JOE GAMBLE'S move from Cork City to Hartlepool went through last night after overcoming a late hitch when the Leesiders sought a 20pc sell-on clause despite being forced to allow the midfielder leave for free.
The troubled Turner's Cross outfit, who still do not know if they will be in the Premier Division next season due to licensing problems, were aware they had to let the high- earning former Irish international depart to lighten their wage bill. Gamble is owed over a month's wages and, therefore, Cork were in no position to demand a fee.
However, their unsuccessful request for an insertion of the clause threatened to put the deal in jeopardy. Alas, faced with the prospect of Gamble fighting for monies owed, the League of Ireland side had to let him go for nothing.
"Joe's a ball-winning, passing midfielder who will give us some good experience in the squad," said Hartlepool boss Chris Turner.
Gamble will be reunited with former Cork team-mates Leon McSweeney and Denis Behan, with the latter also escaping the crisis club during a turbulent 12 months.
New City boss Roddy Collins is trying to put a squad together but his plans have been damaged by the fact that monies are owed to players under contract.
Leading transfer targets, such as Glen Crowe, are reluctant to move south while other players are owed cash. It is understood that Collins has accepted that it will be difficult to start pre-season training while outstanding debts exist.
Another complication for Cork is that Maltese club Floriana are still intent on fighting the manner in which Collins left to take over the post vacated by Paul Doolin.
Relegated Bray Wanderers are on standby to take a Premier Division place if a club is demoted when the licensing process culminates at the end of this month.
Galway United are another current top-flight side that are troubled by debts and have yet to appoint a new manager, although it's understood they have been in discussions with ex-Shelbourne and St Patrick's Athletic defender Dave Rogers -- who was famously sacked by Dundalk last season for dropping his shorts in front of opposition fans.
Dundalk are also waiting to see how the next month pans out as they have been told to be on alert with respect to possible participation in Europe. The border club finished fourth in the Premier Division in 2009 and would take a Europa League spot if Cork were demoted and/or stripped of their place in European competition.
Meanwhile, Dundalk boss Ian Foster yesterday confirmed the appointment of Wayne Hatswell from Cambridge United on a two-year contract as player/coach.