch wanted millions - Sharks

2010-05-09 22:30

John Bishop

Durban - Butch James’ request for “millions of rand” and the demand by Bath Rugby Club for a transfer fee ended the Sharks’ attempts to contract the 31-year-old Springbok fly-half ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup.

This was confirmed by Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl following an astonishing attack by James who blamed the Durban franchise for ruining his chances of playing in the World Cup.

James told  the  Bath Chronicle that the Sharks had suddenly dropped negotiations with him and made him look “like an idiot to my club (Bath) and team-mates”.

 Van Zyl told the Weekend Witness that James, in Durban at the time, had approached the Sharks back in December about a possible move back to the franchise.

The Sharks, with the loss of first Juan Hernandez to a back injury and then Steve Meyer for personal reasons, were desperately short of a quality fly-half and they initially responded positively to James’ overtures.

 “But there have been two stumbling blocks,” said Van Zyl.  “First, through his agent, Butch was looking for us to pay millions of rand for his services for a two-year contract. In fact, he wanted much, much more than any of our senior Springbok players are receiving.

“Second, his club (Bath) wanted us to pay them a transfer fee. We were not prepared to pay a transfer fee because they did not pay us anything when we released Butch to them nearly three years ago and when he was still under contract to us.”

James had signed a two-year deal with Bath in July 2007 after the Sharks, concerned with his on-going injury problems, would only extend his contract by one year.

Van Zyl said he was surprised by James’ outburst this week because shortly after he expressed an interest about returning to the Sharks he signed a new two-year deal with Bath.

 “I don’t know where the negotiations broke down, but it was very embarrassing for me,” James told the Chronicle.

“The Sharks handled it in a scandalous manner. I have no problem with the way Bath conducted themselves. They were always upfront with me, but from a Sharks point of view the negotiations were one big embarrassment.

“The door was just suddenly closed from their side. It put me in a difficult position. It was 90% certain that I would return home and I was eager to play for them again. All of a sudden the rug was pulled from underneath me and I’m not happy about it at all.”

Van Zyl said that he found James’ reaction astonishing.

“It is very obvious where negotiations broke down. He wanted millions of rand and Bath wanted a transfer fee. We are not is a position to pay either,” Van Zyl said, “much as we would love to have Butch back playing for the Sharks.”

It is also believed that SA Rugby turned down a request to offer James a Springbok contract.

Ironically, James could be back in a Springbok jersey early next month when a hastily-arranged Test match against Wales will be played in Cardiff on June 5.

Bok coach Peter de Villiers has said that he will make use of overseas players for that Test because many current Springboks could be involved in the Super 14 final the week before.

The Witness

  • Johan - 2010-05-09 22:12

    Shame - the Bath water must be too cold for Mr. James

  • THE PUNISHER - 2010-05-09 22:14

    Bly maar sommer net waar jy is, jy is n @..hole in elk geval, gaan skouer maar die engelse in n rugby game. ons het nie jou soort in SA rugby nodig nie

  • Justin - 2010-05-09 22:21

    Dear Peter, Please ignore Butch for all the reasons of money and arrogance. Money does not replace the bok badge! Select a player that is free Herkie Kruger, he has a good boot, young and eager to play rugby. He may not have the experience, but I'll rather test new stars now before Tri-nations and see what SA's depth is like! I Know there are great second string players that will easily keep the Bok badge proud! Selection and management of SA players important too. Willem de waal could well be fresh for such a tour, too Ruan Pienaar etc. We have suffiecient talent to waste money on players interested in their wallet rather than who they play for! I support selection of SA Based players only! It keeps the local team strong and promotes good young players chances getting a try out!! We want to win games but I rather support a team of committed boks than those chosing when they wanna play!

  • pdw - 2010-05-09 22:48

    Wat 'n p*****l!

  • Whateva - 2010-05-09 22:55

    He had his chance and the last time he played for the Boks he was shocking anyway.

  • Wouks - 2010-05-09 23:02

    James is 'n goeie speler, maar ek onthou hom altyd vir daai skouer 'tackles' want soveel onnodige strafskoppe gebring het.

