Not all agents are out for what they can make

The Football League Paper - - GUY BRANSTON -

BY the time I be­came a li­censed agent last year, I al­ready knew how a trans­fer worked. Af­ter all, I moved 27 times dur­ing my play­ing days! But for those who don’t, here’s how the trans­fer win­dow gen­er­ally func­tions. First, let me dis­pel a cou­ple of myths.

It’s a to­tal fal­lacy that clubs don’t have any power. Don’t ever be­lieve that. They hold the reg­is­tra­tion, they set the fee. They hold the keys to un­lock any move, so any good agent will work with them, not against them.

Also, don’t buy the dead­line day hype you see on Sky Sports news. It makes great TV but be­lieve you me, almost ev­ery dead­line day deal will have been weeks, if not months, in the mak­ing.

There’s just too much pa­per­work, es­pe­cially at the top end where you’ve got im­age rights, en­tourage and fam­ily mem­bers who need to be in­volved in the club.

I worked as head of re­cruit­ment at Notts County, so I saw from the other side just how long it can take to get deals done, es­pe­cially if a for­eign player is in­volved.

These trans­fers take a lot of thrash­ing out and, if it takes un­til the fi­nal day, it’s usu­ally just one club dawdling to get a bet­ter price be­cause they know per­sonal terms are agreed. In terms of in­sti­gat­ing a trans­fer, nine times out of ten it’s be­cause a man­ager no longer wants a player.

The club will in­struct some­body – the chief scout or head of re­cruit­ment – to draft a let­ter say­ing that so-and-so is avail­able. That will then be sent to all Foot­ball League clubs.

Courtesy

HON­EST: Guy Branston play­ing at Bur­ton Albion price. Then again, the only op­tion might be a six­month loan. To an agent, that’s ba­si­cally a free­bie – there’s no money in it.

But that’s OK. The fact is, you’ve been paid a year’s money by the lad al­ready, whether in fees, or be­cause they signed a deal at the start of the sea­son. If he gets an­other big move, fan­tas­tic. If not you aren’t go­ing to force the is­sue.

At the lower lev­els, it’s very rare a player will de­mand a move. These guys aren’t rich and it isn’t wise to ef­fec­tively rip up a con­tract. If he does, it will be a case of me meet­ing with the CEO to bro­ker a re­al­is­tic ask­ing price.

In ev­ery case, ci­vil­ity is key. There’s no point fall­ing out with a foot­ball club. It’s bad busi­ness be­cause they won’t use you again.

The only way to make money in this line of work is to have friends in the game. And the only way to make friends in the game is to be hon­est and pro­fes­sional be­cause there are a lot of bulls **** ers out there.

I’ve also learned is that it’s a lot eas­ier to deal with lads at this level than a bit fur­ther up. As a player, I had houses, a gam­bling ad­dic­tion, pres­sure to put food on the ta­ble. I wasn’t be­ing paid a lot but I had to keep earn­ing.

In­vest­ment

With­out that, I might have been lazy like too many of to­day’s play­ers. I know from other agents that it can be very dif­fi­cult to mo­ti­vate a mil­lion­aire to get off his a*** and run around. I just want to look af­ter my lads prop­erly the way my agent – and current boss – Lee Philpott looked af­ter me. If that means loan­ing them a few quid while they find their feet that’s fine. It’s worth the in­vest­ment be­cause, down the line, they’ll make progress and make money for ev­ery­one.

It won’t be made pub­lic and it usu­ally has re­stric­tions. For in­stance, a Cham­pi­onship club will of­ten stip­u­late he can only play in League One or Two.

More of­ten than not, the agent will be in­formed by the sell­ing club as a mat­ter of courtesy.

The player will then be given the bad news. Ninety per cent of the time that’s a face-to-face meet­ing with the man­ager which is the hon­est way to do things. Af­ter that, it’s over to some­one like me.

They might have four clubs, five clubs, all will­ing to pay the ask­ing

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