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Page last updated at 11:48 GMT, Tuesday, 30 June 2009 12:48 UK

York's Fleet deal falls through

York City

York's deal for Ebbsfleet duo Darius Charles and Michael Gash is off after defender Charles opted to stay put.

City announced on Monday that they had signed the pair for a combined fee of £80,000, along with out-of-contract midfield team-mate Neil Barrett, 27.

But Charles's decision not to relocate to York means they will have to renegotiate the fee for striker Gash.

Barrett's move will go ahead as will the signing of 26-year-old former Mansfield defender Alan O'Hare.

York communications director Sophie Hicks told BBC Radio York: "It's with great disappointment we've faced this major setback.

"The deal was done with Ebbsfleet. It was approved. It was an £80,000 fee.

We are trying to pursue a deal to sign Michael Gash alone. He is desperate to come to York City and Ebbsfleet are keen to sell the player but it has to be approved by the members

York official Sophie Hicks

"All the personal terms had been agreed with those players but sadly we received a telephone call from Darius Charles, the defender we were trying to sign and he just feels he can no longer commit to York City.

"It's due to personal circumstances. His girlfriend is pregnant and he feels he can't move from his home in London to York. So unfortunately at this moment in time the deal has fallen through.

"We are trying to pursue a deal to sign Michael Gash, who is the striker, alone. But this means we have to restructure our offer to Ebbsfleet and it is dependent on positive approval from Ebbsfleet members."

Hicks said they has been confident the deal for Gash and Charles would be completed with pre-season training due to start on 1 July.

"It was just a matter of putting pen to paper and it was a formality. We were confident everything was approved and would go forward. That's the normal way we deal with things in football."

However she said the club is still keen to sign 22-year old Gash.

"Michael is desperate to come to York City and Ebbsfleet are keen to sell the player but it has to be approved by the members.

"We will know by 1200 BST on Wednesday whether the members of Ebbsfleet have approved the new restructured offer."

Owners MyFootballClub had backed Fleet's recommendation to sell defender Charles and Gash with an internet vote..

Of the initial deal, City boss Martin Foyle told the club website: "It's a big coup for York City - we have a great squad of players."

Of the 2,896 members of subscription website MyFootballClub who voted, a clear majority of 78% (2,272) wanted to accept the bid.

The Blue Square Premier side said they needed the duo off their books to clear some of the wage bill for new players.

Gash was top scorer last season, with Charles named player of the year.

A statement on Fleet's website read: "As things stand the club would expect both players to appear for pre-season training as planned on Wednesday, 1 July."

Manager Liam Daish, the Fleet board and the club's accountant revealed that the pair take up almost half the annual budget in wages.

At the time of the initial announcement, Daish told BBC Radio Kent: "I don't think I could get 15 players with 50% of my budget. It was all about business sense. I don't want to lose Darius Charles and Michael Gash. We can't offer them longer security and we've got a sizeable bid on the table so for me it's a no brainer."

"We're always going to try and stay full-time, work the oracle in pre-season, get the right players at the right price and see how it goes from there."

To stabilise ourselves will be the best we're looking for this year

Ebbsfleet chairman John Moules

The deal would have taken the Fleet's budget from £4,490 a week to £6,250 and closer to the minimum target of £7,000 believed to be required to compete in the Blue Square Premier.

Chairman John Moules said last week he he thought it was time to rebuild the team anyway.

"The squad have been together for two-and-a-half years," he said.

"Sometimes it works where you change the squad every two to three years anyway, but it is a shame to lose some of the players that we've lost."

Lance Cronin and Paul McCarthy are the only other senior players from last season left at the club, and according to Moules selling Charles and Gash would mean more realistic ambitions next season.

"First aim has got to be retain our status in the Blue Square Premier," he said.

"But really to stabilise ourselves will be the best we're looking for this year and anything above that will be a success."

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