Colin Gordon, one of the best and most respected agents of the last 20 years, has returned to the business.
Gordon has become a director at 366 Group alongside Sam Rush who was chief executive at Derby County and also the Wasserman Media Group.
Former Leicester, Birmingham and Wimbledon striker Gordon, 57, represented the likes of former Three Lions boss Steve McClaren and ex-England keeper David James during his time heading up Key Sports which also looked after Theo Walcott.
Gordon stepped away in 2015 to become a director at Kidderminster Harriers but, after four years working at a club, is back in the agency world and has serious concerns about some of the guidance given to young and up-and-coming players.
The 366 Group is aiming to recruit young players to add to a stellar cast list of 80 clients across all sports, including cricketer Alex Hales.
Gordon said: “The relationship between agent and player is vital. A good agent is strong, knows all the options and is knowledgeable enough to sit back and say: ‘no, that deal is not right for you.’ That doesn’t always mean the biggest or most lucrative deal.
“But too often these youngsters are not seen as players who can develop into fine young men or women but as cash cows. The sad thing is that sometimes that’s family driven and sometimes it’s driven by agents.
“It’s disgusting, it’s scary. It’s all about the next deal. Footballers’ careers are short enough but if you’re going to cut them even shorter based on terrible decisions based on what you can gain now then you’ll be in all sorts of problems.
“If, from the age of eight, you’ve been told you’re going to be a superstar, seen as the breadwinner and then suddenly you’re on the scrapheap, then what kind of mental health issues would that leave you with?
“You have family members driving round in Bentleys now telling people they’re great agents on the back of one deal. The game has changed. It was bad before and now it’s just horrific.
“The whole practice needs to start again and in partnership with the players’ union. The FA and PFA should work together to improve regulation because, at the end of the day, it is the union’s members whose chances are being limited by bad representation.
“Bobby Barnes (deputy PFA chief executive) is a great guy, he’s got the drive and personality to make changes in this industry because at the moment can put £500 down and become an agent without the necessary experience or qualifications. It’s mind blowing.”
Gordon believes the “reset button needs to be pressed” within football and believes it is vital players have agents making objective decisions for them rather than family members.
He added: “I sit in a parents’ front room and the dad says: ‘I’m my son’s biggest critic.’ No, you’re not – he’s your son! Of course there are great parents, like Don Walcott who had so many offers from agents and his response was always: ‘I won’t sell my son.’
“If a parent receives a payment to sign for an agent then that player belongs to the agent. It’s as simple as that.
“I’ve had some great times, great experience and the key for me was coming from a football background, not long out of the dressing room itself and wanted to really help the industry and also fight for your client.”
There is a strange symmetry between Gordon and Rush teaming up together. WMG recently bought out Key Sports and Gordon is passionate about offering a personal touch being better for young players.
BT Sport are going to great lengths to do a 90 minute football show this Saturday.
They have sent cameras out to their star pundits Robbie Savage, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Peter Crouch to take part with Jake Humphrey hosting.
All five will be at their homes, the one crew member will be at Humphrey’s house stood outside a window while the others have had a crash course amid lots of rehearsals.
It will help fill the football void this weekend. Sky Sports have also been doing some excellent shows with Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher from afar while the BBC’s classic matches from yesteryear went down a storm last Saturday afternoon. More, please!
Refreshing to hear one Premier League CEO kick off a video conference call to all staff by telling them to ensure freelance, casual and match day staff must be paid as their priority.
Rick Parry is earning rave reviews with EFL clubs for his hands-on approach as the league’s chairman.
Regular updates, trying to find solutions and also pledging a £50m emergency fund as well as always being on hand for clubs.
The ex-Liverpool chief executive and head of the Premier League knows what it takes and is at the beck and call of the clubs.
The Football Association’s comms have been excellent and they have been proactive with chief executive Mark Bullingham talking last week and PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor has also spoken publicly to offer assurances.
There are mixed messages on playing behind closed doors. Players definitely do not want to go down that road, especially with the virus still at crisis point as it could put them and their families in danger as well as causing a strain on emergency services.
However, further down the line, if the crisis has levelled out then they may be more open to it with a realisation that the Premier League and EFL rely on TV cash to keep clubs afloat.