GLF57: Geoff is no fan of football agents
Agents.We’ve had our moments with them at Fir Park, particularly with Stephen Pearson.“Why don’t you just get transferred and we’ll all get rich.Howsabout you wear that Celtic top before you join them”.Personally I feel they are a blight on the game and rob it of a lot of money and do nothing in return except unsettle teams and players.
Proof, as if I needed it, came with the Football League’s report on agent’s fees for last season (04 / 05).Bear in mind that these figures do not include the English Premiership where agents’ fees back in 2001 / 02 were £46 million.Football League clubs last season spent £7.8 million on agents’ fees. To put that in perspective, that is just under one third of what the same teams received in TV revenue. That is money that is now lost to the game, and all to buy agents a plush little apartment in Monte Carlo.
In the Championship, Leeds spent the most in fees, £1.9 million, and to put that in perspective that is round about Motherwell’s wage bill for a year.For all that spending, Leeds finished 14th in the table. Hell mend them.The only club in that division not to spend on agents, Crewe Alexandra, were relegated so maybe you have to grease the palm to survive.
Down a division, five clubs refused to deal with agents and only one of those, Huddersfield, achieved a top half finish. Two of the biggest spenders, Sheffield Wednesday and Hull, ended up promoted. Southend and Swansea were the biggest spenders in Division Two and both were promoted,along with Scunthorpe who upset the apple cart by not spending a penny on agents’ fees.
Clubs in the Football League are now resolved to bringing in their own rules for dealing with agents so that money is not lost to the game. The sooner the better in my opinion.
Clubs in Scotland also have to deal with agents although the fees involved are not openly available like they are in England.
Perhaps it’s time we became more transparent,and informed the public how much money is being taken from our game.The way the game is run has changed considerably down the years and not always for the better.Players have much more freedom from the restrictive contracts of yesteryear ( remember how we held Ally Maxwell to ransom ) but they now find themselves being ‘ guided ’ by people who seem only interested in making money and not just for their clients.Witness the recent attempts by Cardiff to sign Boyd and Riordan.
And let’s not forget that agent Raymond Sparkes is hardly flavour of the month at Kilmarnock.For once I agree wholeheartedly with Jim Jefferies when he says about Sparkes “This criticism has come from a person who hasn't got any standing in the game anyway."
But no matter how much we like or dislike them agents are here to stay, so I think it’s time that the games governing bodies and the clubs got together in Scotland to regulate their activities and to ensure that what they do is not only for the benefit of their clients and themselves, but also for the benefit of the game itself.There is little enough money going round in the Scottish game, so it seems silly to throw so much away.Rangers and Celtic have stated that they are quite happy if details of agents fees are revealed as is, surprisingly, Willie McKay who said “ I think we should print every penny everyone gets.
Why not?I think it is time for this stuff to come out into the open because everyone thinks agents are making fortunes, but I can tell you there are not many in Scotland making much money-that is why I tend to work in the Premiership in England ”.
Monte Carlo based Willie McKay was the agent involved in Jean-Alain Boumsong’s transfer to Newcastle and made £500K for his role in the transfer.
GEOFF BABY (Agents fee withheld)
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