were very keen on Nick) - so we thought it was best to set the wheels in motion.
"In these situations, I always think about the time we signed Lee Sharpe. We went to watch him and we were impressed. The dilemma was this: do we go home and think things over or do we make a decision and act swiftly? With Lee we moved quickly - I remember we drove a few Torquay directors down to the beach and wouldn't let them out of the car until we'd agreed a deal! - and it paid off.
"Anyway, when Mick and I went to watch Nick Powell we came away and I said: 'He's definitely a player. There's no doubt about that.'"
With Crewe destined for a Wembley play-off, however, the Reds were keen to get the deal done as soon as possible.
"We thought that if we waited until the play-offs the secret would be out, so to speak. All the TV cameras would be focussed on him and it might alert a few other clubs.
"Mind you, there were already quite a few interested. As well as Arsenal and Chelsea, we knew Manchester City were keeping tabs on him as well.
"So I phoned [Crewe director of football] Dario Gradi, told him we were keen and we started negotiating. We sorted the deal with the chairman and agreed we'd leave it until after the play-off finals.
"It was all in place a good 10 days beforehand. Nick's agent told Nick after the