  • Wouks - 2010-05-09 23:08

    Ag wat, ek mis glad nie vir Butch James in Suid- Afrikaanse rugby nie. Laat hy bly waar hy is!

  • WTF - 2010-05-09 23:10

    Say what you like, but Butch IS a quality fly-half and we wouldn't have won the 2007 RWC without him. He's quite within his rights to make demands and if that rubs the Sharks up wrong, whose loss is it? It's not like Butch has anything more to prove...or that the Sharks have any chance of making the S14 semis.

  • Rascal - 2010-05-09 23:16

    Dont want to take sides here, but am a bull supporter and well maybe James should join the Bulls, Just imagine him puttin some points over for the Bulls in Durbs at Kings Park.Hahaha, furthermore he would get real Rugger experience there with them dudes like Bakkies, matfield, Spies etc man that would be frickin awsome.

  • bulawayo-based-bok - 2010-05-09 23:22

    pride of playing for the Mighty Bokke is disappearing a touch.......i hope Butchie's reputation doesn't go with this because he is a legend and is much more honourable and loyal than this......

  • Deon - 2010-05-09 23:37

    Not sure why people are having a go at him for asking for "millions". Carl Hayman who plays in the same compitition as Butch is earning £330k per year and Sebastian Chabal who played for Sale was on £350k...Seeing the average uncapped players earns up to £100k Butch won't be on less than a £100k which itself is well over a mill in rands... So grow up people, and stop seeing things throw your own eyes.There is more to this world than your patch of land. And by the way. if anyone has watched premiership rugby they will know that it is because of Butch that Bath is now in the semi-finals! Perhaps if the sharks had him, they would have been too now.

  • David - 2010-05-09 23:54

    First of all, Butch James is one of the best game breakers ever to wear a Bok Jersey - South Africa's answer to Stephen Larkham. Those of us who actually understand rugby would attest to that. Secondly, if a player is worth millions then pay him for it. The Sharks have let Francois Steyn, Hernandez and Meyer slip because of their miserly attitude towards players. Yes it is a priviledge to play for them but these guys have to make money while they can before they retire. Afterall, rugby is a proffesional sport. Butch is one of the form players in Europe at the moment and brings massive experience, flair, leadership and the safest flyhalf channel there is. He has won a world cup and can maybe do it again. Sometimes people should read between the lines to see what is going on and not jump to rash conclusions. Butch is just the sort we need in South Africa! Whilst I agree that there are other players in SA who could fill the flyhalf role, none measure up to the prodigious talent which is Butch James. Not that he has anything to prove especially to a bunch of people who in a cowardly anonymous manner attack his rep. Respect the man who played flyhalf when the Boks won the WC in France!!!

  • Obvious - 2010-05-10 00:11

    He played for us 2007, so he will be aware of what a player can earn in SA. Not to mention it was Butch who approached the Sharks. What did he expect? Double pay?

  • Jacob - 2010-05-10 00:11

    @Justin. Herkie Kruger........ Really????

  • Lmaris - 2010-05-10 00:50

    Butch might (emphasis on might) have been worth what he's asking a few years ago, but he's getting quite long in the tooth and has had numerous injuries to boot. The NH has more $$ to spend and has a more severe shortage of players so James is better to stay in Bath. Notice the flow is south to north, not the reverse. He was asking more than any of the current Springboks, including John Smit, was being paid. You can't honestly say James was more significant in the 2007 RWC or any subsequent rugby competitions than him. Play him in June if he's willing to accept what the Springboks will offer. Otherwise, ignore and move on.

  • FitMike - 2010-05-10 01:22

    Well I think Franse Steyn is on 700K Euros per season, but then again is a much better player. They money these ask for is not much compared to footballers but Butch is really not one of greates players of all time. He only played for the boks in 2007 as we did not have anyone else and he was neither good or bad. So yes, the money they ask for is not much, but he is not really somone who can demand anything, he's juts not that much or a super star! And I dont think he will come back and just walk into the Bok team anyway.

  • William Shakespeare - 2010-05-10 01:53

    The Springbok flyhalf is Morne Steyn. All the rest is bibble-babble.

