LEAVE OUR KIDS ALONE
Recent media coverage/ has highlighted the growing trend of sharp football agents utilising social network sites (“Facebook” being the prime example) to target promising young football players. The intention here is to persuade those young players to commit their careers to said agents’ operations. Unsurprisingly, football’s committee-led authorities are struggling to exercise any effective policing of this latest agent skulduggery.
To any concerned parents (and to the players themselves) I would have this to say: come and talk to me first. I’ll put you straight - by outlining the hidden drawbacks of hastily jumping into any contractual agreement (even with my company, as well!)
However, before any well-intentioned parents reach for the phone, for some equally well-intentioned advice, they have to – searchingly - ask themselves this:
- “Is our son good enough to eventually make the senior grade?”
- “What objective opinion do we know of, that points to our son having a chance of establishing a successful career in top-flight football?”
If those parents can honestly point to informed, trusted, opinion that says their son may be destined for a promising career, then by all means give me a call. (However, I refuse to misinform you: if I’m lying – I’m dying).
Anyway, if your son is good enough, why the rush to commit him to a football agency, who may talk a great show, reel off a list of known players they (supposedly) represent and claim to court several high-profile clubs? Your son is yet young. What’s the hurry?
Trust me: if your son has the proven ability to progress towards the highest professional level of football, then several other clubs will probably already have noticed him. The scouting networks employed by the English Premiership and Championship clubs are comprehensive, far-reaching and, in many cases, relentless in their pursuit.
What are we saying here?
What we’re saying is that most agents are only motivated when there is the prospect of:
- A move for the player to another club (i.e. – money)
- A re-negotiation of the player’s existing contract (i.e. – money)
And what is going to bring about either of the above situations?
Correct! – your son’s ability and consistent performances (all his own doing).
AGENTS DON’T GET PLAYERS A MOVE: PLAYERS GET PLAYERS A MOVE.
The minute you sign your son’s career away to the majority of player agencies, you are literally giving them licence to (in most situations, illegally) tout your son around a selective group of clubs. Is it really worth risking the consequences at his present club?
Sobering note: most of the senior clubs are – at best - working to a “1 in 10” ratio, in respect of the actual number of young players who will come through their academy or centre of excellence, to ever be able to don the coveted first-team shirt.
Sadly, many once-promising youngsters - who have been inconsiderately and impatiently been cast aside by the major clubs - have never been allowed the requisite coaching time to develop – and to hone their natural football skills.
Many lads have been so scarred by such an experience, that they have rarely kicked a football since.
So, in summary:
- there’s no need to commit your son to an agency unless a genuine contract offer, from a seriously-intentioned football club, is on the horizon
- remember: players – not agents – initially attract the interest of other clubs
- keep an open dialogue with a select few agents (preferably those who don’t pressure you to sign with them!)
I’LL TELL IT TO YOU LIKE IT IS : you have nothing to lose. Make Contact.
Jake Duncan/October 2013