Football is awash with greed. We all know that. And nothing highlights the greed more than every time a new increased TV deal is announced, the only ones to really profit are footballers and agents.
I imagine it happens at every club up and down the country. The TV deal is announced, a 20% uplift on the last one, and there is a knock on the managers door. It is an agent. He has a couple of players at the club. He knows the club is about to get 20% more money, and he demands a 20% increase in players wages.
The agent often gets his wish. New deals are signed. And the money for the new TV deal is eaten up. But then the agent wants his slice of the pie. His few hundred thousand pound (or couple of million if you are Mino Raiola dealing with Jose Mourinho). And all these few hundreds of pounds add up.
In 2017, over £200m went into the pockets of “agents/intermediaries”
This is an incredible amount of money.
When lower league teams are threatened with going out of business, at the top end of games, we have agents taking money out of the game. They are leaches. They pray on young players, telling stories of dreams, that usually end up broken. If they sign enough kids, they hope one will turn into the next Jack Wilshere, Dele Alli or even Lionel Messi.
It is like the Twitter accounts who advertise great odds deals if you click on their link. They then profit from your losses for life. Agents get their claws into a young player, than make off him for life, becoming millionaires without ever being able to kick a ball.
It is greed.
In a dream world, every time the TV deal increases, match day tickets prices could reduce. In 2015, when a new deal was announced, I worked out that Arsenal could offer £25 tickets to every fan, for every game, and revenue would stay the same. Instead, all the extra money ended up going to the players and their agents.
When you look at the profit/loss of most football clubs, very few actually make any money. Most just about break even. You would think with a £50m increase in TV revenue, they would show a profit. They do not. It is in one door, out the other.
I do not overly mind players earning big money. If that is what the market dictates, then fair enough. They give back with memories and moments. But agents, they do little, and have just taken over £200m out of the game in the last 12 months.
That is a disgrace. It is money that could go towards cheaper tickets, or towards grass roots football.
£200m gone out of football in 12 months.