Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Secretive agents


The Football League has published how much each League club paid to agents last season (so obviously Oxford's figures aren't included, although United apparently didn't pay anything to agents in the period covered) as part of its annual reporting of such figures, ostensibly in a bid to be more transparent. The report (PDF) shows an increase of £3.9 million in the last year, up to £12.7 million.

When the figures are broken down, they show that agents received fees in 16.6 per cent (369) of the 2,392 player transactions that took place, with just 14 of the 72 clubs not paying fees to an agent, and every club in the Championship forking out at some point or another.

So, what do these figures really mean? First, they show that although the use of agents is increasing, they are not as prevalent as many people seem to believe. Second, perhaps obviously, clubs use agents more the higher in the Pyramid they are. Third, it would appear that, although not exclusively, the clubs that achieved most success spent most on agents fees.

Agents are often portrayed as evil money-grabbing middle-men who add little value in exchange for their 10 per cent. For many players, though, they are as essential to looking after their interests as estate agents are to most house-buyers. Agents are professional negotiators, and it's in their own interest to get the best deal that they can for their clients. Clubs may not like agents particularly, but that's because they help redress the balance of power towards the players. There is possibly an argument that the balance of power has swayed too far in favour of the agents, rather than their clients, but that wouldn't appear to have been proven by these most recent figures, with over 80 per cent of transfers still not requiring agents' intervention.

Agents are becoming more common in many walks of life (for example, most publishers will not now accept manuscripts from authors unless they have been submitted by an agent) but there still appears to be a lot of non-agent space in footballing transfers. Some football managers claim that they refuse to deal with agents, but one would have to ask why a player would trust such a manager; it would be a bit like a workplace manager refusing to negotiate with a union representative, when that rep is trying to help the workers. Agents may not be quite such beneficent figures, and clearly their main motivation has to be their cut of any deal, but if they help counterbalance unscrupulous managers then their presence has to be more good than bad.

Labels: ,

The variation in 'total transactions' is interesting - some clubs are much more stable than others in terms of players.

The larger clubs in the FL seem more inclined to pay more to agents - eg Norwich and Southampton. Perhaps this reflects expectations, where agents assume that 'a big club' will be more likely to behave like a Premiership club and accept the role of agents than a little club.
So who represents all of these players who haven't used an agent? Do they just turn up with either:-
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?