  • player23 - 2010-05-10 06:05

    Butch has gone, We have Alton or Jan!!! ........... make the circle Bigger!!

  • Chris du Plessis - 2010-05-10 06:12

    Butchjie jy het gedink die gras is groener daar ander kant en dit is toe nie so nie .Maar ek wil jou gou ietsie vertel en ek wil hê jy moet dit in die kombuis doen waar niemand jou verder kan verneder nie net jy jou self .VAT N' GLAS WATER EN DAN DRUK JY JOU MIDDEL VINGER BINE IN DIE WATER SO JY DRUK NOU N' GAAITJIE IN DIE WATER NOU TREK JY JOU VINGER WEER UIT EN JY SAL SIEN DIE GAAITJIE IS WEG SO DIS HOE HULLE JOU PLEK TOE GEMAAK HET IN DIE sHARK'S EN DIE BOKKE SE SPANNE. So bly daar waar jy is want ons het genoeg goeie jong manne hier wat die spel oordentlik kan speel en nie met baie geld of hulle skouers nie.

  • Dave - 2010-05-10 06:43

    Why the sharks wanted this overrated plonker back is a complete mystery to me

  • STORMER - 2010-05-10 06:53

    @Rascal - Butch is over qualified for a position at the Bulls...(he has a Matric, speaks 3 languages(of which one is not sign language-which classifies as a language up north), and he thinks out of the box with a creative flair far 2 liberal and commie for the Sons of Joshua...

  • ben - 2010-05-10 06:57

    Strange how people forget.. James served the Springboks well, he is a very competent flyhalf by world standards... The Sharks "buy" all their top players from other unions, and since there isn't anyone of James' caliber around ... with one or two exceptions.. James is astute enough to realise that he only has a couple more years as a player. In international terms players in France and Europe earn well in excess of a miilion Rand per annum. So why should he accept less in South Africa? It's the finance team of the Sharks that have screwed up...NOT James. James was a very loyal servant of the Sharks for many years, and is not the type of person to come up with "rubbish". The fact that Bath wants a transfer fee is normal. If James signed a further contract with Bath.. well that needs to be discussed further. It seems that people have very short memories about a very talented player

  • @ Justin - 2010-05-10 07:03

    Herkie Kruger? Please, get real. I agree that we certainly don't need Butch and would have won the 2007 RWC with or without him. He never had a good reputation and I don't think he would be any good for team spirit or team dinamics. He is way too self-obsessed. We have more than enough talent. What bothers me is the fact that the Shark still haven't played open cards about Steve Meyer. We still haven't heard the real truth about his sudden decision to stop playing. There is more behind that story and the Sharks are covering it up.

  • Butch butch! - 2010-05-10 07:11

    Please Butch stay at Bath and PLEASE keep Watson there as well! I watched the game against Leeds and Butch is still using the swinging arm to “tackle”. Pity that the Bulls have Steyn seeing that Butch would have fitted in perfectly into their vuilg@t game plan!

  • wessel - 2010-05-10 07:28

    Its too early on a monday morning and a generally f....d up world where people are starving and gasping for a breath of listen and read drivel about a 'ginger pip' squealing about money. He is close to sell by date, so it would be a poor bus deal to get into any contract with him. We have great talent ...young at home nurture them and grow a strong sharks and springbok team for the future.

  • STORMER - 2010-05-10 07:40

    @Shakespeare...just a pity Steyn bibbles more than he babbles once he is out of the Blue zone....

  • Nico - 2010-05-10 07:52

    Every team's got it's "Earl Rose", bring Butch back Sharks, so that you can also have yours !!!! Morne Steyn is ten times the flyhalf that Butch still dream to be !!!!!!!! YOU WERE NOT LOYAL TO YOUR COUNTRY, DON'T EXPECT YOUR COUNTRY TO BE LOYAL TO YOU NOW, IDIOT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Smiler - 2010-05-10 08:10

    Who on earth is Butch James? The name rings a bell from the very distant past. What is it that we keep going back to has-beens with a list of injuries to add to their CV that makes them a total liability for even half a season. Again: Who is this dude that everyone is getting so het-up about??? l

