agents’ work ‘not just about window deals’

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Two leading Yorkshire football agents of the past decade have defended the profession in the wake of figures released yesterday outlining the vast sums of money they receive, writes Nick Westby.

A Football League report published yesterday revealed that £21.5m was spent on agents’ fees in the 2012-13 season by the 72 League clubs.

The latest figure shows a slight reduction and is inflated by the fact that Blackburn Rovers alone spent nearly £3.5m.

The report once again gives critics the chance to accuse agents of draining English football of vital resources, with many clubs in the League crippled by debt.

While the majority of agents went to ground yesterday, two contacted by the Yorkshire Post were willing to defend the part played by their profession, but wished to remain nameless.

One leading Yorkshire agent, who has been been employed for over a decade, says there is much more to an agent’s job than merely trying to get the deal for their client from a football club.

“It’s a 24/7 job,” said the agent.

“We do work hard and we have relationships with a lot of clubs and a lot of clients.

“We’re not just busy when the window opens, it’s throughout the year.

“These deals take time.

“But it’s not just the transfers and contracts that we work on. We’re part of management companies who look after other issues for the clients that have to be dealt with.

“The role of the football agent remains a very important one.

“We have a lot of clients, and it is not just high-profile clients either.

“We work with players right across the spectrum. What people forget is it’s not just the big names, but it’s often about young guys trying to get into football who we are trying to give good advice to and help get on in life.”

The reduction of £170,000 in the total amount does point to clubs tightening up and only spending what they can afford, in line with the new Financial Fair Play rules.

But one former Yorkshire-based player representative believes agents remain an integral part of the business of football.

“The situation’s as good as it’s going to get,” said the former agent.

“You’ve got to accept that every deal in the Football League involves tens of thousands of pounds at least and 95 per cent of players aren’t going to go into negotiations without representation. They’re not that stupid.

“Agents are here to stay and they’re entitled to earn money for what they do. It’s a bit like the ‘Wild West’ out there, but the authorities have done as much as they can by making payments transparent.

“I don’t think there’s a better way of regulating it.”