A vision for young players' development

Statistically speaking, a professional football player, with the notable exception of a goalkeeper, is facing an average of 59% of his adult working life with no foreseeable earned income - can you really blame those players for endeavoring to maximise their earnings potential during there relatively short career? We would surely do the same.

It follows therefore that football players, in the majority, are sensitively insecure individuals and, paradoxically, earning upwards of £20,000 per week does little to alleviate their long-term concerns (Gareth Bale, however, does not enter this equation!).

Such exorbitant player (agent?) financial demands - and, no less foolishly, the major clubs acceding to those demands - have all but bankrupted our beautiful game.

However, the task of steadying the players, and calming the football clubs (in both cases relating to money hemorrhaging out of the game), cannot be accomplished overnight.

The “Parklife” incentive encompasses a comprehensive career-management programme that incorporates all development aspects of a young, professional, player’s life: if he improves and grows as a man, then he will improve and grow as a player. That logic cannot be faulted. “Parklife” takes the player to the club that is most suited to the player!

Football is way more a “life of two halves”, than it is a “game of two halves”.

So, here at Showtime, we are career managers - not just deal makers. My personal approach stems from over forty years involvement with the music business, where deal-brokering forms only part of the comprehensive management service that is furnished to the client. The real planning should focus on the player’s (extensive) life after football.

There is a glaring need to re-establish a professional benchmark relating to the treatment and management of professional football players, young or old, good or not so good.

In the majority of instances, behind every greedy player, you will find a greedy agent: however in some sort of twisted fairness to all agents, it was not their breed that allowed the finances of football to spin out of control – it was the football clubs themselves.

It is the football clubs that, increasingly so, have acceded to the spiraling demands of the top twenty or so football agents in the UK, who handle around 70% of the high-profile Premiership and Championship players. The clubs only have themselves to blame.

In closing, there is naturally much more to “Parklife” than I am willing to divulge here. The dark waters of football agency are notoriously shark-infested; therefore I would wish to avoid any of my better ideas being voraciously seized upon by the hunting pack!

For the meantime, I continue to seek out similarly intentioned individuals/institutions that are in a position to assist me with the funding to realise such projects as “Parklife” - and many others along similar lines. We need to ride the cowboys right out of town.