  • sean - 2010-05-10 08:22

    Most of you are fools and have know idea about rugby . You don't win a WC without a quality no10 ...simple....Butch is a gentleman and i have know doubt that the Shark"s managment has once again cocked it up . We will never know but i am sure that if we had Butchies services the Sharks would have been in the Super 14 semifinals. I still can't get over how stupid some of you are !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Shark Monsta - 2010-05-10 08:35

    @Justin - dude really? Herkie Kruger? in a springbok jersey? Why not rather bring Mr Rose back? *snorts into beer*. I agree that we have enough talent in the country as it is but we cant just completely ignore the depth and experience that litters a majority of Europe! Even Percy was brought back and look where he got us. I feel that the best way to go about it is to stay true to PDV's word and pick players on form, but they must be South African players, regardless of where they are playing at the moment.

  • Somerset - 2010-05-10 08:37

    Another case of GREED.. He wants to play for the Boks, but only if he gets enough money to come back home. What about the honour to serve your country (incl playing for the Sharks)? Butch has tarnished his own name, and the reward he will get for it it is that he probably will NOT play for the Boks!

  • Gav - 2010-05-10 08:39

    Only one man for the No 10 jersey! Ask P de Villiers and he'll tell you that "He's name is Earl!"

  • AAA - 2010-05-10 08:40

    Mark my words!! Div's choice: 1) Morne Steyn 2) Earl Rose (belive it or not!!) 3) Butch

  • Jack Turner - 2010-05-10 08:42

    Stormer...Grow up with your childish statements.You sound like the fool you are. Lest to remind you that Morne Steyn helped us beat the Lions last year. James has long past his sell by date. Good for the Sharkes to tell him to get "Photographed". One additional comment...The spelling on this forum is disgraceful..........

  • Duck - 2010-05-10 08:45

    Funny how people forget Butch James was by miles the best flyhalf in RWC 2007. The man was lauded by Eddy Jones as a play-maker and by John Smit as an intrigate member of the team. Jake White wrote stories on Butch's pride for the Springbok jumper. The bully of flyhalks in the world. Dan Carter said Butch is only only flyhalf he doesnt like playing against. But yet again Sharks' arrogance has lost another player. I rate Lambie will leave in 2 years.

  • BJ - 2010-05-10 08:47

    Butch is nie 'n miljoen SENT werd nie! Hy was nog nooit springbok gehalte nie. Bly net waar jy is, die gras is mos altyd groener "over there"!

  • Telg - 2010-05-10 08:55

    Malema Medal winner - Juluis STORMER!!!!!!!!

  • Selma - 2010-05-10 08:57

    Dan Carter, Steven Larkham, Henri Honnibal, Hugo Porta and Naas Botha are flyhalfs. The rest are wannabees. Francois Steyn could have developed into a world class flyhalf if he had been allowed to settle in the position. Morne Steyn's natural instincts are curtailed by the Bulls' gameplan, but set free he could become a fine flyhalf. And please do not remind me of Johnie Wilkinson - the most overrated player since Joel Stransky

  • Nikki - 2010-05-10 08:57

    @ STORMER....Very cocky this morning I see geelbek! I wouldn't be too high-profile on this here forum if I were you pal - especially after the weekend you okes have had. Did you know that Morne tied Dan Carter's record this weekend for quickest player to 200 points in S14 history? Mmmm you probably didn't...but oh you are such "educated" rugby folk down there in the Cape of Good "please-lets-hope-&-pray-we-still-make-it-to-the-semi's" ...chokers! Ha-ha-ha! Butch you a good player son but Morne is better & here to stay!

  • Faan - 2010-05-10 08:58

    Butch, kyk na die afgelope drie jaar se rugby in die Suidelike halfrond en SA veral, ONS KOM REG SONDER JOU, so watse fooi soek jy, dink jy regtig jy is beter as Morne, Peiter G en Ruan, regtig tjom, jy moes gevat het wat op die tafel is en nie wat jou gierigheid jou laat voel het nie. Sterkte daar in die koue, ons sal jou nou onthou vir jou verwaandheid en nie meer as n World Cup Wenner nie.

