The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Matt Bad­cock

JAKE SPEIGHT knew he had the ne­go­ti­at­ing skills to be an agent when he was at Mans­field Town – he got the best deal of his ca­reer by him­self!

While many play­ers get their coach­ing badges, the 30-yearold is forg­ing a new life in a dif­fer­ent cut-throat world.

When he had his first son, Kobe, Speight – then aged 25 – de­cided he would re­tire be­fore he was 30 and have some­thing set up for his fu­ture.

So, two days be­fore his mile­stone birth­day, he threw his foot­ball boots in the bin to con­cen­trate on the busi­ness he’s been build­ing up.

Speight said: “My last deal at Mans­field was, co­in­ci­den­tally, the best one! I re­mem­ber the as­sis­tant man­ager at the time say­ing, ‘I wish you’d ne­go­ti­ated my deal’.

“As I was get­ting older and see­ing young play­ers com­ing through, I started en­joy­ing help­ing them. Not with the foot­ball, but the off-field things.

“When I had Kobe, I knew then that I wanted to have some­thing I could walk straight into. I didn’t ex­actly know what back then, but some­thing to pro­vide for the fu­ture.


“I hon­estly don’t think I’ll ever put my boots on again. On the Fri­day I de­cided to stop, I put them straight in the bin.

“I came out of full-time foot­ball a couple of years ago to start it all up, so I’ve in­te­grated my­self in slowly and built the foun­da­tions.”

His agency – Fif­teen Eleven Man­age­ment – al­ready boasts 27 play­ers and man­agers from League One down. In a 15-year-ca­reer that started at Sh­effield United, Speight has ex­pe­ri­enced all the highs and lows of foot­ball and life.

And he thinks it leaves him well placed to give the best pos­si­ble ad­vice to young foot­ballers try­ing to find their way in a tough busi­ness.

“In my ca­reer I’ve had that many low points, I’ve prob­a­bly made ev­ery mis­take a foot­baller can, so it’s turn­ing that into a pos­i­tive,” he said.

“I love the agent side of it – the sell­ing your­self and the ne­go­ti­at­ing. That’s all good, and what brings the money in, but the op­po­site side of men­tor­ing play­ers is what I enjoy most.

“Go­ing out, drink­ing, get­ting into trou­ble – I’ve done all that and I wanted to help the play­ers signed with me not to make the same mis­takes.”

Speight ac­knowl­edges agents have a stigma, but he’s de­ter­mined to have a solid rep­u­ta­tion and make sure play­ers only move to help their de­vel­op­ment.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

MIS­TAKES? Speight, seen in his Brad­ford days, says he’s made them all

ON THE LINE: Speight is now an agent

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