  • Al - 2010-05-10 08:59

    A come on guys. We all know Butch is an @hole with his high tackles, he is slow ect but he plays in big teams that win. The Sharks would have been MUCH better off with him in 2010. Fact is, his demands were obviously out of line with management's expectations. He is getting old but even he plays for the next 3 years he will make an impact wherever he plays.

  • blou bloed - 2010-05-10 09:11

    hahahha, no loss there! Butch stay where you are, our teams have class players.. one less person that's just in it for the money..

  • @STORMER - 2010-05-10 09:16

    You really need to get over it - whatever IT is that traumatised you to the point of obsessing over the Bulls & "...the Sons of Joshua..". Just get over it....from an educated Pretorian.

  • Jo - 2010-05-10 09:22

    @David. "if a player is worth millions, then pay him for it". Butch is only worth millions to himself and that's his opinion. The Sharks have a different opinion of his worth. Yes, he's good - the Sharks aren't disputing that - but at his age and with his injury history, he's not worth millions. You also can't compare what they earn in the UK, France, etc. to what the players earn in SA. Foreign exchange is a reality! Imagine if the Sharks or any other South African side took him back at the rate of pay he's demanding - it would cause dissent & resentment in the team, especially among the more senior players who aren't earning that amount but have been loyal to their franchise and/or country!

  • Lyle - 2010-05-10 09:25

    It's rather embarassing to see some of the reactions to the article above. Your fickle, negative attitude towards one of our 2007 World Cup stars are typical idiotic responses to an article that manages to miss the point.Butch has paid his dues and deserves some respect. No team in history has won a World Cup without a quality flyhalf and any educated rugby fan will agree with this. John Smit, Jean De Villiers, Victor Matfield, and Percy Montgomery are all Springbok legends who spent some time overseas and it amazes me that some of you have forgotten this..The Sharks have a below average management team who in my opinion need to be cleared out of office.Their shocking treatment of one of their most loyal players is disgusting but at the same time not surprising. Butch you're a legend and we back any decision you make..

  • Anarchist - 2010-05-10 09:25

    Must say I have enjoyed watching James' games with Bath more than I have enjoyed Pienaars' games with the Sharks. It was clear Butch didn't fit in with PdV's plans and he made a decision to go to Bath, which was understandable. The fault really is the attitude that overseas players can't play for Boks. Butch might be getting on, but players like Frans Steyn have a lot of rugby left.

  • @David - 2010-05-10 09:32

    David you pompous plick, assuming the knowledge of rugby belongs to only a few. Butch has realized that next year is the world cup, and if there is a slightest hope in hell of him playing for the Springboks, he needs to be plying his trade in SA. On the back of that wanting a big pay deal for a player over his prime, REALLY- is pushing his luck. Top bucks for top players, he certainly is nowhere near getting into the RWC.

  • Dicki - 2010-05-10 09:35

    It blows my mind that people forget how much the stormers/WP paid for Habana and Fourie! If i'm not mistaken it was 4.2 and 3.5 mill respectively! I don't think the Sharks have much choice as we have got such a shocking backline. Get Butch and use him to blood local talent around him. They should also get Jean DeVilliers then we could maybe penetrate. Look what Stefan Tb has done with Pat Lambie, use the experienced players to develop local talent.

  • @ Selma - 2010-05-10 09:47

    Extremely opinionated - must be a Stormer fan. Your comments are also just as silly.

  • @Nikki - 2010-05-10 09:49

    While you busy with the records bloubek I suppose you are happy that the Lions is now seen as the k@kkest ever team in Super rugby after losing their 12th game in a row. Proudly held up to last Saturday by the useless poefters from Moftus!Hehehehehhehehe! you can win as many cups as you want you will always be remembered in history as the second biggest losers EVER in Superrugby.Another unofficial record is also held by the Bulls...after winning the S14 in 2007 while the NZ franchises fielded their B teams you end up where again in 2008?Once a w@nker always a w@nker mate! Sorry blouaap but the Crusaders or Stormers will win the cup this year. Who fkn cares if you field your 10th best players to Newlands this weekend you will lose in the semis anyway!